BXI – Boris and Ian Astbury – This EP brings out the best of both Cult lead singer Ian Asthbury and Japanese metal gods Boris. Whenever I think of this music, I think of the shot of the older Conan in Conan the Barbarian, sitting on his throne like some kind of decadent Viking king:
The EP features three originals with Astbury on lead vocals and one cover version of The Cult song Rain, with the petite female Japanese guitarist Wata on vocals. The music is heavy, but artier and more damaged than most metal. Astbury continues his lyrical fascination with Native American spirit imagery, which is strange coming from an Englishman, but that somehow always works in his favor.
The music sounds tired, but not in the way that that word would typically be applied to music. It is decadent and world weary, like a warrior that has gone too far and crossed the final borderline, overly satiated on bloodlust and sex. There is nothing left to do now but sing a death song while crossing the threshold. There is a strange violent beauty to this music. The sound of one defeated only because there is nothing left to conquer.
For the first week of 2015 I am writing pieces about records that I can only describe as “batshit insane”. These are brilliant albums that are so dark they cross the threshold into a knowing comedy. If you want to understand exactly what I mean in more detail read the first paragraph from the start of this series:
I love records that one can only describe as sounding “batshit insane”. Where the artist seems as if they are out-crazying the din and the whirlwind of the Great Void. Albums that trump death, even if the artists are alive and the albums don’t even have death as a central theme because, even if it is subconsciously, they know it is out there and they seem not to give a shit. I am reminded of the character at the end of Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle who dies, “lying on my back, grinning horribly, and thumbing my nose at You Know Who.” I also think of George Carlin, putting on a show making the batshit insanity of this world hilarious, and then ending his set by standing on one leg with his arms outstretched, daring to be smited. These are albums where artistic fear is not only not present, it almost seems as if the artists are daring you not to like them. Albums like this make me laugh out loud and warm my heart to its very foundation. I could be having the worst day possible and when I put one of these records on I think, “Thank God they are out there.” I wanted to write about several of these records to start 2015 out on the right foot. My goal is to post at least one record a day for the next week. I’m just having fun, like a child skipping through a field.