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Album Review

by Boris

Sargent House

Review Date
2nd July 2014
Reviewed by
Nich Cunningham

The 1990s were a watershed period for international interest in Japanese music. While bands such as Boredoms, Fushitusha and Guitar Wolf differed significantly in style, in common was their refocusing of Western tropes through their unique cultural lens and taking that to the extreme. Emerging from the Tokyo hardcore scene in 1992, Boris were no exception. Determined to defy easy definition, drummer Atsuo declared genre a 'crutch', vowing to maintain a distinctive eclecticism. As a result, their music has always been an unsettling mix of styles simultaneously juxtaposed. On Noise, album number nineteen, Boris have surpassed this aim, seamlessly blending styles and moods.

Both beautiful and ugly, Boris' leverage a metal basis to explore melodic pop while incorporating a quixotic blend of post-rock, sludge and drone. Opening track 'Melody' contrasts driving power-pop with pulsating waves of crushing heavy bass-driven power chords. Later cut 'Ghosts of Romance' is like a twisted reinterpretation of 'Karma Police' - drawing on Canadian inspired ethereal ambience. When not crushing the listener with dark intensity, Boris offer up surprisingly bright drum machine powered hooky-pop with 'Taiyo No Baka' (which apparently translates to 'Fool of the Sun'). And true to form, Boris offer yet another twist of the knife in high energy progressive punk of 'Quicksilver', reminding the listener of their steadfast policy of unpredictability.

Noise is an extremely polished eclectic avant-rock album of an unusually high caliber from an unconventional and challenging band. In an age of suffocating genre orthodoxy, it's refreshing to hear.


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