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Bolt Gun Sculpt With Time On “Man Is Wolf To Man”

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I have a lot of questions about Bolt Gun. What would make an Australian band write an album about the end of Soviet Russia, and why is that happening now? I suspect my American bias is making me overly invested in this. Very little of Bolt Gun’s music feels ideologically driven, rather they are driven towards the aesthetics of Soviet decay. In their own words, they are inspired by “Tarkovsky, Kieslowski and Lopushansky” rather than any political motive, and their music on Man Is Wolf To Man is more of a mood piece than a polemic.

Still, that a psychedelic metal band would find this particular aesthetic, and the moment of history it sprung from, worth exploring in 2017 isn’t to be overlooked. After all, today is the centennial of the end of the Russian Revolution. Even if the band didn’t intend to be so timely, authoritarianism of all stripes has been a common subject as of late (If you’re looking for a more politically motivated musical response to the events of the Russian revolution, you might want to try Despereaux’s “Marx” which also dropped today). In this regard, Man is Wolf To Man‘s lack of political vision is a boon. Despite the samples of Russian dialogue, Bolt Gun’s ideological and musical looseness allows them to be applicable for any moment when the world seems lost. The album’s two lengthy tracks aren’t interested in building a narrative through their playing, and instead layer instruments with an ear for texture.

That texture is a bleak one. Retro synthesizers, distant piano, sparse slide guitar. This is emphatically desolate music, any signifier of open space and eerie emptiness is fair game on Man Is Wolf To Man. This is particularly true in the record’s second half, whose patience briefly lets it ride alongside the questing meditation of Cult Of Luna’s Somewhere Along The Highway. Bolt Gun spend their majority of their time focusing on stasis and decay however. The band only build sounds to break them down, washing them away in a sea of static. Even their vocals, most often a low roar in the distance, is best thought of as a whimper, not a bang. The last cries of something desperate, drained of life and fighting to survive.

Stream Man is Wolf To Man below. The album comes out on November 14th via Art As Catharsis. Follow the band on Facebook.

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