Formed back in 1992, the influential, Japanese, experimental heavy rock outfit Boris ((ボリス, Borisu) — Takeshi (vocals, bass, guitar), Wata (vocals, guitar, keys, accordion and echo) and Atsuo (vocals, drums, percussion and electronics) — settled on their current lineup in 1996. Since then, the members of Boris have tirelessly explored their own genre-defying take on heavy music.
In an effort to sublimate the negative energy surrounding everyone in 2020, Boris wrote and recorded NO, one of the most extreme albums of their widely celebrated and lengthy career. The band self-released the album during the heigh of pandemic-related lockdowns, desiring to get the album out as quickly as possible. But interestingly enough, they intentionally titled NO‘s closing track “Interlude,” while planning the album’s follow-up.
Slated for a Friday release, W is the acclaimed Japanese outfit’s debut effort through their new label, Sacred Bones Records. Stylistically, the album’s material ranges from noise to New Age, continuing the band’s long-held reputation for crafting dynamic and sonically adventurous work. But the material is held together by a melodic deliberation through each song that helps the band accomplish their ultimate goal — eliciting deep sensation.
NO and W were conceived to weave together to form NOW, a pair of releases that respond to each other: The band follows their hardest album with an effort that’s sensuous, lush and thundering. The result is a continuous circle of harshness and healing that seems more relevant — and necessary — now than ever.
W‘s latest single the expansive “Beyond Good and Evil” begins with a lush, placid and lengthy introduction centered around Wata’s breathy delivery, strummed, reverb-drenched guitar and gently padded drums. About half way into the song, the song quickly morphs into a swirling and painterly textured shoegaze-like arrangement that builds up into an explosion of feedback and drums. The song ends with a gentle fadeout into silence.
“Beyond Good and Evil” draws much of its inspiration from the history of Wata’s hometown of Hiroshima. “There is a vast magnitude in a huge mushroom cloud and in decaying ruins. We feel both the sadness and beauty of these things at the same time; that is who we are,” the band explains.
The cinematically shot video for “Beyond Good and Evil” features the band’s Wata wandering through the abandoned ruins of what was one a gorgeous compound. Wata moves through gradations of shade and light through the property but we eventually pan out to the exterior, seeing it overrun by nature before panning up further heavenward. “This video was made from the perspective of a mushroom cloud,” the band says.