Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Bong - Mana-Yood-Sushai


Today is a bit of a voyage into the more obscure echelons of metal. I decided to focus on some artists and bands that were more mysterious and less obvious. I start this voyage with Bong. Bong are a drone/doom metal band from our fair isle. Newcastle to be exact. They've been making music since 2007 and have been extremely prolific since then. This record, Mana-Yood-Sushai was released in May 2012 via Ritual Productions and is their fourth full-length to date, featuring two extreme and experimental tracks.

Tracklist:-

1. Dreams of Mana-Yood-Sushai
2. Trees, Grass and Stones


Bong begins Mana-Yood-Sushai with the slow building and minimal song Dreams of Mana-Yood-Sushai. It starts with minimal guitar and bass, which creates an atmospheric soundscape as well as intrigue in the listener. The song has more in common with noise/ambient style songs at this point but you feel that it's just leading up to something. The droning bass still underpins the music and sits deep in the mix alongside the drums. There are chanting vocals within the song, but these are used minimally, so as not distract too much from the instrumentation. The guitar solo within Dreams of Mana-Yood-Sushai is very hypnotic. It takes its cues from Westerns in a way but it played in a very ethereal manner.

Trees, Grass and Stones follows in very similar fashion, but with more of a bass rumble. There's a hint of middle-eastern influences as the guitar melodies pierce the drone. This song again feels very experimental and unlike Dreams of Mana-Yood-Sushai, the song in completely instrumental this time. You'll find that it lumbers forward at a slower pace and is more experimental, but that only serves to heighten the sense of wonder that Bong generates. It's also more musical than you'd expect from a drone/doom band. Normally the music can be very atonal and fuzzy, but this is far from that. The production is clear and the entire song is really listenable.

Overall, despite my review pack having the song titles mixed up, this record serves as a stellar reminder that drone/doom can be musical and that by experimenting but being subtle with it, you can create a truly beautiful soundscape that surpasses people’s expectations.

You can find various streams of singles tracks from the album on metal websites, such as at http://www.cvltnation.com/bong-stream/, but the album itself is not fully streaming anywhere.

You can here other music from Bong via their bandcamp page - http://bong.bandcamp.com/

You'll find Bong on Myspace at http://www.myspace.com/landbong and you can order physical copies of Mana-Yood-Sushai via Ritual Productions at http://www.ritualproductions.net/.

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