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Kongh - Shadows of the Shapeless - 70%

ThrashManiacAYD, September 5th, 2009

Sounding like the bastard child of some of doom's most crooked bands, Kongh rumble and splutter out of the speakers, introducing themselves to me in a wholly different manner to most others I receive for review these days. This Swedish 3-piece are now releasing album no.2, "Shadows Of The Shapeless" and with just 5 songs in 56 minutes, you'll be in a for long, heavy ride.

As is clearly the law in these parts, the members of Kongh were no doubt stoned off their faces in the composition of "Shadows...". Mixing primarily YOB and Unearthly Trance with Electric Wizard, vocals range from a tortured howl to a Jus Oborn-like clean croon, as generally evidenced across the whole record, on top of riffs of crushing stoner/doom. "Essence Asunder" retains a strong sense of classic Sleep, however at 15 minutes long it finds the time to withdraw into it's shell and play up the strong YOB influences with a bouncy kind of leading riff that induces you to nod along, even at home. Later on the song virtually grounds to a halt as David Johansson's mournful guitar plays solemnly and alone, eventually encouraging his bandmates join in in moving the song forward. More reminiscent of Unearthly Trance the over-riding feel is claustrophobic, as if one is being consumed by the sludge poured forward from the band, yet there is light to be found in parts. The shortest track, "Tänk På Döden", sounds like Kongh searching for solace and while far from happy, the mood by now has shifted to one of contentedness, largely in contradiction to the negativity earlier on.

This feel continues through "Voice Of The Below", the song most likely to appeal to the stoner contingent interested in this album. Kongh are by no means going to be the band you play at your summer BBQ (I suggest giving it a try though) but as crushing stoned doom goes "Shadows Of The Shapeless" is a well composed exercise in how to produce just that. Because of their similarities to Unearthly Trance and YOB in particular a top-grade mark is hard to award but Kongh have shown evidence of greater potential in the future and if they ever come by this way I'll make the effort to check them out.

Originally written for Rockfreaks.net