FEAR OF FEAR: Boris rising

The Atlanta metal label preps for a year of extreme darkness

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Photo credit: Courtesy Boris Records
THE RAPTUROUS DAMNATION: Boris Records dives headlong into 2018 with a fistful of metal from Death of Kings, Malformity, and Cesspool.

Boris Records was born amid Atlanta’s heavy metal boom of 2012. It was the year, according to the Mayan calendar, that the world was supposed to go down in flames. So it was only natural for a young generation of ecstatic shredders to raise their demonic claws toward the heavens and dominate Atlanta’s music scene.

Five years later, the world is still here — just as chaotic as ever — and many of the musicians who entered the scene in bands with names like Mangled, Sadistic Ritual, and Spewtilator are mostly scattershot throughout new bands. But the label that enabled so much headbanging is still grinding out a regular arsenal of 7-inches, LPs, CDs, and cassettes. “The scene is strong,” says Boris founder Sam Leyja. “The initial burst of excitement that we saw in 2012 has tapered off, but there is still a lot of great music happening here.”

With its initial wave of releases, Boris Records established itself as a one-man operation. In 2016, however, Leyja partnered with friends Scott DePlonty and Chris Hood to expand the label’s operations. Leyja is still Boris Records’ artistic director and visionary. He handles communications with bands, graphic design, and conceptualisation. DePlonty oversees the manufacturing of each release, and Hood handles the label’s day-to-day operations.

On Jan. 13, Boris dives headlong into the New Year with a label showcase unveiling three new offerings: “The Rapturous Damnation” b/w “Unraveling” 7-inch from death metal outfit Malformity, the vinyl edition of thrash metal masters Death of Kings’ album, Kneel Before None, and a cassette reissue of death metal ghouls Cesspool’s 2014 debut, Septic Entombment.

Malformity packs two old school death metal scorchers into the grooves of a 7-inch, evoking the masters Morbid Angel and Brutality — classic Florida-style death metal.The group originally came into being in the early '90s, and left a mark on the metal scene with a handful of now legendary demo recordings circa 1995. The band disappeared shortly thereafter, as its members moved onto play in other groups such as Amoebic Dysentery, Regurgitate, Disillusioned, and Neuroblast. In 2015, the group returned with the Lectures On The Apocalypse EP.

Death of Kings blend classic heavy metal, galloping, fist-pumping stuff channeled into fast-paced songs à la Slayer. Cesspool is an experience in lo-fi death metal that’s indefinably extreme, and unequivocally heavy.

With so many adjectives falling in front of each band name (black metal, death metal, thrash, and so on) both Leyja and DePlonty shun the notion of sticking within a singular subgenre of metal with their releases. “I call it Atlanta metal,” DePlonty says. "There has to be an undefinable notion of extremity to it for me to think of it as 'metal.'"

Leyja carries the sentiment further, as he explains: “I don’t get hung up on those sorts of things. I like what I like, and I just want to put out good local metal 7-inches.”

Leyja, who also plays organ with local rock ‘n’ roll band Tiger! Tiger!, launched Boris Records initially to document a scene and a crop of bands that he feels deserve a place in local music history. “I’ve seen it happen time and time again,” Leyja says. “All of these great bands will come and go, with nothing left behind. Once they’re gone, they’re gone.”

After the January label showcase, Boris has two new records coming down the pipeline. First up is a full-length by Lexington, Kentucky, doom metal band Rotting Kingdom. The label is also releasing the vinyl edition of Haunting’s 2015 cassette EP, Sealed Shut, fronted by Scott Taysom of Cloak. After that, there's talk of teaming up with Athens, Georgia, metal label Unspeakable Axe Records to release Sadistic Ritual's debut full-length later in the summer … A new year plunged into darkness.

Boris Records showcase ft. Death of Kings, Malformity, Repulsory, and Cesspool. $10. 9 p.m. Sat., Jan. 13. The Earl, 488 Flat Shoals Ave. S.E. 404-522-3950. www.badearl.com.

Read Chad Radford's Fear of Fear column every month at creativeloafing.com/fear-of-fear.