Sporting a hot-pink cover, Japanese three-piece Boris turned their drone/doom roots on their heads with their tenth studio album Pink.1 Pink is the highlight of the easily-palatable Boris releases.2 Ostensibly a sludge metal album, it sports shoegaze, crust, and traditional heavy metal influences under a haze of psychedelia that does not fall too far from the Black Sabbath and Electric Wizard trees. A smattering of sub-three minute sludge tracks are sandwiched by a seven-and-a-half minute anthem and an eighteen-plus minute dirge – not to mention the stellar title track, which is the closest the band hereto approached a pop single.3
The album’s main flavors include traditional heavy metal with 90s indie influences, cacophonous stoner-sludge, and drone/doom. Atsuo’s percussion is everywhere, turning breakbeat at the first third of “Just Abandoned My-Self” and becoming cavernous on “Blackout.” The guitars are highly drop-tuned on many tracks – especially the shorter ones – which, combined with the fast tempos, create a distinctive crust/psychedelic milieu that detaches Pink from typical sludge metal.
This is a loud album,4 but Pink is not self-indulgent with its noise. “Farewell” and “Woman on the Screen” utilize a wall-of-sound approach that is aurally encompassing yet not consuming. Nor is it pretentious: the production of Pink acknowledges Boris’ influences rather than apes them by sticking true to their doom metal roots, as one may see on “Blackout” and “Just Abandoned My-Self.” Certain tracks are lo-fi, but that need not equate with “poor production.” While the bass may be deafening on “Six, Three Times” and the production may be redlining on “Nothing Special,” either enhance the immensity of sound.
The integration of topically disparate sounds make Pink a solid album for both extreme metal fans and the indie rockers who prefer eclectic production styles.5 It’s a great album for Boris listeners before graduating to Amplifier Worship and Noise, as well as first-time listeners in the world of Japanese heavy metal.
1. Farewell – (7:33) – ★★★★☆
2. Pink – (4:20) – ★★★★★
3. Woman on the Screen – (2:38) – ★★★★★
4. Nothing Special – (2:18) – ★★★★☆
5. Blackout – (4:49) – ★★★★★
6. Electric – (1:45) – ★★★☆☆
7. Pseudo-Bread – (4:29) – ★★★★☆
8. Afterburner – (4:22) – ★★☆☆☆6
9. Six, Three Times – (2:53) – ★★★★☆
10. My Machine – (2:01) – ★★☆☆☆
11. Just Abandoned My-Self – (18:14) – ★★★★★7
2Of which there are several. Recommended listens would be Noise and Akuma No Uta. For a complete left-turn, New Album is a couple synthesizers short of being straight indie/J-pop.
3And it’s goddamn awesome. In the top five most-played songs, according to my tracker.
5Rigorous qualitative research judged the efficacy of Pink at eliciting a positive utility among college radio DJs with a preference for independent/alternative music at WVFS Tallahassee. Sample size = 42. Results demonstrated that p < 0.05.
6I know it’s a popular one, but I always thought this track is a mess.
7Great introduction to drone/doom for those whom Sunn O))) scares.