1992-1995 – Inception and the Early Days
Video: A recording of Boris performing with Nagata as their drummer in 1995.
Boris began in 1992 in Tokyo, Japan. There were originally four members: Atsuo Mizuno from Gifu as the vocalist, Takeshi Ohtani from the city Shiso as the bassist, Wata (Yoko Mizuno) from Hiroshima as the guitarist, and Nagata as the drummer. They had each played in different bands until meeting at Tokyo University as art students, naming their group after the 1991 Melvins song “Boris”.
The band would record demo material after their formation, with their first and second demos being completed in 1993 and their third demo completed in 1994. Several formerly unknown tracks from this period, “Warm Worm” (1992), “C-Kool” (1993), and “En attendant Godot” (1993) would later surface on Secrets in 2018. The first recording the band would publicly release would be the track “Water Porch”, releasing on a 1994 compilation CD titled Take Care of Scabbard Fish. A year later, they would release a studio version of “Mosquito” on another compilation CD, Eat the Chaos. Nagata would leave the band some time in 1996, leaving Atsuo to assume the role of both drummer and vocalist.
1996-1999 – Absolutego and Performing as a Trio
Following the departure of Nagata, Boris would record their first “single”, the hour-long Absolutego, a feedback-laden sludgey grind influenced heavily by the group Earth, The Melvins, and the blistering volumes of hardcore music. Absolutego was recorded in July of 1996, a month after recording a split EP with the punk group Barebones.
Absolutego was released independently as a CD on the label FangsAnalSatan in 1996 and would be reissued on Southern Lord as Absolutego+ (Special Low Frequency Version), with the original track slowed down and remastered to be slower, louder, and lower in fidelity. This version also includes the track “Dronevil 2”, recorded in 1997 and was re-released on vinyl though Southern Lord in 2010.
Also in 1996, the track “Vacuuum” appeared on the first-ever Inoxia Records release From Koenji To Eternity.
In 1997, Boris released a split 7” EP with the group Tomsk-7 on the American hardcore punk label Bovine Records, the first official release of Boris material outside of Japan. In the same year they would also contribute “調弦” to the now highly rare double-cassette compilation A Tribute to Evangelion, a tribute to the anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion.
On August 31st, 1997, Boris was invited to perform in a collaborative concert with Keiji Haino, the recording of which would be edited and released on Inoxia Records in 1998 as Black: Implication Flooding.
What is FangsAnalSatan?
FangsAnalSatan, also stylized as Fangs Anal Satan or FAS is an imprint established by the members of Boris in 1992. Named after the Melvins song “Anal Satan”, FangsAnalSatan published the first Boris single Absolutego and hosted a series of live concert showcases throughout the early years of their career. There appear to have been 23 “volumes” of these showcases between 1995 and 1998, with their collaborative performance with Keiji Haino in 1997 being the 17th.
On several releases from Boris and other acts, FangsAnalSatan is credited for mixing, recording, design, and other technical aspects. In this way, FAS sometimes functions as a moniker for Atsuo.
Amplifier Worship was Boris’s first full album, recorded and mixed in August and September of 1998 and release on the Japanese record label Mangrove as a CD. Amplifier Worship saw Takeshi performing lead vocals for the first time, with each track on the record featuring his lead vocals with the exception of “Huge”. Months later in 1999 More Echoes, Touching Air Landscape, a split CD with the group Choukoku No Niwa, was released on Inoxia records as a CD and reissued with different packaging in 2006.
Video: Boris performing “Huge”, taken from the 2003 DVD見殺し塔からずっと: Live at Shimokitazawa Shelter.
2000-2005 – A Landmark Era: Flood through Pink
By the year 2000, Boris had released the hour-long song “Absolutego”, their first studio album Amplifier Worship, a collaborative live album with Keiji Haino, three split releases, and three demo tapes. They had appeared on several compilation albums and even had played shows outside of Japan up to this point.
After contributing a cover of Robert Johnson’s “Me and the Devil Blues” to the P-Vine Records tribute release Up Jumped The Devil in February of 2000, Boris would enter the studio to record their second studio album, Flood.
Flood was recorded as a single song spanning over 70 minutes, divided into four sections on its CD release. This was the first studio album from Boris to have guitar parts played by Takeshi, who had primarily played bass for the majority of Boris’ career up to the release of Flood and had only begun contributing lead vocals to tracks in 1998 with Amplifier Worship.
Video: Boris performing a condensed version of “Flood” live at Koenji 20000V, May 3rd, 2001. This performance appears on the Heavy Metal Me DVD as bonus material and on the CD Archive Volume Three: Two Long Songs (later re-released on Archive I).
In the summer of 2001, Boris would record Heavy Rocks (commonly referred to as Heavy Rocks 2002 or Orange Heavy Rocks), released in April of 2002. Heavy Rocks is only work by Boris released on Quattro/UK Discs (a subsidiary of UK Project) and has only ever been issued as a CD.
Heavy Rocks was the first Boris album to incorporate guest performers, featuring synthesizer contributions on “Dyna-Soar” from Masonna (Maso Yamazaki), noise contributions on “Death Valley” from Merzbow (Masami Akita), lead guitar on “孤映” from Eddie Legend. “Heavy Friends” features vocals from Lori Steinberg of the band Acid King and “鐘 -The Bell Tower of a Sign-” features vocals from the vocalist of the band Abnormals, Komi.
In the same month as the release of Heavy Rocks in 2002, Boris would also release Megatone, their first collaborative studio album with Merzbow, on Inoxia records. In December of 2002, Inoxia Records would also issue a numbered 7″ of alternate takes of “1970” and “ワレルライド” from Heavy Rocks.
The cover for Heavy Rocks references the famous logo for Orange Amps. Boris has used Orange amplifiers since their early days and is currently sponsored by the company.
Boris with Merzbow
Masami Akita, better known as Merzbow, would become a frequent collaborator of Boris in the studio and live, with Megatone, 04092001, and Sun Baked Snow Cave releasing between 2002 and 2005. In 2001, the tracks “Walrus” (An interpretation of the Beatles song “I Am the Walrus”) and “Groon” were recorded, later released together on a 12” for Hydra Head Records in 2007.
A 2004 studio album with Merzbow would be recorded and later released as Klatter in 2011. The Heavy Rocks track “Death Valley” featured contributions from Akita and Boris would produce the 20-minute long “Froggie Bee-Baa” in 2003 for Merzbow’s “Frog” Remixed and Revisited. Photo credit.
Akuma No Uta
In April of 2003, Boris would release a split 7″ with The Dudley Corporation on the label Scientific Laboratories, featuring a version of “Ibitsu” mastered by Eiji Hashizume and recorded at Sound Square. Another recording of “Ibitsu” would appear again a few months later on Boris’ fourth studio album, Akuma No Uta (あくまのうた). Recorded in one take on analog tape, Akuma No Uta released on DIWPHALANX as a CD and LP, both featuring different covers. The Japanese LP release (also used on the 2005 Southern Lord releases and 2019 Third Man Records reissues) was designed as an homage to Nick Drake’s Bryter Layter.
The first track of Akuma No Uta, “Introduction” (“イントロ” on the Japanese CD and LP), has three versions that have been released. The version on the Japanese CD is 2 minutes and 35 seconds long, featuring an air raid siren towards the end. On the Japanese LP and US CD releases, an alternate recording of the track is used, with a length of 9 minutes and 44 seconds. On Variations, the 2 minute and 21 second version of “Introduction” is edited from the longer version to resemble the shorter version from the Japanese CD release. The longer Japan LP/US CD and Variations edit do not contain the air raid siren sound effect that the Japanese CD version has.
Boris at Last -Feedbacker-
Later in 2003, Boris would release their fifth album Boris at Last -Feedbacker- and their first DVD 見殺し塔からずっと (Live at the Shimokitazawa Shelter Black Summer Tour 2003) on the same day, December 25th. Boris at Last -Feedbacker-, often referred to simply as “Feedbacker”, would continue Boris’ tradition of long songs, being a 43-minute song divided into 5 sections.
Feedbacker was initially released as a CD on DIWPHALANX Records in 2003, with a vinyl release on the same label following in 2004. The Belgian label Conspiracy Records would release a CD reissue in 2005 along with a picture disc version limited to 200 copies, with a standard vinyl reissue in 2009. Third Man records re-released Feedbacker on vinyl along with a machine-stamped limited CD run of 2000 copies, giving the same treatment to Akuma No Uta.
“Feedbacker” has been played at many shows in a slightly condensed form, a live arrangement appears on Heavy Metal Me and a live recording of “Feedbacker” even had it’s own official DVD release as Bootleg -Feedbacker-. A performance of the song with Merzbow was included on Rock Dream in 2007.
Video: Boris performing “Feedbacker”, recorded on November 1st, 2003 at Shinjuku Liquid Room. This performance appears on the Heavy Metal Me DVD.
The Thing Which Solomon Overlooked
The first release in Boris’ trilogy series The Thing Which Solomon Overlooked would be recorded in 2004 and released as a limited run of orange vinyl on the Finland-based label Kult of Nihilow in August of that year. This series consisted of experimental drone and ambient compositions without vocals and often without drums.
The second volume of The Thing Which Solomon Overlooked would release in 2006 on Conspiracy Records, who had released the international CD and LP releases of Boris at Last -Feedbacker-.
Conspiracy Records released the third volume a year later in 2007, which would be the final release in the series for 6 years until the release of The Thing Which Solomon Overlooked – Chronicle, containing the entire original trilogy on CD for the first time as well as 目をそらした瞬間 Extra -The Thing Which Solomon Overlooked Extra-. The Thing Which Solomon Overlooked Extra- released on vinyl in 2014 on Taiga Records, packaged with a specially designed sleeve to hold the entire series on vinyl.
Unlike the previous entries in the series, several tracks on The Thing Which Solomon Overlooked Extra contained vocals, including guest vocals from Seiichiro Morikawa on “Howl Part 1” and “Howl Part 2” and additional vocals on “Howl Part 1” credited to “Nene & Nana”. The guitarist Michio Kurihara contributed to both parts of “Howl”.
The year 2005 would be a defining year for Boris, seeing the release of several albums, DVDs, and other projects, many of which had been recorded in part during the years prior. The first release in 2005 would be Boris’s first live recording with Merzbow, 0402001, a low-fidelity recording of a 2001 concert released on Inoxia Records as a limited 12″.
Less than three weeks later, Boris released Dronevil, their sixth studio album. Dronevil was presented as two 12″s intended to be played simultaneously on two different stereo systems. Dronevil -Final- was released as a 2xCD on Inoxia Records in 2006, featuring two new tracks.
In April of 2005, Boris released the A Bao A Qu 7″, a limited edition picture disc released through SuperFi Records. This release features a 10 minute rendition of the song presented in two parts, later appearances of the song on other releases are shorter.
マブタノウラ Sound Track from Film “Mabuta No Ura” (Simply referred to as “Mabuta No Ura”) was released on June 29th, 2005 as a CD through the label Catune. Despite being labelled as a film soundtrack, Mabuta No Ura is actually a fictional film and the release serves as the first concept album to be released by Boris. Inoxia Records would publish a limited vinyl release sharing the same tracklist, while the Brazilian label Essence would publish a limited CD release sharing the Inoxia Records version cover, but with an alternate tracklisting and differences in material (“Theme”, for example, is omitted from the Essence Version, while it adds the track “Continues”). The Essence CD release was also accompanied by a boxset version, limited to 199 copies and including a hand-painted wooden box, additional art, and dried flowers.
In October of 2005, Boris released both Sun Baked Snow Cave, their second studio album with Merzbow, and all three volumes of the Archive series, presented by Scott Slimm for the now defunct aRCHIVE label, compiling live material recorded between 1996 and 2001.
Sun Baked Snow Cave released on Hydra Head Records’ Double H Noise Industries division as a CD with artwork from Sunn O))) member Stephen O’Malley, later being reissued on vinyl in 2014. It is presented as a single track with distinct sections without division.
The following month in November, Boris released their seminal album PINK in Japan as a CD and double LP on DIWPHALANX Records, with a CD and double LP release on Southern Lord following in May of 2006.
Several differences exist between these versions- the original DIWPHALANX CD has a 10 minute version of “Just Abandoned Myself”, while an 18 minute version appears on the DIWPHALANX 2xLP and all Southern Lord releases. The vinyl releases of PINK all contain an alternate track arrangement from the CD versions in addition to full-length versions of “Farewell”, “Pseudo-Bread”, and “My Machine”.
In 2016, a deluxe edition of PINK was released internationally on Sargent House as 2xCD and 3xLP sets and domestically as a 2xCD on Daymare Recordings. It features newly edited and arranged tracks recorded during the same period as PINK, labelled as “Forbidden Songs”.
In the year 2005, Boris released the DVDs Bootleg -Feedbacker- and Heavy Metal Me through DIWPHALANX in addition to appearing on the DIWPHALANX Japanese heavy rock showcase DVD Wizard’s Convention.
Bootleg -Feedbacker- contains a 34 minute-long iteration of Feedbacker, performed live at Skylight, New York on October 16th, 2004. Wizard’s Convention features live recordings of 6 songs taken from Heavy Rocks and Akuma No Uta, recorded live at Kichijoji WARP on May 24th, 2003.
Heavy Metal Me contains a short film with subtitles for Japanese and English, with music videos for “A Bao A Qu”, “The Evil One Which Sobs”, and live performances of Feedbacker and Flood.
2006-2008 – Altar Through Smile
Altar with Sunn O)))
Boris had been involved with Southern Lord in reissuing several releases and they had developed a long term friendship with Sunn O))) member Stephen O’Malley by the time their Sunn O))) collaboration, Altar, was recorded and released in 2006.
Photo: Boris and Sunn O))) performing Altar at All Tomorrow’s Parties, NY, in 2010. Photo credit.
Altar featured a number of guest artists, including Jesse Sykes, Tos Nieuwenhuizen, Bill Herzog, Rex Ritter, and others. It was initially released on Southern Lord as a CD in the US and internationally and as a CD with the bonus track “The Sinking Belle (Black Sheep)” in Japan.
Several versions would be released after, including a limited edition 3xLP set from Daymare recordings containing the 28-minute long prelude track “Her Lips were Wet with Venom -satanoscillatemymetallicsonatas-” featuring Kim Thayil of Soundgarden. This 3xLP release is the only version containing “The Sinking Belle (White Sheep)”. “Her Lips were Wet with Venom” appears on limited edition CD releases from Southern Lord and Inoxia Records.
Working with Michio Kurihara
ITV: How did you first come into contact with Michio Kurihara? What made you want to collaborate with him, and what were you going for musically with Rainbow?
Atsuo: We both use a studio called Peace Music. When YBO2 reformed in 2000, he played guitar in that band, and we performed together. To put it simply, we are huge fans of his work. As a producer, I like to hear his guitar. I mean his crazy guitar. This work came out as an even more amazing album than we expected. It was a really good experience for Boris. […]Source: Austin Chronicle
The record itself was born as an idea two years ago around the time we were touring “Pink” and we were becoming disenchanted with the whole process and found ourselves obsessed with the idea of the fake. Particularly fake pop music and how that can in itself be hyper real. “Smile” is our attempt to reflect the idea of the fake. It might sound nothing like those pop records but it is our reflection of them.Source: Psychopedia Interview
The “Floor Shaker” Incident
2009-2011 – Heavy Rock Hits and a Trilogy
Atsuo: Originally we had completed one studio album in 2009. Some songs were scattered on several singles, split EPs, and Attention Please and Heavy Rocks. After a long process that went on for years those songs were united as one album called New Album.Source
2012-2014 – Präparat through Noise
2015-Present – A Farewell Album Inspires a New Era
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