Boris aren’t a band to shy away from experimenting. In their twenty year career, the group have moved through everything from heavy metal, droning walls of noise, dubstep (you read that right, I swear), to psychedelic rock. In their latest show at Manning Bar the inspiration of all these periods was present, however, the main drawcard of the night was Flood – the band’s hour-long masterpiece from 2000. Alongside Feedbacker (which the band played in 2010) and Absolutego, Flood exists as one of the trademark ‘long songs’ that have defined the band – and if you’ve never heard their music before, it’s a fairly good place to start.
The album exists in four distinct movements; a looped intro, a pedal-infused guitar jam, an explosive climax of distorted guitars, and a droning outro. While on paper, it’s difficult to convey the precision of everything on the record; its refined subtleties and the carefully timed escalation that punctuates the record define it as one of the stand-out pieces of music to emerge from a relatively niche genre. In a live setting, however, Flood evolves into something completely uncompromising. From Takeshi’s slow humming bass that opens the song, Wata’s complex and enviable guitar-work throughout the build-up, to the piercing and overwhelming climax evoked by the echoes of Atsuo’s gong, Boris summon an incredibly natural and distinctive live energy – one few of their contemporaries can compete with.
Opening with ‘Huge’ off their early album Amplifier Worship, as well as playing more well-known tracks from Pink and Rainbow, the band demonstrated a strong compromise between their older material and their newer work, giving fans an adequate mix of both. Boris have been together for over twenty years, and this has become increasingly evident with each tour. If you missed the gig, and are curious to hear what the band sounds like, there are worse things you could do than grab a copy of Flood.