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Boris – ‘Heavy Rocks’

Relapse Records
Sunn O))), Melvins, Fushitsusha, Boredoms, Sleep, Full Of Hell, Converge
Release Date
August 12, 2022
Relapse Records
Experimental/Post Rock

Boris once again confirm themselves at the pinnacle of Japanese Rock music with the brand-new release “Heavy Rocks”. This is the third time they’ve used the same album title at approximately 10-year intervals, each time serving almost as a placemark for just how they feel about their influences both historical and current, and their progression as a group. There’s a strong case for a retrospective comparing all three “Heavy Rock(s)” but that can wait until the dust has settled on the latest incarnation.

Moving away from the conceptual/narrative ethos of the last two excellent Boris albums; the pandemic tracking “NO” and “W”; “Heavy Rocks” comes across as a broadly sourced collection of proto-Punk and No-Wave repurposed with an infectious and irrepressible energy. Opener “She is Burning” hits the ground so hard and fast there’s probably a law about it in tectonic zones, and from there things rarely let up, track by track there are elements of everything from Thrash and Industrial to Garage Rock and No-Wave soundscapes. For a majority lesser artists this could very easily have turned into a right pup; Boris with their trademark psychedelic guitar-wash and meticulous attention to detail nail this from beginning to end; it almost feels out of step when the pace does drop for the more oblique moments such as “Nosferatou” and the piano led (not) Last Song” (A lot of Boris albums are entirely “Oblique Moments” but are equally quite brilliant).

The question some of the long-term fans may be asking is if there will be a companion piece for “Heavy Rocks” (2022) as there was with “Attention Please!” which accompanied the previous “Heavy Rocks” in 2011. That album was the first to feature Wata’s vocals throughout and was a world away from the band’s stock-in-trade Punk and Metal with a tenuous and febrile electronic wash that nevertheless became a favourite for many. Surely for a trio with such workaholic tendencies there might just be a little treat instore someday soon.

To summarise “Heavy Rocks” (2022); it is a strong Boris offering that will delight those already onboard with the band. Although this could never be described as an easy listen, the use of some melodic and direct Punk/Garage simplicities suggests it may well attract other listeners to give them a try.

"Boris never fail to excite and they’re having a fun time with this record"

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