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Music / Bosse-de-Nage

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Hailing from San Francisco, California, Bosse-de-Nage is a black metal outfit that has enjoyed relative obscurity pretty much since their first set of demos from 2006, with each member formally being known only by the the first letter of their first names. The band's members have been shy of giving interviews and having a social media presence beyond the odd post from time to time. While nothing new in the black metal scene, it has helped to keep the band focused on what matters most to them: putting out thought-provoking, frantic blackened shoegaze with post-rock, post-hardcore, and even screamo influences.

Their name comes from that of a character from a book written by French symbolist Alfred Jarry, titled The Exploits and Opinions of Dr. Faustroll, Pataphysician. The character in question is a monkey; later in the novel, the narrator wonders whether the monkey ever even existed, or if it was merely a hallucination. The lyricism is a major element of their material, which is inspired mostly by surrealist works, including those of the aforementioned French author, and even Franz Kafka. Topics explored in their songs include human depravity, insanity, sex, death, filth, and bodies. A recurring character named Marie has been the subject of several tracks, functioning as an exploration of almost all of the above topics.


The band has released five albums so far, starting with a self-titled LP in 2010, released on the small label The Flenser. Each year after that, they've released albums II and III respectively. They've also released a split album with blackgaze stalwarts Deafheaven in 2012, entitled simply "deafheaven/Bosse-de-Nage"; Bosse-de-Nage contributed an original track entitled "A Mimesis of Purpose." (People familiar with Deafheaven should be aware that Bosse-de-Nage's music is significantly darker.) In 2015 they returned with All Fours, opening with a track featuring the previously mentioned character Marie. After another three years, the band released their latest album Further Still, in which they have explored more sonic avenues to expand their sound.

A book by the vocalist, known as B. (full name "Bryan Manning", no known relation to Peyton Manning), is currently in the works. You can read an excerpt of said book here: [1]


Tropes associated with the band:

  • Album Title Drop: Literally the final words of Further Still are the album title. All Fours is dropped pretty early on.
  • Audio Adaptation: Songs on their first album mostly have lyrics taken from French literature. The first two songs are excerpted from Georges Bataille's The Dead Man; "Excerpt from the 5th Canto" is from Les Chants de Maldoror by the Comte de Lautréamont (tr. Alexis Lykiard), and both "Excerpt from Paris Spleen" songs are Exactly What It Says on the Tin for Charles Baudelaire's work of the same name. The other two songs from the album have original lyrics, but vocalist/lyricist Bryan Manning is dissatisfied with their quality and has not released them.
  • Barefoot Suicide: At the beginning of An Ideal Ledge, the closing track for III, the narrator notes that his bare feet can't even lay flat on the ledge on which he stands. The song is clearly about said narrator deciding on jumping from said ledge.
  • Black Metal: Considered a major element of their sound.
  • Body Horror: Quite a few of their lyrics have this.
  • Boléro Effect: As they are heavily influenced by Post-Rock, this is a major trait of their music.
  • Breakout Character: Marie. She's been the subject of multiple tracks, always described by a narrator who may or may not be her lover/suitor.
  • Careful with That Axe: Tends to appear from time to time. A recent example is at the close of the opening track for "Further Still", with B. screaming into the mic more aggressively than usual.
  • Darker and Edgier: Than the vast majority of post-black metal, especially their friends in Deafheaven.
  • Epic Rocking: Probably more songs than not. The longest songs are "The Death Posture" (9:21), "Why Am I So Lovely? Because My Master Washes Me" (11:14), "The God Ennui" (10:19), "An Ideal Ledge" (9:20), "A Mimesis of Purpose" (9:04), "Washerwoman" (9:22), and "The Most Modern Staircase" (9:48).
  • Expy: Marie has a lot in common with Simone from Georges Bataille's Story of the Eye, as the absurdly hedonistic and willfully disgusting consort of a nameless male narrator. No coincidence, since the first two songs in which she appears are direct adaptations of passages from Bataille's The Dead Man, though the songs on the second and fourth albums in which she re-appears are original lyrics by B. that are heavily inspired by Bataille.
  • Harsh Vocals: B. sings in an abrasive, raspy howl most of the time.
  • The Hedonist: Every time she appears, Marie is engaged in some type of horribly depraved sexual act, usually involving scat, urine, zoophilia, or all of the above.
  • Homage: "Washerwoman", both in its title and composition, seems to be one to "Washer" by Slint.
  • Indecipherable Lyrics: To be expected with Black Metal. The first album is particularly noted for this since the lyrics haven't been published.
  • Lead Drummer: Harry Cantwell's frenetic percussion is one of this band's most acclaimed features.
  • Loudness War: Fairly par for the course with modern metal, unfortunately.
  • Mind Screw: Oh boy, where to start with the lyrics...:
    • "Why Am I So Lovely? Because My Master Washes Me." Just read the lyrics. The title has no bearing on the subject matter whatsoever.
    • "Perceive There a Silence", from their album III, appears to deal with perversion, and the subject bending their bodies in impossible ways.
    • "Cells", also from III, explores the concept of one achieving a sort of metaphysical state while imprisoned.
  • Musical Pastiche: Several songs, most popularly "The God Ennui" and "Washerwoman", are noted for their heavy Slint influence, what with the steadily building volumes and lengthy spoken-word passages. If you cut out the metal portions, unsuspecting listeners might guess they were Spiderland outtakes.
  • Non-Appearing Title: Quite a few of the earlier songs, though their tendency to use this trope has decreased with time.
  • Post-Rock: More noticeable on their second through fourth albums, though it's still there on Further Still.
  • Postmodernism: Often the narrators seem to be aware of the tropes that they're participating in. Not that it stops them.
  • Self-Titled Album: The debut.
  • Spoken Word in Music: If the vocals aren't screamed, they will probably be examples of this instead. This is likely due to the Slint influence mentioned under Musical Pastiche. Even when the vocals are screamed, the lyrics themselves are usually written in prose anyway.
  • Surreal Horror: Up to half their lyrics, probably.
  • Title by Number: The second through fourth albums, though the fourth plays with it by using a common English phrase that contains the number four. Dropped entirely with Further Still.
  • Word Salad Title: The band's name itself, despite being a Literary Allusion Title, is also a case of this. It apparently translates as something along the lines of "Bump-swimming".