Three years after their promising but kind of underwhelming debut, the Spanish post-hardcore trio Boneflower returns with their sophomore effort A(r)mour.
Right off the bat, it’s apparent that the band has dropped two of the things that broke their debut Empty Rooms, Full Bodies for me, the quick semi-spoken vocal delivery in the vein of The Listener and the kind of anemic production. Instead, they have settled on a much fuller, even slightly distorted sound and on playing emotional and epic melodic hardcore with noticeable screamo influences. The last come mostly in the form of kind of surprising skramz passages. These passages give loads of dynamic to the songs and often change their directions to a super interesting new route. That’s super obvious on the opener “Saltpeter” where the screamo parts sound like shock out of nowhere. Like from some alternate dimension. It’s pretty cool.
A kind of similar natural hopping between genres is done in “Starless.” The track starts off with a black metal tremolo riff and infernal shrieks and changes a thousand times before it comes back from where it started, to black metal. It’s a pretty interesting tactic, especially towards the end when the song gets calmer and quieter before making the full circle to high-octane riffing.
Most of the songs on A(r)mour are also super catchy and hummable, both due to the simple, yet gripping guitar melodies and memorable vocals. Speaking of the latter, they come in all varieties and sizes. Some parts are spoken, others, screamed, whereas third, sung cleanly in a manner that’s super reminiscent of 90s emo and maybe just a tad of skate punk (“Polarity”)? This last thing is where A(r)mour kind of confuses me. I usually don’t like this type of vocals and find them overly cheesy but for some reason, they work so well here that even made me hum them a time or two…
A(r)mour isn’t an onslaught all the time, though. Every few songs, the band steps back with short moody instrumental interludes. They work both as something like a way for the trio to take a breath and as chapter breaks that help us differentiate the different parts of the album. It’s not like A(r)mor is a concept album or anything like that. But it’s not that its songs are completely disconnected from one another. Instead, it’s more like the songs separated by interludes are emotionally and tonally connected to each other. That’s a pretty cool thing and makes for an engaging listen.
A(r)mour is a great record and I for one am super excited to see what they’re going to do next.