BONG - "Beyond Ancient Space"
(Ritual Productions 2011)
From Aural Innovations #43 (October 2011)
BONG is back with their follow up effort to the recent Live at Roadburn (which is still not out on vinyl yet). One of the tracks from that live release is also on this excellent CD. If you are not familiar with BONG, they are from Newcastle and play pretty spaced out heavy doom. This CD is three tracks in 79 mins and wow... The nearly 26 minute Onward to Perdardaris, which is also on the live at Roadburn, it starts slow and spacey and then the massive riff kicks in just after the spoken word piece from the great author Lord Dunseney. The sitar like instrument is played throughout the next part and it gives it this cool effect as the massive drone wall of doom pummels you. I wish they would mix the lead guitar louder and he would solo even more but it is fucking cool and totally spaced out. The vocal comes back later but in a totally different way and the song is getting more and more intense and the end is massive as they build up. The shati baaja (sitar like instrument) is really mixed high at the end and makes it very far out. One of their most, if not most amazing tracks ever!
This band is totally heading into the right direction with just getting more spacey and spacey. The riffs and wall of sound is quite similar on a lot of their stuff but the spacey details and sounds is what make them special. Massive. Across the Timestream is starting the next 25 minutes of the journey beyond ancient space. It starts quite reverberating at the beginning and slowly fits its feet with some very spacey but also quite melodic stuff. It is very stoney stuff with the reverberating guitar just mixed into the center of the sound. A very melodic but also heavy piece! Almost mainstream for BONG this one! The last 29 minute piece, The Shadow of the Towers, has a more lo-fi sound and starts slowly, is heavy and dark, unlike the more happy (if you can call it that) last track. Massive slow doomy wall of sound - that characteristic BONG that you all know and love. About 7 minutes into the song it starts to take off in a slightly different direction but damn it is massive and around 13 1/2 minutes he starts to solo a bit in the background of the massive pummelling we are getting here. Very spaced out sound as well and it really picks up in pace as well from the slow beginning. A total mindfuck of a record for sure.
For more information you can visit the Bong web site at: http://www.myspace.com/landbong
Visit the Ritual Productions web site at: http://www.ritualproductions.net/
Reviewed by Scott Heller