New Boris album! Dear, released in the band’s twenty-fifth anniversary year, was distilled from three album’s worth of material down to this single CD (or double LP) statement. It’s a real blast of a thing, as heavy and crunchy as ever. Apparently the band were considering wrapping things up, but writing and recording Dear invigorated them: now it can invigorate you too! On Sargent House.
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Prolific experimental darlings Boris have two plus decades of records to their name at this point, having traversed pretty much every creative river imaginable through a slew of early punk records, drone meditations and doom fuckery. Their career, in recent years, has become an anthologised party trick, the band racing through styles from noise to J-pop as and when it suits. ‘Dear’, however, is a signature stamp for the band, a reminder of that wet cement sludge rock -- that heavy, sticky metal -- they’ve always been returning to.
They sound comfortable this way. On opener “D.O.W.N”, they trickle slowly through low-end sonic blast, Merzbow-inspired noise chirps and infuriatingly slow chords, as if taking the slower moments of ‘Pink’ and stretching them to breaking point. “DEADSONG” has its listener waiting for the rhythm section to set down the rules, its beat so painstaking in pace that the song feels dreadfully abandoned. This record mixes a gruesome concoction of sinewy noise and extreme doom sleuthing, giving rigid structures -- but to illusory sounds.
Boris’ patience has never been in question, of course -- ‘Flood’ was a masterpiece of riff-repeating hypnosis, and ‘Amplifier Worship’ is artful stalling. This record, though, proves them sludge-lords, their guitars dirty and distorted like their beloved Melvins. At other times, they move with the whispered lethargy of Earth, moving the disquiet of “Beyond” into post-metal overdrive. It’s a record that reminds us of band Boris -- heavy, taunting and uncomfortably awesome. Mixing it, on occasion, with a bit of the melodic hum they've discovered over recent albums (the sighing sweetness of "Biotape"), they achieve their best showing in years.
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