Heavy Rocks is one of two simultaneously released albums by Japan's power trio Boris on the Sargent House imprint. The other is Attention Please. It is also one of four planned full-lengths by the group during calendar year 2011. (The other two are a collaboration with Masami Akita -- aka Merzbow -- entitled Klatter, and New Album, which mixes tracks from Attention Please and Heavy Rocks with other new material. These latter two will be available only in Japan.) Heavy Rocks carries the same title as a 2002 Boris album, but it's not the same record. While the earlier one bore the extreme, blasted, dissonant crunch and crackle that helped to establish their sonic identity, the 2011 set, while undeniably heavy, is also unapologetically more accessible, and straight-up embraces glam places. It is less formulaic than 2008's Smile, but it shows that there isn't any going back to the primitivism of earlier albums, either. (This is also born out by Attention Please, with its generally slinkier, more atmospheric textures and Wata's lead vocals on all tracks.) That said, there is plenty of Boris' careening, storm force guitar, in-the-red throbbing bass, and exploded drumming here with an ear toward more sonic experimentation. It's simply more structured: check the slow, ultra-riffing opener "Riot Sugar," the double-time shout and shove of "GALAXIANS," or the car crash intensity of "Window Shopping" for evidence. There are some other interesting things here as well; like the slow, drifting balladic psych of "Missing Pieces" that builds to a truly menacing noise crescendo before becoming an abstract sonic architecture before returning to song form. The tune "Aileron" is the one piece in common with Attention Please. Where that album's take was a brief acoustic guitar interlude, this one is nearly 13 minutes long; full of brooding, shimmering shoegaze with an increasing sense of moody drama as the guitars distort, crackle, and feed back before whispering their way out. The set closes on the short but bruising power of "Czechoslovakia," which fades out rather than ends. Heavy Rocks is diverse; but since it relies on the trio's blasting power over form, it is is more consistent than Smile and sounds like a refreshed and renewed Boris back on deck. ~ Thom Jurek
The Wire (p.44) - "[I]t pairs Boris with a series of guests ranging from regular collaborator Michio Kurihara of Ghost, to Mammifer's Faith Coloccia and Aaron Turner....HEAVY ROCKS might live up to that title's boast..."
CMJ - "In the closing song, 'Czechoslovakia,' Boris channels the heart of heavy metal music with a massive sound and unparalleled aggressiveness."
Billboard (p.52) - "[P]airing such expansive sludgefests as 'Riot Sugar' and the 12-minute 'Missing Pieces' with the zippy, relatively tuneful 'Window Shopping' and 'Tu La La'..."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.92) - "HEAVY ROCKS affirms that Boris can bench-press myriad weighty sub-genres in their sleep."
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