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Boris Offer Us a Moment of Zen on W

The Japanese noise-rock trio demonstrate digitized decadence at its best.

by Christine Leonard

The latest offering from Japan’s preeminent experimental metal outfit, Boris, W graces the hard-rock altar with the musical equivalent of a handful of sakura blossoms, a puff of swirling incense smoke, and a single orange. Falling under the divine influence of sound producer suGar yoshinaga, the listener is introduced to a world beyond words where Boris chases the elusive deer, W aka lead vocalist and fuzz pedal maestro Wata, through a forest of trilling bamboo flutes. 

An ethereal echo-chamber of droning bees, opening track “I Want To Go To The Side Where You Can Touch…” reaches for the highest cathedral arches before dissolving into luminous rays of solar energy. Elsewhere the cold harmonic vistas and silvery tones of “Icelina” chime with a Bjork-like impishness, while the delicate “Invitation” and poetic “The Fallen” blossom under a canopy of swelling synths. 

An exercise in cyber seduction plucked from the pages of a Norman Spinrad novel, “Drowning By Numbers” relapses into slick silicone automation as Boris demonstrates digitized decadence at its best. Conversely the ominous rumbling of “Beyond Good and Evil,” and haunted stained-glass rattle of “Old Projector” wouldn’t sound out of place accompanying Jodorowsky’s lysergic spaghetti western Holy Mountain. Sparks fly on “You Will Know (Ohayo Version),” with a gong of industrial noise that signals the end of the flesh-and-blood dream as molten guitar surges forge tamahagane steel into the ultimate closing cut.

Designed to sublimate the earthiness of their profoundly loud 2020 DIY release NO, the atmospheric W is a drifting cloud that, when combined with NO, comprises the final conceptual boss – NOW. A sonic in-yō that signifies the continuous quest for mastery at the heart of Boris’ impressive 30 year musical cycle.