The cover art may ape Nick Drake, but the closest Japanese metal trio Boris comes to a ballad is the blank space between the songs. A grim, harrowing descent into darkness, Akuma No Uta takes the pitch-black witch rock of early Sabbath and delivers it with an eye-popping fury. But even though the songs are moving at a breakneck pace, they still sound gloriously waterlogged. The guitar tone on "Ibitsu" is so low it threatens to detonate the subwoofer — it's a 900 pound St. Bernard that moves with the velocity of a stock car.
There's a weird kind of "otherness" to the songs. It's not just that the lyrics are in Japanese, or that the 10-minute introduction is little more than a toneless, ethereal drone. There's a kind of heft and weight and urgency to the music that makes Akume sound like an artifact from a whole lost civilization. Paradoxically, it gets more mysterious, more cryptic and more fascinating with each pass.