Review : Boris - Chapter Ahead Being Fake EP (ft. Torche)
PitchforkWith nearly one year passed between the Japanese release of this EP and Hydra Head's officially releasing it in the U.S., it's safe to assume that folks eagerly awaiting new Torche material have already given "King Beef" a few listens. The song, one half of this two track split 10", is a bit of a disappointment. That could be simply the result of lofty expectations-- absence makes the heart grow fonder to a point, but answering the silence with something as pro-forma Torche-like as "King Beef" isn't going to satisfy anyone. The one wrinkle this tune offers is in its percussion, which comes with a slightly more industrial-sounding bent this time around. Otherwise, "King Beef" sounds like the sort of enjoyable yet undistinguished palette cleanser the group would add to an album between the real heavy cuts.
Aaron Turner art fans notwithstanding, if there's a reason to spend money (or bandwidth) on this release, it's for Boris' off-kilter contribution. Working harder than ever to escape pigeonholing (as admirers of their wide-ranging Japanese Heavy Rock Hits singles from last year can attest to), "Luna" finds the heavy psych stoner what-have-you group moving between black metal (specifically of the Burzum/Xasthur persuasion) and shoegaze. The song's tinny hardcore-speed drumming takes its cues from the former, while Takeshi's keening vocals sound like the result of his singing along to the new Serena-Maneesh album. Meanwhile, the guitars play both sides against each other, frantically keeping pace with the drummer in one moment, then switching gears to offer spacious ping-ponging two-note patterns while chords arc across the firmament.
This back-and-forth goes on for most of the track's 12-minute length, giving both the frenetic and fantastical elements of the song room to breathe, and turning what seems like a conceptual misstep into something much more respectable. There's even a sly nod to their release-mates in the track's coda, a minute-long snippet of sludge that, while not nearly as massive as the sort of tectonic rumble Torche can summon from the depths, does their metal compatriots proud....full text
PhaserrBoris and Torche teaming up for the split release Chapter Ahead Being Fake is akin to manna from heaven, an incredible gift from the realms of heavy, distorted and brutal music. And brutal this little EP is, both bands bringing all manner of face ripping, ear drum bursting awesomeness which ends up being pretty refreshing in several ways.
“Luna” is a great piece from a band that found itself upended and confused with the success of 2005’s Pink, an uneasiness that motivated them to “sell-out” and make the exact same kind of album with 2008’s Smile. This new track strips away the weariness and doubt that was startlingly apparent on that album and reignites the band with a noisy and uplifting veneer that ping pongs around sounds from their vast back catalog. Feedbacker is readily heard in the destructive low end felt on the track along with their live collaboration with Japanese noise-God Merzbow, Rock Dream.
“It’s pretty apparent these guys are going for maximum impact riffage.”
From its outset, “Luna” screams epic, its’ subdued guitar trills ringing out brightly only to be completely subsumed in a total cacophony of noise and overdriven bass tones. This underlying “blanket” of noise, if you will, persists over almost the entire track, giving a song that would have been more akin to “My Neighbor Satan” off of Boris’ 2008 release Smile, a menacing claustrophobic capacity. Contributing to this disorienting effect are the slightly off key vocals, bright and clear over the washed out mix and ultimately sounding as if they are from another song entirely. All of these elements lend the track an abrasive yet delicate quality that weathers the tempest of fuzzed out destruction to arrive at a peaceful, shimmering conclusion. Boris, always ones to upend expectations, however, soundly tear apart this sense of ease with a minute long blast of detuned, swampy sludge metal that brings this twelve minute monster of a track to a sudden and startling end.
Torche’s “King Beef” continues and extends the heaviness, breaking with the more compact and “poppy” style of 2008’s awesome Meanderthal for out and out lumbering brutality. Torche, now a three piece after losing guitarist Juan Montoya late last year due to inner band strife, have written their most savage song yet with this slab of evil and have completely dispelled any misgivings about them forging ahead without a second guitarist to anchor them. Their side is a monstrous affair, rife with gargantuan “bomb” chords and drumming that sounds like it was recorded inside of some massive canyon. Almost completely devoid of vocals and without a recognizable chorus in sight, it’s pretty apparent these guys are going for maximum impact riffage. The song thunders along, losing itself in washes of feedback only to fire back to life with an ominous, destructive groove that drones to its conclusion. At almost six minutes, its one of the longest songs in their oeuvre and is an awesome turn after the simple pleasures that Meandertal exuded.
Chapter Ahead Being Fake sees both Boris and Torche toying with and tweaking different elements of their respective sounds, both settling upon a far heavier and thundering aspect than their most recently released material. It’s an exciting and refreshing EP and offers a glance at what wonder await from these two truly remarkable groups....full text
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