Very few bands last to be a quarter of a century old, and those that do have often run dry of ideas long before they hit that milestone. Yet Tokyo-based Boris sound renewed on their latest record, Dear. From the opening drone of ‘D.O.W.N. -Domination of Waiting Noise-’ to the final feedback of the album’s title track, Dear is an album so monstrous, so monumentally loud that you can do nothing but let it consume you. You might be hard-pressed to call it the band’s heaviest record to date, but it is certainly their most monolithic. Dear is the kind of record that manages to put even Sun O)))’s wall of sound to shame.

‘D.O.W.N.’ is a stunning opener - drum fills careen amidst glacial guitar chords, whilst Takeshi Ohtani’s vocals soar above the cacophony. Follow-up ‘DEADSONG’ continues this doom-laden sound with a low, ominous rumble of guitar and percussion along with distant screams that recall the sludge metal of acts like The Body. Takeshi’s vocals are a menacing whisper that pan around the listener, disorientating and unnerving in equal measure.

These opening tracks set not only the tone of the album, but also its pacing. Dear is, for the most part, a slow burn of rumbling bass and droning guitar chords. Quiet passages are drawn out to heighten tension, whilst the heavier epochs create great cataclysmic waves of sound where guitar chords seem to stretch out to infinity - chords becoming feedback, becoming chords again. The album only really strays away from this on ‘Absolutego’ - a track named after the trio’s 1996 debut. The rhythm section gallops along, whilst a short guitar solo ascends into a screaming wave of feedback and Takeshi alternates between impassioned yelps and deep-throated roars. It’s one of Dear’s more straightforward metal tracks, but also one of its weaker moments.

Boris really excels on tracks like ‘Beyond’, where they pair Wata’s near whisper with slow, crashing cymbals, which are then countered with a powerful vocal performance from Takeshi. He’s backed by tremolo guitar and a lumbering rhythm section that just fills the aural space instantly. It’s an incredibly grandiose moment and something of a rarity on Dear, meaning that its impact is felt even more sharply as a result. ‘Memento Mori’ comes close with a gradually building crescendo of guitars, synthesizer and rolling drums. Just as it reaches its peak, the song shifts gear to a quiet passage of intricate guitar riffs, an almost funky bass line and muffled percussion. You almost expect the song to suddenly shift back to the sound of its earlier half, but surprisingly it fades out, transitioning neatly into ‘Dystopia -Vanishing Point-’, the album’s epic, penultimate track.

Running just shy of 12 minutes, ‘Dystopia’ sees the band taking more of a post-rock approach to their music. Bright, reverberated guitar and quiet, echoing vocals characterise the track’s early moments, whilst the absence of the rhythm section marks a notable change from the rest of the album. And then at the 7-minute mark, almost out of nowhere the band kicks in with a heavily fuzzed guitar solo over driving rhythm section that only seems to increase in tempo as the song progresses. As an ending, both in the context of the track and the album itself, it feels cathartic and uplifting. It’s only a momentary respite though, as the band close out the record with ‘Dear’, a guttural metal track that drags us back into the darkness once more.