Swedish band Kongh undeniably has a strength and intensity as formidable as their name suggests and through their new album Sole Creation, offers forty five minutes of energy sapping, senses elating, and passion igniting creativity which is just breath-taking. Consisting of four tracks, the third full length release from the band consumes every corner of the psyche with an adventurous and hungry expanse of sludge and doom metal brought with a fiery loud whisper of progressive rock. It is an immense beast which gives some of the most melodically rewarding sounds heard in a long time whilst hungrily gnawing on the bones and synapses of the listener with heavy consuming intent.
The seeds for Kongh began in 2004 when David Johansson (guitar, bass and vocals) and Tomas Salonen (drums) met and began making heavy music together incorporating influences from their different musical backgrounds flavours from blues to grindcore. Two years later saw their first demo appeared, a four track brute of weighty sludge and loud riffing might which unexpectantly within two weeks sparked floods of strong reviews and independent label interest. By that fall the band had signed with Stockholm’s Trust No One Recordings (Isis, Khanate, Switchblade, Breach) and began work of their first album Counting Heartbeats which appeared in July of 2007. Again acclaim soaked the band backed by impressive live shows which included supporting Neurosis and Cult Of Luna. By the end of the next year following a limited split LP with Ocean Chief and a split 7” with Witch-Lord, the band and their epic musical atmospheric ‘hostilities’ were to the fore of awareness within European metal. Second album Shadows Of The Shapeless came out in 2009 and its evolved and aggressively intrusive sounds whipped up another storm of attention and acclaim from fans and media alike. It also received a full US release, the first time for the band as they received their most positive and enamoured reviews yet.
Kongh had reached a height to see them lie alongside the major doom/sludge metal names, with shows and performances with bands such as Weedeater, Ufomammut and YOB sealing their stature as they concentrated playing live and touring over the next two years. As the new Agonia Records released album shows this was a mere step in their rise as the further plateau reached and explored musically by Sole Creation, is their finest and most irresistible moment yet. It and the band is as confronting and abrasive as ever but with an expansive breath which reaches out further in imagination, sound, and impact. The four songs making up the album are individual slabs of dynamic sonic potency, rich melodic incursions, and senses challenging aggressive poetry.
The title track opens up the vat of dramatic excellence upon inciting rolling rhythms and a sonic wash with an acidic touch upon the ear. Soon into its sizzling gait the track unleashes teasing melodic hooks, grinding riffs, and a marked elevation in the intimidation of the rhythms. Once the growling spite of Johansson lies its rasping malevolence on flesh the song is grooving with a wonderful irritability soon tempered by the wonderful clean vocal harmonies which join the fray and insidious yet magnetic melodic caresses from the guitars. It is a sensational encounter which holds the passions tight within only the first four minutes of its ten plus. The track shifts its muscles into a varied venture of ideas and styles within the overall aggressive stance with imperious ease and craft to spark whispers of Mastodon, Kyuss, and Baroness, though Kongh capture a sound distinctly theirs at all times.
Second song Tamed Brute treats the already sore senses to a new decisive wash of sonic mastery to announce its entry before resting on an atmospheric peace though still with a disturbed air to its presence. It is not long before the track is a maelstrom of energy and passion soaked intensity which oppresses and smothers leaving one smouldering under its infectious annihilatory heat. The cleaner vocals are again especially striking though just one of a weave of sensational aspects on song and album.
The Portals and Skymning complete the release, the first an emotion grasping physical endurance test with the deepest pleasure and enterprise the reward for its devastating and magnetic confrontation. An inferno as dense as it is incendiary the track is aural alchemy, the band turning riotous violence into a mesmeric contagious aural brilliance. The second of the two is equally guilty of the wizardry though it offers a less intensive pugnacity to its far reaching dark beauty, but again a level of musicianship in performance and songwriting which is just masterful.
Featuring a guest appearance from John Doe from Craft, the Magnus Lindberg (Cult Of Luna) mastered album is as flawless as is possible and in turn just sensational, a release which will inspire for a long time to come. Kongh now stand as massive as their cinematic namesake.
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