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The beast with two tracks - 95%

joncheetham88, November 16th, 2009

Some things just go so well together. Tuna and cucumber. Paychecks and Friday. Coffee and cigarettes. Kongh and Ocean Chief. This split precedes the latest full-length by each band, and features over 51 minutes of music comprised of one track from each group.

'Drifting on Waves'
Although Sludgy Doom is a superior genre for drawing you deep into particular moods, a lengthy song will often maintain and build upon that feeling; of depression, melancholy, or just, you know, drugs and stuff. Kongh successfully attempt a number of moods throughout their song, making for a refreshing and engaging experience. The title and lyrics of 'Drifting On Waves' could not be more appropriate to the feeling you get of being adrift in lonely, calm waters throughout the moving middle section of the track, before the sun begins to shine on you after the half-way mark - only to be tossed around in the waves again, with cascading riffs and Tomas Salonen's crashing drums creating a climactic last few minutes.

The guitars, courtesy of vocalist David Johansson, have a far cleaner sound than the fuzz of Ocean Chief, occasionally bringing almost a bottleneck vibe, helping create a sparser and more accented sound. Johansson's vocals are a rough bark that welds nicely to the band's heavy sound, and Oscar Ryden provides a thick bass vein throughout the track.

Ocean Chief's track, a tribute to the goddess Freja (who, like all the best gods and goddesses, spent the majority of her time carousing, getting drunk, and having lots of sex) is all thumping drums and low-end groove, slowed to OC's customary crawl and heavy as shrapnel. 'Freja' begins with more of a sense of foreboding than many Ocean Chief tracks, sounding like something that you might hear on the soundtrack of a war film about Vietnam. In fact, if I were to rework the soundtrack of Apocalypse Now, one of my favourite films, I would have this playing over the opening in place of The Doors.

Once the band comes in at the three minute mark, a definite tribal tattoo is heard through the drums. By the time the track settles into its main riff, an achingly slow, fuzzy drawl, four and a half minutes has elapsed, and it is seven minutes before you get drummer Tobias Larsson's vocals. Unlike the jarring wail he used on 'Gathering Souls' from the Northern Lights split, here Tobias performs in a strange and sonorous chant.

By the time we are into the last third or so of the track, you can almost see the smoke coming out of his mouth as he wavers through his lines, instrumental feelings of Drone and Doom have departed for some bluesy cheekiness, and later, psychedelic tremolo solos bring the song to its climax. The blunted will find plenty to enjoy hear - that fuzzy, warm guitar sound tickles the eardrums just right, and there's no doubt Ocean Chief were working their way through a substantial baggy as this was being created.

The split:
This is easily among the best things you could get featuring either of these two bands, and since both will appeal to you if one does, acquisition is mandatory. Make haste.