Boris - Dear - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Boris - Dear

by Andy Brown Rating:9 Release Date:2017-07-14

Dear is something of a celebration for Boris, marking the Japanese bands 25th year together. The band is undoubtedly one the longest running and most distinctive acts in modern heavy music along with the likes of Sunn0))), Earth and Om. Boris took their name from a sprawling Melvins track on their 1991 album Bullhead and King Buzzo’s influence can still be heard in the band's love of heavy riffs and sonic reinvention.

Dear will be their 23rd studio album and was originally recorded as a way to say goodbye to the band and their legion of devotees. If it really is the end then it’s good to know that they’re going out on a high; the album is the perfect distillation of everything that makes Boris one of the finest heavy bands in existence. Monolithic slabs of noise collide with the band's epic reinterpretation of shoegaze, psychedelic solos and a love of unrelentingly heavy sludge-metal. Heavy and majestic in equal measure, Dear is an absolute triumph and quite possibly one of the bands strongest records.

The album starts with the uncompromising thunderclap of ‘D.O.W.N – Domination of Waiting Noise’; doom laden drones, soaring vocals and Takeshi’s immensely heavy guitar immediately pulling you into the band's world. ‘Absolutego’ breaks out the riffs and firmly kicks-out-the-jams while the strange, heavy and hypnotic ‘Beyond’ finds the band at their most beautiful.

Like all of the band's finest efforts there’s a fair amount of variety on offer within the album's 70 minute duration. The album's epic ambitions and thirst for experimentation reminds me a little of Canada’s USA Out of Vietnam and their much underrated 2014 masterpiece, Crashing Diseases and Incurable Airplanes. Both albums successfully melding an appreciation of all things heavy with a wide sonic palette and open-minded approach.

The band recently toured their 2005 classic Pink and, in many ways, the new album occupies a similar sonic space; a place where Kevin Shields downtunes his guitar, turns everything up to 11 and gleefully reinterprets the Sabbath songbook. Yet, to describe Boris as some modern day Sabbath or second-generation Melvins would be to do them a huge disservice. Just listen to the near 12 minutes of glorious creativity that make up ‘Dystopia Vanishing Point’. This is some next level stuff here, people.

The fact that Dear still sounds fresh and vital 25 years into the band's career is testament to the superior abilities of Takeshi, Wata and Atsuo. Much like their heroes, the Melvins, Boris has proved to be one of heavy music’s most consistently exciting and prolific acts. If you get a chance to see them live on what may very well be their farewell tour, please don’t pass it up. In the meantime, we’ve got Dear to see us through.

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