PICK OF THE WEEK: Boris rampage back with acidic chaos on latest destroyer in ‘Heavy Rocks’ series

Photo by Yoshihiro Mori

There are times when I suffer from serious writer’s block when trying to start off these pieces, because sometimes the brain is just not charged up enough for me to draft something unique. It happens as writing 4-5 pieces per week every week for 11 years does tend to make the challenge to be fresh greater, but eventually we put it together. It’s another reason Boris scare the hell out of me.

It’s possible we’ve written about the Japanese psyche/doom/drone/metal/etc. legends more than any other band in our history, and that’s because they’re so goddamn prolific. How do they continue to create material at such a high level so long into their run? Their latest is “Heavy Rocks,” their third album with this name or a form of it and second full-length effort this year, and once again, they scorch us into ash. The band—guitarist/bassist/vocalist Takeshi, guitarist/vocalist Wata, drummer/vocalist Atsuo—bring a heavy dose of everything they’ve always done well, primarily focusing on acidic energy but also adding nice bursts of chaos and doom, giving you a generous helping of all of it.

“She is Burning” just explodes as the singing wails, blasting with catchy and punchy melodies, and even some goddamn horns! The leads singe, and everything comes to a blistering end. “Cramper” gives off a serious psychedelic burn as the fiery verses bask in chemicals, and then the echo thickens as the playing takes on a vintage feel. The guitars devastate as your mind spins, all ending in a crush of drums that set you off balance. “My name is blank” enters amid charging riffs and high energy, blood racing through your veins at a dangerous pace. The singing reaches the stratosphere and is balanced by low-end gurgles, and then the guitars just go off. The playing whips through space, your head spins wildly, and everything melts into a haze. “Blah Blah Blah” has horns charring right off the bat, buzzing and sinking into a 1970s-style glaze that gives off a high. The trance increases as the sax playing burns, abrasive fire scalds, and everything gets lost in steam. “Question 1” bursts through the gates as strong vocals flex, and noise hangs in the air as it mixes with an oncoming storm. Growls punish as the playing thickens, the fire gusts, and everything ends oddly, in beachy acoustics.

“Nosferatou” unloads thick drone and the drumming sending rock to dust, heavy trudging bleeding through the cracks. The playing feels ominous, the sax haunts, and the guitars challenge, leaving blanketing steam behind. “Ruins” brings crushing riffs and a dose of speed, making it impossible to look away, not that you’d even want to divert your attention. The playing keeps its foot on the gas, rampaging through the gates and bringing the cosmos along with them. “Ghostly imagination” explodes into the picture, bringing along with it industrial carnage that makes an electrified mash. The words are surging and howled, the psychedelic pressure gets harder to avoid, and the blazing begins to consume greater worlds and more ferocious stars. “Chained” soaks in street sounds, feeling calming and connecting before the steel doors are melted away. Doom spreads as the playing comes unglued, devastating and putting your mentality to the test, dissolving into static. Closer “(not) Last song” dawns with piano dripping, beats, and slurred vocals, slowly lurching toward the stars. Steam shrieks as the synth flourishes, singing wrenches again, and the psychosis ends suddenly with a gasp.

It doesn’t matter how many records Boris release and how many they dub “Heavy Rocks” or something of that nature, they never report back with something expected. In a way, this album is a sort of amalgamation of most of their styles, blowing you back to just experience the colors and menace that’s heading for your security. This is another awesome blast from these Japanese legends who never pay mind to violating excess and will drown you in noise and leave you basking in your own ecstasy.    

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/borisheavyrocks/

To buy the album, go here: https://store.relapse.com/b/boris

For more on the label, go here: https://www.facebook.com/RelapseRecords/