Dear by BorisRelease date: July 14, 2017
Label: Sargent House
This latest offering from Boris sees the band reflecting on existence as a fading star at the end of the world; remembering existence as a fleeting farce like some under the breath comment, some razor-toothed bit of smarm. Releasing a delicate snigger at a whole lot of nothing becoming a little bit less. Oblivion begins here. Dear exhibits a band in their stride a quarter of a century later, seemingly with greater wisdom and resound than ever…and with a brutal, uncompromising reproach to match.
Each pulverising guitar line feels like the opening of a portal into some grotesque dimension. The album appears to slow the passage of time down to a gruelling stasis in DOWN; you are now in Boris’ underworld, ‘Dear’. The ‘Dead Song’ erupts mournful vocals into the air like angry clouds of smoke fuming atop a charnel house. It’s as though each instrument is another voice wailing in pain. This misery soars into a sonorous, swooping blast like a soaring dragon in ‘Absolute Go’, a track which launches its vocals off its riffs like fucking launch pads. The piercing interludes of squealing guitars are moreover, aggressively despairing but, the vocals the precipitate are absolutely, fucking incendiary. ‘Beyond’ is hauntingly, sombre change in the album’s tone. It drops the anguish like dead weight, to offer what seems like a sad realisation interspersed with flashes of extreme violence. It becomes a bit theatrical and operatic at the end, which for me is a bit of a detractor but, I’m sure a lot of people will love it.
‘Kagero’ dunks the listeners head back under the water again…and again…and again. Its lightly abrasive juxtaposition of vocals and music make for a fairly harsh listening experience but, one with an almost sadomasochistic sense of violent, self-destructive pleasure. I love the titling of ‘Biotope’, it seems so incongruous on an album the sounds like the scornful winds of a scorched earth.
There are few tracks as satisfyingly mammoth as ‘The Power’, it reminds me of a Sylvia Massey story about how she was trying to get the perfect feedback sound for a solo so, they got this giant guitar lead and had the guitarist finish the song, whack up the sustain et cetera to the max and threw the fucking thing off a cliff once the solo was done. It’s the gargantuan weight of the song that for whatever reason reminds me of a cliff or a canyon, insurmountable and frankly, awesome. The guitar work is so astoundingly menacing and engrossing, it’s unreal.
I love the massive woosh they used to transition ‘Memento Mori’, it’s a minor but, enjoyable bit of sequencing. I feel like this is what Nu Metal tried to achieve for over a decade and never came close to; a simultaneously epic and soul-crushing experience that feels like a sublime encounter with something out of this world. The head-twisting journey into the uncanny continues in ‘Dystopia’, a track built on unsettling rhythms and eery tones from what sounds like an accordion or a melodica. The track serves as a prologue to ‘Vanishing Point’, an eery dark ambient post-rock track with softly crooned vocals that erupts into a fucking incredible guitar solo at the end. Absolutely fucking blew my tits off, like a bad trip J. Mascis or something. The words ‘epic’ and ‘astounding’ get thrown around a lot but, this is the sort of solo that sounds like it was played by Saruman atop of Isengaard or something. Build me an army worthy of Mordor.
The title track ‘Dear’ closes the album with a heavy dose of sludge and malice. The track starts off like a soundtrack to some sort of electric death generator charging up. Motorik pulsations and a sense of horrors to come intertwined in a chainsaw like instrumental. Wailing voices ache, convulsing at the core. The building doom explodes into a glass shattering bellow so engrossing that time seems to bend around it. This is what I imagine a dystopian Black Sabbath would be, terror and screams and mangled robotics slowly trudging through a gargantuan soundbed crushing each note like flowers underfoot. The contempt unfurls slowly and the album erodes with it like a painfully escaping sob.
‘Dear’ feels like the crushing weight of the amassed fathoms of the ocean collapsing onto the listener. It’s diverse but, it is also ceaselessly oppressive and relentlessly intense. Boris always deliver, they never fail to disappoint not in twenty five fucking years! I’d say the only other band that is as much of a sure thing in my eyes is The Body. Though, few people could collaborate so extensively and still succeed with every attempt as those two acts. Can someone please get these purveyors of misery together so, they can create bleak musical offspring? This is the closest I get to matchmaking.