In an effort to sublimate the negative energy surrounding everyone in 2020, legendary Japanese heavy rock band Boris focused all of their energy creatively and turned out the most extreme album of their long and widely celebrated career, NO. The band self-released the album, desiring to get it out as quickly as possible but intentionally called the final track on the album “Interlude” while planning its follow-up.
The follow-up comes with W, the band’s debut album for Sacred Bones Records. The record opens with the same melody as “Interlude” in a piece titled “I want to go to the side where you can touch…” and in contrast to the extreme sounds found on NO, this new album whispers into the listener’s ear with a trembling hazy sound meant to awaken sensation.
On all of W, Boris’s Wata carries the lead vocal duties. In general the styles on the album range from noise to new age, as is typical with one of our generation’s most dynamic and adventurous bands, but there is a thread of melodic deliberation through each song that successfully accomplishes the band’s goal of eliciting deep sensation. Be it through epic sludgy riffs, angelic vocal reverberations or the seduction of their off-kilter percussion, Boris will have you fully under their spell. This languid and liquifying sound is perfectly represented in the beautiful Kotao Tomozawa cover art and in suGar yoshinaga’s sound production.
NO and W weave together to form NOW, a duo of releases that respond to one another. In following their hardest album with this sensuous thundering masterpiece they are creating a continuous circle of harshness and healing, one that seems more relevant now than ever and shows the band operating at an apex of their musical career. W’s first single, “Drowning By Numbers,’ arrived by way of a spellbinding new music video. Of the video, Boris comments:
“This video was filmed at a private showcase with limited invitation in April of 2021. It is a collaborative performance with a contemporary dance team. The song was transformed from its original performance and visualized; a big hat dances symbolically at the beginning of the new album.”
Boris formed in 1992 and eventually arrived at the band’s current lineup of Takeshi, Wata, and Atsuo into 1996. In the 29 years since, Boris has tirelessly explored their own rendition of what is heavy through methods entirely their own. Though the depths of their “heaviness” may intensify, their unique musicianship defies classification in any one genre or style, so let’s just call it real “heavy music” in extreme color. Their music has been called a “game changer” regarding the leading edge of the world’s rock scene, and that influence is limitless. They enter realms that cannot be described simply in terms of the “explosive sound” or “thunderous roars” that have become their trademark.
Recently, Boris guitarist Wata released her own signature fuzz pedal, “Hizumitas,” via the EarthQuaker Devices, and the band continues to increase their production activity in their own DIY style from their own unique standpoint. In 2022, Boris will greet their 30th anniversary as a band and they only intend to show further elevation in the substantiality and intensity of their works. W will be released January 21st, 2022 via Sacred Bones Records. Pre-order the album here (and check out a ltd. color variant of the “Hizumitas” pedal exclusive to Sacred Bones), and look for more enchanting passages from W to surface soon.
W, track listing:
1. I Want to Go to the Side Where You Can Touch…
3. Drowning by Numbers
5. The Fallen
6. Beyond Good and Evil
7. Old Projector
8. You Will Know (Ohayo Version)