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Boomkat Product Review:
One of the most hotly anticipated albums in the history of Southern Lord, this latest from J-Metal behemoths Boris lives up to the hype. Cards on the table, this lot have a more chequered discography than their considerable following might suggest: for every outstanding album they've made there's been something not quite right that's upset the applecart - usually the slightly dodgy drumming, or lacklustre, over-ambitious soloing. That's probably why last year's 'Rainbow' album with Michio Kurihara of Ghost was such an outstanding release in Boris' career: with a proper guitarist on board the trio could finally realise the nail-on-the-head fuzzy psych rock that had previously eluded them slightly, even on records as popular and as widely acclaimed as Pink. Kurihara returns to the fold on Smile contributing his searing guitar to a couple of tracks: first, the slow-building opener 'Flower Sun Rain' and later the wailing chaos of "My Neighbour Satan', a song that boasts some of the finest metal guitar riffs to be heard since Pantera split up. 'Flower Sun Rain' goes some way toward showcasing this band's broader range of styles, holding back on the full force of their feedback assault for a good while, only to completely hit their stride on the ferocious 'Buzz-In' and 'Laser Beam', the latter of which only slightly lets the side down with some ham-fisted lead guitar fuzz. Boris' more experimental side comes to the forefront on the drifting, strangely melodic 'Ka Re Ha Te Ta Sa Ki - No Ones Grieve', which drones into life before the drums and vocals kick in for some punishing, yet ultimately tuneful song structures. Southern Lord boss Stephen O'Malley makes an appearance on the fifteen-minute long 'Untitled' track, adding to an air of gradual, contemplative noisemaking and Ebow sustains. It's a track that reminds you what other tricks Boris have up their sleeves when they're not just trying to melt your ears. Awesome.