Boris – Dear

by Freq | 2017-09-16T19:04:58+00:000000005830201709 19:04

Sargent House

Boris - DearBoris. Boris are a hard band to describe, other than in purely factual terms — like “there’s three of them and they’re from Japan”. Which doesn’t really cut it. Ever-shifting, mercurial and occasionally frustrating, Boris seem to change from album to album, from song to song. There’s versatile and then there’s Boris.

But the one thing? The one thing that unites all their endeavours, and the one thing that probably sums up what Boris are all about?

Heaviness.

Boris. Are. Heavy.

Even at their poppiest, on, say, Pink or Smile, they were still a fuck sight heavier than 99% of other bands on the planet. Heaviness is their thing. And apparently they were thinking about stopping. But then they went and released Dear, which is damn near the heaviest thing in their catalogue, and now they aren’t stopping any more. Because heavy things are hard to stop.

And heavy things often move slowly — for example, the opening track “D.O.W.N. – The Domination Of Waiting”, which has its own gravitational pull, to the extent that it sometimes feels like Takeshi‘s vocal just happened to be passing by in space and got drawn in by the gravity well his guitar was producing. And then just when you feel like you’ve finally got some oxygen back, “Deadsong” comes in and almost outSunnO)))s SunnO))), all sub-bass riffing and sinister whispers.

Although if all this sounds monotonously oppressive (which it really shouldn’t), then never fear — normal (or what passes for “normal” in Boris’s rifftastic Heaven) service is resumed with “Absolutego” (a callback to 1997’s, well, Absolutego) — a far more moshable beast, Sabbath-heavy doom metal at its finest, complete with stratospheric soloing. Seems like the easiest way to convey this is track by track, and I’ve started so I’ll damn well finish. “Beyond” (brings Wata to the mic for something that sounds like what would happen if Godspeed You! Black Emperor was a metal band), “Kagera” and “Biotope” provide a psychedelic triptych anchoring the album to melody, before “The Power” gives us a more rocktastic take on the dark transcendence of Swans and “Memento Mori” emerges from bass so fuzzed you could probably walk between the waves without getting your ears wet to a calmness, the eye of the sonic storm.

And then it’s EPIC TIME, and nobody does epic like Boris. “Distopia – Vanishing Point -” makes it most of the way through its eleven-minute running time as a thoughtful and intimate piece of experimental songwriting, before an absolutely MASSIVE guitar solo drags us to an inevitably feedback-heavy conclusion. Or “vanishing point”, if you will, and from what I hear, you probably will.

All this and still no title track? Don’t worry, Boris have that covered with a near-ten minute slab of ultra-heavy drone doom, to the point where it’s hard to tell if they’re still worshipping their amplifiers or have come to actively despise them and try to do them as much damage as possible.

But of course they don’t succeed. Their amps live to fight another day, and thank fuck for that.

In short — well, Dear is a hard album to describe, other than in purely factual terms – like “it’s recorded by three people from Japan”.

But the one thing? The one thing that unites all its tracks, and the one thing that probably sums up what Dear is all about?

Heaviness.

Dear. Is. Heavy.

Also awesome. What’s that? That’s two things? Well who gives a shit. It’s heavy, and it’s awesome, and it could eat you for breakfast.

-Justin Farrington-

Source URL: http://freq.org.uk/reviews/boris-dear/