With their new album NO, the long-running Japan-based experimental heavy music group Boris have crafted an excitingly personalized, totally fresh-feeling statement of punk ferocity. The energy that courses through NO feels like enough to capture some of the spirit of decades worth of lacerating music from punk and adjacent styles. Boris have thickened the mix to deliver an especially immersive, inescapably gripping confrontation with this blood-pumping and emotionally captivating energy.
The spirit of NO runs on leaps of hardcore punk melody that define many of the songs. Boris build upon this foundation in quite a captivating fashion — the opening track, for instance, which clocks in at over six minutes, is a wordless doom metal dirge. In the context of the record, the heavy, swinging riffs on that opening track might as well serve like the initiation ceremony for the vibrant, forgotten alley that Boris kick listeners into when the following more punk-oriented songs get going.
Throughout all sides of the spectrum of heaviness that Boris have put on display with NO, there’s a perfectly immersive, thick weight to the sound, as if even the punk parts of the record are getting performed with doom metal-laden power. The weight helps the music’s knockout land especially heavily.
The doom textures occasionally take over the record, like on the pulverizing track “Zerkalo.” Although on that song and amidst the rest of the doom, the riffs are extended on and on, there’s a sense of grueling physical (or at least metaphysical) exertion in the doom that’s similar to what courses through the fiercest punk parts of the record. The diverse elements blend together with perfect cohesion to present a unified front of world-ratting heaviness. A little farther after the monstrous, earth-shaking riffs of “Zerkalo,” the song “Kikinoue” kicks in, which features perhaps some of the heaviest punk on the record — it’s absolutely ferocious, like a building collapsing over and over again. The energetic heaviness on that track in particular is definitely a standout moment among many, like the magnificently crushing penultimate track, “Loveless.”
Really, there’s no genre here. None of the constrictions associated with some of the most traditional genre constructions weigh down NO. Instead, Boris have crafted a top-notch monument to ferociously heavy riffing and its many crushing reverberations.
Check out the album below!