Bo Ningen - III - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Bo Ningen - III

by Rich Morris Rating:7 Release Date:2014-05-12

Bo Ningen’s third album, the sensibly titled III, will be very familiar to those who know the band’s output well, reliably startling for those who don’t. Beginning with the doom chords and atonal riffing of ‘DaDaDa’, it’s immediately clear that these Japanese noiseniks haven’t seen any compelling reason to alter their formula of gonzo psych-rock and gibbering, near-brain-melting intensity.

Which isn’t a bad thing, of course. Few bands ever get close to Bo Ningen’s brand of furious, unbridled monster-riffage, situated somewhere in the middle of Swans, Boris, Acid Mothers Temple, King Crimson, Gang of Four, and Nirvana at their most supremely pissed. However, it does mean that the shock-of-the-new is no longer on their side.

Bo Ningen still only really have two types of songs: the one which comes on like a heavy metal monkey on industrial strength blotter acid with a thousand volts up its bum. The best example of that here is ‘Psychedelic Misemono Goya (Reprise)’, which is reliably excellent and surprisingly funky.

Then there are the ones like ‘Mukaeni Ikenai’: slow, mantric jams build around dreamy riffs and wispy vocals. To be fair, ‘Mukaeni Ikenai’ is the closest Bo Ningen have come to a conventional ballad. It could actually be commercial if it wasn’t nine-minutes-long.

There’s no denying that’s what’s here is excellent psych-rock, and it’s sometimes inventive too: the moment when ‘Maki-Modoshi’s extended intro of droney, industrial pounding and looped vocals abruptly switches to taut hardcore thrash is hard to beat, while ‘Mitsume’ sound intriguingly like a hard metal take on Stone Roses baggy. On many tracks, however, the most interesting moments are fleeting. ‘Kaifuku’, for example, initially sounds like The Cure circa their early none-more-black phase, but quickly resolves itself into another extended psych-jam session.

Overall, Bo Ningen now sound like no one other than themselves. In particular, singer Taigen’s helium screech is immediately identifiable, and is liberally splattered throughout III. Maybe you just can’t get enough of their mental phase sound. Fair enough, but I’d like to see a little more evolution on album four. 

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