If you’ve just discovered Boss Keloid, a riff-based band named after an Iron Monkey song, you could be forgiven for expecting sludge metal of a more facile variety. But, if you’ve been following the musical trajectory of the Wigan-based five-piece, then the six strikingly unique epics that comprise their new LP, Melted On The Inch, won’t be too much of a shock. The band have always been at the more outré fringe of metal, mixing tar-drenched doomy riffs with off-brand experimentation and their own eccentric humour, but they’ve also always been definably a sludge band. Until now.
Don’t fret, though, riff-heads. Boss Keloid haven’t abandoned their heavy origins, merely expanded them in scope, moulding their sound into something that’s ultimately harder to define. The doomy distortion remains, as do the gargantuan riffs, but anthemic choruses, grandiose melodies and smatterings of prog also weave their way into a sound that already stood out as unconventional.
Enthralled by the huge step the band has taken here, we spoke to frontman Alex Hurst, whose resonant bellows are one of the album’s focal points, to find out more about what it takes to create something so thoroughly new.
Even for you guys, Melted On The Inch is proggy. Was the influx of prog planned or more of a natural occurrence?
Nothing is planned at all when we start to write stuff. We have the mindset that if it sounds good and pleases our ears then let’s use it. We didn’t want to go down the route of “well that’s not heavy enough” or “that’s too light sounding”. If it sounds good to us then let’s make it happen. We never set out to create a certain type of music. It’s definitely got a prog vibe going on but that is down to us letting the songs go where ever they wanted I guess.
What do you think it is about your sound that makes it so unique?
Paul, our guitar player and chief riff-master, has a very unique style of playing that definitely has its own thing going on and is a massive part of the Boss Keloid sound. When he brings riffs to the table it usually takes us all a while to figure out what the hell is going on before we jump on it. We all listen to a mass amount of different styles of music and I think the influences that gather from that leads to a sort of uniqueness when we start to create.
Your eccentric humour has sprinkled your work since you formed (e.g. the title Herb Your Enthusiasm), does this pop up again throughout Melted On The Inch? If so, how?
Well, the name Melted On The Inch is about making the perfect cheese on toast *laughs*, but apart from that not really. These are beautiful songs with a lot of passion and meaning to them and they mean a lot to us, but we always have fun in this band and we do love a good session of cheese on toast.
What lyrical themes does the album hold?
Every song is about something different. It’s always things that affect us in life, or piss us off, or inspire us. Each song could mean whatever the listener wants it to mean and each song title can mean whatever the listener or reader of the title wants it to mean. I truly believe in letting the listener make their own meaning and attach whatever feeling to the songs they want.
Who/what inspired you going into the writing process for Melted On The Inch?
I guess we inspired each other. We always have this passion in the band to create something next level. We write so much stuff that gets put aside because it didn’t meet the mark. There is always new music being written and worked on. We definitely wanted to create something that would blow us away when we listened back to it and I think we 100% achieved it on Melted On The Inch.
How important do you think it is to do something new musically in the current metal scene?
It’s hard to have any uniqueness nowadays. There are so many bands out there creating music and a lot of it just gets lost along the way. I love to hear people say they think we have a unique sound or they don’t know how to describe our music. I think that’s a blessing in this day and age and I’ll take that comment any day. We really don’t set out to do something different, this is just the Boss Keloid sound and it’s a beautiful thing.
The album is still sludgy, but less so than previous efforts. Do you think you’re likely to move even further from your sludgy roots on the next album?
Who knows. I can see things getting more epic for sure. Just ride the Keloid train and see where it takes us as usual. We do love a big riff though so that will always be around.
How did the writing and recording process for the new album differ from past releases?
We all had more input on this album. Previously Paul [Swarbrick], our guitar player, and Ste [Arands], our drummer, would craft the basis of a song and then I would start throwing ideas out with the rest of us. These new songs were done more as a full effort, with Paul bringing the riffs and then everyone jumping on them and seeing where we can take the song. I’m playing second guitar too now so that brought a different element into the mix. We also added Matt [Milne]’s keyboards to the tracks and that opened up a new level of what we could do with the songs. The recording process was basically the same as always. Get in the studio, get the sounds, press record and off we go. The songs sounded so epic live in the jam room and it was massively important to us that the vibe was captured in the studio.
Melted On The Inch is out April 27th via Holy Roar Records. Pre-order here.
Words: George Parr