August 25, 2016
All photos by Bobby Cochran.
While it’s true that today’s heavy music is full of backward-looking, derivative, and unoriginal groups hoping to jump on the Sabbath bandwagon, there are still some pioneers out there doing their thing and doing it well.
Label-mates Boris and Earth are two ensembles that have been pioneering droney, heavy, sludgy music since the 90’s and still manage to break new ground and keep things interesting. Boris have released a staggering 23 albums since 1996, which doesn’t include collaborations or singles. They also refuse to restrict themselves by adhering to any genre or musical classification. From noise/drone to 70’s glitter rock to avant-garde experimental metal, Boris do their own thing and do it very, very well.
On this particular tour, Boris is performing their breakthrough album “Pink” in its entirety. From the opening blast of “Blackout” to the sublime power and beauty of “Farewell,” Boris celebrated the 10th birthday of this seminal album by blasting full-power renditions of these classic tracks, to the delight of everyone in the room.
Earth have been around since the early 90’s, having just barely been involved in the overly-hyped Seattle scene, but forging a sound very different from their musical brothers. Their first album “Earth 2: Special Low Frequency Version” was what many would say was the very first drone metal album made, and the blueprint for many other drone/sludge bands that came afterwards.
They took a break from recording between ’97 and ’05, but came back with the brilliant album “Hex; Or Printing in the Infernal Method,” which embraced broader musical influences while staying true to the sludgy/droney approach they pioneered. Their set at the Fillmore pulled songs from many of their records, but the delivery by the live outfit put new, powerful life into them.
On record, the songs are a thing of subtle beauty, heaviness with a psychedelic sweetness, slow and steady into new realms of the imagination. Live, the power is front and center, the volume pushing the songs to new heights and lifting you up with them. One truly gets the feeling that this is a band whose name fits their music perfectly. Organic, slow and steady, harmonic and discordant at times, but solid and beautiful. Opening with “Coda Maestoso in F (Flat) Minor” from 1996’s “Pentastar – In the Style Of Demons” and ending with “High Command” from the same album, Earth managed to fit just six songs into their hour long set.
At the end of Boris’ set, both bands came together for the encore, performing one of Earth’s classic tracks, “Ouroboros Is Broken,” capping the night with a brilliant and powerful collaboration on a track that is just heavy enough to support both these powerful bands.
Setlist: Blackout | Pink | Woman on the Screen | Nothing Special | N.F. Sorrow | Pseudo-Bread | Afternburner | Six, Three Times | Talisman | Talisman | Are You Ready | Electric | My Machine | Just Abandoned Myself | Farewell | (Encore) Ouroboros Is Broken
For more information about Boris, check their website.
Setlist: Introduction/Coda Maestoso in F flat Minor | Even Hell Has Its Heroes | The Bees Made Honey in the Lion’s Skull | Torn by the Fox of the Crescent Moon | Old Black | High Command
Find out more about Earth here.