Collaboration is a tricky thing; all too often the final outcome is like a rather disappointing dessert with the individual flavours of even the most disparate of collaborators lost in the general air of indifference of the one time headline act (a case of bang it out and grab the money) or buried beneath layers of deference from an awestruck junior partner.
That said, I wanted to like this offering from former Cult frontman Ian Astbury and Japanese drone sludge metal-heads Boris, not least because that such a sub-genre should exist, let alone there be a Japanese exponent of it, was enough to bring a smile to this flu-ridden face. Sadly, it was to be an all too short lived smile; the EP's opening track Tooth and Claw is little more than your everyday run of the mill pomp rock with Astbury's vocals as distinctive and domineering as ever, and it this singing style that sets the tone for the sound of the whole record so that ultimately, it becomes less a collaborative effort and more a case of " Ian Astbury featuring.."
The record's biggest fault is that neither band nor singer ever sound completely at ease with one another with the members of Boris consistently made to play second and even third fiddle to Astbury's all too overpowering vocal style. Some respite comes in the cover version of The Cult's Rain with Boris' female guitarist Wata deputizing on vocals, but even her half-whispered warbling and the track's sludgy sound can't hide the fact that it is an old Astbury track and better by far than the new stuff on the rest of the EP. It is all too evident on tracks such as Magikal Child, which once again regurgitates the big rock sound that so characterised mid era Cult that both sides have struggled to work around the albatross that is Astbury's voice, and as a consequence, the inventiveness that should have come from such a musical sparring seems to have been all too readily set aside for the safety of treading old familiar ground. A wasted opportunity all round.