A decade ago, Japan’s Boris released Absolutego, a record that fossilized the rumbling drone at the cancer-ridden heart of doom metal. Perhaps Boris sensed it had reached end game with this particular bout of musical one-upsmanship. So the band spent the next 10 years messing around with touches of folk, rock, and noise, gently nudging its Melvins-style sludge in different directions. The end result of this playtime is Pink, celestial biker music and Boris’ masterpiece.
The gristly meat of Pink is a string of pedal-through-the-floor rockers that may remind you of acid—both the LSD kind and the stuff that’s in car batteries. And unlike the hour-plus endurance test of Absolutego, they’re short, almost accessible. Even through the clouds of distortion the vocals are catchy. “Electric” hammers a rusty cowbell and boogies with a bruising bass, and it’s all over in two minutes.
But if that’s all Pink was, it’d just be the first flay-your-skin-off rock record of 2006. Pink is bookended by two sweeping, out-of-body epics—seven and 10 minutes, respectively, of hangar-sized guitars and vocals trailing their own decaying signal, pretty in a heavy-weather sort of way—that shame just about any metal act that’s tried a similar move in the last few years. It adds an unexpected splash of beauty to an album that’s otherwise tougher than leather and uglier than Lemmy’s wart.