Bossk ".4" 2x12" Yellow / Brown Vinyl

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One of the shining beacons of the UK post-metal scene, Bossk have steadily built up an unrepentantly loyal following since 2005. Before they reach the big 20, the band are taking this opportunity to take pause and reflect on their past and all the hard graft that has led them to become one of the most lauded bands in the genre. .4, the latest in a series of numbered releases that presents material outside the remit of Bossk’s full-length album output, is a celebration of those 20 years and provides an enticing aperitif for their 3rd album proper, to be released sometime in 2025.

As is tradition with these numbered releases, .4 is not a Bossk album in the conventional sense, instead forging a more experimental path by presenting re-worked versions of some old favourites, as well as a smattering of re-recorded songs that only the most obsessed Bossk fan will be familiar with.

One deciding factor that emboldened Bossk to celebrate their past is the amicable departure of vocalist Sam Marsh due to his permanent relocation to the United States. The band wanted to give Sam an epic recorded send-off and the colossal 13-minute Events Occur in Real Time provides a fitting farewell for the vocalist, who’s guttural razor-wire screams have provided tectonic shifting textures to the band since their inception in 2005. Acting as the centrepiece of .4, this is the first studio take of the song ever recorded, conceived as it was in 2008, just months before the band went on temporary hiatus. The only version available prior was recorded live and released on a limited edition split 12” with long gone fellow post-metal band Rinoa. .4 gives Bossk the opportunity to record the song in a new and reimagined way, replete with mariachi-style trumpet work courtesy of Adam Faires.

The band were keen to re-visit Truth, a song they identify as one of the most important in their early repertoire. Plans to record an acoustic version of the song were soon abandoned when the band were tagged in a vocal cover of the song on Instagram by Dubai-based composer Sheenagh Murray. Her rendition galvanised Bossk to re-write the song entirely from the ground up with her vocals in mind, which has resulted in the rendition heard on .4, imaginatively titled Truth II, which sounds almost unrecognisable from the original, showing the growth the band have made in the past 14 years.

In a move that displays the band’s love of collaboration, this collection presents four classic Bossk tracks re-worked by their contemporaries, giving a new lease of life to songs that have become staples of Bossk’s set. First up is Manchester-based post metal project Pijn’s take on fan favourite Kobe, an interpretation that initially suggests a more sedate take on the song that gradually swells into a symphony of swirling strings and percussion that accelerando to an almighty climax. Japanese experimentalists in heavy music Endon previously collaborated for the second full-length album Migration released in 2021. White Stork, the song that opened that album, is presented here with the Bossk elements stripped back entirely, so it’s now possible for the listener to immerse themselves in the disquieting noise drone textures the band added to Migration without distraction. Matthew Daly and Robin Southby of British instrumental quintet Maybeshewill contributed a beautiful piano rendition of The Reverie for inclusion on .4, which echoes the ambient neo-classical works of Nils Frahm, Ólafur Arnaulds and Philip Glass. The last collaboration comes courtesy of Canadian prog-psych duo Crown Lands who add moog synths, Tool-esque percussion and soaring dynamics to their interpretation of The Reverie II that completely revitalises and enhances the epic concluding track to Bossk’s 2016 debut full-length Audio Noir.

Another lost treasure on .4 is Albert, a new song that has only been played once at ArcTanGent festival in 2019. Despite including it in that set, the band were never happy with it, until drummer Nick Corney completely reworked it into the version here, which displays the influence of electronic artists on Bossk such as Boards of Canada, Battles, Nine Inch Nails and DJ Shadow.

The remaining two tracks that make up this compilation were originally only available on 2008 live video .3. A remix of I by Twin Zero guitarist Reuben Gotto is the oldest song on .4, dating back to 2006 shortly after the band’s debut EP release of the same name. The other track is 181 to Beulah, a song written by Bossk guitarist Alex Hamilton which, like Events Occur in Real Time, has only previously been released as a live track. The song, which is played entirely on guitar, ends this 65-minute collection on a sombre note, as gently reverberant chords ring out across a mellow bed of harmonious feedback, recalling the more tranquil, ambient experimentation of bands like This Will Destroy You and Hammock. As a segue-way into whatever the future may hold, it’s about as laid-back and serene as Bossk has ever been.

With .4, Bossk fully intend to put a full stop on one era, before beginning a new chapter in 2026, a year which will see the release of a brand new full-length album of original material, their 3rd in total, and the recorded debut of vocalist Simon Wright, who has been playing with the band for the past 4 years and is now fully integrated into the band. - Remfry Dedman, March 2024

Track Listing
01. Kobe x Pijn
02. Truth II
03. Albert
04. Events Occur In Real Time
05. White Stork x Endon
06. I (Reuben Gotto 2006 Remix)
07. The Reverie x Maybeshewill
08. The Reverie II x Crown Lands
09. 181 To Beulah