Tuesday, 29 July 2014
Record Label: Sargent House
Release Date: 16th June 2014
Heavyweight Japanese legends deliver much of the euphoria, epicness and power we've come to expect on their 19th album
It doesn't always sound like a compliment when bands have been around for so long that they are now (albeit with tongues firmly placed in cheeks) referred to as "institutions", but in the case of Boris to refer to them as such could only be complimentary. Having crafted themselves the legacy of being one of the most artistic and ongoing forces in Metal and experimentalism, their cross-boundary appeal and supposed inability to stop making music has been largely a blessing to anyone who cares to concern themselves with it.
So not only can Boris be positively deemed an "institution" due to their sheer righteousness, but also because with the arrival of 'Noise' they're now 19 albums into their career; a life span that not even Microsoft probably dreamt of achieving at its conception.
One of the most mesmerising things about Boris has always been their ability to churn out new sonic pastures that neither they (nor often anyone else) have travelled before. 'Noise' is perhaps the most conventional release Boris have put forward in years, but this, of itself, is not really anything to be concerned about. Whereas before a "conventional" Boris album (was there even such a thing?) would have meant making the most epic but mind-fuckingly strange racket plausible, but now it means euphoria in spades with a slight Metallic favouritism (save for the sugary pop/krautrock of 'Taiyo No Baka').
Opener 'Melody' captures the glorious pinks and oranges of a Tokyo sunset, as well as wrapping its entire trajectory in a planetary, interstellar level of feedback and triumphant guitar melodies. Crucially, there's a keen ear for a pop sensibility that lurks within, a sensibility that, despite the sometimes frantic heaviness, weaves its way into proceedings throughout 'Noise'. 'Heavy Rain' is on one hand a grizzly Doom Metal crawl held up by thunderous sludge-induced riffs and painfully slow pounding, but its multi-faceted pride allows the glistening lead guitar to glide overhead with subtle agility. The 19-minute monolith 'Angel' meanders its way through floating, repetitive arpeggios before exploding into (expectedly) heavenly proportions. It's the kind of thing that, in the hands of a lesser band might be written off as slow-churning wankery, but Boris play with such magnitude it's nigh-on-impossible to deny their force.
'Noise' is not, despite its title, anything like a definitive Boris record. For all its shuttles into the stratosphere it sometimes sounds frustratingly restrained, like on 'Vanilla', or the speculatively filler-esque ditty 'Siesta' that brings the record to a close. In many ways its Boris securing a relative comfort zone, but there's no guarantee that it'll be so for their next release. It may leave long-time fans of the band wanting something more, but for this listener's money it offers up enough euphoria, epicness and power to be perceived as a stock addition to the Boris canon.
Key Tracks: 'Melody', 'Heavy Rain', 'Angel'
For Fans Of: Anathema, Electric Wizard, SunnO)))