Formed back in 1992, Japanese, experimental heavy rock outfit Boris ((ボリス, Borisu) — currently core members Takeshi (vocals, bass, guitar), Wata (vocals, guitar, keys, accordion and echo) Atsuo (vocals, drums, percussion and electronics) with Mucho (drums) — 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 and everything 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.
Released earlier this year through Sacred Bones Records W saw the band crafting material that stylistically ranged from noise to New Age, continuing their long-held reputation for dynamic and sonically adventurous work. While being disparate, the material is held together by a melodic deliberation through each song that helps the band accomplish their ultimate goal with the album — 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 followed one of their hardest albums with an effort that’s sensuous, lush yet thunderous. The result is a continuous circle of harshness and healing that seems more relevant — and necessary — now than ever.
Throughout their 30-year history, the acclaimed Japanese outfit has a long-held reputation for being remarkably prolific. Their second album of this year, the 10-track Heavy Rocks (2022) is slated for an August 12, 2022 release through Relapse Records. The album, which is another installment of their Heavy Rocks series sees Boris channeling 70s proto-metal and glam rock through their own unique lens.
“The world has changed over the last two years. Everyone’s thinking is simpler and pragmatic. Now, it is easier for everyone to grasp what is important to each of us,” the members of Boris say of the new album.
“We leave it to the future and pass it on. The soul of rock music is constantly evolving. A soul that transcends words and meaning to reach you – instinct, intuition, and fangs.
This is the heavy rock of Boris now.
As we land on our 30th anniversary, Boris continues to evolve, accelerating the latest and universal.
Boris does not lead anyone anywhere.
We just keep showing this attitude.”
So far I’ve written about two of the album’s previously released singles:
“She Is Burning,” a mosh pit friendly ripper that saw the Japanese outfit effortlessly mesh glam rock, punk and proto-metal while subtly hinting at hinting at early Soundgarden and Thin Lizzy.
“Question 1,” a mind-bending and expansive track that features four distinct movements:
- a furiously breakneck Headbanger’s Ball– meets D-beat punk-inspired metal introduction with screamo delivered lyrics for the song’s first 80 seconds or so.
- a lush post rock/post section featuring wailing guitars and layers of shoegazey feedback paired with thunderous drumming and a plaintive vocal delivery for the middle two minutes or so
- a section that subtly meshes the Headbanger’s Ball-meets D-beat punk-inspired metal of the song’s introduction with a subtle bit of thrash metal
- a dreamy acoustic guitar-driven coda that quickly fades out.
The song manages to unapologetically kick ass and take names — while sending the listener into a mad frenzy. Play this one as loud as your ears can take.
Heavy Rocks (2022)‘s third and latest single “My name is blank” is a decidedly Headbanger’s Ball-like ripper centered around dense layers of guitar pyrotechnic-fueled riffage, howled lyrics and thunderous drumming that’s meant to send the listener into a frenzy.
Directed by YUTARO (ART LOVE MUSIC), the accompanying visual for “My name is blank” features the band performing the song in an empty studio with flashing lights while a cape-wearing demon rocks out in the background. Also, there are a helluva lot of empty bottles of all kind — suggesting the demon may have drank a potion to become what they are, or some wild ritual.