If The Land of the Rising Sun has a holy trinity of experimental heavy rock bands, it would be made up of Eternal Elysium, Church of Misery and Boris. While all three bands launched their careers in the ’90s, Boris remains the most prolific into the second decade of the 2000s, and is probably the most familiar to stateside audiences due to relatively frequent tours.
The easiest comparison to make to the band’s sound would be to the Melvins; the Japanese trio takes its name from the opening track of that venerable band’s essential Bullhead record. It’s a fair comparison too, given the wide influences and experimental choices that Boris makes that are as likely to alienate fans as thrill them. Based in the heaviest of doom metal, the band doesn’t hesitate to infuse their sound with pop, drone or any other sound that catches its ear.
Noise, the band’s 19th release, is no different. Opener “Melody” has an almost jangly, 1990s alt-rock feel to it, yet “Heavy Rain” is as thick, slow and droning as anything the Melvins ever did, only with airy, female vocals. “Angel” clocks in at nearly 19 minutes and can only be described as a soundscape that begs for headphones and, perhaps, some form of brain-altering substance acquired in the gray areas of legality.
I’d be lying if I said I have much patience for experimentation in my heavy music, but something in the way Boris pulls it off works. It’s an exciting, interesting listen, and Noise is an excellent starting point for those curious about the band.
Boris plays Stage 112 Thu., Aug. 14, at 10 PM. $18/$15 advance. 18-plus.