Japanese metal/noise collaboration Boris with Merzbow released a new cover of Melvins’ classic sludge metal track “Boris” in advance of their upcoming album 2R0I2P0, which is due December 11. Boris has said before that they were named after the Melvins song and heavily inspired by them.
Boris with Merzbow naturally plays a much noisier version of the tune. While the original 1991 recording is archetypal sludge metal with loud guitar, chugging drums and shouted vocals all falling together rhythmically, Boris with Merzbow’s cover is a larger wall of sound.
The lead guitar builds up a lot more at the beginning of the song and doesn’t follow the bass, which plays the original Melvins riff. Merzbow’s noise additions are also unpredictable and there’s some extra glitchy production on the vocals. Boris members Takeshi and Wata both sing, with Takeshi singing low and Wata singing high. The group also shortens the song by a few minutes for this single version, but keeps the breakdown at the end, letting the wall of sound drop away to just subdued bass, Takeshi’s vocals and the embers of the electronics.
In an accompanying music video directed by rokapenis, 11 laser projectors beam white light across a large dark room. The light varies in intensity, sometimes washing out the screen, sometimes shooting in straight lines. A silhouetted figure, assumedly Wata, stands in front of the lasers until they’re made invisible by the bright lights.
“Boris” is the second single shared from 2R0I2P0 after “Away from You,” which is a more contrasting blend of melodic metal and noise. The full album is out next week on Relapse Records.
2R0I2P0 will be Boris’ second album of 2020, after a heavy album called NO released in July. They also did a shorter collaboration with experimental rock band Z.O.A. in March called リフレイン (Refrain). Boris and Merzbow have collaborated together several times. Their last Boris with Merzbow album was Gensho in 2016.
Photo credit: Raymond Flotat