Sometimes while I’m listening to Boris, I wonder if I cut them more slack than I do American metal bands. I think I do. I let them get away with a lot more. I shouldn’t. So as of now, I’m going to get past any ethnocentricisisms and review Japanese Heavy Metal Hits Vol. 1-3. It’s great, but not that great.
Japanese Heavy Metal Hits, Vol. 1
I know metal is big in Japan, but I hardly know any of the bands. Today, I did get an album from this Gwar/Poison looking metal band called Sex Virgin Killer. I also like Lite, but that’s more math metal and I don’t know if they are big in Japan. Ignorance aside, Boris has to have some balls to name these 3 singles Japanese Heavy Metal Hits. That’s pretty much saying all heavy metal hits from Japan are theirs, there are only three of them, and oh yea, there are B-Sides that are better than the other japanese heavy metal songs that aren’t hits, and on top of that, some of those B-sides, I’m looking at you “Hey Everyone,” are not even metal. I guess all that thinking can be done in the first 1 minute and 34 seconds of the whole fucking lot because it’s mostly silent for that amount of time and the exact amount of time to read until this point. At 1:35, Boris kicks in and it’s a killer Boris song and it’s called “8.” The vocals sounds like the Beach Boys, which is hard for any band to accomplish, let alone a self-proclaimed HEAVY METAL one. The solos remind me of Boris, which is Boris’ best quality: sounding like no one else.
Japanese Heavy Metal Hits, Vol. 2
“H.M.A.” is the centerpiece of the three discs. The middle tryptych if you pardon the asshole art history class vocabulary. The song is based around a simple metal riff, but it’s nothing to brag about. A thousand metal bands in a thousand moldy basements have that riff. The difference is, a thousand metal bands don’t sing lyrics anywhere in the ballpark of “HEAVY! METAL! ADDICT!” and splatter noises around like a drunk high schooler with a cracked glowstick which also happens to make sounds like a broken guitar. WORSE. ANALOGY. EVER. or really, because I’m feelin’ clever: HORRIBLE! METAPHOR! ASSHOLE! or better yet HIDEOUS! METAPHOR! ADAM! The song is addictive. There’s clapping, a steady rave bass line, weird rusty merry-go-round noises and plenty of Super Fuzz. Side B’s “Black Original” is not an original. It is a Joy Division song that somewhere turns into an Orgy song with much more interesting guitar sounds than the latter and not nearly as much heart as the former.
Japanese Heavy Metal Hits, Vol. 3
The Wata solo song, which is what I call the A SIDE “16:47:52,” is not as great as the actual Wata solo song “Angel,” but it’s definitely useful if you are in the need of a soft and murky Boris song (of which there are few that remain truly soft). There is no beautiful guitar solo and the steady hi-hat is a little annoying. There is a little oooh-aaaah Beach Boys thing going on again. I don’t think I’m crazy about the Beach Boys. Boris has studied Pet Sounds and Smile. If I could speak Japanese, the first thing I’d ask them would be “How fucking great is ‘Good Vibrations?'” And just there, while typing it out, I think I’ve figured out Boris. The same way the Beach Boys invented unabashing in rock music (umm they did right?), Boris carries that torch into metal. Or maybe their just from Japan. And thought Smile was a funny album title.
There is a Vol. 4 add-on exclusive cover of Earth and Fire’s “Seasons,” but I don’t have it. Did you catch that Orgy reference in there? I apologize for putting them in the same sentence as Joy Divison, but geez, where the fuck did that come from? There was a kid I was in middle school with who had an Orgy T-shirt and really liked Our Lady Peace and liked to smoke flavored cigars. I wonder what happened to him.