One of the obvious benefits about doing music reviews is finding awesome new bands to listen to. I also very much enjoy the opportunity to tell SDP readers about them. Having said this, I’m more than stoked to be writing about Bossfight and their forthcoming self-titled 7”! I first learned about this three piece punk rock powerhouse after seeing a video that was posted on Facebook by one of the members of the platinum-selling and Grammy-award-nominated band P.O.D.. The video consisted of live footage of Bossfight playing at The Tower Bar. Impressed by what I saw, I made the extra effort to look into the band further. After hearing some of the recorded tracks, I was like a fish staring at a shiny hook.
A definite local affair, the band has put roots down in San Diego and the recordings feature production help from P.O.D’s Marcos Curiel, engineering assistance from Steve Russell (Stealth Recording), and although not a live member of the band, studio drum tracks by Ernie Longoria from Sprung Monkey. The current band line up consists of Brian Gilstrap on lead vocals/bass, Dave Settimi on guitar/backing vocals, and Paul Davis on Drums. Lucky to get a digital copy well in advance, the 7” is not scheduled for release until June 25th, 2016. It is my understanding that it will be a limited pressing accompanied by a Bossfight comic book… which I find to be a unique and refreshing add-on. While there are plenty of reasons to take notice of this band, the only one that truly matters can be found in the strength of their music.
The 7” will feature three songs, all of which demonstrate a high degree of craftsmanship. When considering the vocals, comparisons that come to mind are few and far between… maybe Zoli Teglas? This isn’t a spot on match tonally, but more so stylistically. There is an underlying resolute/old school rock/earlier metal influence that Brian Gilstrap aka: “Gilly” shares. It’s as if he comes from a different time when a higher value was placed on singing ability and technique. These types of voices simply don’t come along very often in punk music, but I sure do appreciate them. As Gilly belts it out with authority, it’s hard to ignore the guitar work. Dave Settimi unloads a wide array of 6-string techniques. He never settles on a basic power chord go around. The progressions are colored up in a variety of ways and Dave has a very keen sense of when to pull back or open up dynamically as it suits the song. This consideration for the musical landscape also leaves room for the bass to pop through. Said another way, the band carves out a nice space for all of the instrumental elements which yields a very polished overall sound. Not surprisingly, given the more advanced playing, the tracks also include tasteful solos and well placed overdubs. With all of the technical riffing, the overall sense of flow never stops. In fact, all three tracks are like a horse galloping straight to the finish line before a victory lap to follow. This is in part due to some seriously solid drum tracks! You are probably already familiar with Ernie’s work in Sprung Monkey, but if you aren’t, just know that this dude is easily one of the best drummers in San Diego. As I mentioned before, Paul Davis is manning the kit for Bossfight at the present and based on the bit I saw, he’s serving as very adequate member for the live component.
Hopefully Bossfight is gearing up to play more shows to support the upcoming release because I’d certainly like to see this group at some point. Likewise, sign me up for a copy of the 7” and that comic book because this band rocks! The San Diego Punk community is fortunate to have as many great bands as it does, but we are by no means over-saturated. Please make room for one more and put the men from Bossfight on your radar!
4.25 out of 5 SDP Skullz
Album: Self-titled 7”
Release Date: June 25th, 2016
Reviewed by Todd Dulawan