Back in 2016, experimental Japanese sludge rockers Boris spent the better part of the year playing their landmark 2005 album, Pink, to audiences around the globe. It was meant to be a break for the band before they went back into the studio to work on what was meant to be their final album (or at least, for the version of Boris as we know them.) Instead, they were inspired to keep going.
Described as a "grateful" and "sincere letter to fans and listeners," the result — titled Dear — is one of the most consistent records in the band's 25-year career.
Since their beginning, Boris have always had two speeds as a band, delivering either crushing, relentlessly heavy riffs or creating wonderful walls of ethereal, doom-laden sound. Dear finds them preferring the former, creating a 70-minute set that's as slow as molasses and thick as a brick.
Casual listeners will see this effort as Boris going back to their roots, but like all bands who tread in the same kind of swirling, psychedelic, stoner metal swamp, it's the subtleties that separate this album from the rest, like the surprisingly clean guitar chords and four-on-the-floor drumbeat of "Biotope," Wata's tender vocal turn on "Beyond" and drummer Atsuo Mizuno's demonic yowls at the end of "Absolutego."
If you dig deep enough, it's an album filled with surprises from a band that continue to impress. (Sargent House)