Boris - New Album

Posted on Thursday, April 14, 2011

I wanted to start this review by saying “the something-core band Boris has a new album,” but you can’t, because Boris completely changes genres with every release. And I don’t mean they’re a Death Metal band, but this album’s got a ballad or a dance remix. I mean, listen to any two cuts back-to-back from this band’s fifteen studio albums and you’d be surprised they came from the same damn country, let alone the same group of people. I was a huge fan of 2003’s Akuma no Uta and its minimalist, feedback-laden and noisy production that sounded like something Iggy Pop recorded and mastered on a bathtub crank bender; I was not lucky enough to get the limited-to-300 Japanese picture-disk that’s a tribute to Venom’s Welcome to Hell cover art. I also dug 2008’s Smile, although it was more conventionally structured, with the occasional annoyance that made it impossible to listen to the album in a car without having every person around you wonder when John Zorn did a remix of the Revenge of the Nerds soundtrack.
When I first got this Japanese-only 2011 release and loaded it up in iTunes, I immediately cursed Apple, Steve Jobs, and whatever fuckwit entered “New Album” in the CDDB information for the CD’s title field. A few google searches later, and I found out that New Album is the actual title. There are ten tracks here, and of course some tracks are extended or different on the 2-LP album version, so true fans need to shell out more money and track down both copies. (Could be worse: Smile had ten different versions and pressings.) This stuff is similar to the more straightforward Pop approach of Smile, taking a huge nod from conventional Electronica in the use of synth and programmed drums. In general, the songs alternate between speedier numbers with a touch of the band’s trademark guitar distortion over very slick backing tracks, or songs with female Japanese vocals that make the whole thing sound far too J-Pop-esque. The song “Flare” is one of the better cuts, with a good bass groove to go with a fast pace.
This is by no means a Metal record. If you’ve burned through many a bowl to Absolutego’s Stoner Metal goodness and want a platinum-heavy wall of feedback amplifier abuse that goes on for an hour per track, you will be sorely disappointed. But if you’re a fan of this band’s innovation and experimentation, it’s a decent outing. And if you don’t like any given Boris album, you can always wait five minutes for the next one; in addition to two versions of this title, the band’s sixteenth and seventeenth studio albums are also coming out in the first half of 2011.

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