Noobhammer here again with another discussion of the table that is round. This week I have four topics to touch with the mighty Excalibur. Two of those topics are reviews of concerts I have been to recently—Boris and Cynic; the other two topics are album reviews. One, for me at least, is the long awaited Blind Guardian album At The Edge of Time, and the new Iron Maiden album, The Final Frontier. However, due to the length of these subjects, I will be dividing it into 3 segments, which will span this entire week, so look for the other two later this week. So once again, let us delve deep into my brain, which is littered with Magic: The Gathering cards, D20s, and of course dragons I wish I could train and ride. First, I’m going to give you guys a look at the least power-metal item in this entry, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t powerful. This is of course Boris at the Cat’s Cradle.
From the moment I walked through the doors of Cat’s Cradle and took up my usual spot at the front-center of the stage, I knew that I was about to witness something special. The stage was giving off a vibe as the Sunn (O))) amps stood there gleaming in light, lowly humming, barely audible over the talking of the crowd. Soon the lights dimmed, darkening the stage, and the opening band took the stage. For the life of me, I can’t remember their name. Maybe at the old age of 22, my memory is finally starting to fade from me, but what I can remember is that they put on a great show. Two guys from the Czech Republic just rocking out, enjoying their tour.
As soon as they finished playing, no one moved from their spots as the lights came back up, and the stage techs feverishly worked to set up Boris’ drum kit and tune their instruments. The tension inside of me started to build as the workers one by one left the stage, the last one blinking a flashlight towards the back of the venue, signaling that they were ready. Almost instantly the lights dimmed, and the crowd rose as one in a roar of excitement as fog began to cover the stage. The members of Boris walked through the clouds, like the Japanese monsters they are. As they took their positions on the stage, I felt my excitement begin to boil over as I watched with anticipation.
Suddenly from out of nowhere, I felt as if I had been struck by a 747. After the initial wave of shock had passed over me, I realized that feeling was the first note of Boris playing. A low, driving hum, echoing from amps signaled the start of my journey. The high guitars notes slowly crescendoed, mixing with the bass to form a haunting melody that stirs the deepest recesses of your soul. I didn’t have time to even comprehend what was happening as Takeshia began to wail mournfully into the mike, his voice barely audible over the drone of guitars and drumming.
My mind was lost in a trance as they band continued to play. I couldn’t believe what was happening in front of me. There are only five instances I can think of in which I have been truly blown away, and left speechless by a band: Isis, Jesu, Pelican, Nine Inch Nails, and now, Boris. I have listened to many of their studio albums, Smile and Pink being two of my favorites, but they never prepared me for the live show. Not even the live albums prepared me enough for the audio onslaught against my ears and even my soul. Watching them live had me rooted to the spot, my mouth agape in wonder at the beauty and chaos in front of me. The guitars washed over one another, forming melodies within their layers.
Even their faster paced songs didn’t cause the crowd to break into a ruckus and mosh. We banged our heads, but we couldn’t move from where we were standing. Boris seemed to have cast a spell over everyone in the venue. As they played through all their songs, not once did I lose focus, become distracted, or even wish for them to end. In fact, I wanted them to continue playing well into the night. It wasn’t until they finished playing the Black Sabbath-esque “1970” and said goodnight to us all that the spell was broken. I looked around in confusion, like so many others around me, trying to explain what I had just witnessed. When I turned back to the stage, the band had left as mysteriously as they came. Luckily I got to meet them after the show and talk to them, but when asked about the seemingly magical and entrancing effect of their show, all I got from them was a smile.