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Boris With Merzbow: Gensho

Japan’s sonic explorers prove that opposites attract

Two of Japan’s foremost heavy music experimentalists return with a seismic 150-minute double album, marking the fourth chapter of their provocative ongoing collaboration.

Boris have dedicated a quarter-century to celebrating the artful collision of blissed-out shoegaze, pillowy dreampop and ambient textures of drone and sludge. Several kilometres down the extremity spectrum lies Merzbow, whose edgeless, frequency-blitzed noise compositions routinely invite comparisons to heroic feats of human endurance. On Gensho, the symbiotic partnership invests the latter’s work with a loose compositional framework and the former’s with a noisily combative tension

Boris’s velvety, reverb-drenched pop hooks on tracks like Farewell and the ethereal purr of Akirame Flower suggest The Jesus & Mary Chain playing a farewell concert from a far-off, runaway asteroid, while Merzbow’s contributions, particularly the sphincter-loosening shriekfest Planet Of The Cows, and the half-hour sonic bloodbath of Goloka, Pts 1&2, rely on linear, pulsating phrases to erect gooseflesh-inducing walls of noise.

Together they yield a mesmerising mélange of darkness, light and cerebral depth.

Hailing from San Diego, California, Joe Daly is an award-winning music journalist with over thirty years experience. Since 2010, Joe has been a regular contributor for Metal Hammer, penning cover features, news stories, album reviews and other content. Joe also writes for Classic Rock, Bass Player, Men’s Health and Outburn magazines. He has served as Music Editor for several online outlets and he has been a contributor for SPIN, the BBC and a frequent guest on several podcasts. When he’s not serenading his neighbours with black metal, Joe enjoys playing hockey, beating on his bass and fawning over his dogs.