Boris - Dronevil Final (Inoxia Records 2xCD)
If you haven't grown the slightest bit weary of Boris' pastiche by now, you're a better human than I. It seems like every couple of months the band are trotting some kind of expanded, revised, updated edition of one of their albums, tacking on a few minutes of extra music so their diehard fanbase will buy it. And they do. Heck so do I. Although I myself try to draw the line at just one version of an album (and believe me, there are people who own all four versions of "Mabuta No Ura", all three versions of "Pink", both colors of the "Solomon" volumes 2 and 3 vinyl, etc.). The gimmick Boris have gotten into of releasing albums with different music based on which edition you got was fun at first, but it's become incredibly tedious and a strain on the poor Boris fan's wallet. I guess you could say they've learned well from the Sunn O))) businessmen.
"Dronevil" was a double LP released by Misanthropic Agenda in 2005, limited to 1000 copies. Actually I think the black vinyl was released in a pressing of 1000, but there was an even more miniscule pressing on grey (beginning to understand my frustrations yet???). I remember signing up for the Misanthropic Agenda mailing list and checking every single day to make sure I didn't miss out. I wound up getting one, and I remember it wasn't particularly cheap either. But now, alas, that's all for naught as Japan's Inoxia Records label (home to most Japanese Boris releases) have re-released it on digital form, and I don't think it's limited at all unless I'm totally mistaken.
Although to be fair, this re-release isn't entirely unwelcome. For starters, the band have added two brand-new 20-minute tracks to the beginning of each disc, "Loose" on "Disc Drone" and "Red" on "Disc Evil". And they sync up too. You see, the deal with the original "Dronevil" was that you were supposed to play each LP simultaneously on two record players. Kinda like what Brutal Truth or the Flaming Lips were tapping into. And it's probably a lot easier for folks to scrounge up two stereos than two record players. The discs can also be heard seperately if you like, which adds up to 2 full hours of back-to-back music...but it's just not as fun.
As I said before, the new tracks "Loose" & "Red" start off the album, bandying about guitar drones that have much more in common with post-rock than doom metal. It's nothing too heady until you get about 12 minutes in and the band start showing their colours when "Red" kicks into gear. It still sounds a lot like sludge metal with a heavy post-rock influence ala Isis, Neurosis, Pelican et al. Although I guess that is what a perfect synthesis of "drone" and "evil" would sound like, though.
The combo of "Giddiness Throne" and "Evil Wave Form" play next (the three tracks on disc one are of almost equal lengths to the tracks on disc two, so basically there are three tracks when played together). It follows in the same aesthetic forged by the previous tracks, with a long drone circa Boris & Merzbow's "Sun Baked Snow Cave", except this one absolutely erupts into a noisey, heavy stoned/stoner metal freak out. Imagine the most crushing moment of their "Flood" album played by the band when they're in full-on "Pink" mode and you have a decent enough idea of what to expect...although it's still going to hit you pretty hard, I guarantee it.
The last set of tracks is "Interference Demon" and "The Evil One Which Sobs". There's a guitar riff played delicately over a squealing drone that sounds like the afterburn from the last track's jet engine take-off. It's more like the intro to "Flood" than anything else. And, like the other two, it explodes into a massive, fuzzy guitar riff and destructive, awe-inspiring drumming. The shoegazer Boris found on "Mabuta No Ura" wouldn't be a bad comparison, but with a bit more of a metal edge. Eventually the band lock into a Sleep/"Jerusalem"-esque groove with plenty of psyched-out guitar soloing over top (kinda like their "Heavy Rocks" album or their constantly-reworked track "A Bao a Qu"). It fades out into a lovely little drone with an acoustic (!) guitar working the coda.
This is a really nice set. In fact, I wish it wasn't so I could hate it more. Wouldn't it be a lot easier to be a bitter asshole if Boris albums weren't usually so great? Oh well...having said that, if you were one of the thousand or so who missed out on the 2LP the first time around, I'd strongly recommend this one. Boris weave pretty much all their styles together here (and the discs work incredibly well together too). On the other hand, if you've got the 2LP, I'm not entirely sure I would recommend this unless you were a Boris diehard (in which case you don't even need me to tell you anything; you've already ordered it). The bonus tracks are good, but not as good as what was already on the records...it's yr call, mate.
And I swear to god if the next time I talk about Boris on this site is when I'm reviewing something like "Feedbacker Mega" or "Akuma No Uta: The Director's Cut", then I'm really going to be out for blood.