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Very long, grinding and arduous doom stoner music - 70%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, April 28th, 2012

Ain't none more committed to opiate-drugged, pentagram-adorned (or even tattooed) stoner doom metal than this bunch from the UK who call themselves Bong and Bong only! On this album the Bongsters take us through a dark voyaging ritual into our inner cosmos in which may dwell the ultimate Big Bong Brother himself. The intrepid travellers set the guitar engines for the epic journey on intro track "Onward to Perdondaris", a very long grinding, droning guitar-heavy mandala over which a bewitching sitar melody sparkles and a choir of monks chants in the background. The track has something of the quality of Tibetan Buddhist chanting and droning religious music. On and on it goes, penetrating ever deeper into our heads until we find ourselves blending in with the long drones and swimming in the rich soup of sitar tones, grinding guitar and slow percussion rhythms.

"Across the Timestream" is a darker piece, more lumbering and monotonous with ponderous drumming. The bright sparkling sitar has gone and we are left with more of that moaning near-industrial guitar droning circular whirl and an uncertain feel in the music, as if we have lost our way in the dark universe and are groping for the right path.

Final track "In the Shadow of the Towers" sounds initially similar to the previous track: they're both quite dark and the slow, almost lethargic drumming is very arduous to follow, like a convict dragging a ball and chains connected to his ankles across stony ground. The drums dominate the music now and the whining guitar drones, almost remote and sounding like giant mosquitoes hovering overhead, change very little throughout the track.

Although the music starts out very promisingly with "Onward to Perdondaris", it seems to run out of puff very quickly as if Bong, having found their groove and got stuck into it, realised they're too stuck and are struggling to get out to fly high in the skies again. The groove has a quicksand effect: the more Bong struggle, the more they sink into their particular rut. Whether the Bong party reaches its destination or remains lost in the cosmos until the next full-length recording depends on the listener's impression of how the last track concludes. I believe Bong could have done more with this album without any loss of the music's hypnotic, immersive qualities; the drones could have been more layered and richer, the ghostly choirs could have continued right through the album and there could have been more sound effects in and around the droning guitars.