Boris With Michio Kurihara
Rainbow


4.0
excellent

Review

by ValiumMan USER (17 Reviews)
February 10th, 2007 | 36 replies | 8,862 views


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Diverse Japanese sludge rockers Boris team up with guitar wiz Michio Kurihara for this unusually quiet and mellow psych album.

3 of 3 thought this review was well written

Boris are possibly my favorite act out of this whole "avantgarde doom metal" thing going on at the moment. These two guys and a girl from Japan release lots'n'lots of extremely diverse material and nearly each new release of theirs reveals a new facet of their sound or a different direction all together. You never know what exactly to expect from them, which makes 'em one of my favorite bands to review as well.

For this late 2006 release (not out yet in the Western hemisphere, download or import), called Rainbow, bassist/guitarist Takeshi, guitarist Wata and drummer Atsuo teamed up with another artist from the Japanese avant rock scene, namely guitarist Michio Kurihara of White Heaven/Ghost fame, a guy who happens to be one of the most talented guitarists of the Eastern hemisphere. Sounds thrilling, doesn't it? Sounds like some heavy-duty sludge rock with blazing guitar solos? Nope, sir, it's pretty far from that, actually. Instead, Boris do something they've never done before: They turn down the volume for nearly a whole album and make this thing a very idiosyncratic, mellow psych-rock record. And, best of all, it still sounds unmistakably like them!

Track 1, Rafflesia starts with a short intro of bass feedback and a short drum fill that leads directly into something that bears striking resemblance to the song Parting, from their Pink album. Droning, distorted bass (but relatively undermixed this time), slightly whiny, mellow vocal by bassist Takeshi and minimal, but accentuating drums, until Wata and Kurihara join in for and extended instrumental jam about 2 and a half minutes into the song. The concept of dual lead guitars is a very interesting one, especially when two extremely different guitarists are involved. Wata is responsible for the more low, earthy tones whereas Kurihara prefers a buzzy, treble-heavy amp setting. Hearing the two of them laying down some melodious leads is pure bliss. The song ends with a looped guitar note after about 5 minutes and 30 seconds.

The album continues with the title track. It flows neatly and quietly with the same bouncy krautrock groove as Naki Kyoku from the Borises' album Akuma No Uta, a very understated two-note guitar riff and some dreamy, gentle vocals by Wata (her second vocal track for the band). Hell, they should let the woman sing more! She's perfect for songs like this one, but then again, Boris haven't really done anything so quiet before (not even on Flood), so yeah. Some weird, gurgly noises in the background as well. Michio Kurihara joins the fun after 2 minutes and plays a solo over the whole thing (minus vocals). Now you're able to really hear his guitar for the first time (it was mangled with drones on track 1). I've never listened to a Ghost or White Heaven record, so this was my first exposure to him. And goddamn, that guy has a weird guitar sound. As I said earlier, it's really buzzy and trebly, but it has this ***ed-up, wrecked feel to it, like a malfunctioning vintage radio or something. It's not really "experimental noise" guitar playing though, he plays the solo on this track in a classic-rockish, bluesy style, but with that strange sound to it. Hell, just listen for yourself. After the solo, Rainbow ends just like it started.

The following track, Starship Narrator carries out the bluesy side of things even more. The rhythm, guitar work and vocal melody (Takeshi accompanied by another male voice, either Kurihara or drummer Atsuo) remind me a lot of early Queens Of The Stone Age or the first Desert Sessions album. After some time, a blazing, noisy guitar solo courtesy of Kurihara kicks in, one of album's only two real heavy moments. No, this guy really ain't your usual John Petrucci or Yngwie Malmsteen dude. I don't usually fall for this "wanky guitar virtuoso" ***, but his playing is absolutely mesmerizing. Takeshi's vocal return for the finale, Kurihara does some freaky noise on his guitar and that's the end of it

After a short, pleasant instrumental interlude called My Rain follows Shine, a creepy, dark-psych song. A foreboding picked acoustic guitar and minimal percussion in the background start it. Takeshi's lamenting vocals take a bit of the creepiness away, but give the whole thing a sad feel. I feel like crying (or cutting myself, Mr. emo kid) now. Kurihara's playing is really textural and undermixed and adds some nice ambience to it.

You Laughed Like A Water Mark (what the hell does that title mean, how does a watermark laugh?) is the longest track on the album, clocking in at a little over seven minutes. The track lengths are unusually short for a Boris recording (seven minutes is the shortest song on their Amplifier Worship album, for instance). Unfortunately, the song drags a bit. A relaxed groove that wouldn't sound out of place on a Can album, whiny vocals, two-note guitar riff by Wata wrecked, bluesy soloing by Kurihara, nothing we haven't heard on this album before.

Fuzzy Reactor features textural, soaring guitar work from both guitarists (some of it played backwards) as well as a wordless, quiet vocal (Wata?) and makes for a nice near-ambient track. Possibly most reminiscent of the sound Ash Ra Tempel had once they shortened their name to just Ashra.

Sweet No. 1 is my least favorite song on the album. It's the second "heavy moment" I talked about. Lotsa cool, high-energy soloing from Kurihara here, but nothing much else. Seriously, even though I Kurihara's playing, it needs to have at least some song context. And this song here has "fret wankery" written all over it. Two short "for the hell of it" vocal interludes by Takeshi are the only non-soloing stuff on here. Might be interesting for people who enjoy those "instrumental guitar albums", but not me.

...And, I Want is a mellow, instrumental outro, similar to the earlier My Rain. Y'know it's pleasant and all, but they coulda done better. An unsatisfying ending, for sure, but the rest is great, I assure you!

In conclusion, Rainbow is one of the most unusual albums Boris have released so far. It's not an epic milestone release or anything, but a really good addition to the collection of any fan of psychedelic music. The metalheads are advised to be a bit cautious though, since this is all but metal



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user ratings (102)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
AlienEater
February 10th 2007



716 Comments


cool review

i don't have this

any14doomsday
February 10th 2007



679 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I have this Japanese version downloaded, and i love it so much. OF the last two collaborations, I think this one blows Alter out of the water.

Im waiting for the american release of this which should be sometime in march, its gonna have a diffirent ending song, from what i have heard. I think im gonna right a review of it then.

I cant stop listening to this cd, I almost have the song rainbow figured out on guitar.

ValiumMan
February 10th 2007



493 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

That's funny, cos I love Boris, but I've never thought about learning one of their songs. I dunno, they just don't make me wanna learn 'em. :P

any14doomsday
February 10th 2007



679 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah I dont try and learn them, but if I listen to something enough i can usually figure it out.

I can play rainbow (the song), Akuma no uta/introduction, and about 80% of feedbacker.

Kage
February 13th 2007



1173 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

OF the last two collaborations, I think this one blows Alter out of the water.

Agreed 100%. This album is awesome.

Good review.

trustxdialect
February 13th 2007



1502 Comments


Ace review.

I really want this. :[

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
February 13th 2007



17920 Comments


All I have is the Sunn O))) collab, which I really like, so I'll check out more from these guys.

any14doomsday
June 7th 2007



679 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I just got the U.S. Version of this, its basically the same, but the art is a bit better. Also theres a new closing track... but its kinda lame.This Message Edited On 06.07.07

Slaapkamers
June 7th 2007



596 Comments


Favorite Boris album so far.

IsItLuck?
Emeritus
June 7th 2007



4926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I think I like Pink a bit better. But they are pretty even.

Digging: Joyce Manor - Never Hungover Again

Slaapkamers
June 7th 2007



596 Comments


Pink is inconsistent.

MeowMeow
June 7th 2007



662 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great review. I need this. Are they named after the Melvins song or is that just a coincidence?

Slaapkamers
June 7th 2007



596 Comments


They named themselves after the song.

MeowMeow
June 8th 2007



662 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

So I got this (along with Pink) and they're both pretty awesome. I'm going to have to agree with the rating on this one.

Neoteric
September 20th 2007



3243 Comments


Superb.

any14doomsday
October 3rd 2007



679 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

UNFUCKINGBELIEVABLE I saw them play last night, and they played most of these songs. They are even better live.

I am only speculating but I think there may be another collaboration between the two on the way, because they played about an EP's worth of material that sounded similar to this that I have never heard... and I have heard all of there stuff. If they stop anywhere within 300 miles of you make it a point to go see them!This Message Edited On 10.03.07

Apocalyptic Raids
October 12th 2007



810 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I think there may be another collaboration between the two on the way, because they played about an EP's worth of material that sounded similar to this that I have never heard... and I have heard all of there stuff.

I hope that is true.

pixiesfanyo
October 12th 2007



1222 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

It isn't.

instantradical
August 20th 2010



199 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Starship Narrator has one of the most vicious guitar solos I've ever heard - Kurihara's tone is just incredible, it sounds like his whole rig is going to explode at any moment. The rest of the album is nice too.

Terrifyer
August 20th 2010



3403 Comments


this is one of the only boris albums i dont have :/



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