2016’s immense Herb Your Enthusiasm was a landmark release for the band. It was, quite simply, such a good record. It featured merely as footnote on my end of year list for 2016, which is a real travesty, and if I did that list again it would be a different story. Such is the benefit of hindsight and having the time to really settle into and get to know a record, of course.
The first thing that strikes me about Melted on the Inch is its shortness when compared to its predecessor. Herb Your Enthusiasm was bursting at the seams with material, with 10 tracks across 59 minutes. This new album has a much more restrained 6 tracks, lasting just 41 minutes. As you would probably expect, however, this is a case of quality over quantity. But still, it does almost feel like half an album.
The second thing that strikes me, upon playing the first song Chronosiam, is the singer’s impressive and larger-than-life vocals. He sounds as great as ever. Having become accustomed to his voice on Herb Your Enthusiasm, I’d recognise him anywhere. Since getting into the band I’ve had the pleasure of catching them live too, and his voice sounds just as impressive and massive live.
The third thing that strikes me is how familiar these tracks feel, even on first listen. I don’t mean this in any bad way, either. The songs on this album have all of the hallmarks that made the band’s previous work so infectiously wonderful, and they’re fully on display for anyone to see right from the start. In some ways Boss Keloid have melted down Herb Your Enthusiasm, poured off the weaker, extraneous parts, and reformed it as Melted on the Inch; a concise, rich, and vibrant rendering of the band’s sound across a huge sonic soundscape that is bigger than you’d expect for 41 minutes.
However, it would also be a mistake to think that Boss Keloid are simply retreading old ground, as there are more than enough ideas, departures, and creative nuances on Melted on the Inch to allay any fears that the band are resting on their considerable laurels. The progressive aspects of the band’s music, for example, are further embedded into their sound, and frequently pulled forth into the limelight to great effect.
This is the sound of a band recognising what makes them great, and building on this to become even better. Herb Your Enthusiasm was an undeniably effective and enjoyable album, one that firmly put the band on the metal map. However, Melted on the Inch is the superior record in pretty much every way. Despite its shorter length, (or maybe because of it; there’s no room for any filler here at all), Boss Keloid have returned with a killer record that not only secures their position on the metal map, but demands they stay there for many years to come.
Essential. That is all.