Boss Keloid – Family The Smiling Thrush: Album Review

Boss Keloid return with their fifth long player of wondrous progressive heavy metal destined to stir your soul.

Released: 4th June 2021

Label: Ripple Music

Format: CD / Digital / Vinyl

Boss Keloid are a rare beast. They transcend genre and bleed so much into their musical tapestry. Family The Smiling Thrush is their fifth full length outing, and it is another resounding triumph.

Like 2018’s Melted On The Inch, many of the song titles are inventive to say the least, in that they are a little nonsensical. Titles don’t matter when the music you create is so damn good!

Every one of the seven compositions on Family The Smiling Thrush hit like a battering ram. The low end and the riffs are positively lung shaking, the harmonic melodies will snake through your synapses unabated, and the vocals scale the most towering of heights.

Lead single, Gentle Clovis, hits the mark with the vocals. ‘I build my home on the greenest mountain…I wash my hands in the cleanest fountain,’ hollers singer Alex Hurst. The purity in the vocals and the music hits home. Talk of individuality, enlightenment and creating lasting memories make for a joyous experience.

Throughout Family The Smiling Thrush there are vocal hooks and lyrics that will embed deep in your memory. Hats The Mandrill has the same effect. It is hard not to grin ear to ear like a maniac when you are submerged in the record.

Lyrically and vocally, the album is amazing. Musically it is equally as good. Boss Keloid have created a distinct sound that any discerning heavy metal fan who has followed the band will know that this is Boss Keloid. Paul Swarbrick’s guitar lines are hypnotic when he is playing the melodic parts. Augmented with Alex Hurst, the two of them are pummeling tandem force in creating monolithic riffs.

Complexity is also a huge aspect of Family Smiling The Thrush. Drummer, Ste Arands, provides frequent bluster behind the drumkit. The (loose) title track opens with this gusto. But what is amazing throughout the album is the use of tempo and rhythm. Boss Keloid genuinely own the progressive label they are given alongside the heavy metal label. Liam Pendlebury-Green glues everything together with the bass guitar throughout the album. His earthy tones add auricular density alongside the guitars.

Cecil Succulent (this is a track title – not a band member) has a wonderful melodic opening. ‘I took all the artificialness away,’ sings Hurst. The spritely opening gets heavier and heavier as the song progresses before closing out with a blazing guitar solo; a solo placed perfectly at the right point in the album so that there isn’t repetition of the same formula. Flatt Controller (this is a track title – not a band member) closes out the album with gonzo aplomb. It crashes in and goes through various formations before reaching an acoustic outro to close out this amazing album.

With an album so rich in strength, it is hard to pick a definitive highlight as each song brims with potential for the highlight reel. Repeated listens will peel back another layer of happiness when you discover more and more in the DNA of these songs. If ever an album deserved repeated listens then this is the one. Family The Smiling Thrush should be listened to mindfully; take the record, drop the needle, put your phone away, listen and let the real world drift away to create your own.

Ste Arands recently wrote a guest column for us here. Check out the video for Gentle Clovis below. You will also find tour dates below, too.

Tour Dates

Aug 19 – Arctangent 2021, UK
Nov 6 – Damnation Festival 2021, Leeds UK

Headline Tour

18 Nov – The Anvil , Bournemouth, UK
19 Nov – Boston Music Rooms , London, UK
20 Nov – The Exchange, Bristol, UK
21 Nov – Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff, UK
22 Nov – The Chameleon, Nottingham, UK
23 Nov – Dead Wax, Birmingham, UK
24 Nov – The Underground, Stoke, UK
25 Nov – Mulberry Bar & Venue, Sheffield, UK
26 Nov – Ivory Blacks, Glasgow, UK
27 Nov – Opium, Edinburgh, UK
28 Nov – Breadshed, Manchester, UK

Boss Keloid: Bandcamp / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

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