Manchester Rebellion, May 12th, 2017.
After only a few months away, Bossk returns to Manchester to deliver their unique brand of atmospheric drone/black metal with Vow and OHHMS as support.
First on stage was Vow, a fairly newly formed band from Manchester, the band have a distinctive sound that will probably spark some debate from new listeners as to how to categorize them, the easiest genre to assign them to is Shoegaze or Drone due to long drawn out passages that seem to go on for longer than necessary but these segments are framed by classic Black Metal style instrumental passages and extreme metal vocals which for the most part worked, the electronica-inspired passages may put some off but I felt that these segments helped give Vow more personality and worked well as interludes.
Next on stage was OHHMS, a sludge metal band from Canterbury, who delivered a highly energised show which was a welcome change from the slow and bleak drone metal.
OHHMS appeared in support of their second album, The Fool, and most of their set was comprised of songs from that album, the set ended with ‘The Hierophant, a 21-minute song that at some points feels improvised which might not be the case but it definitely makes the set more interesting.
And finally, Bossk appeared on stage once again shrouded in darkness, Bossk, named after a Trandoshan bounty hunter from Star Wars, have become a fairly big deal since they reunited in 2012 after a four-year absence and have opened for the likes of Cult of Luna and Baroness and are an important part of the growing Black Metal scene in England or whatever you wish to categorize Bossk as.
Bossk are definitely an acquired taste, their songs are fairly lengthy and often repetitive at times but this helps add to the atmosphere, it is best to view the entire set as an hour-long song that undulates and changes.
Bossk are a band that is aided and hindered by knowledge of their discography, on one hand, knowledge of their music prevents a casual listener from becoming lost and being unable to distinguish songs but to counter that point unfamiliarity with Bossk’s music helps create more of an ethereal experience.
This is not to say that Bossk’s set was purely made up of low tempo drone, some of the songs in the middle of the set had almost Black Sabbath-style riffing which worked perfectly in breaking up what could potentially be a monotonous show.
Bossk’s set was made up of a number of long songs, most of which from their debut album Audio Noir, which showcased some of their heavier material but the standout of the show was ‘Truth’ from their second EP, II, a droning 12 minute song with literal variation or vocals and can only be described as hypnotic.
Bossk are a band worth seeing live, whether it be as headliner or support, as their set is rarely dull provided you can tolerate long songs without vocals and extended sequences of minimal instrumentation.