Review Summary: Relentless with no end in sight.
I'd imagine if you were a fan of Boris back in the day, 2003 must've been one hell of year to be a fan; not only did the band put out their finest "rock" album in the lightning-fast Akuma no Uta
, but also had the distinction of releasing one of their many classics in Feedbacker
, a record that is quite often heralded as one of the landmarks of modern metal in some circles. Both records practically cemented Boris as one of the greats of the new generation, albeit it's fair to say Boris were not strictly a metal group nor had any intention of sticking with the sludginess of Absolutego
or the Earth-y Amplifier Worship
, let alone the minimalist rock classic Flood
By the time Akuma no Uta
had come out that summer, they had become more diverse as some of their efforts following Flood
, with 2002's Heavy Rocks
throwing the band head-first into stoner-rock excess and the Merzbow collaboration Megatone
further emphasizing the more aggressive and confrontational side of the Japanese trio. Akuma no Uta
, although not entirely, comes out sounding like the end result of the band meticulously converging these two sounds together and translating it into a single live take in the studio, needles-in-the-red and distortion abound.
Although the original Diwphalanx release had a shorter duration at 31:55, the later reissue in 2003 featured the definitive (and complete) drone introduction to the album; whereas the abridged cut allowed for the record's brevity to be more apparent, the lengthier version has this tension and anticipation that simply can't be captured in just a measly two minutes, which makes the onslaught of fuzzy riffs and warped drums all the more powerful when they do
eventually make their way into the album. The duo of "Ibitsu" and "Furi" are ferocious stoner-rock singles-that-never-were that continuously just hammer their riffs into your head and keep going despite being so brief, which contrast magnificently to the lengthy dronage of the introduction.
On the other hand, you have the brilliance of "Naki Kyoku," which finds Boris perhaps hinting towards Feedbacker
, which would come out that winter. This epic of Akuma
showcases the band's abilities in a jam session that exercises this perfect display of restraint, often never taking the chance of breaking out into senseless noodling and riffing by keeping the band deeply rooted to this infectious bass groove that leads the way, although never steals the spotlight at any point. But as soon as the jam dies out, it instantly returns to the stoner-punk intensity of before, this time with a nasty, bastardized Hawkwind-esque riff on "Ano Onna no Onryou." This Space Ritual-like
riff is the very base of this track, driving it further and further into a hellish mess of fuzzy guitars and howling vocals, only to fade out. Yet, we're left with what amounts to a reprise of the album's themes on the titular cut itself. Progressing from the hum of the guitars and the crunchy growls of the drone introduction, the finale ultimately lands itself in a noisy rock-out that brings the sound of Akuma no Uta
full circle in such a way that it unsurprisingly would become a show-stopper in concert.
Akuma no Uta
extensively digs deep into the roots of punk, stoner-rock, metal and drone -- and with ease, comes up with just a single take of pure rock and roll at its finest. Boris was arguably at their peak during this period (2000-2005) and Akuma no Uta
undoubtedly is one of their finest moments.