I mean it's Boris, and loudness is kind of their thing... but this one takes it too far for me. I wasn't a huge fan of the studio version of 2002's Heavy Rocks, because it was too compressed for my total enjoyment, but I could sit through it without pause.
Akuma no Uta is basically Heavy Rocks, and in fact an even better album in almost all compositional and performative measures in my opinion, however, a good chunk of the album has a DR of 2. For reference, Metallica's Death magnetic has a DR of 4. Heavy Rocks also clocks in around DR 4 for most of the album, and even that was only barely tolerable. Akuma no Uta, however, is so compressed and everything is toned up so damned high it is literally tinnitus-inducing - I can't sit through the whole album at once for fear it will trigger my tinnitus.
I mean it's hard to make this complaint against Boris because they're flipping Boris and this is literally the point of the band, and while I love Boris as much as the next guy, this one doesn't do it for me, for the most part. There's no breathing room and I'm overwhelmed listening to this as it's just too noisy for me, which is a shame. In a similar manner, I found Boris playing Heavy Rocks live to be much more enjoyable than the Heavy Rocks album precisely because there was breathing room there. I bet, in a similar manner, I'd find Akuma no Uta much better in a live setting or with a live production - again, this album does Heavy Rocks better than Heavy Rocks did Heavy Rocks, and with that comes the "Heavy Rocks" production at maximum extent, which is the only aspect I don't like about it and pretty much ruins the experience for me.
The first seven minutes of the opening track, Introduction, however is impeccable, until it delves into a Noise track. While I love Drone Metal, I detest Noise, and the final two minutes of the song is excruciating for me. The two minute Japanese version of the track is outstanding from start to finish; too bad it's only two minutes, but it's also produced much better. Naki Kyoku also would have been tolerable for me if not for the last fifteen seconds, which caused me to rip my headphones off of my head because it's straight up high pitched guitar feedback.
Unfortunate. But I guess not everything in a hundred-something release discography by experimental musicians is going to be a winner.
For the record, I sat through the whole album over multiple sittings. It was not a pleasant experience, and not a good start to my new year. Again, my complaint here is on the production, not the musicianship nor compositions, which actually sees the band at some of their very finest. Will look for a live "bootleg" of the album.