Review: Bong-Ra ‘Antediluvian’

Doom is a genre that has, since its inception, been getting progressively heavier, more intense, and we’ve now been given the opportunity to hear what has become of this genre, and its ultimate concoction of ‘heavy’, with the prolific Bong-Ra. Their recent album, Antediluvian, stands out as a time-testable landmark in epically powerful dark music of immense dimensions as the band engage in murky chasms of doom-ladened abyss, with touches of free jazz, that’s sure to keep people putting it on their turntable constantly.

Bong-Ra ‘Antediluvian’

The mastermind behind Bong-Ra is Jason Köhnen, based in The Netherlands, he’s taken part in such bands as The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble, which he was a founding member, as well as The Mount Fuji Doomjazz Corporation. He’s also part of the doom and sludge band Celestial Season, as well The Thing With Five Eyes. With such a vast amount of musical endeavors, Köhnen is definitely well-adept in the musical creativity process.

Given the skill he’s bestowed upon the music community, Antediluvian is comprised of everything that makes doom interesting, but with added instrumentation making it new and seriously fascinating. Contained within are slow, dark, gargantuan riffs, pummeling drums and vast, low end rumbling from a grimy fuzzed out bass with subsonic frequencies, along with alluring parts of horn and piano, and free jazz elements, by way of saxophone. With an overall ominous and powerful sound, what we have is pure instrumental listening bliss.

Each song delves into occult ideas of ancient civilizations, particularly Egyptian. The cover consists of a mystic looking man (Jason himself?) standing in front of a pyramid creating an esoteric vibe. The music, as well as the cover, all fit well into the themes presented, making for a haunting, strong and lasting impression that keeps one wanting more of this fantastic piece of musical genius that’s a captivating endeavor upon first listen.

slow, dark, gargantuan riffs, pummeling drums and vast, low end rumbling from a grimy fuzzed out bass…

Kheper (Pharaoh’s Serpent) is the first song and sets the pace of the enchanting, and entrancing, things to come. Our adventure begins with an alluring slow mellow chanting with a distant, yet enticing horn, making for a great beginning to the record. It’s very Egyptian/Eastern sounding and very dark. Then we’re gifted with an epic entrance of thunderous drumming and ferocious sounding dirty, fuzz-drenched, extremely low-pitched bass, that at a high volume feels like everything encompassing your surroundings is shaking. It’s a massive entrance of monolithic proportions with huge sounding drums pounding their way into the mix. This is one killer of an opening track in its variance and build up.

Amun (Hidden Chambers) brings us into a world of harshness with a fullness of ear-pleasing gratification. Highly hellacious and an extremely intricate piece that is very moving in its treasurable moments, the song is so colossal in its intensity, it’s really a perfection on the creation of ‘new doom’. There’s an interlude that’s befitting to the title, as if one were traveling into a hidden chamber somewhere inside of a darkened cavern, then around the halfway mark, the track moves into a jazzy section with saxophone and piano. The piano part is spooky in its effect, and you might imagine it likened to what you might hear out of a dark horror soundtrack to a movie.

Oon (Procession Of The Equinoxes) moves like the meaning of its title with the celebration of the changing of the seasons. In slow fashion its gargantuan sounds, with ultra low-end, feel as all the instruments take turns to give a tasteful appeal. It’s an ushering in the next saga of this album. Aton (Mind Machine) is a crawling behemoth of a number. Keeping with the onslaught of intensity, the band venture into the explosive. It’s intricate patterns, with finely placed rhythmical parts, make one hell of a mammoth track in tone and structure. It’s the perfect finale which only creates more enjoyment as its complexity causes one to give their full attention to the incredible parts happening within.

Bong-Ra have created a masterful piece of work with Antediluvian. It will appeal to fans of overwhelming and extraordinary ‘new doom’ records. It’s not one to be missed for anyone with a liking for the extremes of heavy with its boundless projection of intensity and gratification. This album is a must-hear because of its prolific take on a genre that keeps getting more intense as the days go on. It’s a work of musical art that’s sure to be a staple in all things pertaining to the future of doom.

Label: Tartarus Records
Band Links: Bandcamp

Scribed by: Maxwell Seeman