BXI is the latest release from Boris and yet another successful collaboration between the Tokyo, Japan trio and an outside contributor. The band's extensive recording output now features Ian Astbury, the lead singer of groups including The Cult and The Doors of the 21st Century. East meets west when Boris' kaleidoscopic, psychedelic metal collides with Astbury's fluid voice. The two thankfully go hand-in-hand, making a match in Heaven rather than Hell.
The four new friends first showcase their skill on the rousing "Teeth and Claws." Astbury's confident, soaring vocals glide smoothly over fuzzy, muted guitar chords. In contrast, resounding percussion gives the fist-pumping chorus an added dose of adrenaline. Melancholic and dreamlike, it's the kind of anthem a duo as potent as Astbury and Boris should produce.
"We are Witches" keeps up the momentum, unleashing a torrent of raw riffing and rhythmic drumming. Astbury's voice swells from powerful singing to cathartic bellow, increasing the song's urgency with words alone. His vocals are gloomy and stark, fiercely clashing with the feminine lilt of Boris' Wata. When the two stop verbally competing and chant the song title together instead, the effect on listeners is nothing short of black magic.
"Rain" works well despite Boris covering Astbury's old band The Cult without using his powerful voice. Going it alone, they turn their conspirator's tune into a surreal rocker drenched in watery feedback. The only vocals are Wata's, her ghostly singing displaying wistfulness and regret. Gentle and soothing, it evokes images of a quiet downpour befitting the song's title.
"Magickal Child" best utilizes the pairing between man and band, Astbury and Boris discovering the full depth of their team-up. The guitars swell from gentle static to massive roar, producing the level of quality, mesmerizing metal Boris last employed on 2005's Pink. Astbury provides the icing on the cake, his mournful wails giving the proceedings grace and gravitas. The song gradually dies down, fading into an echoing hum which provides one final, soothing caress.
BXI is a tantalizing teaser of what a Boris and Astbury full-length album could sound like should it materialize. Lush, noisy, and raw, it shows two career chameleons reinventing themselves yet again. This is one partnership which will prove powerful for years to come should it last.
Teeth and Claws
We are Witches
Rain (The Cult Cover)
Mark Hensch is the editor of Thrashpit. His writing also appears on his Heavy Metal Hensch blog at The Washington Times.