Sound — 7
Boris are pretty notorious, at this point, with coming out with multiple albums in a two year span, whether it be full-lengths, EPs, or splits. While their most recent albums haven't been anything really mind-blowing (starting to venture off into more of a J-Pop territory), their recent album, "Noise," certainly has it's stand out moments. While I may not consider this anywhere close to their greatest composition ever, there's enough good music on here make it enjoyable and for anyone who HASN'T listened to Boris before, it's arguably their most accessible.
Track for track: The first song titled "Melody" is okay... just okay. It is a good song to set up for the rest of the album, but there are no real stand out parts in the song that really set it apart from anything else.
"Vanilla" took me a couple times to really get into, partially because the beginning of the song is a lot more hook-driven then I'm used to with them and borders the realm of J-Pop, which I'm not a fan of. About midway through the song however, a metal-riff comparable to a typical Tool song and a pretty sick guitar solo rips in for the outro, saving the song from being completely boring.
"Ghost of Romance" is a really awesome post-rock song that finds the band taking on a slower and mellowed out track with some pretty delays and echo. Anyone who has managed to hear their previous album, "Präparat," should be familiar with the sound.
"Heavy Rain" is easily one of the better tracks from the album, reverting back to their old days with crushing, low-tuned guitar drones, but mixing it up with some clean, female vocals from guitarist Wata, possibly taking influence from their split with Sunn O))). "Heavy Rain" really is one of the more stand-out tracks of the album.
"Taiyo No Baka" threw me for a loop as the band recycled their J-Pop sound from their most recent albums and while I could easily see this track being the introduction to some new Japanese anime, it was lame enough that I wouldn't care to listen to it again. Fortunately, it was one of the shortest tracks on the album.
"Angel," being the longest track on the album AND longest since their beginning days before the first "Heavy Rocks" album, finds itself to easily be the best track off the album. The song starts with some BEAUTIFUL guitars, drifting in and out of space, which I can't help but immediately think of bands like Isis and Rosetta. When the vocals come in, the song starts to swell and entrance deeper into cosmic wonder. The drums slowly pick up after a bit, feeding the way for the following guitar growl. The drums speed up unpredictably into a solid doom metal beat with the whole band coming in shortly after. This is easily the best song they've put out since their drone metal albums like "Feedbacker" and "Flood." I'd buy the whole album based on this song alone and since it's over 18 minutes long, it's well worth it... especially with that intense bass tone.
"Quicksilver" is their most metal song on the album, blending elements of post-hardcore and doom. The screamed vocals from back in their "Amplifier Worship" days returns adding some really brutal tone to already heavy track. This song is fast and roaring, weaving in and out of crazy transitions and time signatures, ending in a droning low-end crush and fading out into ambiance.
The last track "Siesta" was another weak point on the album, being the shortest track on the album and the one instrumental. I found that this track really lost itself in the mix of the rest of the album and was a really boring way to end the album.
Lyrics — 7
A lot of people don't give foreign bands the chance and with a Japanese band like Boris, I feel like that tends to be the case. It's a shame because their vocals pleasantly go well with their music. Lyrically, Boris has some of most beautifully written music I've seen, sometimes including a bit of cheesiness like describing something that starts deep as "melting ice cream" and including topics like a cat named "Melody." More often though, their lyrics are quite pretty, displaying themes of dreamlike scenarios and letting the listener that truly enjoys finding the translations to drift off into fantasy land.
Overall Impression — 7
Cut and dry, this album is their best album since the first "Heavy Rocks" album. While that may not be saying much, since their recent albums have been a little uninteresting, it shows them expanding on their sound while still incorporating the elements of their music that made them stand out to begin with. I was hoping for a lot more songs that were like "Angel" and "Heavy Rain" on this album, but I can't complain with where this album stands in their discography. While it certainly isn't "Dronevil" or "Feedbacker," it definitely is an album well worth listening to, give or take a few hiccups. The standout tracks for me were "Angel," "Heavy Rain," "Ghost Romance," and "Quicksilver," so four out of eight tracks I found good with one being over 18 minutes? That's not a bad album.