New Album – Boris

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The Japanese three-piece Boris became quickly associated with other drone-metal/sludge rock contemporaries like the Melvins and Sunn O))) in the
beginning of the decade, but over the past few years, Boris established itself as something more than just that. To say that 2011 was an ambitious year for the group would be an understatement; releasing three different albums throughout the year – technically four if you include their co-release Klatter with Merzbow. New Album combines the material from the other two – Attention Please and Heavy Rocks – and adds three original tracks to the mix.
What separates New Album from the other two though is the over-the-top production techniques and bombastic, hi-fi if you may, recording techniques. While New Album may have its moments of innovation, it often comes off as being overwhelming and a proper fit for some sort of high-paced anime piece – which, for all I know, could be your thing.
On the opening track entitled “Flare,” spiraling electronics that bring to mind dental drills – a similar effect used by fellow Japanese supergroup Boredoms – introduces us to the chaos that is about to ensue. Their sound on the track is not only crystalline and futuristic, but also dramatically dense, with guitar solos that would make Eddie Van Halen nod in approval.
Yet there is a diverse quality that makes itself apparent throughout the album, where a fan of any genre can find something to latch onto to. Beneath all the glitter and glitz of “Hope,” is a chugging, almost pop-punk chord progression. But it’s their 8+ minute track “Luna” that really shows off their chops, with their sudden dream-pop curiosity – that may have been acquired through their tourmate Asobi Seksu from earlier this year – coming to a head with rapid outbreaks of double bass dream, melancholy keys and bewildering echoes.
The main problem with New Album is that it's too cluttered – which is an expected result when taking into consideration that it combines material from two albums – making it a total of three albums in one. And while it may seem jarring at first, which, frankly, it is, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t any sort of beauty to be found beneath it all.