Boris “Dear” Album Review + Video + Stream…

Boris

Dear – Vinyl // CD // DD

Sargent House Records – released July 14, 2017

Reviewed by Santiago “Chags” Gutierrez 

 

It’s been twenty-five years since Boris was formed, taking their name from a Melvins song, they have since released a multifarious catalog of music. From the onset, they have run the gamut of ambient, drone, doom, noise, psych, punk, sludge, and shoegaze along with everything else in between, and no one has been able to pull that off as effortlessly as Boris has. They weave their multi-genre magic seamlessly and to great effect on every release. Takeshi Ohtani, Wata, and Atsuo Mizuno have been together since the formation of the band and the chemistry they have still bonds well to this day.

Opener ‘D.O.W.N. – Domination of Waiting Noise’ sets the pace with a powerful and impactful intro of controlled noise with enchanting vocals. ‘Deadsong’ continues along the same path with an electronic drone number that showcases whispered vocals among haunting screams and howls. ‘Absolutego’ may be considered the most accessible song on the record, as it follows a more traditional song structure. You can find the official video for ‘Absolutego’ on YouTube as well.

‘Beyond’ is a highlight of the record as it takes the listener on a roller-coaster tempo ride while vocally, they hit every mark perfectly. ‘Beyond’ segues into ‘Kagero’ where Boris showcases their noise/experimental/dreampop skills with efficacy. Shoegaze-like vocals are featured on ‘Biotope’ with dreamwave and noise components.

Boris brings the doom with ‘The Power’ and ‘Memento Mori.’ Both tracks would irrefutably fit perfectly on any respectable doom record. ‘The Power’ is an instrumental piece that recalls elements of Electric Wizard and Trouble. The vocal tone on ‘Memento Mori’ is damn near perfect to go along with the funeral doom musical melee going on behind it. Certain elements of the song reminiscent of the gloriously classic Italian doom era.

Pro Band Pic

This brings us to ‘Dystopia Vanishing Point.’ To say this has song of the year potential is an understatement. Clocking in at almost twelve minutes, this one will be hard to beat. The song intro is reminiscent of a great soundtrack record. Chino Moreno-like vocals kick in to go along with the slowed down shoegaze vibe followed by an amazing guitar solo that runs the final five-minute leg of the song. The album bookends nicely with “Dear” which hearkens back to the slowed down drone feedback style we heard on ‘D.O.W.N. Domination of Waiting Noise.’

Boris are still going strong after all these years, continually looking for ways to challenge themselves with experimentation. Dear, like most of their albums, is about motion and magnitude. It is without a doubt a spiritual journey and despite the variety of genres explored, it’s still dexterous in its delivery. Thankfully Boris never seems comfortable staying fixated on one single style or genre. They continue to change and explore the dimensions of sound. I think by now it goes without saying that this will undoubtedly make my end of the year top ten list.


Album Review – Sithter “Chaotic Fiend”

Sithter

Chaotic Fiend

Bonten Records – December 9th, 2016

Sludge/Doom/Hardcore Metal – Vinyl / CD / Digital

  

Has any one country ever supported hard rock and heavy metal like Japan? I certainly don’t think so. Since Sabbath crawled out from the primordial ooze, they’ve been there, generation after generation. This would make one think they should be much bigger players in the genre(s) considering their love for it, but that has not really been the case. What they have brought to the table though, has been excellent and underrated. From early hard-hitters such as Blues Creation and Shinki, Speed and Glue, on through to Loudness and E-Z-O, right to today’s rippers like Eternal Elysium and Church Of Misery, they’ve proven they have the goods. That now brings us to Sithter, the latest entry I’ve heard from the Land Of The Rising Sun. Does it measure up to its pedigree?

The answer is, by and large, yes. Rather than taking the more direct, Sabbathized path of C.O.M., “Chaotic Fiend” hops on the road straight to Louisiana and the NOLA sound. Throughout the nine tracks present, there is some serious EyeHateGod (and to a lesser degree, Down) worshiping taking place, and I do stress serious. Snarling, surly vocals, punishing riffs and a slow, grinding pace. The band has it all down quite solidly.

 

Chaotic Fiend_Music Set

 

For better of worse, this all means that the band’s strengths are simultaneously their weaknesses. The record is just too close to E.H.G. more often than it really should be. I have to admit the vocals are a bit of a challenge for me as well; a little more diversity and mood from them would really elevate matters.

Wrapping things up, Sithter has delivered a solid effort with “Chaotic Fiend”, no doubt. I think time will address some of the issues brought up here, but until then, this is a good album you should check out. 

Sithter:
Hyö Kagawa – Guitar
Wahei Gotoh – Bass
Takefumi Matsuda – Drums
Hiroyuki Takano – Vocals, Guitar

Words by David “The Lovely” LaMay