Boris Distillery, Calgary AB June 22

Boris Distillery, Calgary AB June 22
The Distillery played host to Sled Island 2012's best metal-oriented bill on Friday night, as a couple hundred fans turned its underground confines into an overheated, sweaty stink lodge. Black Mastiff and Ancients turned sludgy but satisfying performances, yet it was Japanese legends Boris who turned the night religious. Moving quickly from unhinged thrash to monumental drone and swirling ambience, the band held the audience at rapt attention, as drummer Atsuo played the noise-rock shaman from the back end. Guitarist Wata shifted to keyboards occasionally before turning back to her ripped-up guitar riffs, and Michio Kurihara, a legend of Japanese rock in his own right (he played in '90s experimental rockers Ghost), is now a touring member of the band, contributing his spell-caster leads and squalling E-bow noises. The current lineup is rounded out by Takeshi, who played a double-neck bass/guitar combo and provided lead vocals. It all amounted to an absolutely stunning show that left the crowd wanting to hear more -- no small feat given that the set ran about one and a half hours. Not only was this a definite highlight for Sled Island, it broadened the festival's usual indie rock focus.