Thursday 13 July 2017

Review: Boris – 'Dear'


Celebrating 25 years of amplifier worship, Japan's Boris celebrate with full-length studio album number 24 (not counting the thirteen collaboration albums, multiple EPs and other releases). The prolific trio have amassed one of the most impressive discography's in experimental rock/metal. Ranging from cavernous drone-doom to spaced out psychedelia, and a whole host of brilliant collaborations, every release seems to upend any attempt at pre-conceived ideas of its content.

Brilliantly original, often confrontational, and always marching to the beat of their own drum, Boris are a prolific group in the avant garde world and the recent celebrations of their breakthrough album 'Pink' see the band in nostalgic mode. Returning to their drone-doom roots the album is a monolithic slab of feedback, noise electronics, wrenching vocals and claustrophobic atmospheres reminiscent of their first three studio albums.

Tracks such as 'D.O.W.N – Domination of Waiting', 'DEADSONG', 'Absolutego' (not to be confused with their 1996 release), 'Kagero', 'The Power', 'Distopia – Vanishing Point', and 'Dear' perfectly reflect that primordial sound, but with a more modern twist. The band have grown up and experimented with many different styles that manage to seep into the tracks at various points juxtaposing melody and dissonance, drone and rhythm, ambience and noise with a masterful hand.

Even at it's most grating and noisy, the band can inject melody and beauty and the production reflects this nicely. The album ebbs and flows like a classical piece with discord erupting and fading away surrounding more delicate textures but not overpowering them. Its a balance many struggle with and ultimately hide behind walls of distortion and reverb. But not Boris, they are veterans and it shows.

Fans of old school drone Boris will get a kick out of the brutality of this record, but it will not alienate fans of their more psychedelic side. It is a Boris that continues to innovate and evolve, even when looking backwards. When a band's form is as fluid as theirs it's hard to say this is a return to any one sound, but it is nostalgic to a degree yet thoroughly individual. But in any case, it is another fantastic offering from the band.  

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