Boris Pummel Listeners with Noise on 'NO,' at the Expense of Their Experimental Side

Boris Pummel Listeners with Noise on 'NO,' at the Expense of Their Experimental Side
Japanese trio Boris have never been afraid to colour outside the lines of their gaseous sludge, drawing from shoegaze, drone, doom metal and even J-pop for each album. For the most part, their music is relentlessly heavy but filled with enough sonic subtleties that make trawling through their discography a cathartic and engaging experience for fans.

But with the world in disarray and uncertainty around every corner, Boris — like other artists and touring musicians — are wondering how their music fits into listeners' lives.

"The critical state of the world has placed culture, art, and other means of expressing ourselves into a dilemma," the band wrote in a statement about their new album, NO — self-released and available on Bandcamp as of July 3. "We have put all of our influences and connections into this album so that they may be passed on (and) circulated."

The band describes Boris's latest album as "extreme healing music." But after the galumphing haze of album opener "Genesis," it's mostly a wicked combination of thrash metal and D-beat, as the band chugs their way through walls of distortion, galloping drums, the occasional "fuck you" (on "Temple of Hatred") and standard Sabbath worship ("Zerkalo").

Nearly three decades into their career, NO, in some ways, seems to find the band returning to their youth — they even cover a song by Japanese hardcore act Gudon — to make sense of the world and their place in it. In that regard, NO certainly caters to longtime fans, especially ones who rather be pummeled with noise instead of pulled into new realms, which may disappoint fans of their more experimental songs. (Final track "Interlude" is the only slightly atmospheric song here, with ethereal delay, muted mallet percussion, and Wata's whispered vocals.) But their cacophony continues to provide comfort, especially in these strange times. (Independent)