Review: Boris ‘W’

Boris are one of my favourite bands EVER. Their magnificent genre bending, style switching music has enthralled me since the first time I heard Pink way back in 2005. I made it a mission to own as much of their stuff as I could, scouring the internet for the EPs and vinyl. Their newest piece, W is a successor to last year’s NO, probably their most visceral and extreme release, and means to create a counterbalance to that. It is out 21st of January on Sacred Bones Records.

Boris ‘W’

Opener I Want To Go To The Side Where You Can Touch… maintains the same melody as NO‘s closer, Interlude, and it is a haunting ambient drone, a soohing sinistral piece with Wata‘s ghostly vocals skirting the edges. She takes the lead throughout W, her beautifully haunting voice drifting throughout the ambience, drone, noise, new age delicacy of Icelina and the sinister beats of Drowning By Numbers.

At points that iconic Boris guitar howl wavers into view, as if ready to detonate into spiralling freakout soloing but at once dissipates. It’s almost as if it is aware this is not the place. This is a place for a glacial languidity, like the tranquil Invitation or The Fallen, a showcase of the side of Boris most people don’t appreciate enough. Sure, their mind-bending ALL CAPS ROCK side is glorious in full effect, but they are rarely more effective than right here in the mesmerising quiet. In fact, The Fallen feels to me as the spiritual successor to my personal favourite song by the band, Farewell.

W is an album that stands on its own as a wonderfully fragile reminder of how the heaviest music doesn’t need to be all riffs and screams…

Beyond Good And Evil finally begins to bring some guitar into frame, slow motion chords swaying in a thick, droning atmosphere, and it begins to turn into a monstrous, sludgey chug. But as quick as it starts, it stops, turning into the vast soundscape of Old Projector. There go Boris again, destroying expectations and conventions. Perhaps, we thought, the quiet of the first tracks were building towards some mammoth stomping conclusion. Old Projector certainly builds though, gradually swelling under swirling guitar feedback and rumbling noise into a wall of sound echoing back from the void

You Will Know (Ohayo Version) leads us quietly, almost silently actually, into the sludgy behemoth of Jozan, finally bringing us full circle back to NO. W is an album that stands on its own as a wonderfully fragile reminder of how the heaviest music doesn’t need to be all riffs and screams. Sometimes it’s an emotional weight, brought on by haunting majesty. Put together, NO and W is a superior experience, but don’t let that stop you with W; it has Boris at the peak of their powers.

Label: Sacred Bones Records
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Scribed by: Sandy Williamson