Review / Boris & Uniform — Bright New Disease

Boris. The trio of Wata, Takeshi, and Atsuo have become a stalwart genre-conquering sonic behemoth since their inception in the early ‘90s. They are also well known for embarking on incredible sonic collaborations, Merzbow and SunnO))) being some of the standouts on an already impressive collaborative discography. Enter Uniform, another trio at the forefront of industrial and noise-induced metal and rock emanating out of NYC for the past decade. They also have a propensity to branch out and work with others, specifically The Body. Uniform has had two major releases with the American noise masters. 

It is now 2023, and we see the confluence of Boris and Uniform. At first this might seem a smidgen strange, but if you take a step back and look at the oeuvre of each group it makes a lot of sense. This isn’t their first encounter either; they toured together just before the pandemic hit in late 2019. The crux of this collaboration actually was formed and began during that time period, and we are seeing the fruits of this labor of love in the form of Bright New Disease

The album is a dark, noisy, riff-ridden tour-de-force with one of the darkest album covers in Boris’s discography since Feedbacker. It is a glorious grayscale photograph with Atsuo lording over a table with various fruits and the screaming head of Michael Berdan in a cage. This is what the listener is resented with visually when diving headlong into Bright New Disease. The opening track, and the first single from the album, is “You are the Beginning”. This is wild searing ride that is a riff master class. The interaction between Wata and Ben Greenberg on guitars is absolutely mesmerizing, and that on top of the back-and-forth between vocal styles just makes for an absolute banger of an opener. From there the album unfolds a tortured sonic pathway, hellbent on driving home raucous riffs and twisted waves of noise into a satisfying combination of punk, noise, and metal. The penultimate track on Bright New Disease, “Endless Death and Agony”, exemplifies this beautifully. The opening cacophony of crackled sounds spilling into a grinding lick beneath lyrics that feel almost acidic as they hit the ears. Solo work as if culled from a Lovecraftian void whirl forth from Wata and Greenberg’s amplifiers. The sonic web woven by Boris and Uniform is unearthly splendor.

Simply put, it’s a phenomenal collaboration. Looking at all things in perspective, Bright New Disease damn fitting title for an album that was forged during the COVID-19 lockdowns. Limited physical interaction with the world around you, and the only means of communication being the wonderful world of digital communication — social media, cell phones, email, video games, vid chats etc. Amidst this sea of anxiousness and confusion Boris and Uniform stayed afloat and created an album that not only reflected all the inner turmoil from the pandemic, but also a firm statement of perseverance.

Bright New Disease is out now via Sacred Bones Records and can be ordered here.

Words: Garrett Tanner

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