Bombus_Repeat Until DeathI should probably hate this album. I’ve been having some difficulty trying to explain why I like Bombus‘s sophomore Century Media release, Repeat until Death, but as Jordan Campbell would tell me: that’s my job. But it’s possibly easier to let me explain, first, why I shouldn’t like it. Because, trust me, I’m as confused as anyone about this whole thing and I need to get my thoughts straight.

What I frequently enjoy about metal is about melody, complexity, and what often times I call “progressiveness.” This may be a misnomer, as it’s not really the progressive I’m interested in, as the complex and musically interesting. Music that grows, is epic, and expansive is the metal that appeals to me most. The bands should be well-known to readers: Orphaned Land; Opeth; Barren Earth; Soen. Minor keys? Expansive vision? Long, emotional songs? Check, check, check. These bands aren’t bands whose songs I would ever describe as slick. They tend toward beautiful, fragile cleans, and while they might have some riffs, they aren’t exactly riffy.

BombusRepeat until Death is built almost entirely on riffs and minimalism. While a DR6 master is way too dense for me to argue that the band is producing something with a lot of “white space,” it’s music that implies white space. There’s a good separation between the instruments; with the bass playing a heavy role in the mix. If this thing were mixed in 1986, it would have had punchy drums and thinner guitars, but since it’s 2016, the guitars are a lot more late Corrosion of Conformity than Dire Straits. Still, tracks like “Get Your Cuts” and “Head of Flies” show off the ease with which Bombus uses white space and open sounds in order to build their sound. The number of places where just two voices—in this context meaning drums and vocals, or just bass and drums—carry a song are surprisingly plentiful.

Don’t confuse me calling the record riffy with meaning that the songs lack coherence. In fact, Repeat until Death is an album that is hard to describe in any way but “slick.” The songwriting here is tight, poppy, and catchy. If I were cheeky, I’d say that Bombus is indie pop with the volume turned up; if The Sounds had been metal, they would’ve sounded like this (or this). This is not a slight, but an acknowledgement that these guys are driving this bus with hooks, not metal credentials. From the very introductory track, the songs are hooky and fun. The Swenglish “Eyes on the Price” (z grabbar, z) starts out a verse driven by voice and simplistic guitars, but the chorus bursts with energy and has a razor-sharp hook. “Deadweight” features Grand Magus riffing and a heavy metal attitude with an absolutely fat lead and instantly memorable chorus. Mid-paced rocker “Shake Them for What They’re Worth” might be my favorite track on the album, with a chorus speaking to my cynicism (“You shake the revolution, shake them for what they’re worth,”) and a melancholy melodic structure that hits home.

Bombus_2016

Ironically, Bombus might appeal to me not just because their slick songs are well-written, short, and immediate. It might be because that despite an outward minimalism, Repeat until Death is more interesting on deeper listens than you’d expect. While the songs are simple, the band actually has a tendency toward sad melodies and counterintuitive riffing. “You the Man” features a weird chorus, and a borderline “progressive” bridge—when is a countermelody not really a ‘melody’? “I Call You Over (Hairy Teeth, Pt)” features a stadium rock chorus, but a more reflective introduction, while “Rust” has an outro melody that’s about 80% from “The Unforgiven” (y’know, Metallica…), but is delivered with walking bass underneath and a sing-along sound; both catchy and powerful.

With all of this, the singer—who honestly, I have no idea if this is Feffe or Matte who sings in this band due to a dearth of accompanying information—should be the final straw. I can’t say I’ve ever enjoyed a band with a guy who sounds like this; it’s kind of a scratchy post-thrash hard rock vocalist. Half scream, 1/4 growl, and 1/4 melody, “Feffmatte” has a lot more control over his vocals than your average screamy guy, which allows him to carry melodies. But rather than finding it to be irritating—like the newest In Flames material—Mattfeffe balances intensity and melody perfectly. The combination of riff-driven writing with occasional quirks, and a bit of an “unhinged” vocal sound keeps the music interesting. And while the production tried as hard as it could to beat it out of them, I’ll bet these guys sound immense live.

All of this all has left me coming back to this album time and again for nearly two months now. I popped the promo in because I was curious and these weeks later, I’m still spinning Repeat until Death with a stunning regularity. Sure, they probably sound like some band I don’t listen to or something, but I’m OK with that. Bombus hits a perfect balance between slick, minimal, moody, and groovy, and was a pleasant surprise.


Rating: Good!
DR: 6 | Media Reviewed: 192 kb/s mp3
Label: Century Media
Websites: bombusmusic.com | facebook.com/bombusmusic
Releases Worldwide: February 26th, 2016

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  • Jm from nj

    I know the bassist was in Burst. I miss Burst.

  • Matt slatz

    So that’s where all my 7th grade Christmas gifts went!!!!….damn you bombus for rubbing it in. (Seriously awful cover, seriously good imbedded track).

  • I cannot believe you didn’t unicorn that band pic.

    • Martin Knap

      The The Last Winged Unicorn died in a battle (viz Dawn Of Victory).

    • I thought about it.

    • RuySan

      Yes, first thing that crossed my mind. I think it’s so obvious that AMG just wants to mess with us.

    • Innit Bartender

      That photo screams “Photoshooooooop!!!”

  • Luke_22

    Don’t know if I’m sold on those vocals, but the music sounds pretty cool.

    • The vocals work for me despite having never worked for me like this before. I genuinely have never heard a band with vocals like this that I enjoy until these guys.

  • El Lado Oscuro

    Maybe Good “!” is 3.25??

  • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

    A so it’s not quite THE Bombus, or an A-Bombus, but it was fun and didn’t Bombus whatsoever. Nice!

  • Lars Barres

    They sound like Hyfyre Gurus crossed with Möcking Bird if they had Last Year I Died’s singer.

    Yeah… I made that up. I don’t keep up with bands anymore. I obviously have too much time on my hands today.

    The vocalist does have a bit of Lemmy in him. Never a bad thing.

  • Elton Chagas

    That moment when the music is messing with the video.

  • Wilhelm

    Is this considered Horse-Core?

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      Horsecore was a 1989 album by Dead Horse. But after reading your comment I googled “horsecore” anyway and it was not nice.

      • Name’s Dalton

        Oh Willllburrrrr…

    • [not a Dr]

      Tengger Cavalry would be horse-core…

  • METAL OTTER

    Embedded video was so good, it gave me crabs.

    Edit: if The Sounds had been metal they’d sound more like Mose Giganticus’ Gift Horse, no?

  • TminusEight

    That song totally resets my expectation of a breakdown. Totally fucken awesome.

  • TminusEight

    On a different point, the designation Hard Rock / Heavy Metal doesn’t really seem to me to do it. I kinda want to call it Groove-death. But I dunno if that might already be taken?

    • Kronos

      That’s used by djent bands to hide the fact that they’re djent.

      • Lasse Momme

        To be fair, who would ever want to admit that they’re djent?

        • Kronos

          Periphery and… yeah that’s about it.

    • It’s tough. I think it’s hard rock, kinda. It’s more metally and it’s too melodic to be groove death. Honestly, the more I think about it, the more it reminds me of Metallica’s black album, just with gruffer voices and a more rock leaning.

  • Zadion

    “What I frequently enjoy about metal is about melody, complexity, and
    what often times I call “progressiveness.” This may be a misnomer, as
    it’s not really the progressive I’m interested in, as the complex and
    musically interesting. Music that grows, is epic, and expansive is the
    metal that appeals to me most. The bands should be well-known to
    readers: Orphaned Land; Opeth; Barren Earth; Soen.
    Minor keys? Expansive vision? Long, emotional songs? Check, check,
    check. These bands aren’t bands whose songs I would ever describe as
    slick. They tend toward beautiful, fragile cleans, and while they might
    have some riffs, they aren’t exactly riffy”

    I dunno if I’ve ever read a paragraph on this site I could agree with more. Great review, AMG. The embedded song is sick.

  • Guillotine of Papal Crowns

    The embedded song did nothing to me but the video have a strong True Detective vibe… That wake-up sets the tone perfectly.

  • FutureBeyondSatan

    Good read! Great song! Gonna buy!

  • Lasse Momme

    There are some mighty big testicles behind that guitar tone.

  • Kronos Sr.

    I think we found the new theme video for Deadliest Catch.

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    That’s the best band photo I’ve seen in a long time!
    Intriguing review AMG, it sort of sounds like you’re describing a Chris Black project. I’ll check this out for sure

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    One more thing, that is an awesome video. Not a lyric in sight and I loved the use of the old Volvo, it’s the same as the one I had for 13 years…
    I’m calling it, best video for 2016!

    • This video is really good. It’s got kind of a dirty crime film feel, I really like it a lot.

  • That was…surprisingly good and not something I would have picked up otherwise. :)

  • Oscar Albretsen

    Lame band name, lame album cover, awesome music. I’ll take it! The band photo is pure power metal gold!

    • [not a Dr]

      Still, those horses should grow a horn.

      • Oscar Albretsen

        Good call!

    • H Mee

      Too right Oscar. Most times I base my listening choices on album covers and band names. But somehow I decided to check the vid and was pleasantly surprised

  • TminusEight

    Love the way those kids are moshing in the back of the car at the end of the vid. That’s the way to raise ’em. Nice work boys.