Boris, 'Pink' (Southern Lord)

Critical Mass
Label: Southern Lord

by Joe Gross

Let us pause and raise a cup of sizzyrup to the fine people of Japan. Any culture that has given the world Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster, bukkake porn, and coffee-flavored chewing gum clearly has an elegant, refined sense of the brutal and the psychedelic. Boris is an apotheosis of both urges.

They took their name from a Melvins song, but they just as well could have sprung fully formed from one of Lemmy's face moles or the smoke from a Neil Young amp overload. Guitarist Wata (who, like all monster guitarists, is a good deal shorter than her amps), double-necked bassist and singer Takeshi, and drummer/singer Atsuo started in the '90s as prog-loving ex-punks perpetually climbing Mt. Doom. They scooped up a rabid cult playing low-frequency freak-outs and sitcom-length drones.

It took years for their early albums to become available in the States, and as with fellow countrymen Boredoms, it takes about a year for their new records to arrive. But ever since 1996's Absolutego and '98's Amplifier Worship finally emigrated, Boris have become masters of all metal they forge: raging thrash, chaotic punk, ambient environments, slow-boil rambles, and obtuse experiments.

Like 2003's Akuma No Uta, Pink showcases every sound Boris can make. The seven-minute opener, "Farewell," is all crescendo and peaking, a stoner-metal blast that's both expansive and compassionate, while the title track jumps on a Harley and roars off a cliff. Dishwater-dull garage rockers should be jealous of the hooky thrash and punk slobber in "Woman on the Screen," as well as the perfect minute-45 hand grenade "Electric." And the jaw-dropping closer, "Just Abandoned My-Self," keeps a relentless, torrid pace for ten solid minutes, with hard-swinging drones embedded within the song like viruses. Boris can flatten a club with their firepower, and their trippy, delicate side never dulls their strength -- it's part of it. Godzilla would be proud.

See also: High Rise, High Rise II (Squealer, 1986)



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