Wednesday, April 28, 2010

BONG "BETHMOORA" (Infinite Exchange)

Probably one of the most laconic, drifting "stoner" albums that i've heard in years. Despite that upside down cross in their logo Bong carry no taint of evil in their sound and even less weight. This is floating, meandering barely there existing in the astrals style expanse metal, creating an extraordinarily calm and mellow atmosphere throughout its lengthy 71 minute runtime. There are about four riffs on this whole record and if that concept has any sort of appeal to you then you're going to love what Bong are doing. From what i'd heard of the band i was expecting some massive crusted over Eyehategod style NOLA sludgehate but this is way more exisiting on the side of tranquility. Make no mistake-it IS heavy, and there are a few who probably WOULD find this oppressive-but to me this is much more about a journey and a mood, sort of the Ash Ra Temple of doom metal or Popol Vuh turned to sludge. It isn't as heavenly or as cosmic as either of those two projects but the communicative nature of the material is the same. Bong want to take you somewhere else and to get you there, they will lull, soothe and intoxicate you until you're sleeping and travelling, via dreams or transference or some sort of combination of both.
I'm reminded very much of another astral "metal" band, the mighty O. Like Om, Bong take simple riffs and grind them into spacedust ad infinitum and like Om Bong employ a very monotone, chanting/recitation style of singing that becomes very, very hypnotic as the music trudges on. Bong's aspirations are not as lofty as Om's, nor is their music meant to be taken as seriously. Unlike Om there is no philosophy underneath at all, no deeper belief. It's all about zoning the fuck out. Bong drives that point home on "Bethmoora" with a totally narcoleptic 30 minute cover of Pink Floyd's "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun"; when at last the guitars come cranking over the sleepy hills in glacial waves of plodding distorto-stumble you're too massaged into nowhere to give a fuck. Nihilism as transcendence-maybe there is some sort of philosophy there.
Do you need this? Not really. There's nothing incredibly gripping here, but it isn't bad by any means. If i saw a Bong record at a store i'd buy it; i just wouldn't go as crazy over these guys as other reviewers suggest you should. You're getting so so so sleeeeeepy........

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