Bong - Beyond Ancient Space
Ritual Productions
Drone Sludge
3 songs (79'05")
Release year: 2011
Ritual Productions
Reviewed by Alex

Normally I try to take notes while listening to the albums I am about to review. Yet on that day I was in a hurry needing to make a pickup at the airport about 1.5 hr driving distance away. Just an hour or so ago I had a pretty painful medical procedure with anesthesia beginning to wear off just as I began driving. Precautions be damned I popped a Vicodin and got on my way. As I need to have something playing on any lengthy drive, I just put in the first CD in the stack I always have in my car. Am I glad now it just happened to be Bong’s Beyond Ancient Space? Having quickly discarded any ideas of the notes taking (not recommended when you are driving anyway), I just let myself go with the waves of ritualistic dronesludgedoom Bong has created on this album. Vicodin induced fog or the hypnotic music by these unknown heretofore (to me anyway) Brits, but the pain crawled away into the deeper recesses of the mind, with a sweet fuzzy bliss setting in and making the hour and a half feel like a minute. I could not repeat the experience on the way back as I was not alone anymore, and tried Bong again a few days later without a pain pill now. Knowing what to expect the experience was less transcending, although the effect was still quite powerful (I never advocate the use of drugs, but this music needs to have you in a hallucinogenic state for full comprehension).

After a Buddhist-like chant coming as if from an afar Himalayan monastery, Bong begins to unfold their never-ending superexpansive wall-of-sound guitar riffs. Or is it just a single riff, repeated with a few additional wrinkles? The mile-spaced drum beats and those sweet churning guitars just keep piling on, and pretty soon you lose yourself trying to catch the repetition, and in this mammoth progression you finally grasp the underlying melody, powerful enough to be produced by the Moon induced tide. Across the Timestream takes it even up a notch coming to a clearer climax with cymbals crushing and meditative cycle complete. And I guess there are vocals somewhere in this mix, at least that is what the promo sheet said, but they are so subliminal and textural, being the part of the overall fabric, that you don’t even notice the voices creeping into your senses. The songs last almost a half hour each, but taking these journeys in anything less than that would have been a ridiculous time waste.

A bit sadly, the closer In the Shadow of the Towers does not quite live up to the first two cuts, and the first Bong experience continues to be the most potent. Beyond Ancient Space heard for the first time is an eye opener, but after that descending into hypnosis on demand is just not as easy.

The fans of Electric Wizard, Om, Sleep and perhaps Earth absolutely need to hear this as this may be their discovery of the year. Just as often 60s-70s music can be this unattached flowery hippiness, but Bong is all about profound anchored meditation and deep exploration of the mind.

Killing Songs :
Onward to Perdondaris, Across the Timestream
Alex quoted 77 / 100
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There are 6 replies to this review. Last one on Mon Jun 27, 2011 4:04 pm
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