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Music Review: Boris – Akuma No Uta

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People are edging their way into and out of the crowded music section of the bookstore. It's just a few days before Christmas and shoppers, "approved music" lists clutched tightly, are looking to score. "Do you have the soundtrack to Dreamgirls?" "I heard this song on NPR by a folk singer. Uhm…Kris Delmhorst? Can you recommend anything by her?"

The guy behind the counter fields all questions (though I did help out with the Delmhorst thing) while wishing that the season was over. Because Eric's views of Christmas music align perfectly with Michael Stipe's views of love songs (in a word: odious), an endless stream of un-holiday tunes eases out of the music room speakers.

"Hey, you have got to hear this!" What followed at first came across as a slightly more aggressive and electrified version of Godspeed You Black Emperor. After almost ten minutes of "Intro," during which an ominous guitar figure is slowly repeated and joined by reverb-laden shards of guitar scrap, the music exploded into a heavy duty psychedelic/metallic freakout that was decidedly not in the holiday spirit. The best way to describe it is this: imagine what it would have sounded like had those gigantic amplifiers been real on Neil Young's Live Rust stage.

Heavy is the word.

But it was more than that. The second track ("Ibitsu") shifted gears from its early, trippy metal to more of a hardcore kind of thing. Things get so loud at one point that you can actually hear some clipping and breakup going on as either the microphones or the amplifiers are pushed beyond their limits. Later on, songs downshift into that buildup mode, often spending several minutes circling around ideas before again going aural supernova with noise, dissonance, and sheer energy. That Boris took their name from a Melvins song should come as no surprise. This Japanese power trio can sling the sludge along with the best of them. Think of them as a kind of Sonic Youth on steroids. Turn this record up loud and not only will it annoy the neighbors, it just might rearrange their living room furniture!

When some of the heavier parts of Akuma No Uta kicked in, a big grin spread across my face. I'll admit that I felt a little like Barry from the movie High Fidelity as I looked around the room actually hoping to see one or two irritated looks on the shoppers' faces. No such luck. People appeared to be less stressed and more blissed out. Apparently, not even the aggressive art-squall of Boris could ruin the mood.

Maybe I was just trying to cultivate my inner Grinch. Or something.

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About Mark Saleski

  • http://www.moviesteve.blogspot.com Steve C.

    Their ’06 album Pink was pretty awesome as well.

  • Mark Saleski

    thanks. you can bet that i’ll be looking to snap up everything else of theirs that i can find.

    i already have that Sunn 0))) collaboration.

  • http://www.moviesteve.blogspot.com Steve C.

    How is that? I’ve heard good things…

  • Mark Saleski

    really great….if you enjoy the worship of giant, distorted chords stretched out as far as the eye can see.

  • http://www.moviesteve.blogspot.com Steve C.

    Considering Earth’s Earth 2 and Azonic’s Halo, among others, are in my CD collection, I’d say it sounds like my kind of thing. :-)

  • Mark Saleski

    hmmm, i don’t have any Earth but in listening to it…it sounds like Dopesmoker by Sleep. love those giant power drone/chord things.

  • http://www.moviesteve.blogspot.com Steve C.

    it sounds like Dopesmoker by Sleep

    Okay, hurray for that! I’m tempted to run out and buy Altar right now!

  • http://www.butterflyfiction.com/journal/ Connie Phillips

    Congrats! This article has been forwarded to the Advance.net websites.

  • http://www.indierockcafe.com phil

    Great music is coming out all the time, check IRC for updates – Ash, The Fray, Camera Obscura, Death Cab for Cutie, Yo La Tengo, The Killers, All American Rejects, Mates of States, Fall Out Boy, Nickelback and much much more!

    [Edited]

  • Mark Saleski

    Nickelback?!!! isn’t that a little like somebody working for velveeta saying that a lot of great cheeses come out all the time?

  • http://www.butterflyfiction.com/journal/ Connie Phillips

    Congrats! This article is a Editor’s Pick.

  • http://www.lookoutforhope.com Tom Johnson

    Pink is freakin’ awesome. I didn’t even pick it up that long ago and it’s risen to be among the very top favorites of my best o’ metal, 2006 list, fighting off a few other worthy contenders (yes, before anyone says anything, I’m aware that it was really released in Japan in 2005, but since I don’t live in Japan, that doesn’t matter to me.)

    Once I’m done thoroughly digesting this one, I’ll be digging back for some older ones like this one you covered, Mark.

  • Mark Saleski

    yes, this Boris thing is opening up yet another realm of music i need. dammit!