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Tuesday 23 November 2021

A View From The Back Of The Room: Boss Keloid (Live Review By Matt Bladen)

Boss Keloid, Telepathy, Tuskar & Hwdu, Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff, 21.11.21

The first gig back at Clwb Ifor Bach promised to be heavy affair, with riffs galore from all four bands on the bill.

The 'local' openers were the newly minted Space Punks Hwdu (7) formed from veterans of the Swansea greebo scene, they play a frantic style of distorted stoner punk that features a trio of vocals and biting guitar riffs. Drawing a fair sized crowd of locals that knew the members they got things off to a flying start with tracks from their Love Crimes EP (reviewed in these very pages). Carving through the tracks with very little chit chat due to their truncated set, their music inspires having a good time and other than the headliners they were the most upbeat offering on the night. It got the crowd moving early and set things up for what was to come.

Main tour supports Tuskar (8) were up next, a two piece with a shouting drummer and mute guitarist, they play colossally heavy sludge, nods to Neurosis, Crowbar and Eyegategod were abound as the heavy strung Telecaster riffs of Tom Dimmock are enough to split concrete while the primal drumming and anguished shouts of Tyler Hodges rattled though the downstairs of Clwb. Their music kept the crowd as enthralled as it did deafened, each track another slab of lead coated sludge. The cuts all came from their previously released bar the last track which is from their February 2022 debut album, on the basis of this track alone Tuskar could easily become world beaters when that drops.

After a much needed break it was time for the atmospheric post metal stylings of Colchester foursome Telepathy (7). A band relies mainly on long instrumental passages that blend soaring post metal melodies with crushing sludge riffage, it was a more laid back affair than the two previous bands but, with the music segueing between the soaring atmospherics and the thundering riffs. Garnering the largest crowd so far it was obvious why Telepathy were billed as the special guests for the evening. Personally I did prefer the more pissed off approach of Tuskar but Telepathy managed to build a bridge between Tuskar and the headliners.

With a bit more of a change over it was time for Boss Keloid (9) took take to the stage. The Wigan Wizards, weave a musical alchemy that is hard to classify. Drawing much of their set from their brilliant latest offering Family The Smiling Thrush. The band have transcended the labels of stoner, doom etc and a now a truly progressive experience. Although not as outright heavy as some of the supports, Boss Keloid whip up a frenzy of angular riffage, anthemic songwriting and lots of prog weirdness, it's a style that has been refined over their past three records, moving them away from the sludge, stoner beginnings and into a style all of their own. 

The rhythm section of Stephen Arands (drums) and Liam Pendlebury-Green (bass) are tough but expressive, providing groove and keeping the explorations on track, while guitarist Paul Swarbrick has a similar style of playing to one Alex Lifeson, unique tones with solos that are always slightly off kilter. Providing back up guitar is vocalist Alex Hurst, he has developed a singing style that is hard to replicate and as such defines Boss Keloid musically. 

With the crowd enthralled by songs played at Damnation Festival such as Orang Of Noyn, Hats The Mandrill and Gentle Clovis they also got down to some more mind expanding additions, Boss Keloid manage to make their hour long set fly past. One of the most exciting British stoner/doom/sludge/whatever bands around, seeing then in quite an intimate space was a real treat.

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