The Japanese word gō’on can be rendered in English as a “roaring sound.” It’s often used to describe the loud levels of volume at a concert, which typically hit around 120 decibels.

When rock trio Boris and noise musician Merzbow performed at the 300-capacity Shindaita Fever venue in Tokyo last year in November, however, the volume reportedly reached levels as high as 130.6 db (a single shotgun blast is around 140 db). Suddenly, the word “gō’on” became quite literal, and had some critics questioning whether other groups were truly deserving of the descriptor.

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