The cover of Japanese drone-metal trio Boris’s new Akuma No Uta
is such a dead-on pastiche of Nick Drake’s Bryter Layter that a glimpse of it is likely to inspire even the most rabid Drake fan to sigh, “Christ, they’re reissuing this again?” The sort-of joke starts kicking in when one notices that the cover’s Drake sit-in, Boris bassist-vocalist Takeshi, is holding a double-necked bass/guitar. The band, which leads a double life as design firm Fangs Anal Satan, keeps its homage visual. The obvious affinity to infer is that drone metalists are sad just like Drake was, but it’s worth remembering that Bryter was the folkie’s most chipper album, and the thing about Akuma‘s brisk alternation of feedback fests, thrash throwaways, and mini-Zep flourishes is how much fun it is—Takeshi, guitarist Wata (she of the imposing orange Orange amp), and drummer Atsuo make no effort to hide how much they enjoy making their racket. Hence, those who gravitate to extreme metal hoping for a continuation of certain contemporary classical practices (Xenakis’s extreme noise, Lamonte Young’s trance generators) by other means may find Boris a trifle lightweight. Still, sometimes one prefers a psychic palate cleanser to a full-on brain eraser.