Posts Tagged ‘Boris’

Having had a good long conversation with my good friend Teo of Italian black metallers Chiral about the merits of my favourite band, Boris, I’ve decided that this week’s Killchain Hour at Live Funeral Radio is my pick of the Japanese noise monsters’ best tracks. My difficulty is that I’m only allowed an hour, so that takes out their magnum opus debut ‘Absolutego’, which clocks in at one song, one hour and two minutes. Shame. Boris were the first band that really made me understand that music is more than just catchy melodies or riffs. Music is, at its core, the manipulation of sound.’Absolutego’ blew my mind the first time I heard it. Most of it is wailing feedback and distorted riffs that move at a snail’s pace. But it is inherently music, taken to extremes of sound.

Their yoyo-ing between experimental lower case boris, who specialise in howling drone doom and sludgy noise, and capital letters BORIS, who are all about raging stoner rock groove, has always kept them interesting and relevant. A new Boris record is never going to be what you expect. And that’s one of their most important features.

Anyhoo, enjoy the riffs!

1. Farewell (from ‘Pink’)
2. Heavy Metal Addict (from ‘Japanese Heavy Rock Hits Vol.2’)
3. Heavy Friends (from ‘Heavy Rocks’)
4. Rafflesia (feat. Michio Kurihara) (from ‘Rainbow’)
5. The Evil One Which Sobs (from ‘Dronevil Disc 2’)
6. Ibitsu (from ‘Akuma No Uta’)
7. Pink (from ‘Pink’)
8. Feedbacker (Part 3) (from ‘At Last: Feedbacker’)
9. Statement (from ‘Smile’)

Listen here: 10pm GMT, Tuesday nights


I’m fitting in a bit less here than my previous black metal list, simply because there hasn’t been as many great doom records (that I’ve heard this year at least) in 2014 as I’d hoped. I write a bit for Sleeping Shaman and my choices for reviews have been a bit uninspiring in the past few months. No fault of Lee who runs it, but it just seems that the whole doom/stoner scene is spinning its wheels in the sand and not going anywhere. However, there have been some seriously good records in the genre so I managed a list:

10: Grand Magus – Triumph and Power: These guys never fail to write a brilliant doom record, every time. They have riffs hewn from stone and anthems of steel and blood. Wonderful

9. Mastodon – Once More ‘Round the Sun: A stunning comeback from the somewhat lackluster ‘The Hunter’, Mastodon have written yet another prog-doom-rock masterpiece. As anthemic and complex as anything they’ve written before

8. EyeHateGod – EyeHateGod: I shouldn’t have to explain this, so I won’t. Sludge gods do it again

7. Electric Wizard – Time to Die: Less immediate than ‘Black Masses’ but every bit as malevolent and grindingly heavy. Brilliant

6. Inter Arma – The Cavern: I called this the new Mastodon when I reviewed it earlier in the year and I stand by it. Twisting, heavy and beautiful

5. Kuolemanlaakso – Tulijoutsen: Finnish death/doom majesty from the voice of Swallow the Sun. Stunningly heavy

4. Pallbearer – Foundation of Burden: Achingly heavy and poignant, a true heir to Cathedral’s throne

3. Nux Vomica – Nux Vomica: A draining, Cult of Luna meets Discharge monster of sludge, doom and crust punk violence. Monstrous

2. Boris – Noise: Not technically doom on this release, but my favourite shape shifting Japanese band have pulled out another classic album

1. Mount Salem – Endless: I called this months ago, and I’m still right: ‘Endless’ is still my favourite doom record of the year. It mixes classic Pentagram riffs with the powerful, mournful voice of Emily Koplin to staggering effect. I’ve listened to this I don’t know how many times this year, and I’m still not sick of it!

Special mention go to Pilgrim’s ‘II: Void Worship’, Ides of Gemini ‘Old World/New Wave’ and Godhunter’s ‘City of Dust’. You guys were close but not quite. I recommend you check out everything here, as they are all awesome!

I’m getting a holiday next week for the first time in, um, 2 years. Fuck, that long? Urgh. Anyway, my wonderful lady and I are jetting off to the least kvlt place I can think of; Menorca. Quiet, Mediterranean weather and hopefully some quality beer and relaxation time. But, a man has got to have a playlist to crank when he needs a riff. So I’ve made my ultimate SUN playlist. Hint, all the songs have Sun in the title. Yeah, it’s three a.m, cut me some slack.

1. Soundgarden – Black Hole Sun

2. Wintersun – Beyond the Dark Sun

3. Suffocation – Despise the Sun

4. Electric Wizard – The Sun Has Turned to Black

5. Boris – Flower Sun Rain

6. Nightrage – The Glow of the Setting Sun

7. Animals – House of the Rising Sun

8. Nightwish – Sleeping Sun

9. My Dying Bride – Like Gods of the Sun

10. Devin Townsend – Sunshine and Happiness

11. Dio – Sunset Superman

12. Windhand – Winter Sun

I may have mentioned before that I. FUCKING. LOVE. BORIS. Boris are Japan’s great shapeshifters, they lurch from epic drone and crushing doom to stoner rock to ambient noise weirdness to J-pop with little care for what sticklers for genre types think. I first got into Boris through their rock opus ‘Pink’ in 2005. That title track man, what a fucking rock tune that is. It’s one of my all time favourite records, and opens with one of my all time favourite songs of any genre ever, ‘Farewell’. ‘Farewell’ is an epic piece of post metal beauty; staggeringly fragile yet powerfully heavy. I will never get tired of that song, it is movingly, achingly perfect.

They also have a history of collaboration, with US drone terrorists Sunn0))) (the staggering ‘Altar’), Japanese guitar virtuoso Michio Kurihara (‘Cloud Chamber’ and the volcanic ‘Rainbow’) and Japanese noise artist Merzbow (most famously on ‘Rock Dream’). Their work with Kurihara particularly is electric, bringing extra psychedelica into the music. Boris debuted with 1996’s ‘Absolutego’, a one hour plus drone track that taught me a true appreciation of music as sound, rather than as music. It was a pivotal moment for my tastes in general; lying in bed a bit pissed and letting that record expand my brain.

Three records that are essential: 2005’s ‘Pink’, 1998’s ‘Amplifier Worship’ and the classic ‘Feedbacker’ from 2003. Other highlights from their discography include the skull caving debut ‘Absolutego’, the heavy rocking ‘Heavy Rocks’ from 2002 and their ‘Soundtrack from Film Mabuta No Ura’, a soundtrack written to a film that doesn’t exist. Of their collaborative efforts, ‘Rainbow’ with Michio Kurihara and ‘Altar’ with Sunn0))) are of particular note.

Turn on, turn up and melt

I’ve read a few of these lists already in the last month or so, and even though I am now perpetuating the idea (how long before we do ‘best of so far’ lists every month?), I think it is still viable as a point of interest. 2014 has been a pretty damn fine year for extreme music already, and we’ve just reached August. Now, advance warning here, I am NOT including any of this year’s record which I haven’t heard yet. So, as good as the new Wolves in the Throne Room record is supposed to be, as I haven’t heard it yet I will not pass judgement. It’s inappropriate, and unfair. No doubt it will appear in my ‘year-end’ list if its as good as I’ve read. Any way, top 10.

10: Origin – Omnipresent: I only heard this for the first time last night, and I’ve already ripped it twice since. Origin do tech death with astonishing violence and masterful dynamics. It’s a vicious, sleek death metal record that will flay skin from bone.

9: Obituary – Inked in Blood: Now, I am lucky enough to be reviewing this for my good friends at Sleeping Shaman, and so I’ll keep the details to myself but nonetheless it is top 10 material, no doubt.

8: Killer Be Killed – S/T: This is a definite highlight for me, a supergroup that matches it’s potential astoundingly. First track ‘Wings of Feather and Wax’ starts almost every playlist of mine at the moment

7: Arch Enemy – War Eternal: Arch Enemy release a new album after losing their most iconic weapon in Angela Gossow. Thankfully, Alyssa Gluz-Whyte is more than up to the task and this is a new melodic death metal classic

6: Vader – Tibi Et Iti: Polish death metal legends create yet another ripping, tearing death metal album full of death and metal. Well, it’s never gonna be anything else is it? Brutal

5: Mastodon – Once More Round the Sun: Mastodon may never equal ‘Crack the Skye’ but ‘Once More Round the Sun’ is the progressive coupling of grace, crushing riffs and catchy ass songs. Love it

4: Mount Salem – Endless: A surprising album for me, a debut of a female fronted doom band that has captured my imagination. Vocals are lush, riffs are huge and the whole air of the occult makes the complete package.

3: Triptykon – Melana Chasmata: Tom G. Warrior’s mesmerising journey into the darkness is awe inspiring at every turn. No one should have been able to better ‘Eparistera Daimones’, but he did

2: Boris – Noise: A band that can rarely do wrong, and rarely fits any kind of genre or structure. Boris ARE my favourite band, and ‘Noise’ is an elegant record that takes all their myriad sounds and condenses them into one beautiful whole.

1: Behemoth – The Satanist: What more can be said? For Nergal to return from leukemia to music is miracle enough. To create one of metal’s most defining records in the 21st century is even more staggering. Dripping with evil, twisting black metal in new and malevolent ways and leading the armies of darkness into the light, ‘The Satanist’ will take some beating this year.


But we still have new Electric Wizard to come…

Ten records that you must hear from 2013? TEN! Are you fucking kidding me…? There’s nothing like putting out what you feel is a definitive statement of your most memorable albums from the past year, then afterwards realising what a total cock you’ve been by forgetting some. I can’t do ten, I need to express more! So I’ve decided to put together a more comprehensive list, along with a one line reason why for each. These are in no particular order, but all are must hears:

Deafheaven – Sunbather (These guys carry on the legacy of Wolves in the Throne Room with epic black metal)

In Solitude – Sister (Heavy Metal hasn’t sounded this essential in years)

Watain – The Wild Hunt (A culmination of everything they’ve done right until now, writhing in black metal attitude)

Clutch – Earth Rocker (Because its fucking Clutch, that’s why)

Suffocation – Pinnacle of Bedlam (Brutally precise, hugely influential, Suffocation show everybody once again how it is done)

Carcass – Surgical Steel (The perfect comeback album, savage, relentless, essential)

Rivers of Nihil – The Conscious Seed of Light (A startling entry of vicious tech death, brilliantly composed and executed)

Gorguts – Colored Sands (Mind bogglingly complex death metal, a record full of things that no-one else will do anywhere else. Flawless)

Sodom – Epitome of Torture (The old guard show that they still can thrash better than everyone else. Teutonic, titanic, triumphant)

Ihsahn – Das Seelenbrechen (You don’t need to say anything about this man’s work, you simply need to hear it. Astonishing)

Autopsy – The Headless Ritual (Yet another great, no frills death metal rampage from these sick bastards)

Chthonic – Bu Tik (Taiwan’s finest return with yet another symphonic black metal masterpiece)

Fleshgod Apocalypse – Labyrinth (The new darlings of death metal combine their finest elements to create something beyond special)

Intronaut – Habitual Levitations (Not since Mastodon and Kylesa’s beginnings have a band captured the sludge/doom sound so vividly)

Altar of Plagues – Teethed Glory and Injury (The must hear end of a must hear career. Heart stoppingly poignant)

Amon Amarth – Deceiver of the Gods (The Norsemen bring the melodies, the heavy, and the fist pumping Viking anthems)

Portal – Vexovoid (Simply put, this band make music that you cannot hear anywhere else)

Ghost BC – Infestissumam (Occult rock at its catchiest, most sinister and most mainstream)

Boris – Praparat (The Japanese shapeshifters move onwards and upwards, experimenting boldly and brilliantly)

Black Sabbath – 13 (The world waited with baited breath, and Ozzy and his crew gave them everything they could have wanted)

Kylesa – Ultraviolet (The sounds of one of my favourite bands moving beyond ‘Spiral Shadow’ into their own, comfortable sound. Great)

That is my current list, but I’ll no doubt remember another 10 later on. There have been so many new and great bands appearing this year that I haven’t mentioned, because I could probably just write and write about all the records I’ve enjoyed this year. But the ones above are the ones I have come back to the most, and therefore I feel to be the best representation of my 2013

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.