A Journal Of The Dark Arts
On Noise, Boris use every trick they’ve accumulated in their magician’s bag, during their 18 years in existence. Clean guitar arpeggios hang like a prism in the air, while a furious rhythm pummels and punishes you with unforgiving riffs, while synthesizers, feedback, and a giant fucking gong fill out the stereo space. Noise will make you realize all the things you didn’t even know you missed about Metal.
It starts off beatifically, with waves of beautiful noise gently lapping, in “Melody”. It doesn’t take long to be swallowed in a powerful roar, while Takeshi wails epically. And by powerful roar, i mean jet engine turbine, a tsunami of gravel wind that crushes and caresses you, a chugging rhythm section that gets in yr guts, and shuts off yr thoughts. This is the (un)holy Boris ritual. Turn off yr mind, relax, and go downstream.
“Vanilla” completes the killer album intro. It’s quick, upbeat, exciting. Gets yr blood pumping, gets that adrenal gland working. Boris get a chance to work out their lazer ’80s metal side. It gives way to a primal stomp, as well, like pressing The Melvins down into a compact cube. Their riffs are like druid megaliths, hauled from god knows where – eternal, cyclical, heavy as a pyramid. They’re so heavy, they might drill a hole into the center of the Earth, leaving a tunnel where generations to come can go to attain wisdom. A tunnel to the Underworld. A tunnel to the sunless sea.
“Ghost Of Romance” is a slow and mournful ballad with a shuffle beat. Guitars flame and pirouette like a phoenix streaking after the sun in slow-motion, as viewed through a rain soaked windshield. The melancholy gives way to a righteous anger about 2/3 of the way through, but it fades back to a wistful reminiscence.
Boris always had an unabashed loveliness about them. They harness the mightiness of metal, but paint with a finer brush – they paint a more emotional landscape, with more colors than black and white and grey. “Straight” metal can sometimes become a bit cartoonish in their focus on only one aspect of life.
Instead, Boris combine aspects of sludge, shoegaze, drone, instsuand sugary J-Pop, into a sound that is distinctly their own. Not really all at the same time, but more like quickly alternating, with sometimes 2 or 3 layers intersecting at the same time. I think this is to stop you from being pummeled to death. Boris intersperse some sugary J-Pop to wake you up, like on the Pez dispenser drum machine ridden “Taiyo No Baka”, or the seriously epic crust punk blazer “Quiksilver”, which is definitely one of the album’s 2 highest pinnacles. It wails. It thrashes like a wounded whale. Someone shrieks like a wraith in the background. “Quiksilver” is pure black metal, without the buzzing distortion, which makes it almost like emo speedpunk. It sounds like it could be a theme song for the most hardcore vampire anime ever, or the soundtrack to a lamborghini speeding over a grid, while the sun sets.
Everything about this album is epic. Seriously big. This is music for riding (or battling) dragons. This is music for motorcycles with big, hanging handlebars. This is music for bike rides at sunset.
Noise’s most epic moment is “Angel”, at a vision inducing 18:30 minutes. It comes in movements. Lean, clean, lonesome guitar meditations, are joined by a far-off weeping lament, shivering like starlight. A tribal thump and some shaker bells cast a ritualistic aura in the starlight, a solid stomping heartbeat. Boris are masters of the heavenly heaviness that bands like Mono were pioneering 8 years ago, and a million namelesss/names-that-are-too-long post-rock bands sucked off of. We remember, with Boris’ 20th record, that they are one of the instigators of this mightiness, and they’re really damn good at it. They rage like Bardo Pond, like a storm on the desert horizon, which finally breaks with rays of light around 7 minutes in, when heavenly vocals meet mighty bedrock guitars, crawling along like a wounded wooly mammoth. And then a crying guitar solo from the heart of a black hole, from the end of time – demanding to be remembered of heaven. Saying everything that you ever wanted to say.
Boris have claimed this to be their definitive record. If yr new to this mothership, this is a good place to climb aboard, as Noise gives you an idea of what they’re capable of – a taste of their many different styles and moods. We are reminded what an intensely badass guitarist Wata is , how she really tears in and tears apart a riff, how she truly is one of the heaviest motherfuckers playing. And we are reminded that Takeshi truly is a cosmic soloist, truly one of the greats and truly unique. His clean rainbow prisms remind us of what we loved about post-rock. It is beautiful as well as mighty.
It’s been a good summer for metal so far. We’re excited. The new The Soft Pink Truth record comes out today, and there have been recent excellent albums from Eyehategod, Crowbar, Mayhem, Tombs, and a new Mastodon record out shortly. Gives us a chance to share our love of some of our favorite gutter crawlers.
Noise is essential Boris. Get it. Listen to it relentlessly.
Favorite Tracks: Melody, Ghosts Of Romance, Heavy Water, Angel, Quicksilver
Listen to Noise on Spotify: Noise
You can read another good review over here at Steel For Brains: