Album Review: Boris – LφVE & EVφL

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By Josh Hudson / October 8, 2019
Boris

In their 23 years of existence, experimental rockers Boris have become predictable in two ways – the quality of their prolific output (25 albums in 23 years) and their musical unpredictability.  In both the studio and live settings, one can never be quite sure what they are going to get, but can always count on it being good.

 Enter the group’s latest release, LφVE & EVφL.  Deceptively long, the album’s seven tracks manage to span the length of a double album (an increasingly meaningless distinction in the age of digital releases), although the band asserts that the whole should be viewed as two distinctive works.  That said, there is a cohesiveness to the entire release that warrants packaging them together.  Overall, the album proves to be a melting pot of post rock, noise, drone, and doom metal that melds together seamlessly. 

 The opening track “Away From You” sets the post rock tone with a pleasant repetitive bassline that eventually leads into the second track, the eight-minute noise essay “Coma.” The third track, “EVOL,” begins with three minutes of driving percussion that gives way to more ambience, and eventually a doom guitar riff with an additional soaring guitar lead that proves to be the highlight of the album.

 By the end of “EVOL,” the band has established the full extent of the soundscapes they will explore here. The fact that it takes 30 minutes to do that is something an engaged listener and/or veteran fan of the band may not notice.

 The next track, “UZUME,” is an eight and a half minute dirge that will remind listeners of Sunn O))), ultimately leading into “LOVE,” obviously influenced by the Melvins, which should come as no surprise, considering the band took their name from a track on the Melvins’ album Bullhead (and if you like what you hear, Bullhead is a must-listen).

 “In the Pain(t),” the shortest track on the album at three and a half minutes, revisits the ambient theme, but is less of a drone than it is a post rock space-out.  The whole project culminates in the final track, “Shadow of the Skull,” an eleven-minute doom piece that eventually dissolves into more ambient, noisy drones.

 When considering the nature of the sounds chosen for the album, it is obvious that the band seamlessly transitions from the themes of love and evil put forth by the album’s title.  Overall, this record is less a compilation of songs as much as it is a cohesive work of art that needs to be consumed as a whole to be truly appreciated, much more like a painting than an album in the singles-driven world we live in now.  While some tracks do stand on their own, it is the transition between sounds and themes that makes them all truly effective.

 It can prove to be a challenging listen to the uninitiated, but it is ultimately truly a rewarding experience. For newcomers looking for traditional song structures, this is not the album for that, but a more richer listen awaits. Just make sure you have a good set of headphones.


Boris - LφVE & EVφL

Boris

Boris - LφVE & EVφL

Released: October 4, ​​2019

Track Listing:

1. Away From You

2. Coma

3. EVOL

4. uzume

5. LOVE

6. In the Pain (T)

7. Shadow Skull

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About the author
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Josh Hudson

Josh has been following music in the DMV area ever since he started to call it home a decade ago. When not seeing or writing about music, he is often making it with different groups of musicians around town.