Boris Dear

Album Review by Jared Lynch

My friend and once-roommate Tyler recommended I listen to Boris. This was years ago, maybe 2012. He incidentally introduced me to Merzbow, and I have a distinct, albeit clouded memory of playing his record of Monoliths and Dimensions by Sunn o))) in my smoke-filled bedroom some winter day. I fixated on those artists because they satisfied the heaviness that had been lacking in my musical explorations. I became enamored with the sludgy, deep low growl, spacing out and fucking off in the beauty of the distortion of pure, raw sound. The idea of Boris became entangled in the slipping, altered states blur that composed my sophomore year of undergrad.

 

I’ve finally arrived though.

 

And I am sorry it took me so long to get here.

 

Boris is an amplifier-worshipping, sludge noise trio from Japan. Sludge noise isn’t entirely accurate either. The band has explored a wide range of musical styles and spectrum of sounds throughout their career, touching their toes in the water of shoegaze, experimental metal, and noise (these are samples of a much longer list). While researching the band to write this review, I fell into the rabbit hole of their discography, listening to their first album Absolutego, later releases Amplifier Worshipper, and Flood. Across all of these albums it is evident that they’re not fixated on any one idea. Rather they explore all of the different facets of how to present their ideas through different channels of sound. Dear is the first Boris album I’ve listened to, and it incidentally marks the anniversary of their 25-year musical career. They composed some three albums worth of material, which they whittled down to the ten fantastic tracks that compose this recent release.

 

Dear champions the spectrum of their sound, and it feels as though they’ve reached a point where their exploration has converged into a central, fluid development of ideas. The album seamlessly progresses through different states of trance, entrapment, and transcendence. I listened to Dear at least six times before I felt my understanding was adequate enough to describe my path through the sound. It begins with “D.O.W.N. (Domination of Waiting Noise),” which creates a sludgy pool of tar with its minimal guitar riffs powering atop sparse, rolling percussion. It threatens to entrap listeners unfamiliar with harsh noise or sludgy distortion. It’s a terrifying, beautiful place.

 

In “Deadsong”, the tarry pit of sound grows deeper, and the vocals sound like the death rattles of ghosts echoing in a chamber. Incantations whisper across the landscape of sparse, sweeping grit trapped on the top of the surface of the tar, accented in the margins by the tweaking, subtle blips of a synth. There is a genuinely unsettling air about this song, while it remains almost uncanny in its familiarity.

 

The following track boasts the name of the band’s first album. Instead of repeating sonic themes established in the inaugural release, “Absolutego” drives hard away from the established sound of the first two tracks. It riffs out across the sludge into a desolate desert, fueled on some strange cocaine binge. Fixed with nails to the wheels of this machine are the ghosts whose voices were trapped in the sludge, dredged up from their viscous graves. There are crows in the sky. The groaning, doom-riff guitars give Electric Wizard’s Funeraloplis (another band added to my repertoire thanks to Tyler) a run for its money in providing a manic, yet mucky soundtrack for the apocalypse.

 

Following on the tail of this strung-out, fuzzy high, “Beyond” journeys into somber territory. Guitarist/vocalist Wata leads listeners across a landscape of quiet, shuffling drums and guitar, which at parts sounds as though it would fit in with the drifting soundscape of F# A# Infinity by Godspeed You! Black Emperor. It builds into a gritty, violent chorus that dredges up a momentary thick mixture before diluting back into something beautiful and reflective. The plucking strings that conclude this song are the last glimpses of the light at the end of a pier, as we drift back out into the sea of noise.

 

The rest of the album delves into these established facets of sound, while constantly presenting new ideas. “Memento Mori” is one of the most progressive songs on the album, as it transcends into a place beyond heaven (as stated by the band) in a matter of a fluid five minutes. The album pulls out elements of a downer surf rock anthem in “Biotope,” the beginning of which invokes traces of Heroin and Your Veins, joined by a reverb laden, disassociated kick that drives throughout the track.

 

Dear is a heavy album, but it isn’t entrapping as one might expect. It balances the heaviness with airy drone. Sludgy low humming guitars are balanced with ethereal, often detached vocals. Boris pulls the listener out of the depths of thick darkness into ethereal, out-of-body places, floating above the pool of black tar crafted at the base of the album. Its sound encapsulates the spectrum of sound that the band has seamlessly drifted through throughout their career. It’s unclear as to whether or not the band will continue to create new material. If this proves to be the end of Boris, this final note is feral and full of beauty.

 

Favorite Tracks: "Absolutego", "Beyond", "Biotope"

Boris Dear

Album Review by Jared Lynch

My friend and once-roommate Tyler recommended I listen to Boris. This was years ago, maybe 2012. He incidentally introduced me to Merzbow, and I have a distinct, albeit clouded memory of playing his record of Monoliths and Dimensions by Sunn o))) in my smoke-filled bedroom some winter day. I fixated on those artists because they satisfied the heaviness that had been lacking in my musical explorations. I became enamored with the sludgy, deep low growl, spacing out and fucking off in the beauty of the distortion of pure, raw sound. The idea of Boris became entangled in the slipping, altered states blur that composed my sophomore year of undergrad.

 

I’ve finally arrived though.

 

And I am sorry it took me so long to get here.

 

Boris is an amplifier-worshipping, sludge noise trio from Japan. Sludge noise isn’t entirely accurate either. The band has explored a wide range of musical styles and spectrum of sounds throughout their career, touching their toes in the water of shoegaze, experimental metal, and noise (these are samples of a much longer list). While researching the band to write this review, I fell into the rabbit hole of their discography, listening to their first album Absolutego, later releases Amplifier Worshipper, and Flood. Across all of these albums it is evident that they’re not fixated on any one idea. Rather they explore all of the different facets of how to present their ideas through different channels of sound. Dear is the first Boris album I’ve listened to, and it incidentally marks the anniversary of their 25-year musical career. They composed some three albums worth of material, which they whittled down to the ten fantastic tracks that compose this recent release.

 

Dear champions the spectrum of their sound, and it feels as though they’ve reached a point where their exploration has converged into a central, fluid development of ideas. The album seamlessly progresses through different states of trance, entrapment, and transcendence. I listened to Dear at least six times before I felt my understanding was adequate enough to describe my path through the sound. It begins with “D.O.W.N. (Domination of Waiting Noise),” which creates a sludgy pool of tar with its minimal guitar riffs powering atop sparse, rolling percussion. It threatens to entrap listeners unfamiliar with harsh noise or sludgy distortion. It’s a terrifying, beautiful place.

 

In “Deadsong”, the tarry pit of sound grows deeper, and the vocals sound like the death rattles of ghosts echoing in a chamber. Incantations whisper across the landscape of sparse, sweeping grit trapped on the top of the surface of the tar, accented in the margins by the tweaking, subtle blips of a synth. There is a genuinely unsettling air about this song, while it remains almost uncanny in its familiarity.

 

The following track boasts the name of the band’s first album. Instead of repeating sonic themes established in the inaugural release, “Absolutego” drives hard away from the established sound of the first two tracks. It riffs out across the sludge into a desolate desert, fueled on some strange cocaine binge. Fixed with nails to the wheels of this machine are the ghosts whose voices were trapped in the sludge, dredged up from their viscous graves. There are crows in the sky. The groaning, doom-riff guitars give Electric Wizard’s Funeraloplis (another band added to my repertoire thanks to Tyler) a run for its money in providing a manic, yet mucky soundtrack for the apocalypse.

 

Following on the tail of this strung-out, fuzzy high, “Beyond” journeys into somber territory. Guitarist/vocalist Wata leads listeners across a landscape of quiet, shuffling drums and guitar, which at parts sounds as though it would fit in with the drifting soundscape of F# A# Infinity by Godspeed You! Black Emperor. It builds into a gritty, violent chorus that dredges up a momentary thick mixture before diluting back into something beautiful and reflective. The plucking strings that conclude this song are the last glimpses of the light at the end of a pier, as we drift back out into the sea of noise.

 

The rest of the album delves into these established facets of sound, while constantly presenting new ideas. “Memento Mori” is one of the most progressive songs on the album, as it transcends into a place beyond heaven (as stated by the band) in a matter of a fluid five minutes. The album pulls out elements of a downer surf rock anthem in “Biotope,” the beginning of which invokes traces of Heroin and Your Veins, joined by a reverb laden, disassociated kick that drives throughout the track.

 

Dear is a heavy album, but it isn’t entrapping as one might expect. It balances the heaviness with airy drone. Sludgy low humming guitars are balanced with ethereal, often detached vocals. Boris pulls the listener out of the depths of thick darkness into ethereal, out-of-body places, floating above the pool of black tar crafted at the base of the album. Its sound encapsulates the spectrum of sound that the band has seamlessly drifted through throughout their career. It’s unclear as to whether or not the band will continue to create new material. If this proves to be the end of Boris, this final note is feral and full of beauty.

 

Favorite Tracks: "Absolutego", "Beyond", "Biotope"

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