Boris– Heavy Rocks
Boris play a lot of styles: noise, stoner rock, shoegaze, industrial, ambient, punk, metal. Their Heavy Rocks series of albums tend to focus on the latter two. This latest installment is in the same mold, but the band showcases almost all of these influences as well, sometimes within the same tune.
Though not as focused as 2020’s full-on metal assault, No, or as transcendent as W from earlier this year (read our review), Heavy Rocks has a lot of killer tracks. From the jump, the band hits on a couple different heavy styles: the lead track “She is burning” is fast-paced metal with saxophone echoing the vocal melodies to exhilarating effect. This is followed by the Faith No More-esque flavor of “Cramper” and the crossover thrash of “My name is blank.”
Suddenly, we’re full-on skronking: “Blah Blah Blah” blares with saxophone cacophony before transitioning into an industrial groove, Takeshi’s fuzz bass rumbling under Atsuo’s steady drum pattern while guitar wizard Wata stabs and pierces sporadically with her angular, noisy axe work. Quite a left-turn from the first three straight-ahead rockers. This is followed by the fantastic “Question 1,” a trad metal–type offering with galloping rhythms, Wata’s shredding leads, and strong, soaring vocal melodies. Before you can get too comfortable, the song breaks down entirely, guitar noise leading to a goth-metal middle of big vocals and synth touches before returning to a faster pace.
“Ruins” is another standout cut, an under-three-minutes thrasher featuring Wata’s fast-picked chugging (reminiscent of 80s thrash guitar heroes like Hetfield or Mustaine) but with more punk rock attitude in the mix. “Ghostly imagination” brings the heavy and the speed but in a completely different way. Atsuo’s robotic stomping drumbeat is somehow danceable even at its breakneck pace.
The album is full of twists and turns that are trademark Boris, all the while showcasing the many influences. The band effortlessly steer their way through various sonic landscapes and continue to solidify themselves as one of the all-time brilliant and mind-bending guitar bands.
Boris will play NYC at Webster Hall on 9/2.