Back in 2012, a couple of up-and-coming Bay Area bands released a split EP. Both acts were of the black-metal-but-not-really variety, using that genre as a jumping-off point for a sound that incorporated a lot of non-traditional elements. Since then, Deafheaven has released its all-conquering crossover masterpiece Sunbather, an album that built on all of the group’s previous work (as well as the progression shown on that split EP) to create something that surpassed everything they’d done previously, Now the band that made the B-side for that EP has done the same thing.

For Bosse-De-Nage, a crossover may be a little trickier. Details about the band remain scarce, and their aversion to self-promotion extends to not having their own Wikipedia page, interviews to source, or even a website that is updated to include All Fours, their latest album on the Profound Lore label. Their sound is a little harsher than that of their Bay Area peers, with the anguished cries of vocalist Brian Manning pushed higher in the mix, yet make no mistake: All Fours is an absolutely stunning piece of work, one that transcends genre completely to stand out as an exhilarating and emotive underground classic.


Opener “All Night” is a fierce eight-minute statement of intent, improving on almost every facet of Bosse-De-Nage’s already excellent third album. Tumbling through quieter, industrial bass-driven sections and plowing through breathtaking tremolo-picking with a thunderous double-kick backdrop, it is a serious indicator not just of the band’s power but also their versatility and unpredictability. The album never descends into a formula as the group displays real songwriting chops to go along with their wind-tunnel sound.

The production, courtesy of Jack Shirley, is superb. The guitars and bass sound spacious and clean without a sense of over production, but at the same time, the spectacular drumming sounds raw, with a slightly muted tone that somehow enhances the variety, especially on the frantic “The Industry of Distance.” Throughout, Manning’s vocals seem to operate almost independently, as if the music is a soundtrack to his own twisted poetry readings. The gravel in his voice may not be to everyone’s tastes, but it doesn’t prevent “A Subtle Change” from sounding like a possible hit. It contains a great hook and four-to-the-floor pounding in a tighter song that doesn’t dilute what makes Bosse-De-Nage so great in the first place.

The depth of All Fours is most evident in “Washerwoman” and “In A Yard Somewhere.” The former begins with four minutes of quiet post-rock and Slint-style spoken word before bursting into an explosive and gut-wrenching second half, with incessantly pummeling blast beats that eventually give way to shards of distorted digital static. The latter is almost a mid-tempo screamo track, but that description does no justice to the song’s emotional heft. Bosse-De-Nage seems capable of pulling off whatever direction they feel like on this album.

The most baffling thing about All Fours is the lack of attention being paid to it. It has seen a pretty quiet release, seemingly adored by the few who know it but mostly ignored by music publications. It’s difficult to perceive it as a breakthrough until their name induces something other than an “I don’t know who they are” shrug, even from fans that follow this kind of music.

Having said that, All Fours is a triumph, and the band shows an absolute mastery of its craft on the album. And if a band flattens trees with its power in the middle of a forest and nobody hears it, it still makes a hell of a sound.

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