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Boris, the Atlas Moth, Sub Rosa

Sun., Aug. 10, 8 p.m.

Japanese heavy-metal trio Boris have taken on a lot of forms in their two decades of existence: They’ve played tectonic doom, heavy psych, raucous thrash, tough-as-nails hard rock, and wall-of-sound shoegaze, to name a few. They teamed up with drone duo Sunn O))) for the experimental 2006 collaboration Altar; they toyed with J-pop on 2011’s New Album; they went full-on stoner boogie for the two Heavy Rocks records, in 2002 and 2011; and they added Ghost guitarist Michio Kurihara to their lineup for 2006’s hazy and shreddy Rainbow. On this year’s Noise (Sargent House), Boris seamlessly merge all their past identities into a streamlined metal-pop hybrid with a sound that’s completely, uniquely their own. They pay a great deal of attention to stellar melodies on Noise, but they’re still a metal band, so they deliver them with pummeling ferocity: “Heavy Rain” is massive, disjointed sludge topped with sweet, dreamy vocals from guitarist Wata; “Quicksilver” is a ten-minute exercise in west-coast melodic hardcore; and “Taiyo No Baka” is crunchy pop rock, complete with trebly palm-muted guitar and radio-ready whoa-ohs. No matter what subset of their massive catalog Boris tackle onstage, they have the presence of towering deities, backed up with mountains of amplifiers—their shows are always otherworldly, skull-rattling experiences. —Luca Cimarusti $16

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Bottom Lounge (map)
1375 W. Lake St.
West Loop/Fulton Market
phone 312-666-6775
Boris, the Atlas Moth, Sub Rosa

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Plebeian Grandstand, Hexis, Reproacher

Tue., Aug. 12, 9 p.m.

On their second full-length, Lowgazers (Throatruiner), French band Plebeian Grandstand get mathcore and grind all tangled up with black metal, producing a nasty little masterpiece of constant discomfort. Because they allow no familiar cliche to live for more than a few seconds, sooner or later the album is going to make you squirm or piss you off, no matter what your metal background is. (In case you were wondering, I think that’s a good thing.) Though Lowgazers is broken up into individual tracks, after a while it starts to sound like a single oozing, animate lump of black-earth clay, unpredictably extruding spikes or shooting jets of acid—but no matter how radically it changes shape, it doesn’t spawn any new free-standing entities. Not till the very last track, at least: “Mvrk Diving,” for all its aggression, is sufficiently song-shaped that next to the rest of the album it sounds like a pop single.

Copenhagen’s Hexis have been releasing choice cuts in EP and demo form since 2011, so you could be forgiven for not realizing that this spring’s Abalam (Halo of Flies) is their first full-length—especially since every moment of it sounds utterly assured. The album sits on the cusp between black metal and blackened hardcore cusp, and from the latter it draws a tightly controlled but explosive ferocity that knows how to punch hard and then leave ’em in the dirt—almost all of its howling fits of concentrated evil are less than three minutes long, and that’s sans any restful ethereal interludes. But just when you’ve developed a tolerance for that vicious short-song barrage, along comes the album’s eight-and-a-half-minute closer, “Inferis,” which demonstrates that Hexis very nearly could sustain that intensity for much longer. They just choose not to—if they wanted to go epic all the time, they could be terrifyingly good at it. —Monica Kendrick $8

Cobra Lounge (map)
235 N. Ashland Ave.
West Loop/Fulton Market
phone 312-226-6300
Plebeian Grandstand, Hexis, Reproacher

Tools

Whores, American Sharks

Wed., Aug. 13, 9 p.m.

You might be inclined to call American Sharks stoner metal on account of their sludgy, heavy-hitting riffage, but these Austin guys play party-hard rock. The biggest giveaway is the trio’s web address, sharkspartyhard.com, but they also favor blunt song titles (“Cocaine,” “Freak Out”) and artwork that might for instance include a pantsless and fully equipped “Rad Dog,” beer in hand and bong in tow, lounging on a surfboard that’s riding a wave of shark guts. Their self-titled debut (released last year by the End) is fun, if you’re into that kind of thing, but it’s neither good nor clean. The lyrics—full of babys and delivered with theatrical sass—are about evil things that aren’t really evil because, well, here, smoke this joint. And when the drums shift into top gear the way they do on “Overdrive”—all kick drum, all the time—it’s gotta be pretty damn hard to slow these dudes down. —Kevin Warwick $12, $10 in advance

Buy Tickets
Cobra Lounge (map)
235 N. Ashland Ave.
West Loop/Fulton Market
phone 312-226-6300
Whores, American Sharks

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