Amplifier worship. An iconoclastic sacrificial appeasement to the gods of rock n roll, or a tongue-in-cheek jab at an anonymous group of bowel-churning, droning fools who named themselves after their amps? There"s an old horror movie directed by the brilliant David Cronenberg called The Brood
that draws an excellent comparison to this album, which can be used to explain this conundrum. In this motion picture, a young woman undergoes intense therapy that causes her inner rage to manifest itself in physical form. But unlike the other patients of this therapy who merely grow skin rashes or strange warts, this particular young woman"s rage bears a bastard group of children who are the embodiment of her resentment.
Now, I know it may sound strange, but Amplifier Worship
is like this. Boris, a group of three Japanese individuals with some guitars and a drum set, don"t make songs. What comes out of their albums is the embodiment of"something on the inside of all of us that is just there, unexplained, but waiting inside. A psychedelic entity that distorts cityscapes and swirls us out of dreams and into nightmares.
This album is an exercise in off-balance avant free form music. Their compositions paint a surreal face on a canvas of strange mixtures of sludge, drone, metal, ambient, avant garde, and experimental psychadelia. Boris find a twisted beauty in the chaos, yet never hesitate to relish in quiet, subdued moments of tension-filled bliss.
Like their other albums Asolutego, Flood, and Feedbacker, this album is one monstrous hour-plus-long piece, divided up into separate parts for the sake of convenience, or perhaps our own sanity.
is a highlight; an epic adventure in and of itself, this piece starts out slow with droning, dense walls of guitar noise. There are some absolutely transcendent vocal harmonies, like a choir of dark angels encircling the globe with their tri-tone bedlam, plummeting the earth into apocalypse and trapping us inside a nightmarish soundscape. As the pandemonium dies off, it blasts into a surprisingly and unfairly groovy drum-n-bass progression, which is soon joined by monstrous wails of guitar feedback, creating a soundscape so eerily bizarre, you won"t be sure whether to dance a jig or to run out of the room. Soon, the drum kit drops out, and ethnic percussion joins the bass jam while the guitarnoise continues to howl. Just as the soundscape withers away into a peaceful abyss, Boris explode back in with a wall-rumbling E-bow jam that sends this sixteen-minute masterpiece off the edge of the earth with climactic glory.
The next movement, Hama
, starts out slow, but rushes in suddenly with thick guitars, giving it a disjointed, oddball feel. Once again, the guitars drop out, leaving only an upbeat drum beat and some excruciatingly low bass, creating a great palette for the building whisper of guitar feedback that we know will grow into something sublime. Soon, we"re ensnared by a wall of wah guitar washing around us, with crushing guitars ushering in the final end of this transitional movement.
Boris have never followed normal musical criteria, and this is no exception. It seems like their soundscapes escape meter and time, the music lives outside the clock. It"s like music on a sub-atomic level"chaotic, random, but part of a bigger picture that exudes humanity, the vanguard of something sacred, yet unexplainable. The next movement starts typically enough, in Melvins-esque fashion with a slightly punky beat and stoner rock rhythmic grooves. However, this rock jam slowly and unpredictably decays into an ethereal section of awe-inspiring fragility, as if nothing even changed. Yet we are caught inside a surreal, tension-building dream that could tip over on itself into nightmare at any moment. We"re unsure whether we"re being lifted towards the ambitious summit of our existence or the downfall of everything sacred. A wailing siren in the background indicates the latter, and the dissonance becomes almost too much to bear. A soft, barely-discernable snare beat comes in"is it the seed of a vicious death march or a triumphant, uplifting rally? Finally, even the plinking guitar arpeggios show their end, and a sustaining note that decays into reverberated warning is swallowed by a growing wall of feedback.
. The final chapter. Huge towers of distorted guitar, and, somewhere off in the distance, a chanting voice. We feel icy fire licking us, but see nothing. We"ve met our end. Thick guitars begin to mimic a ghostlike rendition of the victorious march we"d been hoping for, but all is lost already. It is too late. The adventure winds down with inexplicably growing, droning soundscape that crumbles into nothingness.