Review: Boris – At Last: Feedbacker

Posted: November 29, 2013 in Reviews
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Spoiler alert: This is an old review. I am a MASSIVE Boris fan, ever since I first heard ‘Pink’ in 2005 and own pretty much all their records, even the hard to find ones and the vinyl only. I don’t buy much vinyl so that’ll tell you something. But this is from 2008, so I was only just beginning to fully understand how good they were.

Boris are one of these avantgarde bands from the Far East that like to push the limits of everything they do. Their sound changes with every album they make, from drone to fuzzed up stoner rock, noise to psychedelic weirdness. You really need to listen to them to try and understand their work. I recently got a hold of their 2003 ambient/noise/rock opus ‘Feedbacker’, a 43 minute single track split into 5 parts. The cover is Wata, female guitarist of the band, lying in a pool of what appears to be her own blood. An apt cover for an album that melds the savagery of noise and rock with the beauty of pure sound and experimentation. Somewhat of a listening endurance test, but not in a bad way, not at all. It’s more of an experience, a twisting collaboration of screeching feedback, fuzzy drone and all out rock.

Whatever you do, do not turn up the volume during the rippling drones that open the album. From nowhere it seems a wall of wailing guitar and thick distortion explodes over your senses, startling you completely from the peaceful, Earth like beginnings. It takes almost 23 minutes before the trademark howling of bassist/vocalist Takeshi begins, during a moment of rocking out that breaks up the noise. And there has always been that draw to Boris, they always seems to be able to effortlessly meld back into a good old rock out no matter how far from the musical template they have wandered. Guitarist Wata pulls out some of her most adventurous fret play on this album, licks of flame blaze all over the soundscape, sounding like fellow Japanese guitar virtuoso and collaborator Michio Kurihara.

And suddenly it ends, with a blast of white hot noise, squealing guitars, a thunder of drums and then the band are gone, and all that remains is the yawning chasm created by their efforts. The feedback spirals away, the visceral expression of Boris’ vision fades out and you’ve just experienced one of the more unique albums you’re ever likely to hear. Now put it on again and see what else you hear.


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