Boris


(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )

Absolutego (1996), 7/10
Amplifier Worship (1998), 6.5/10
Flood (2001), 6/10
Megatone (2002), 6/10
Heavy Rocks (2002), 6/10
At Last - Feedbacker (2004), 7/10
Mabuta No Ura (2005), 6/10
Pink (2005), 6.5/10
Dronevil Final (2005), 6/10
Rock Dream (2007), 6/10
Smile (2008), 5.5/10
New Album (2011), 6/10
Attention Please (2011), 5/10
Heavy Rocks (2011), 5/10
Links:

Boris is a band of Japanese heavy rockers in the vein of Melvins . They debuted with Absolutego (Fangs Anal Satan, 1996 - Southern Lord, 2004), which contains one 65-minute piece of lengthy, obscure and extremely dense drones, a close relative of Sleep, straddling the line between psychedelic rock and heavy metal.

After the split album Boris/Barebones (Fangs Anal Satan, 1997) and Black - Implication Flooding (Inoxia, 1998), a collaboration with Keiji Haino (on guitar, vocals, "wave drum", "electronic sruthibox", "ethnic oboe"), they released another terrifying monolith, Amplifier Worship (Mangrove, 1998 - Southern Lord, 2003), grounded in heavy grooves and wah-wah distortion. A colossal slow riff permeates Huge. The pace is funereal in Ganbou-ki, a 15-minute agony marked by screams a` la Scratch Acid's David Yow, that rapidly descends into an infernal bacchanal of tribal drumming. The 17-minute monolith Vomitself is a quintessential demonstration of Boris' art of turning riffs into drones at very high volume. However, Boris are not only about magniloquent tidal waves of riffs. Hama is derailed by a lengthy intermezzo of droning guitar and syncopated drumming. After three minutes of violence, the 14-minute Kuruimizu decays into a sparse soundscape of gentle hypnotic strumming.

Two long Boris tracks also appear on the split album with Choukoku no Niwa More Echoes Touching Air Landscape (Inoxia, 1999).

The semi-acoustic Flood (MIDI Creative, 2001), a 70-minute piece, was almost new-age music for their standards.

With Heavy Rocks (Fangs Anal Satan, 2002) they mostly abandoned the Melvins' super-doom metal (Heavy Friends is the notable exception) and embraced "stoner rock" (Soft Edge, Death Valley) with many references to American garage-rock of the 1960s (1970, Korosu, Dyna-Soar, Rattlesnake).

Megatone (Inoxia, 2002) is a doom/ambient collaboration with Merzbow's Masami Akita, and one of their most intimidating works.

The six song mini-album Akuma No Uta (DIW Phalanx, 2003) features the ebullient title-track.

At Last - Feedbacker (DIW Phalanx, 2004 - Conspiracy, 2005) is a five-movement symphony that oscillates from dark to gentle to manic to ethereal. The focus is now more on texture than on heaviness. The first movement is a slowly mutating distorted guitar drone that creates a sense of suspense and primal fear. However, it ends with a slow "twang" that is eerily reminiscent of Ennio Morricone. The second movement is a lulling shuffle that slowly evolves into a melodic guitar-driven hymn in the vein of latter-period Pink Floyd. The third movement harkens back to the acid blues-jazz-rock fusion of Jimi Hendrix's jams, albeit more dilated. The fourth movement is pure rhythm-less abstract dissonant soundsculpting, swelling to a cosmic eruption of guitar noise and then decaying into a distant buzzing meteor. The drums return to beat a danceable rhythm in the brief fifth movement, that concludes the psychological journey with basically a sigh of relief.

The three EPs The Thing Which Solomon Overlooked Vol 1-3 (Kult Of Nihilow, 2004-06) and single A Bao A Qu (SuperFi, 2005) offered more soothing droning dirges.

The movie soundtrack Mabuta No Ura (Catune, 2005) is Boris' lightest offering yet. With the exception of a reprise of the single A Bao A Qu, the tracks are relatively harmless sonic meditations that exude a sense of peace rather than the usual stench of hell.

Pink (DIWPhalanx, 2005 - Southern Lord, 2006) sounds like their garage-rock album, rough and hysterical where previous ones were monster tidal waves of dark sound. Most of the pieces are (unusually) concise and focused, and ranging over a broad spectrum of styles: Farewell is an acid chant climbing a massive wall of distorted sound, but Pink stutters like a punk-rock rant, and Afterburner pays tribute to Jimi Hendrix, while Nothing Special (the most ferocious song on the album) is quintessential feverish garage-rock. Woman On The Screen and Electric are (short) rock'n'roll numbers at lightning speed. Blackout is a suspenseful instrumental for martial drums, howling guitar and panzer bass. It may not be their most powerful work, but it certainly stands out for variety, although it may also be viewed as a confused heap of unfinished ideas. The ten-minute maelstrom Just Abandoned My-Self tries to up the ante but doesn't quite coalesce.

Sun Baked Snow Cave (Hydra Head, 2005) is a collaboration with Merzbow, that repeats the monolith of fear that was Megatone. 04092001 (Inoxia, 2005) is another collaboration between the two, but the sound is much more lively, a sort of psychedelic freak-out. Walrus / Groon (Hydra Head, 2007) is the fourth collaboration with Merzbow.

The double-CD Dronevil Final (Misanthropic Agenda, 2005 - Inoxia, 2006) consists of two discs that are supposed to be played simultaneously on two systems. One is the soft, ambient droning version of Boris' sound, and the other one is the loud stoned, doom-laden version of Boris's sound. The latter wins thanks to the 21-minute Red. The combination of the two will be heard only by the band's producer. If the album had been released as just one mixed CD, it would probably have been an impressive achievement, as the music of the first one (rather thin in itself) and the music of the second one (rather obnoxious in itself) would probably make for an impressive case of post-industrial counterpoint.

Rainbow (Pedal, 2006 - Inoxia, 2008) is a collaboration with Ghost's guitarist Michio Kurihara, another venture into milder, melodic territories that seems to be the conceptual negation of Boris' career.

Contrary to their established praxis, The 36-minute picture disc Vein (2006) featured a few songs that were miniatures of punk-rock and speed-metal.

Altar (Inoxia, 2006) is a collaboration between Boris and Sunn O))), more notable for the artwork than for the music. The collaboration involves other musicians as well: Jesse Sykes sings in the paradisiac Sinking Belle, Kim Thayil of Soundgarden plays guitar in the colossal Blood Swamp, Joe Preston of Melvins sings in Akuma No Kuma.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da Marco Degli Esposti)

I Boris sono una band di Heavy Rockers giapponesi che traggono ispirazione dai Melvins. Debuttano con Absolutego (FANGS ANAL SATAN, 1996 – Southern Lord, 2004), che contiene un’unica traccia di 65 minuti, oscura e densa di drones, un po’ come fecero gli Sleep, a cavallo tra il rock psichedelico e l’heavy metal.

Dopo lo split Boris/Barebones ( FANGS ANAL SATAN, 1997) e Black implication Flooding (Inoxia, 1998), una collaborazione con Keiji Haino (alle chitarre, alla voce, alla "wave drum", all’ electronic sruthibox e all’"ethnic oboe") i Boris escono con Amplifier Worship un altro immenso colosso (Mangrove 1998, Southern Lord 2003) fondato su grooves pesantissimi e distorsioni cariche di wah wah.

Due tracce dei Boris compaiono sullo split con Choukoku no Niwa, More Echoes Touching Air Landscape (INOXIA, 1999).

Il semiacustico Flood (MIDI Creative, 2001) è una traccia unica di 70 minuti, forse troppo New Age per i loro standard.

Con Heavy Rocks (FANGS ANAL SATAN, 2002) abbandonano in parte quell super- doom metal alla Melvins (con heavy friends come unica eccezione) in favore di un avvicinamento allo "Stoner Rock" (Soft Edge, Death Valley) con molti riferimenti al garage rock Americano dei ’60.

Megatone (INOXIO, 2002) è una collaborazione Doom/Ambient con Merzbow (aka Masami Akita), e anche uno dei loro lavori più intimidatori.

Il mini album da sei tracce Akuma no Uta (DIW PHALANX, 2003) contiene un’effervescente title-track.

At Last – Feedbacker (DIW PHANALAX, 2004 – Conspiracy 2005) è una sinfonia suddivisa in cinque movimenti che oscilla fra il dark, il moderato, fra il maniacale e l’etereo. L’escursione interiore viene evocata da delle movenze strumentali estreme. L’attenzione è rivolta soprattutto alla trama piuttosto che all’atmosfera.

I tre Ep The Thing Which Solomon Overlooked Vol 1-3 (Kult of Nihilow, 2004-06) e il singolo A Bao A Qu(Super fi, 2005) offrono degli inni in drone molto più quieti.

La colonna sonora Mabuta No Ura (Catune, 2005) è l’opera più luminosa dei Boris. Con l’eccezione della ripresa del singolo A Bao A Qu, le tracce sono innocue meditazioni soniche che trasudano un senso di pace e calma piuttosto che il solito sapore infernale.

Pink (DIW PHANALAX, 2005 – Southern Lord, 2006) è il loro album Garage Rock per eccellenza. Ruvido ed isterico laddove i precedenti lavori erano inondati di sonorità dark. Molti dei brani sono (insolitamente) brevi e concentrati, e oscillano su un ampio spettro di stili. Ad ogni modo la traccia da 18 minuti Just Abandoned My Self (metà della quale di puro feedback) è uno dei pezzi più emozionanti.

Sun Baked Snow Cave (Hydra head, 2005) è una collaborazione con Merzbow, che riprende il terrificante e monolitico Megatone. 04092001 (INOXIA, 2005) è un’altra collaborazione tra i due, ma il suono questa volta risulta essere molto più vivace, come una sorta di freak-out psichedelico.

Warlus/Groon è la quarta collaborazione con Merzbow.

Il doppio cd Dronevil Final (Misanthropic Agenda, 2005 – INOXIA, 2006) consiste in due dischi da riprodurre simultaneamente su due apparecchi distinti. Uno rappresenta l’anima più soft e ambient del sound dei Boris, mentre l’altro quella più rumorista e in chiave stoner-doom. La seconda ottiene più consensi grazie a una Red da 21 minuti. La combinazione delle due verrà sentita solo dal produttore della band. Se il tutto fosse stato sviluppato su un unico disco, sarebbe probabilmente stato un’imponente opera di Post-Industrial, a causa del troppo scarno sound del primo e della a volte sgradevole consistenza del secondo.

Rainbow (Pedal, 2006) è una collaborazione col chitarrista dei Ghost, Michio Kurihara. Si tratta di una nuova avventura in territori melodici e tenui che si presenta come la negazione concettuale della carriera dei Boris.

Altar (INOXIA, 2006) è una collaborazione tra Boris e Sunn O))), da tener d’occhio forse più per l’artwork che per la musica in sè. Nella collaborazione appaiono altri musicisti quali: Jesse Sykes che canta nella paradisiaca Sinking Belle,l’ex Soundgarden Kim Thayl suona la chitarra nella colossale Blood Swamp, mentre Joe Preston dei Melvins canta invece in Akuma no Kuma.

The double-disc Rock Dream (Southern Lord, 2007) was another collaboration with Merzbow that revisited some of Boris' classics, starting with a 35-minute version of Feedbacker.

Smile (DIWPhalanx, 2008) contained a new version of the old single Message/ Statement. The US version, Smile (Southern Lord, 2008), is vastly inferior.

Golden Dance Classics (Catune, 2009) is a split album between Boris and 9DW devoted to (!) disco-pop music.

Cloud Chamber (Pedal, 2009) is another collaboration with Ghost's guitarist Michio Kurihara, more ambitious than the previous one.

New Album (2011), of which two different versions came out in Japan and in the USA, continued the trend towards poppier material. Several of its songs were reworked for the next two albums.

Hence Attention Please (2011) sounded like their most pop-oriented album yet, not only fully sung by female guitarist Wata (a first), but also harking back to noise-rock of the 1980s and shoegaze psychedelia of the 1990s (Hope and Spoon). At worst, these sound like synth-pop with little synth in Party Boy. At best, the neurotic Tokyo Wonderland and Attention Please sound menacing enough, but are too little to redeem such a wimpy collection.

Hence Heavy Rocks (2011), not a reissue of the 2002 album and with male guitarist Takeshi back on vocals as usual, sounds like a bastard child of their glorious sound. The single Riot Sugar works as a diligent promo for their whole career. The album has a peak of predictable intensity, namely the 13-minute wall of distortion Aileron, and a peak of surprising confusion, namely the 12-minute power-ballad Missing Pieces. Neither would have made it to the final cut of any of their best albums.

Boris & Ian Astbury (Southern Lord, 2010), credited to BXI, was a collaboration with the Cult's vocalist Ian Astbury.

Boris has released a ridiculous amount of music, mostly of embarrassing low quality: Attention Please (Daymare, 2011), New Album (Tearbridge, 2011), Heavy Rocks (Daymare, 2011), Praparat Daymare, 2013), Noise Daymare, 2014), Warpath (2015), Asia (2015), Urban Dance (2015), the double-disc Crossing Waltz (2016), etc.

Gensho (Relapse, 2016) is a collaboration (or, better, a split) between Boris and Merzbow. Boris' main contribution is the lugubrious zen agony of Akuma No Uta.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx)

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