Release Date: Apr 29, 2008
Record label: Southern Lord
Genre(s): Rock, Experimental, Metal
Even though Japan noise/metal/rock/drone kings Boris have created a progressive body of work, the latest release from the prolific trio seems to be carrying baggage of the band’s recent collaborations with both Sunn0))) and Merzbow, in addition to further merging existing influences like punk and hard rock. With all that going into the blender, Smile is remarkably diverse. The pacing changes from the psychedelic melancholy of opener Flower Sun Rain into quick, loud and messy punk/noise explosions before opening up the freak-out floodgates on My Neighbor Satan.
"My Neighbor Satan" on the American album is called "Next Saturn" on the Japanese, and features Kurihara again. The title is the only real difference here; he also appears on the beautiful spacy "You Were Holding an Umbrella." Here is where the greatest contrast between the two albums lies. On the American version of the tune, it gradually builds into a wonderful psych ballad with some chiming, droning tones that simply morph into the untitled 15-and-a-half-minute jam that closes the set and features Sunn 0)))'s Stephen O'Malley on guitar.
Boris is a steam engine of a power trio whose sound careers violently all over the psych-rock map. Smile is the band's proper full-length follow-up to Pink, their international career zenith to date, the album that rocketed them to into the collective headbanging consciousness. Said consciousness really enjoys things like, for example, having its face melted by super lightning-bolt riffs, unholy infinite drones, and drooling in print about the sheer, near-unthinkable sublimity of Finnish doom LPs where the album name is ten consonants randomly put together.
It’s hard to imagine a time when Japanese power trio Boris, or more specifically the discussion of the limited permutations of their records and assorted merch, wasn’t the stuff of fanboy wet dreams. But I swear – that time really did exist. Back before the onslaught of new releases, collaborations, reissues, and other assorted ephemera that seemed to pop up on a monthly basis in and around 2005/6, these three were pushing strains of doom metal, avant hardcore, and noise-kissed ambient drone into surprising directions with each and every release.