Published Jun 17, 2014Weirdly prolific and wondrously strange, Japanese noise rock and experimental metal laboratory outfit Boris excel at exploring the liminal spaces of aggressive music, the blurred edges and wobbly inbetweenity that is often passed up in favour of the crushing and the brutal. Noise, their 19th studio album, is a wonderfully nebulous creation that pulls together drone and shoegaze, ambient and shivering stoner elements together in a record that eschews bludgeoning force for a slippery, sensuous easing towards the divine.
Each piece on the record functions as its own musical island; the wet, smothering "Heavy Rain" the manic hardcore of "Quicksilver" and the uneasy, clattering emotion of "Ghost of Romance" each bleed together but also have very separate identities and moving parts, and so the record takes on the shape of an archipelago.
With so much going on, there are some moments of weakness, like the relatively limp "Taiyo no Baka," but Noise also contains one of the best moments in Boris' entire, extensive career. "Angel," an 18-minute epic that serves as the record's nucleus, contains one of the most sublime explorations of the potential within guitar solos: an aching, ever-ascending ululation that is part dazzling display of technical skill, part spiritual experience.
A rich and varied record, Noise is at once a kaleidoscopic look at all the disparate aesthetics that Boris are capable of working within, and a strangely accessible entry point for their vast back catalogue. (Sargent House)