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The Longest Songs in Metal, Part 6 - 75%

Insin, April 3rd, 2016

For their third album, Boris expands beyond playing only drone/doom and moves into the wider realm of minimalism. Both genres can be hard to get into or even understand and appreciate, but Boris obviously does a lot with a little, even from an objective standpoint considering there are about three musical themes that they fit into four parts that run for seventy minutes.

The main premise of this song is the juxtaposition and interplay of peacefulness with distress. The simple, soothing opening guitar riff is repeated for the duration of the first section, gradually layered over itself and drenched in reverb. The crescendoing drums fills, while they can at first feel intrusive, seem to signal buildup, and near their end thunder like rain down a sewer drain. But all that happens is the song dies down again, into another peaceful section. More traditionally percussive with a light and steady beat, it had almost a jazzy post-rock feel to it, and while not quite ambient, it comes fairly close.

And then we get to the metal. There’s a sort of overture as we come out of the second section, bringing in the first true vocals, and then main riff thrusts its way into the forefront, a glorious, crushing doom metal attack. As if this riff wasn’t making it obvious enough that the song’s peak has been reached and the buildup is complete, someone hits an actual gong back there.

They then proceed to follow this up with a long breakdown of the doom riff as the song slowly fades into nothingness, the murky bass an ominous force after the initial ecstasy of hearing the riff. Some closure is desired after such an amount of buildup, the breakdown simply goes on for too long.

Aside from the drawn-out ending, the other major issue with Flood is, ironically enough given its name, the lack of flow. The parts are very distinct and have little relation to each other. Transitions are virtually nonexistent. Each section has its merits (the fourth/breakdown to a lesser extent) – the peacefulness of most of the first two and of course the tremendous doom riff – but it does not flow together as one full song.

It is impressive what Boris is able to do with so little, and it takes a certain type to pull it off, which, for the most part, they do. But unfortunately Flood is lacking in other aspects that are unrelated to its sheer minimalism. Still, I would recommend it to any fan of the genre or someone with patience looking for something new, interesting, and weird.

Very long, hypnotic ambient / bluesy post-rock - 75%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, June 14th, 2012

Boris usually excels with very long one-track albums but sometimes I wonder whether the band has over-extended itself on "Flood". The introduction alone - a repeating guitar melody loop of about four notes with a few wobbles - lasts some 12 minutes. I understand the music is meant to be hypnotic and long enough for the listener to feel totally absorbed into the world it evokes but throughout this piece (nearly an hour and 10 minutes long), there are moments that call for some editing. Still this is a very pleasant and relaxing work, a bit of surprise for those who thought Boris in its early days was all grinding guitar doom and metal experimentalism: "Flood" is Atsushi, Wata and Takeshi at their most instrumentally ambient / bluesy / melodic post-rock.

The fun really begins after the crucial twelfth minute when the introduction finally gives way to gentle washes of oceanic-wave sound. A tune finally arrives around the 17th minute and it's a plaintive one that reminds me of melancholy urban blues rock in the style of those Canadian post-rockers Do Make Say Think. The DMST comparison becomes even more obvious when Wata begins her lead guitar solo, an equally mournful and pained tone melody. As the music continues, there are serene vocals that are half-singing / half-chanting. By this point, the overall mood is restful and serene.

After the 30th minute, the track starts to sizzle with steely abrasive guitar noise slowly ebbing into the music. Then a huge crest of percussion thunder crashes down and the Boris we've all been hanging out for charges to the fore with a majestic drum rhythm and crushing riffs. A soulful high-pitched lead guitar somewhat far back in the mix joins in and the music chugs along until about the 40th minute where it all froths up in what appears to be a climactic finish to the track. Actually there's about half an hour to go - sure enough, gritty guitar texture drones dominate the track after the fireworks display has died down. For most Boris fans, this'll be the part of "Flood" they enjoy most, being all noise guitar sandpaper drone with whirling eddies of pointillist guitar tone. Just before the 50th minute, the miniature sandstorm dies down and the music goes into an extended coda of guitar-note tranquillity with plenty of serene space. The track finishes up with some dramatic gong washes as if a religious ritual had just ended.

There's actually plenty to revel about in "Flood" but most of the attractions are in the middle of the track with the beginning and ending the most drawn-out and least interesting parts of the piece. As with many long Boris tracks, there is a definite structure involving a build-up from lowly beginnings to a plateau and climax after which the music slows down and withdraws gradually; on "Flood", this withdrawal is very extended and this is one part of the track that might benefit most from some heavy-duty editing.

Boris You! Black Emperor. - 91%

caspian, April 25th, 2011

It's hard to say what hasn't already been said about Boris.. Their genre jumping, their extremeness, their awesomeness etc.etc. After being floored by their surprisingly accessible album "Pink" it was very hard to pick what to get next. I didn't want a totally mind blowing noise album, but having no idea I got this one, Absolutego and Heavy Rocks. I haven't heard the other ones yet, but if they're as good as this, I'm in for a treat.

This is a very psychedlic and surprisingly gentle album from Boris. As far as I can tell, this is Boris's way of saying to Mogwai, Godspeed! and Mono "You think you're good? Get a load of THIS" and then slaying them all with this album. The album starts off fairly Mogwai-ish, with a slow, delayed guitar riff going on for what seems like an age. Just one guitar riff, nothing else for 9 minutes until some super reverbed percussion starts washing over you. The percussion/noise builds up until the next track/piece of the song (My version consists of four tracks), where everything drops out, and a gentle, druggy kind of guitar riff comes out, with some really minimalist drumming, sounding like an even more sedate Mono tune. Gentle synths slowly get into the mix, and while some people may expect a big Godspeed style climax, we're left with a pretty soulful, almost classic rock style guitar lead from Wata (Hottest Female in Metal? Maybe!) that is completely unexpected and totally awesome.

Track 3 kicks in quickly, and it's an almost identical guitar riff to the clean bit in track 2, with more synths, but no drums. There are vocals though, for the first time yet in this album, though they're more like an instrument then a centrepiece. By the six minute mark, however, feedback is coming in, and just when you think it's gone out again, you're treated a big wall of riffs coming in, almost like a slower, heavier then usual Isis, which is Awesome, of course. We are then treated to a cool burst of godlike Japanese vocals, and just general big riffing. It eventually fades away into pretty cool feedback and the like, with one riff repeating over and over again. It sounds a lot like Pelican.. Just way slower and way better (Not that Pelican are bad.. It just owns Pelican, that's all.). After hearing that mammoth beast of a song, I can just imagine most post-rock/post-metal bands being all depressed, and then splitting up, with the Knowledge that they will never be that good.

Oh, and it isn't even over yet. Part IV continues the same riff, but a bit differently with a lot of synths over the top. It sounds great. Then Boris do their expected thing (as in, they do want you don't expect) and it gets quieter and quieter, and by the eleven minute, until fading into very low level ambient noise. I guess if I had the one long song version, it would make more sense, but they should've just made Part III 40 minutes long. While some people may question the wisdom of a 20 minute long fade out, anything less would not have done this song justice.

After hearing this release, it seems that Boris have just rendered all Post-Rock bands obsolete.

A cascade from God could not prove more true. - 98%

the_drone, December 23rd, 2007

It is hard to find words for albums that truly create works of art and change one's outlook on how they perceive music. In this modest review I will attempt to wrap words around a truly indescribable album, created by the Japanese drone/stoner rock band; Boris.

The album is made up of just one song, an epic, 70+ minute long track that can only be aptly named "The Flood".

The first track opens in silence, lulling the listener into a sort of daze until *click* you can hear the reel snap, for the analog recording machines that Boris uses. It's at that point that a short, oft-repeated guitar line is first played. With much delay and echo the line continues, slowly at first, and then begins to loop itself, until it begins to layer. While listening a soothing sense comes to mind while soft wind chimes are heard in the back-ground. The "rain" of the guitar parts continues it's gentle, cascading repetition unaccompanied, until the 6 minute mark when the first few claps of thunder are heard in the distance. The rain slowly picks up pace, while the thunder becomes more ominous...closer...

At the 11 minute mark the storm really picks up, and a sense of urgency comes over the listener. A sense that something horrible is about to happen, a sense that shelter must be found. At 12 minutes the gentle rain has been replaced with falling hail, and never-ceasing thunder and lightning, with the band having actual howling wind recorded and tossed into the track to put ones mind in a state of being in an actual gale.

The second track opens up with a soothing, melodious cymbal rhythm, and a calming guitar line that evokes well-being. The storm feels like it's over, with the sun peeking it's rays through the clouds, and the nothing but drizzle remains. Things remain calming, even through the languid guitar solo around the 7 minute mark.

The third track starts with a caressing guitar line, and the first vocals to be heard thus far. But, at about 5 minutes in, something is wrong. The first heavy-distortion to be heard on the guitar arrives, taking over the once-peaceful soundscape and molds it into something truly frightening. It slowly fades away, only to lull the listener into a false sense of placidity, coming back stronger, and more upbeat than ever.

The chord progression continues until soaring, epic vocals cut through the noise, and then a heavier-than-heavy, bass laden riff pushes through, crushing all things once peaceful. While this happens another searing guitar line manages to dig it's way out of the sludge and fly into a solo, while the bass keeps churning. And churn it does ! (for the remainder of the 20 minute track).

The final, and longest track of "Flood" comes to us with an offering of clean guitar chords, and resounding, distant bass.

The storm is over.

The rest of the track is soothing, and leaves one with a sense of accomplishment. It ends on a gentle note, leaving the air clean with a somewhat ominous wind blowing...

Brilliant band, brilliant release - 92%

VeryEvilScreenName, March 5th, 2005

This band are pretty fascinating. Every individual release they put out, is different from the last. They jump from Doom to Stoner to Sludge to Experimental to Drone to Heavy Rock with a mere flick of the wrist. But all the while, keeping a total mould on basing their music around eccentricity. A lot of mellow, melodic parts thrown in, too.

This release is an hour and ten minute long song called Flood. But if you were to listen carefully, you could notice, it's kind of broken up into 4 parts. The first 40 seconds is just backing noise, which then leads into a simple melodic guitar part, which is pretty psychedelic and gets faster, adds extra notes here and there. It's all very simple for about 10 minutes, until you get blasts of backing noise. Which then get faster, a relentless noise, like a banging noise which then takes full control as the guitars drop out completely.
After 14:40, all this chaos totally slows down then stops, and for me, this is like the 2nd part out of the imaginary 4 parts I was talking about. I mean, for me, that 14 minute part 1 is a totally brilliant way to build up to this little drop. The seemingly "chaotic" banging sound has totally stopped now to make way for a very, very simple and slow drum part. So far all so simple, but affective. After about 30 seconds of this simple drum beat, which is basically a ride being tapped gently and a snare every 6 seconds, this very slow and quiet drum roll kicks in. Which then leads to a very beautiful and melodic guitar part. This beautiful rhythm keeps up for a good 2 minutes, before an overlapping guitar part comes in, fully harmonizing this beautiful melody. It's at this point that you KNOW this is a stunning release. This is a totally free from commotion type moment, total calmness. After an extra minute, the overlapping harmonisers become the main focus, with a more piercing, louder approach. It's almost the anthem to that alleged peaceful moment before you drown to death, IE 'Flood'. The piercing guitar part only lasts a minute, for it to go back into the original simple melodic rhythm. Which then, another few minutes later, allows another guitar part to come in, which is a simple adaptation of the basic rhythm. It's a mere few simple notes, not of the same tranquillity of the earlier piercing sound, but it goes very well. This guitar lead, also, does not last long and fades out and stops. Which leaves us with the very slow drum beat, which hasn't changed speed once, and a few simple notes being played over the top of each Snare or Bass hit. Then, it again builds up to previous guitar lead parts that were shown, once again.
Since that first introduction of the simple drum part, there has been 13½ minutes gone. The beat suddenly stops and the guitars carry on going. For me, this is the imaginary part 3 of the song. This next part lasts a good 5 minutes, with very, very discreet and faint vocals in the background, almost whispers (probably are). 30 seconds later, and a teasing sound of feedback slowly adds to the song, which eventually becomes the loudest part. Which then totally disappears a minute later to allow the guitar to have a moment of it's own. Then the guitars stop after 15 seconds. The feedback comes in quietly and then the drums, and what do we have here? This is the Stoner Rock part. Very nice sound too, very simple, slowish tempo. Which lasts 2 minutes, before some brilliant vocals kick in and harmonize everything beautifully. What a band. These vocals only last a short minute, if that. These prove to be adding to a rough total of only about 1½ mins of vocals in total, out of a possible 1hour & 10mins. Brilliant. Nice harmonize, stoner style guitar work over the top. This Wata guitarist is a great song-writer. The tempo of the drumming slowly fades into drum rolls, which eventually fade out completely, to allow the guitar work to be a few notes played, relying on the following feedback. This is repeated for 10 minutes and acts as the unofficial "outro" to the 3rd part of this song.
The feedback stops for the first time to allow the imaginary part 4 to start. Which carries on this simple baseline. Which appears to get slower and slower, no drum part at all. Very calm. The bass fades out after 6 minutes or so, to allow a very slow part. Just the odd note being played, echoing in this feel of total calmness. For the next 10 minutes, it basically repeats the backing noise you heard as the first 40 second intro to the whole song. Except it's fading out, rather than fading in.

Always believed that large pieces of Music that have small, but unreal moments of beauty out of nowhere that last a short while, are total genius pieces of Music. Especially as all the build up and the long outro intensifies and compliments the 'beautiful' part. Not to mention the short, but genius stoner part.
This is a fantastic release, maybe requires a little patience, but it's very well worth it. Most of their other releases are fantastic, too.