For well over two decades, Japanese experimental doom band Boris have been treading their own path, through line-up and label changes.
Too avant-garde for the mainstream, they nonetheless have a loyal fan- base, not least because of working alongside collaborators like Sunn 0))).
This, their first album for Sacred Bones, has enough light and shade to draw in new listeners though. Takeshi, Wata and Atsuo retain the drones and experimentalism of past glories, while exploring the limitations, and possibilities, of new technology. They’ve always faced forward.
So tracks like Drowning By Numbers are mired in thick, hypnotic distortion and The Fallen messes with time signatures, enveloping the listener in drones and static, but elsewhere, there’s more space.
Old Projector hangs like a fog, emulating a ghost town with jarring air raid sirens and guitar twangs ricocheting into space.
But Icelina is most unexpected, a pretty if eerie interlude, almost reminiscent of 4AD acts in the late eighties, all ambient synth droplets and hushed vocals- the gentle stroke before the chokehold.
Their modus operandi has always been to look sideways, and so it is here. Long may they unfurl their freak flag.
Out January 21st via Sacred Bones.