Somewhat over four years ago, I was called upon to review an album by Bong, namely ‘Stoner Rock’, and on that occasion, it’s fair to say that particular offering had a harsh reception, where I described it as sounding akin to a stoned zombie trying to tune their guitar by headbutting the strings; not cool. Luckily my second hit on this particular Bong is considerably sweeter than the first.
As before, only two tracks make up the entire album, and at first, opener ‘The Golden Fields’ sounds like it is headed into the same cacophonous mess that ‘Stoner Rock’ was. Indeed, it has every chance to do so, starting out with a wall of down-tuned feedback that has a chords per minute count slower than the heartbeat of a comatose mummy on Valium. However, unlike the first album, something just seems to gel. Whilst the drum beats are at first random outbursts, as if the man holding the sticks is occasionally shaking himself awake for a brief flurry of skin battering between THC induced blackouts, unlike before, they compliment the wall of fuzz that they accompany, and when the deep, doom laden monastically chanted vocals kick in, the bass, drums, and guitar all merge together into an almost hypnotic dirge, and when the track fades out over a quarter of an hour later, it actually sounds as if it had a point, even a purpose, albeit a vague and trippy one.
‘Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius’ follows, and amazingly enough almost immediately the long, drawn out elements intermingle and merge into one dreamlike whole, drawing in the listener with swirling patterns of laid back laconic sound that drift along with an improvised vibe, as if each musician in the band was just loosely yet mellowly playing along to, but never against, the other, the drawn out sustain of the guitar, the low and slow fuzz of the bass, and the slow looping beats of the drums lifting and supporting each disparate element on a journey to an other worldly plane of existence. If there is such a thing as “extreme stoner” that I’ve never before heard of, this Newcastle trio must be at the forefront of the movement.
If you’re wanting a circle pit anything faster than a snail battling against a tsunami of black tar, by exploring ‘Thought and Existence’ you have come to the wrong place. If, however, you just want to lay back with your favourite chemical relaxant (a nice cup of tea or the occasional Old Rosie scrumpy for me) absorb and be absorbed by a wall of music without moving more than a lethargic twitch, then Bong may well have created the album for you.