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Few bands have gotten as much mileage out of so few songs as Swiss duo Bölzer. With two EPs and one demo under their belt, the band has already played both Maryland and California Deathfests.

They excel at branding. The covers of each of their releases depict a primitive deity surrounded by empty space. Each of their formal releases only employ four letter: Aura, Soma and their upcoming LP Hero; likewise their shirts almost never feature the full band name, and instead use the four letter BLZR. Their interest in mythology and the iconography of mythology has bled into their marketing with strong results. Bölzer already seems fully realized as a project.

The songwriting, though, leaves something to be desired. The Aura EP succeeded mostly on the strength of one song, "Entranced by the Wolfshook", which features an instantly-recognizable riff. The subsequent Soma EP doesn't stick with me.

Today, the band released "I Am III", the first song from Hero, and while it's better than the songs on Soma it's no "Wolfshook". To the song's credit, it sounds nothing like the rest of the band's work. No blasts. No growls. Just moaning clean singing and 10 minutes of mid-tempo lurch anchored by deft drumming. It reminds me more of Mastodon than anything else, but at their peak Mastodon wrote riffs as meaty and stick as "Wolfshook" and piled them three or four deep to a song. In contrast, the riff five minutes into "I am III" gets my neck moving, but that's about it. Consider my expectations for Hero tempered, but form your own opinion after listening below.

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"Hero" will be released on November 25th via Iron BoneHead Productions. You can follow Bölzer on Facebook here.

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