Published Oct 02, 2019Being an avid listener of Boris makes a new album release a stressful time. Pink, in 2006, was an example of Boris in their more conventional and melodic mindset, while their last album, 2017's Dear, showcased their darker, more nuanced side — there is no way of knowing what the Japanese trio will explore next.
Not only are they a band that throw away the conventional rules of heavy metal, but even their own dismissal of these conventions evolves continually; each new Boris project feels like an entirely new artistic undertaking. On LφVE & EVφL, Boris are in a sludgier and more sinister place than ever, mixing dissonant ambience with unrelenting distortion to create soundscapes that can be felt with every fibre of your being.
LφVE & EVφL eases listeners into its world with opening track "Away From You," a simple slow-rock tune with a euphoric amount of reverb. Next is "Coma," which features the epic wailing of an electric guitar through layers of reverb and heavy distortion, as though trying to reach listeners through gusts of wind and walls of mud.
Most songs on LφVE & EVφL feel either light and heavenly or unsettling and demonic, although on "EVOL," the album's longest song at nearly 17 minutes, both worlds collide, with transitions from soft, echoey strings to tribal drums and fierce yelling. Listeners are given a moment of tranquility with "In The Pain(t)," the most meditative and calming song on the album, but that feeling disappears all too soon when the final track, "Shadow of Skull," follows, with its gruesome white noise and shrill howling in the background, bringing the journey of LφVE & EVφL to an epic finish.
Without being overwhelmingly expressive or boringly subtle, Boris create layered atmospheres that are equal parts beautiful and menacing. Even though having preconceived expectations for upcoming Boris releases proves to be meaningless, listening to a new Boris album is always a fun and unfamiliar experience. (Third Man Records)