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Music / Boris

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From left to right: Wata, Takeshi, and Atsuo

Boris is a Japanese experimental heavy rock band. The band formed in 1992 and released their first album Absolutego in 1996. Their early sound is steeped in drone and sludge metal, styles to which they have continually returned throughout their career while incorporating other styles such as hardcore punk, noise rock and psychedelic rock.

Boris has amassed a vast catalogue of studio albums, EP's, singles, live albums, compilations and collaborations. Notable studio albums include Absolutego (1996), Flood (2000), Heavy Rocks (2002), Pink (2005), Heavy Rocks (2011) and Noise (2014). They have a confusing habit of releasing different versions of their albums depending on format and/or country of release. The 2011 Heavy Rocks is not an example of this, but actually an album of new material that is linked to 2002's Heavy Rocks by title only.



  • Takeshi - vocals, bass, guitar
  • Wata - guitar, keyboards, vocals
  • Atsuo - drums (1996-), vocals
  • Michio Kurihara - touring guitarist (2007-)


  • Nagata - drums (1992-1996)

Tropes present in Boris' work include:

  • Bilingual Bonus: Some of their song titles are in Japanese, some in English. Lyrics are typically Japanese with the occasional English phrase. The US releases of some of their albums feature translated lyrics in the liner.
  • Breather Episode: "My Machine" on the CD version of Pink, a short, soothing ambient piece which comes before the 18 minute drone epic "Just Abandoned Myself." On the vinyl it's much longer, but still not as heavy as the rest of the album.
  • Cover Version: "Flower, Sun, Rain" by '60s Japanese prog rock supergroup PYG, with Kenji Sawada as frontman.
    • They contributed a cover of "Lithium" to a various artists tribute to Nirvana's Nevermind.
    • Also "Sometimes" by My Bloody Valentine off of Yellow Loveless, a compilation of Japanese bands covering tracks from MBV's original Loveless. They recorded another version with Merzbow on their collaboration 現象 -Gensho-.
  • Drone of Dread: Their drone doom and noise albums obviously use this, and it's present to an extent on much of their other material.
  • Epic Rocking: Some of their albums are just one really long song, such as the 70 minute Flood, the hour-long Absolutego, and the 43 minute -Boris at Last- Feedbacker. Meanwhile, while Amplifier Worship is split into several tracks, all of them count, with the shortest being 9 minutes and the longest being 16. Anytime they take a break from being a rock band to make noise, drone, or Ambient Music, this trope is nearly guaranteed to be this; Megatone, their collaboration with Merzbow, consists of three tracks that on vinyl would each take up an entire side (For those wondering, the shortest is 17 minutes while the longest is 23), while "Asia", an album consisting entirely of Harsh Noise music, has one 20 minute track and two 10 minute tracks. From their more standard releases, "Just Abandoned Myself" lasts either 10 or 18 minutes depending on the edition. "Angel" from Noise and the untitled track from Smile also last 18 minutes. "Naki Kyoku" from Akuma no Uta lasts 12. Generally, it's a rule of thumb that each Boris album has one 10+ minute epic (And even out of the ones that don't, Heavy Rocks, New Album and Attention Please, have the 8 minute "Kane", the 7-minute "Looprider", and the 6-minute "You" respectively)
    • Sun Baked Snow Cave, another collaboration with Merzbow, is one track that lasts 1 hour and 2 minutes.
  • Face on the Cover: Wata appears on the cover of Feedbacker, Dronevil, and Attention Please while Takeshi appears on the cover of the reissue of Akuma no Uta.
  • Genre Roulette: They tend to shift musical style from release to release at a whim. Flood, for example, is basically Post-Rock, while Pink takes in elements of Shoegaze and Noise Rock. This is even present within some of their albums, to the point where some of them feel more like mixtapes than cohesive records. Präparat is a good example of this, featuring psychedelic rock, sludge metal, shoegaze, and ambient all on the same 40 minute record.
  • Indecipherable Lyrics: It's unlikely that even Japanese speakers can catch every lyric in the faster numbers.
  • Lead Bassist: Not always, but Takeshi is the vocalist on most of their albums.
  • Long Runner Lineup: Depending upon whether you count a touring guitarist as part of the band, it either hasn't changed in roughly twenty years or they went roughly eleven years with the same lineup (and are approaching ten years with their current one).
  • Loudness War: Most of Boris' CDs are some of the worst victims of the war. Even some of the vinyl records are horrible offenders. That said, a couple of their CDs aren't that bad; Flood is DR8, which is pretty good by the standards of a modern metal band.
  • New Sound Album: Quite a few by virtue of the fact that their albums are based on whims rather than concepts and their sound expands rather than evolves. Heavy Rocks (2002) saw the band move beyond its sludge origins to include faster numbers; Attention Please was a complete left turn, an experiment in dance-rock.
  • Nobody Loves the Bassist: Averted by Takeshi. Not only does he also handle most of the vocal and lyrical duties, but he plays one of those guitars that are, like, double guitars, except the top one is a bass. How can you not love that?
  • Only One Name: Aside from a few early releases, the band members are only ever credited with one name. Their full names are Takeshi Ohtani, Atsuo Mizuno, and Yoko Mizuno.
  • Rearrange the Song: Vastly different versions of many songs from New Album can be heard on Attention Please and Heavy Rocks (2011).
  • Recycled Title: They currently have three albums called Heavy Rocks. They were released in 2002, 2011, and 2022.
  • Rock Trio
  • Shout-Out: Their name comes from the song "Boris" by The Melvins.
    • The cover art for the reissue version of Akuma no Uta is an homage to Nick Drake's Bryter Layter.
    • The cover of the Walrus/Groon 12" single is modeled after Yes's Close to the Edge, and has a track named after a King Crimson improv.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Wata.
  • Step Up to the Microphone: Takeshi took over lead vocals from Atsuo in 1996. Wata handles all the lead vocals on Attention Please.
  • Titled After the Song: The band takes its name from a song by The Melvins.
  • Transpacific Equivalent: To The Melvins.