Akuma no Uta

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Easily identifiable by its rather clever, Nick Drake/Bryter Layter-inspired cover art, Boris' Akuma No Uta in many ways offers a back-to-front cross-section of the Japanese trio's entire career, in all of its many stylistic varieties. Both the nine-minute, molten lava introduction and the closing title track delve in ambient drone tendencies (reminiscent of Earth and label mates Sunn 0)))), while a pair of comparatively brief submissions -- "Ibitsu" and "Furi" -- offer succinct, rudely distorted acid garage psych (think the Stooges, only cruder and heavier, or Spine of God-era Monster Magnet, but more energetic). As for the mid-album piece de resistance, "Naki Kyoku," it takes all of 12 minutes to carry out a gradual crescendo: from its mildly psychedelic, oddly "Freebird"-esque beginnings, through an extended mid-section offsetting equal parts guitar soloing and vocal chanting with fluid bass twiddling over ambient space rock sound effects, before finally arriving at a suitably shuddering sonic earthquake with its feedback-laced finale that's fit to level Tokyo. Standing out negatively amid all of this is the loose and unfocused, mid-paced jam number "Ano Onna No Onryou," which comes off both overlong and uninspired by comparison. Still, five winners out of six attempts is nothing to wrinkle your nose at, making Akuma No Uta almost guaranteed to please both longtime Boris aficionados and newcomers looking to sample a good summary of their talents.

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