The Poet And The Parrot

Written by: AP on 29/10/2013 22:55:58

Bombus and I crossed paths early this year, opening the proceedings for the Sword's headlining show in Copenhagen; and despite not managing to sweep me off my feet, there was such character in a number of the songs aired that I was convinced to delve deeper into the band's discography - then comprising just one studio album, as well as a number of demos and singles. Out of the available material, only "Biblical" made a strong impression, however, so my enthusiasm was short-lived. Until, that is, it struck me that the moments of grandeur must have been taken from as-of-yet unreleased material, and Bombus had a sophomore album planned for release in the autumn. That record is entitled "The Poet and the Parrot", and all but sends the band's previous music into oblivion.

Close-Up magasine calls it "one of the best Swedish albums... heard in years", and based on my own rotations of it, I am bound to agree with that postulate. Bombus possess that rare skill of constructing from their vast array of influences music that sounds like everyone and no-one at once. There's the raw energy of Motörhead and Discharge mingling with the darkened sludge of Rising; the melancholy and gloom of Black Sabbath intertwining with the progressive grandeur of Mastodon; and the searing black'n'roll of Kvelertak peppering the apocalyptic extremity of Anciients. But while all of those bands have almost certainly played some role in shaping the niche in which Bombus now find themselves, the tributes are subtle, and the songs are made from the same off-hinged fabric that has made Kvelertak such a sensation. There's no obvious comparison.

Mind you, stylistically Bombus resemble Kvelertak in the same way that salt resembles sugar - the point I am trying to propose is that not since the Norwegian mad geniuses unleashed their debut album upon the world has a metal band, in my opinion, been so entitled to using phrases like challenging conventions, pushing the envelope or defining the future direction of the genre. Whether it's the galloping bombast of "Enter the Night" and "Apparatus", the progressive majesty of "The Poet and the Parrot", "A Safe Passage" and "Master the Reality", the harrowing tribulation of the trudging "Liars", or the monolithic doom and gloom of "Into the Fire"; Bombus ace it with a palette which, though marred by perpetual darkness and downcast tones, contains a boundless assortment of top shelf riffs, intelligent rhythmic textures and provocative song dynamics.

How just four musicians with the default instrumental setup, can generate a soundscape so vast and evocative is beyond me; but nonetheless, armed with two guitars, a bass and drums, as well as a two-pronged vocal approach (courtesy of Matte & Feffe - no last names given) that sounds like a kind of constant live overdubbing (meant here in a very positive light), Bombus manage to conjure some of the most enormous metal music in my immediate memory. And while that by itself is imposing enough to make my mouth water, "The Poet and the Parrot" produces not a single moment of weakness throughout its eight tracks. The songs are diverse within themselves as well as between each other, and, most extraordinarily, Bombus have managed to arrest their wildly divergent influences with a red chord threading through the tracklist from beginning to end: an anguished and forlorn atmosphere of the sort that only musicians of Scandinavian heritage seem capable of conjuring.

"The Poet and the Parrot" is an astonishing album, and although it is difficult, even foolish to attempt to foresee these things, likely to emerge as one the metal crowd will remember, years from now, as a definitive piece of the genre. Be that as it may, it makes for a strong contender for my personal album of the year in any case, and its broad spectrum of stylistic infusions should make it an intriguing prospect for fans of virtually any of the metal genres. Get on this train now!


Download: The Poet and the Parrot, Liars, A Safe Passage, Master the Reality, Into the Fire
For the fans of: Anciients, Black Sabbath, Mastodon, Rising
Listen: Facebook

Release date 17.09.2013
Mourningwood Records

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