Clearly growing in confidence having produced two excellent albums with 2007’s ‘Counting Heartbeats’ and 2009’s ‘Shadows of the Shapeless’ the three headed primate that is Swedish Doom pedlars Kongh have squirrelled themselves away in the studio in order to refine everything they have learnt in their quest to perfect the art of downtuned riffing.
Mixed and mastered by Magnus Lindberg of Cult of Luna fame, this album also features a guest appearance from John Doe from Craft and makes a concerted bid for best collection of music in the Kongh arsenal. Consisting of just four tracks that clock in at an impressive 45 minutes, the band have sought to stretch their creative juices and push the boundaries, dynamics and melodies within the outright heaviness that they conjure.
Much has been made of this expanding direction in the press build up to the release of ‘Sole Creation’, but the satisfaction of the band is well placed as this album sees them build on the foundations that have served them so well in the past, yet retaining the anvil hard crunch of Black Sabbath meets the likes of post Hardcore stalwarts Neurosis and of course the aforementioned Cult of Luna.
’Sole Creation’ kicks off in spectacular style with the title track as it rides in on an urgent tattoo of drums, once again the atmospherics that Kongh build and manipulate dominate the music as the guitar work of David Johansson conjures up a sinister horror movie type feel to the proceedings before erupting into a cacophony of fury that is overlaid by gravel throated vocals.
Once again Johansson holds court snarling the lyrics over the tightly control music before the track mutates and brings forth a huge melodic chorus that the band have been so proud of in the buildup to its release and it is work that has paid dividends. Rather than simply tagging on an attempt at accessibility, the melody adds to the diversity of the music, helping the band create light and shade that makes the barrage of intensity all the more pummeling before the track slows to a crawl and practically lurches over the finish line in a delicious sludge fashion.
Barely pausing for breath the band charge head long into ‘Tamed Brute’ and frankly it is anything but tame; the acrobatic guitar work soars whilst Tomas Salone’s drums thunder and give pace to the brutality. For those who love Kongh for their ability to create crushing doom music will find themselves completely at home with this track, stripping back the atmospherics and going straight for the jugular. This is a monster of a track that blasts away any pretension in a celebration of hardcore riffing.
’The Portals’ is a dense return to the expansive dynamics and features some of the filthiest basslines ever heard courtesy of Oskar Rydén. It is heavily melodic, particularly on some of the mazey runs the guitar work take, showing control and maturity that recalls the hypnotic closing track of the former album, but tempered with feral roar. It is one of the best passages of music the band have produced and is perfect to usher in the moody closing number Skymning which is another fabulous piece of dirgy doom that ends on a rousing coda.
There is no doubt in my mind that Kongh have what it takes to be big game players in the scene, this third straight quality release sees the band establishing themselves as an act brimming with talent and ideas, ‘Sole Creation’ is a great album.
Scribed by: Mark Hunt-Bryden