Boredoms / Chocolate Synthesizer
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Showing no signs of toning down their aural assault, Boredoms replaced their hard rock sludgery and funk / rap experiments with abrasive, no-wave feedback and distorted tribal explorations on 1994’s screeching Chocolate Synthesizer. Yamatsuka Eye’s vocals are more ominous, and the trance-like grooves that the band would explore to great success later in their career first appear here. The album is a masterful bookend to the first part of their violently grinning, noise-rock œuvre. Not content with repeating themselves, Boredoms tone things down with the almost ambient “Synthesizer Guidebook on Fire,” while “Shock City” is the band’s own gonzo take on traditional Japanese folk music. Prog rock rears its head on songs like the pounding krautrock / metal epic “Acid Police,” and the title track brings in shards of synth and percussion for a brief, dreamy respite. All of this, and Chocolate Synthesizer still offers a healthy dose of Boredoms’ trademark harsh atmospherics, insane vocals, skewed guitar riffage and sound-collage absurdity. Overall, the album comes off as more musically intricate than its predecessor with time-signature changes and steadier loud-quiet dynamics added to the game plan. It points to directions in which the band would soon take their sound, while retaining their mischievous, B-movie tendencies. Noise rock has continued to evolve in the underground, but few bands have come close to touching the expansive genius of Boredoms’ seminal work.