Psychedelic drone lords Bong place best foot forward with their latest offering; expect stoned out heaviness and trippy vibrations.
Booming chords and pounding drums bring listeners to the edge of the abyss, before inviting you to join them in the jump.
If only one thing is certain about metal this is it; drone metal is something of a niche market. It has its pioneers and its heroes but it will probably never break into the mainstream. Therein lies the potential and the excitement, there’s no need for it to change to fit anybody’s expectations and estimations, it has the freedom to be whatever it wants. This is where Bong have room to play and evolve their sound into a mind-bending festival of psychedelia.
From the opening notes of Polaris this fuzz-fuelled, doom-laden track oozes power, a power that doesn’t disappear during its 37 minute runtime. Once the drums have joined the guitars, Bong invite you to nod your head in rhythmic approval. The drums provide subtle changes the feel of the music as a whole which takes you a few seconds to notice. At about halfway into this track you realise that something strange has happened; you have become completely mesmerised by your own nodding, in a state of complete relaxation where you and the music are at one. The end of the piece brings you comfortably back into the real world by slowly fading out and letting you adjust to whatever else may be going on in the world around you. However, the fact that this might be traffic or even bird song is somewhat disappointing.
Out Of The Aeons picks you up where Bong had just left you, presumably from a half submerged state of aural excitement, to bring you yet another 30 minutes of delicious droning goodness. Textures of sound are layered on each other in such a way as not to be over-wrought or ham-fisted but rather poured over like treacle on rocks. A sound emerges from the guitars blending into one that sounds almost like Tuvan or Mongolian throat singing adding a sense of spirituality. The piece remains just as trippy and ethereal as the first, which if pushed would be my only criticism of this album; casual listeners could possibly be turned off by this. The scale of the two songs together is immense. At once brash and commanding, but also reserved and secretive. Make no mistake – this is not a release for the faint-hearted, but for the initiated, Bong have created an incredibly assured piece that should be put up with the greats.
Bong have released a radio edit version of Polaris to give a taste of what’s to come:
In a world full of aspiring metal bands trying to make their mark on the scene it’s comforting to know that a band like Bong can exist. Intelligent without being pompous or pretentious, they have made a solid and inspired effort with Stoner Rock. They’ve delivered doom-drone with a heap of wonder and spirituality. It makes you want to take a trip to the Taj Mahal to play it at full volume.
Strong and assured, this is what the underground is all about. Bong are blazing a trail that should see them reach the top with this impressive display.