by Kage USER (30 Reviews)
January 24th, 2006 | 681 replies

Release Date: 2000 | Tracklist

There's a very thin line between repetition and hypnotism.

Boris walks that line.

Even stumbles over it every once in awhile. Thing is, this stuff is too concentrated on soundscaping to worry about such trivial matters. This isn't music where melody reigns supreme. It's music that lives, breathes, dies, and is defined by its ability to transcend the usual slew of refined, critical musical margins and digs into the surface of what drone music should be about: hypnosis.

Boris is beyond doubt a band that is greater than the sum of its parts: Each musician comes together to form something far more mystical, elegant and distinctive: a magician. Rather than commanding your attention, Boris steals it from you like pulling a rabbit out of a top hat. This album in particular is the ambient, mellow counterpart to Boris' other work: they reveal all their cards on this one folks, and let me tell you: they're playing with a full deck.

Not that they don't have any tricks up their sleeves; they do. The album begins with a bouncy, trippy, off-kilter dual guitar riff that repeats for almost the entirety of its 14-minute time span. While the riff echoes around the speakers, bouncing into one ear, around your brain and back out the other side, Boris begins swinging the pendulum that will mean certain entrancement, creating an extremely calm and comfortable feeling. Then, seemingly from nowhere, washes of grey static sweep you out of your daze, distorting the splotchy red that your vision has become and the ensuing mental vertigo of straddling the line between hypnosis and consciousness causes a vague, but palpable sense of floating through a strange tunnel where time exists only in theory and the music no longer resonates outwardly, but only inside your head, and the reverberated washes of noise overtake the previous calm and the sound waves surround you, suffocate you, resound inside your body while you push your way through the spider webs of static, searching for the light at the end of the tunnel, searching desperately but not finding, as if the sound waves are no longer intangible but thick and inescapable drapery that block your vision, and the pendulum begins to swing in your mind and then your body falls to the floor.

But your mind continues to float on.

The second track begins with a dreamy, distant drumbeat, as if waking up from the previous delusion, but only inside the haze of your own psyche. It creates a calm and melodic dreamscape of an understated chord progression and wandering lead guitar lines; lines that draw the narrow path through the foggy mystification, but don't force you down it. In that way, this record is what you allow it to be. When the final guitar lead pierces through and tension builds, we get a sense that this path might be leading us somewhere indeed.

We just took the scenic route.

The third track starts abruptly with the end of the lead guitar line from the previous track. While similar in atmosphere and feel to the previous piece (you might even confuse them for being the same, if you're not paying attention), the momentum that this song kicks off with tells us that this is an entirely new monster altogether. Still very ambient with a whirling, windy keyboard line underplayed beneath a still, placid arpeggio, this particular piece introduces a new texture to the mix: vocals. Neither melodic nor harmonic, these mysterious, ethereal mantras invite us, taunt us into the climax we yearn for. Then, growing out of the fog comes a distorted guitar, like an indescribable silhouette of a beast drawing closer and closer until he disappears. Did we imagine him all along?

Things get messy from there.

Half an hour into the album we see the first climactic moment. That should indicate what kind of music this is, and more importantly, what kind of listener it will appeal to. The album is really written as one epic song, separated into four sections, with the repetition of motifs and musical themes capturing the listener in moments of deja vu, brilliantly filling the piece with an underlying unity. Almost more than any album, out of a handful that I know of that attempt it, this is like a soundtrack to a dream, like an invitation to the Wonderland of each of our minds. Yellow brick roads and talking rabbits, chaotic dinner parties, specters, spectrums of endless color all exist here on a plane that is less reality than it is conjured imagination.

That is magic.

That is Boris.

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Comments:Add a Comment 
January 25th 2006


Wow, looks like you paint quite a picture here. I might have to check out this band.
Really, really well written. Great review.

January 25th 2006


this is probably the best review i have read. im gonna go get this cd just for you kage

January 25th 2006


wow. really well written. ill get back when i get a listen.

January 25th 2006


I got excited reading the review, so a purchase is on the horizon.
Which bands' fans would most likely enjoy this album?
Regardless, I want it.

January 25th 2006


Good review, but honestly my friend; it's a bit hard to read. I'd like to actually know what kind of mood the album gives off, what genre it's in, what bands it sounds like, y'know?
But I have heard a lot about Boris, I might have to go download a few songs.

January 25th 2006


Sounds like I'd like this. I've heard this band before. Are they, by chance, anything like the band Jesu in this album?

January 25th 2006


Great review, after I read the opnening paragraph I had to read on.
I haven't heard of this, but since you gave it a 5/5 I think I should give it a listen.

January 25th 2006


good review
flood is awesome cool but feedbacker is better
boris isnt really alt/indie.

January 25th 2006


^They aren't really anything else either if you look at the genre range of their albums. Great album, I haven't listened to this in a while. I do prefer their later works though (like Heavy Rocks and Akuma no Uta)

January 26th 2006


Album Rating: 5.0

[QUOTE=Happymeal]^They aren't really anything else either if you look at the genre range of their albums.[/QUOTE]

That was basically my thought process. I haven't heard all their material, unfortunately, but some of their albums have an obvious leaning into metal, drone, and doom, while this album is overall far from a metal album. Alternative, it is!

Thanks for the comments, everyone. Keep in mind before you buy or listen to this, that it does require a lot of patience and it's very very droning.

February 9th 2006


Album Rating: 5.0

awww man, I had no idea anyone reviewed this, great choice though man, this easily deservse a 5, one of the best albums I have ever heard from one of the best bands I have ever heard, I geuss im gonna have to do a review of Feedbacker instead.

February 9th 2006


yes! do it!

February 9th 2006


Album Rating: 5.0

I did

and I forgot to say before, wicked review, you really cant just review or explain an album like this, it just makes you feel so many diffirent things.

...I just did feedbacker, not nearly as good a review as your but, lemme know what you think.

February 10th 2006


"Why do they call him the bullet dodger?"

"Because Avi, he dodges bullets."

February 10th 2006


Sweet review. I'm checking them out.

December 3rd 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

That review was really well written, but a bit overblown at times. I mean, I certainly didn't have those feelings when I listened to Flood. I view it as something of a neo-krautrock release. Good but nothing too great. I agree with AlienEater that Feedbacker is the better album though.

May 16th 2007


This review is fucking excellent.

October 30th 2007


Album Rating: 4.5

Awesome review,amazing album.

December 10th 2007


Album Rating: 4.5

Great review. This album is amazing. All 4 parts are excellent but the 2nd part has to be the most relaxing song I have ever listened to and the 3rd is just so epic. I get shivers down my spine when that huge riff comes in.This Message Edited On 12.10.07

March 4th 2010


Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Thanks for the review. Really got me into Boris in the first place. As well, I have to say this truly is an experience if you set aside the time to listen to this fully. Close your eyes and just listen. Focus. Well, either way, classic to me too. Never get tired of it. And yes, the 2nd track is great as a stand alone ambient-esque piece. Even so, I prefer the whole experience.

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