Bleh! I have been sick most of this week! Fortunately I am well enough to finish running Maze of Nuromen for my group tonight. Plus, I get to meet a new player, one who’s familiar with B/X!
Don’t know if I’ll have time for a real post today while I catch up on a lot of things, so enjoy these new tracks by boris in the meantime.
So, after some careful listening, I’m beginning to figure out what the new Vein IS. IS, as in what it’s composition, based on the original vein, IS.
Disc 1, the reimagined hardcore version, principally takes the one-two minute punk/grindcore tracks, isolates them, and removes most of the droning/jamming (contrary to the name, the hardcore version is comprised of about 50-60% drone). Instead of the extended instrumental intro, it cuts the intro down to just over a minute, adds in an additional instrumental piece that I can’t identify (based on the mix, which is significantly different). The instrumental outro of Side A is instrumental outro of disc 1.
Disc 2, the reimagined drone version, seems to be an extended jam of the the second part of the original hardcore version’s instrumental intro (fuzz/feedback/doomy bassline). Some of this made it into side A of the drone version, but again, the mix is substantially different, with the driving bassline brought front and center. It has more in common, soundwise, with the instrumental intro (around the 5 minute mark) of Hardcore’s side A. The second half of Disc 2 seems like a more straighforward remix of drone side b, although somewhat condensed.
Vein CD is a very different experience than either of the Vein LPs. The hardcore disc is decidedly more hardcore, by simple elimination of the moodsetting instrumentals. The drone disc, while still instrumental and droning, has more of a doom element by pushing the noise to the back and the rhythm to the front of the mixes during its first phases. You have a fairly consistent track, in some ways reminiscent more of Cloud Chamber than Vein’s drone disc, which feels cohesive and thematically similar to the original, while it avoids the ubiquitous squealing of feedback, except in its climax (as mentioned before, taken from the latter portion of Side b), which largely defined its LP counterpart.
While an interesting experiment in reduction and remixing, I feel that a large part from the Hardcore disc is missing. Lacking the extensive and sweeping metal instrumentals that punctuated those brief and incredibly chaotic songs, the CD makes for less pleasurable listening than the LP version. It feels like less of a holistic experience than a collection of short and thrashing punk songs by a band that is more well known for their lengthy and melodious stoner metal suites. The Drone CD, in some ways is an improvement, offering some variation that wasn’t necessarily present on the original, and showcases some of boris’ best hard-driving instrumental metal since the Thing Which Solomon Overlooked series.
I just got the new 2CD Edition of Vein the other day. My first thoughts were “Yay, now I don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to hunt down the Drone version!” and “Yay, now I don’t have to setup my stereo speakers to where the cat will destroy them when i want to listen to my copy of the Hardcore version!” Because Vein, which was one of Boris’s best albums, was released as two clear, unlabeled LPs, the first disc of which was limited to 1100 copies and only released in western hemisphere while the second was limited to 400 copies only released in the eastern hemisphere. Needless to say, getting a full copy of vein was a difficult and expensive prospect, and succeeding would land you in an extremely exclusive group of individuals.
Well, they put out a 2cd set which, instead of being a cd reissue of the original album(s) was a remixed/reimagined cd version on 2 5″cds with 3″ bands (to reflect the strange pressing of the original which had a screened image on the outer two inches of a 12 inch LP.) So, instead of two 30 minute cds or one 60ish minute cd that included the entirety of Vein, they put out two 18 minute cds which together come out to barely over half the time of the original albums. I’m still interested, because it IS effectively a different album, but man! I’m still kinda cheesed that I have to turn to youtube for my digital versions of Vein.
Anyway, I also got their new album, Noise. The Japanese edition, of course, since it came with a second disc that extends things a little over 20 minutes. And I’m glad I did, because those songs on the bonus disc rock pretty hard. I think that Noise may grow on me. While I’m not completely blown away by it like the first time I heard Pink, I have to remember that it took awhile before I fully appreciated Smile and saw it for the masterpiece it was. Whether it grows on me or not, Noise is another step back in the right direction, away from the mess that was New Album, Heavy Rocks 2 and Attention Please.
New Album was such a jarring stylistic transition that it almost felt like a joke (i’m still not sure that it wasn’t, it just wasn’t a funny one, except for how confused western music review sites were when comparing albums in incorrect order because of the discrepancies between the Japanese and US release dates). I could never get past the feeling that “this just isn’t boris, why am I listening to J-Pop?”. Attention Please was interesting, but as much as I adore Wata as a guitarist who could wipe the floor with Eric Clapton any day of the week, she’s boring as a lead vocalist on this boring album that doesn’t really showcase what she’s best at. Heavy Rocks 2 was the best of that sad trio, but ultimately felt like a very uneven collection of B-sides for a better album that never materialized.
Praparat was a huge, shining ray of hope, and Noise is almost what I want from a new boris album. In fact it’s so close and so much better than their 2011 releases, that I’ll take it and be happy about it. It’s almost enough for me to forgive them the Vein CD. At least if I can ever scrape together enough cash for the Thing Which Solomon Overlooked Chronicles, I know it’ll be the original LPs and the bonus disc.
So, after I’m done soaking in the sickly stevia sweet Jetty Rae, I’ll be switching gears and taking in a little chaos from the Japanese lords of metal.