Boris is now one of the best-known Japanese rock bands that doesn't fit under the J-rock blanket, but their international fame only began to gain momentum after the 2005 release of their joyriding, wildeyed, psych-rock statement: Pink. There had been, in fact, nine studio albums released before Pink, and the trio has since come out with a handful more. On each one the distinctive Boris mark is obvious, even on their earliest work, a fact that gets more impressive with each subsequent release. This is a band to which the words "identity crisis" means nothing.
Absolutego is Boris' first full-length album, released in 1996 on the Japanese label Fangs Anal Satan. Like the later Sun Baked Snow Cave, the album was one long, unbroken song. Flood and Feedbacker are two other Boris albums that only hold a single musical piece, but in both of those cases, the album has been broken up into parts.
At this early stage in their career (and especially with music like this, but I'll get to that later), a single release on an unknown Japanese label suited the band well. They had yet to find an audience overseas and wouldn't do so for a number of years, but in 2001 the American label Southern Lord, known haven of doom metal and stoner rock groups, rereleased the album. It was renamed Absolutego+, the plus sign ostensibly standing for the five extra minutes given to the title track as well as a second song entitled Dronevil 2. In 2010 the album was reprinted, on vinyl now for the first time.
This is a drone doom album through and through. You can tell because the guitar sounds like a bass and the bass sounds like an earthquake, and it all plays extremely slow. It's a very sinister sounding album, clearly building to a crescendo but plodding up there at its own maddening pace. The drums don't really come in for about twenty minutes, and the vocals that accompany them are just confused, strangled wails and screams. Once you first hear a human voice though, the album hits a clear plateau and the drum rhythms simplify into a military march's stomp. Once that dies out, the album begins to coast on the massive wave it has built, and up until the 45th minute, the growls of mammoth bass notes just pound soothingly on. At this point, a thick haze of guitar feedback begins seeping from the background, and by 50 minutes this piercing, throbbing dagger of sound is all that can be heard. The rest of the album consists of that one noise, so depending on the version it either rings out for ten or fifteen minutes straight.
A quick glance at Boris' contemporaries in experimental doom metal will reveal that the concept of the album isn't entirely original. Boris has cribbed notes from all the obvious places here: Earth's Extra-Capsular Extraction, Earth 2, and Melvins' Gluey Porch Treatments, Lysol, and the Joe Preston EP. The above were all long, droning pieces that weren't quite doom metal but didn't fit under any other heading quite well enough. All that being said, none of those bands were quite so ambitious enough to record a single song that lasted longer than an hour, and in my opinion Absolutego is much more evil-sounding than any of them. Over the next dozen years Boris would cover a lot of ground, and although Absolutego was a failure as a starting point, it makes a lot of sense in retrospect, and all things considered is a pretty decent debut album.
1. Absolutego (60:15)
Absolutego - Boris - 1996 - Fangs Anal Satan