British five-piece Boss Keloid meld a number of modern metal styles on their self-released debut EP, Angular Beef Lesson. No word on what relation the title might have to “hot beef injection,” but Boss Keloid nonetheless weave their way through seven tracks in an aggressive 32 minutes, tossing off nods to thrash, hardcore and sludge metals while never losing sight of either groove or coherence. Not an easy feat.
When vocalist Alex Hurst commands, “So embrace it!” in the chorus of opener “Reveal The Fs,” it reminds so much of Phil Anselmo on Pantera’s “Goddamn Electric” that I almost feel bad for pointing it out. By and large, Hurst keeps his approach to a throaty midpoint between singing and shouting, and the highlight performance he gives on “Tension R.I.B.” excellently complements the build in the instruments behind him. If the Anselmo-ing is a misstep (and I’m not convinced it is), in the context of the whole EP, it’s a minor one.
Slayerisms abound on “Tension R.I.B.,” “Coin Snorter” and elsewhere, the guitars of Paul Swarbrick and Paul Thomason thicker in tone than the classic thrash style but pulling off crunchier interpretations of many of the same moves. Drummer Chris Thomason (wonder if they’re related…) and bassist Liam Pendlebury-Green—who also recorded everything on Angular Beef Lesson but the drums—offer a few surprising turns. Indeed, many of what could be called Boss Keloid’s hardcore elements come straight from the percussive Thomason, eager to dive into the breakdown beat even in the verses of centerpiece track “Let’s Have A Dolphin Competition.”
One could pepper in a Crowbar comparison here and there (maybe in the vocal cadence of the aforementioned middle piece), but Boss Keloid are faster, busier musically and more angular. The component parts they use may be familiar, but what they do with them is more their own than you might expect.
In A Word: Meaty