Today we have reviewer Jayaprakash Satyamurthy from the bangalore based band Djinn & Miskatonic doing a review of the new album from Kongh titled ‘Sole Creation‘. The record was released on the 5th of February via Agonia Records.
1. “Sole Creation”
2. “Tamed Brute”
3. “The Portals”
Review in Haiku – A Gradual Cataclysm
It’s hard to believe that it takes just three people to make such a massive sound, but there you have it. Kongh’s third full-length has all the ponderous poise and earth-shaking presence of its cinematic part-namesake, King Kong, perhaps in a freeze frame, caught leaping from one skyscraper to another in a doomed race for freedom. Bucking the ‘more is more’ trend of too many modern albums, the three musicians who constitute Kongh opt for a modest runtime of around 40 minutes, and that time is taken up by just four songs. This in itself shouldn’t come as a surprise to fans of the doom/sludge sonic space Kongh operates in, but what matters is that these four songs are all massive, immersive journeys through vast riffs and hypnotic textures.
The title track, ‘Sole Creation’ is ushered in with a ritualistic drum beat and takes us firmly into pre-Superunknown classic grunge territory before moving into sections that are more in the Yob camp and even some stratospheric soundscapes that suggest post metal without the flab that genre is sometimes given to. The vocals are a surprise, and a pleasant one – instead of the one-dimensional approach often heard in this kind of expansive yet grimy music, they switch between a menacing, quavering and deep sludge-oriented style and a soaring, tuneful, but still burly delivery.
Stream the entire album on bandcamp below
‘Tamed Brute’ covers much of the same territory, featuring brilliant combinations of lead-footed riffage with soaring guitar squalls. There’s a definite tendency to go for the slow build, copped from the likes of Neurosis and with a similarly vast impact, like a gradual cataclysm. This approach also makes the most of the deep, rich guitar tone, giving it space to shimmer and roil, and let’s face it, a lot of doom/sludge fans are as much fans of hearing great guitar tone effectively deployed as anything else.
After two songs that never overstayed their welcome, despite their length, ‘The Portals’ doesn’t quite make the same impact. The main problem is that it’s simply more of the same, and doesn’t bring in the dose of diversity this album needs at this point. It’s still a superior song with some memorable, wailing lead work.
The final track, ‘Skymning’ makes up for any loss of interest. In this song, Kongh take the pace down a few notches, rolling out a meditative, almost ethereal soundscape with measured vocals and a laid-back, langorous pace that serves as a great offset from the intensity that has been sustained for so long and reminds us just how heavy the band actually gets elsewhere, in terms of sheer mass rather than tempo, of course. The craggy, grungy vocal delivery really comes into its own here, although still placed fairly low in the mix. 8 minutes in, the song moves into an incredibly effective endgame with wavering surf guitar chords streaming across a rhythmic backing that slowly evolves into a viscous, ropey sludge installation.
Long, spacey songs that can meander and soar without losing their way, a sound that is as psychedelic as it is heavy, and a doom/sludge approach that eschews any of the obvious stratagems of its genre – Kongh has crafted a Sole Creation to be proud of and an early entrant to any self-respecting riff maniacs’ best of 2013 list.
NOTE: If you want more of KONGH then stream away their last album “Shadows of the Shapeless” on the Soundcloud player attached below