Make a car and the Japanese will find a way to improve it. Build an electronic device and the Japanese will find a way to make it smaller and more efficient. Make a loud and dirty Rock noise and the Japanese will find a way to make it louder and dirtier and potentially lethal within a 100-foot radius, which is precisely what Boris has done.
Using the raw materials of The Stooges’ industrial Punk, The Dictators’ garagey Rock party thrash, Blue Cheer’s psychedelic feedback squall and Led Zeppelin’s recombinant Blues DNA, Boris has boiled all of its influences down to the barest essentials and then created a sonic experience that pegs the needle farther into the red when its cacophonously loud and barely registers as sound when its tremulously quiet. It’s an amazing range and Boris rides the peaks and troughs between those extremes like a world champion surfer on steroids and Russian radiator vodka.
Boris formed in Tokyo in 1992 as a four piece, with vocalist Atsuo Mizuno, guitarist/vocalist Wata, bassist/guitarist/vocalist Takeshi and drummer Nagata pursuing an unclassifiable sonic direction that veered wildly between droning Metal, frenetic Noise Rock, Psychedelia and Ambient quietude. In 1996, Nagata split from the group, Atsuo took over on the drum stool and Boris has remained a trio ever since.
Utilizing varied influences like Nick Cave, Sleep, Nick Drake, Venom and The Melvins (the band’s name comes from a track on The Melvins’ Bullhead album), Boris has churned out a steady stream of 14 studio albums (including 2005’s Pink, which Spin hailed as one of the best albums of 2006 when it was reissued in the U.S., and this year’s Variations, a hits collection themed around Boris’ heavier Rock aspects), a pair of live releases and stacks of EPs, 7-inches and outside collaborations, the newest being a four-song EP with The Cult’s Ian Astbury.
Show up for Boris and be ready for anything. They can go from jackhammer volume to church-like contemplation at the turn of a knob, and it’s all brilliant.
Boris plays the Southgate House Wednesday with Russian Circles. Get show and club details and buy tickets here.