Formed in Gothenburg in 2008, and surely the only band who can claim to be purveyors of “Heavy Duty Bomboozle Bonanza” (their words, not mine), Bombus are all set to release their third album Repeat Until Death (Century Media) into unsuspecting ears. Their previous records, 2010’s self titled Bombus (Mourningwood Recordings) and The Poet and the Parrot (Century Media) from 2013 were both solid, if unspectacular, releases. Energetic and enthusiastic, but lacking that certain something special.
Although Repeat Until Death isn’t a massive leap forward, it’s one certainly big enough to show a significant improvement in the band’s style and songwriting. The slow and mid-paced songs don’t drag, and the faster ones don’t sound like they’re in a race to get to the finish line any more.
Opener ‘Eyes on the Price’ picks up where the previous album left off, with its Motorhead meets Rob Zombie riffs with a pinch of Iron Maiden thrown in for good measure. ‘Rust’ follows next, a punchy little number with a big Tool influence. ‘Deadweight’ continues the album’s fine start with its big drums, big guitars and big chorus. There’s a Mastodon vibe to the song which carries over into fourth track ‘Head of Flies’ but is soon replaced by a chanted mid-section and a guitar melody more than a little reminiscent of fellow Swedes, Ghost.
Virtually the polar opposite of its punky, sludgy counterpart from their debut album, ‘I Call You Over (Hairy Teeth Pt 2)’ begins with gentle keyboards and clean vocals and evolves into one of the strongest songs, not only on the album, but from the band overall. An excellent representation of how they’ve already progressed from their earlier days. The pace picks up again with the catchy and quite brilliant title track, but falters straight after with arguably the weakest cut on the album, ‘Shake Them For What They’re Worth’. But even then, not by any stretch of the imagination could that be called a bad song.
The Tool/Mastodon influences return on ‘You The Man’ which features some particularly strong work from bass player Ola Henriksson, and the album closes with the rather dark ‘Get Your Cuts’, which features a melody that sounds like it could have been taken from Fabio Frizzi‘s soundtrack to Zombie Flesh Eaters.
One of the first surprises of the year, Repeat Until Death is heavy, catchy and confident in its execution. The band’s influences are numerous and varied and the production is spot on. The guitars sound great, the drums are robust with some nice patterns, and the excellent shared vocals range from clean and smooth to the sound of Lemmy (RIP) clearing his throat.
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