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  • As their time spent celebrating a love of heavy sounds and crushing guitar tones approached nearly 20 years, Japanese band Boris had released hours and hours of music, getting into everything from drone metal to shoegaze-inspired pop. Noise, the 19th proper full-length in a discography full of collaborations, EPs, and miscellaneous work, does much to tie together the band's always restless muse. Beginning with the one-two punch of huge alt-rock blasts "Melody" and "Vanilla" covers their penchant for melodic post-grunge still overpowering with fuzzy guitar tones and overblown drums. This shifts into the moody melody and spacy guitar tones of "Ghost of Romance" and then the dreamy, reverb-washed open space of "Heavy Rain." The almost ten-minute assault of "Quicksilver" begins with raw, lightning-speed riffage and screamed vocals that bring to mind early D.I.Y. hardcore and screamo acts before merging into more contained melodies, eventually twisting out of the raw chaos into a more compositional breakdown, eventually sounding as if Sonic Youth got together with some of the Gravity Records roster for an impromptu jam. The song ends with a lengthy outro stuck somewhere between sludge metal, noise experimentalism, ambient drone, and shoegaze texture. It's one of many abrupt gear-shiftings on Noise, but despite the quick change and intentional ugliness, these transitions are never jarring. Even when flirting with sweet harmonies and saccharine drum machines ("Taiyo no Baka") minutes before jumping into a slow-burning 20-minute suite of haunted guitar squall ("Angel"), the songs on Noise all fit nicely and naturally into a well-considered larger statement, making it one of Boris' most captivating and all-encompassing efforts in their abundant and colorful oeuvre. ~ Fred Thomas
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