Boar – Veneficae

Let's kick it back and get high even though we're straight edge (sorry, but it's true for the editor anyway).  How can you do such a thing, get high without the necessary substances?  Easy, with modern doom and/or stoner, though the latter, being clearly about "the high", would be your best option.  Interestingly, you have a pretty solid movement of these two genres coming out of Finland these days.  We won't go into specifying any particular names, because, of course, we have one right here and one is enough.  Stoner is something of a complex genre today, if only because it needs to very carefully balance that old, 1970s hard rock sound with modern energy, which tends to be harder and more forceful in nature.  Go too far in one direction and lose that balance and you'll either sound like a burned-out Zep cover band or blackened somethingrather that requires Satanic imagery to get anyone's attention.  To properly pull off that toeing-the-line standard we expect for great stoner is not easy, but now and again we'll come across a band who succeeds, as we have with these guys here, largely.

  

Boar is an excellent representation of the current Finnish trends in doom and stoner, though don't think that necessarily means anything in terms of sound.  It's going to sound like stoner, there isn't a real culture influence here at all, the sound has merely been taken and utilized in a solid way.  There's nothing new, either, in terms of presentation or theme.  Nature references, some girl doing something pastoral, and song titles that cover everything you'd expect.  If one was called "Wizard Hat" or "Wolf River" you wouldn't be surprised at all.  Anyway, after starting up in 2009 Boar released their first independent full-length in 2010, which was self-titled.  Add a split and then an EP, and they pretty much checked off all the "do this first" boxes before making it more official.  Having signed to Lost Pilgrims Records, a relatively new label out of France whose stuff we've covered before, they now have the springboard from which to start what could end up being a glorious, heavily stoned and smokey career, if they pay attention to themselves and take a ride on the sober side once in awhile.

 

Veneficae covers several regions of the country of stoner, from land to sea, also some mountains, of course.  It opens with heavy fuzz and then an absolutely addicting main riff that tears your joint to shreds so you smoke the symbolic weed of this review from your bare hands, lighting it in your palm like some witchdoctor scaring off ghosts with magnesium.  From there it runs through a number of approaches, from the languid, several-joints-in-mouth-at-the-beach drag, to the "is this the 1970s or something?" flow, to the "pass me the chips, man, no those chips, no those, and those, and those..." hunger haze of riff.  Boar do an excellent job covering practically every stoner approach possible, including their lyric delivery, which is critical to the sound.  You have some cleans, some roars, some echoes, it's all here.  But, speaking of sound, that's the one real complaint with Veneficae.  If you compare this to Boar's earlier work you'll find the production is more muffled; the drums can sound like blown heads, giving the impression it was recorded in one take, live, or with the volume too damn loud, or perhaps in the 1970s full analog and fully high to where they didn't notice.  This is something of a detriment to Boar's sound because, at times, despite some truly awesome riffing, it can go from a freshly rolled joint of the finest of weed to a wet roach you pull out of a birdbath filled with mosquitoes.  There's no doubt it tears, but we couldn't help but wish at times they would have spent less time smoking and more time clarifying their sound to make it a little less stoned, a little more lucid.

 

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Written by Stanley Stepanic

Boar: Veneficae
Lost Pilgrims Records
4.4 / 5