Boris & Merzbow - 2R0I2P0 [Relapse - 2020]Teaming up again for another gorgeous assault on the senses, Boris & Merzbow give their one finger salute to 2020 with 2R0I2P0 (2020 RIP). Mixing heavy, distorted rock with harsh backing soundscapes, the collaboration once again brings an interesting mix of music/non-music in a way that only masters of their craft can produce. While their output is as expected, sometimes that's just what a reeling world needs: solid, loud, comfortable noise rock. A reminder that all is not lost and we still have heavy, cathartic maestros with us, 2R0I2P0 has the grit and power needed to kick 2020 to the curb and grab 2021 by the balls.
Boris, Merzbow, and their numerous collaborations need no introduction, and 2R0I2P0 is no exception. True to form, Boris brings their doomy, melodic, and often catchy rock/metal to the center as the skeleton from which this meaty album hangs. That security is great, as opinions on (let's say) post-2000 Merzbow are hit or miss. However, Akita delivers a healthy dose of noxious noise to the project, which fills in the spaces to bring this collab to its fullest. And, as collabs should go, this one is a healthy mix of both artists, well balanced and done with effort and skill. Opening with the highly textured and lush "Away From You," one may get the feeling that this album will be light and atmospheric, however, it takes a serious tonal shift on the following track, "To The Beach." Using similar sounds to cross over and blend, "Beach" adds in the heavy guitars and puts them on pace with the drums to deepen the attack. While not quite subterranean, this is the start of the descent and a nice lead in for the rest of the album. "Coma," "Love," and "AbsoluteGo" are excellent assaults and work to send the listener into a blissful, noise induced frenzy. The second half of the album goes back and forth a touch between rough and slightly crispy, with "Journey" and "Evol" being the two in the latter category. Well balanced, fun, and constantly moving, 2R0I2P0 has a little something for every fan of distorted tones.
Boris & Merzbow's "sayonara" to 2020 wraps up the tumultuous year nicely and sends it packing. While the album is far more enjoyable than the year itself. it does capture the highs, lows, noisy news onslaught, and need for catharsis. As one that is fairly wary of new titles with Merzbow on the cover, 2R0I2P0 certainly delivers, and anyone looking for something to blast out last year's cobwebs should give this one a couple of spins.Paul Casey