The stomach-rumbling heaviness and spaced-out atmosphere of Boson’s impressive debut makes me really wish I smoked weed; it feels tailor-made for those who love to play loud and heavy music while getting blitzed out of their mind. However, I can assure you that Domain of Ember is mighty fine stoner sludge even for those who are stone cold sober. Part of what makes this record particularly special is how adept Boson is at writing straightforward yet otherworldly heavy music. Their use of repetition and harmony is really impressive, especially in the first two tracks. Rather than feeling rote and boring, the crushing heaviness elevates the purposeful repetition to great heights, at least when the band are at their best.
Domain of Ember starts off immeasurably strong, as its initial one-two punch rivals pre-ear-biting Mike Tyson. However, the next three songs really do drag a little bit, highlighting how little Boson cares for melody. None of these songs are particularly poor, just disappointingly fine in relation to the initial two and the truly grand finale. “Prayer of Ash” is a true behemoth of a tune, with a meteoric riff and just enough energy and atmosphere to warrant its eight-minute runtime. There’s a sense of purpose that the three preceding tracks slightly lacked, and it may go down as one of my favorite metal tunes of the year.
Overall, despite an unfortunately decent mid-section, Boson’s debut still feels like one Hell of an opening statement. In their best moments, the Minneapolis band showcase the potential to be mentioned among the all time great stoner/sludge acts, and given what we know they can do, I can’t wait for their next release.