‘We Are, We Were And We Will Have Been’ continues irregular tonal experimentalist Bong’s disturbingly solemn delivery of prolonged, mesmerising drone. The record comprises of two twenty minute journeys into the sonic wasteland that is Bong’s melting glacial world as the listener is swept away through the power of residual distortion and ethereal synths.
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I seem to remember reading something by Julian Cope where he describes Bong as the LaMonte Young of Stoner Rock. I thought it was a bit of hyperbole at the time but on listening to this latest effort from the heaviest thing to come from Tyneside since the World Unicorn, I think I know what he means. Of course you get all the usual things associated with the genre: crushingly dense, doom-laden guitars and slow ponderous rhythms moving at a glacial pace through monumental songs etc. But it occurred to me that whereas most doom bands worship at the altar of riff, Bong’s music is more about texture and drone; with the band building up layers of frequencies and atmospheric sounds into a spaced-out psychedelic stew rather than using any recognisable riff as an anchor.
The first track here ‘Time Regained’ pretty much exemplifies that approach with its one-note groove based around a distorted guitar and bass drone-alith, with washes of ethereal, pipe organ guitar melodies swirling amidst the narcotic soundwaves. On the flipside, ‘Find Your Own Gods’ builds up a fog of watery, wah wah filtered notes that reverberate into infinity on decaying echo trails in a way that reminds me of Bardo Pond at their most cosmic. The only thing I struggle with though is the vocals, which are quite theatrical and make me think of Christopher Lee delivering some portentous soliloquy in a camp Hammer film. Apart from that though, this is a very enjoyable album of heavy head music.
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