Archive for May, 2007

Boris and Friends

May 29, 2007


I’m going to start off by saying I normally hate metal. I can’t stand the machismo drenched theatrics, and as far as I’m concerned, most metal bands have abandoned all the psychedelic elements that went into Black Sabbath’s sound. And I’ve never liked math — so keep your 7/12 time signatures away from me. When I sit down with a record, I want to listen to music, not solve derivatives.

But then there’s Boris. Oh how I love Boris. Easily Japan’s most experimental metal band, Boris has gained a reputation for being the heaviest goddamn band you’re likely to ever hear. During the ’90s, I knew diehard metalheads that would willingly pay exorbitant shipping-and-handling costs for to get their hands on Boris records like Absolutego and Amplifier Worship that had yet to come out in the states. And it was money well spent. Like current labelmates/owners Sunn 0))), Boris understands that the best way for a metal band to be dramatic and theatric isn’t to wear lame Halloween masks and pilfer from Celtic mythology but rather by adding layers upon layers of noise and feedback into the mix.

On their latest record, Rainbow, Boris collaborates with Michio Kurihara, the guitar guru behind Ghost, Japan’s legendary psychedelic rockers. The collaboration is kind of a no-brainer. Both bands consistently release records that sound nothing like their last. And unlike their previous collarboation with Sunn 0))) for Altar, Rainbow actually sounds like a proper full-length, with, you know, actual songs (gasp!). Boris has relegated the drones and noise to the background of most tracks, leaving room for Kurihara’s buzz-saw riffage.

But what’s most surprising about the new Boris record is that it’s not a metal record at all. Unlike 2006’s Pink, which still loosely fit within the genre conventions of metal despite nods to Hendrix and punk rock, Rainbow is lacking in the metal department. In fact, Rainbow rarely rocks. Tracks like “Rafflesia” and “My Rain” sound like forgotten tracks to the Friday Night Lights Soundtrack, and “You Laughed Like A Water Mark” locks in and sticks with a no-frills, down-tempo groove and stays there for the rest of the track. It’s a welcome change of pace for the band that shows that without all the feedback and overdrive, Boris still knows what they’re doing.

Boris with Michio Kurihara — “Sweet No 1” off Rainbow

Ghost — “Guru in the Echo” off Ghost