Bong - We Are, We Were And We Will Have Been - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Bong - We Are, We Were And We Will Have Been

by Andy Brown Rating:8 Release Date:2015-05-25

Bong has been producing otherworldly drones for a number of years now and it’s fair to say that they’ve got pretty good at it too. With a name like Bong you would be forgiven for expecting some Kyuss/Fu Manchu type action, all gruff vocals and desert riffs, but the Newcastle outfit deal in something altogether stranger.  

The band creates soundscapes enveloped in slow, hazy mysticism and the kind of hypnotic, deeply felt drones that will have you sinking deeper and deeper into your sofa (and your musically lubricated subconscious). We Are, We Were and We Will Have Been is a prime example of the kind of slow-revealing, monolithic glory that the band has been perfecting.

The album begins with the steady cosmic crawl of ‘Time Regained’, a gradually unfurling expanse of sound that’s kept in slow but constant motion by an understated, ritualistic beat. The album has the feeling of a late-night, secretive ceremony or initiation, especially as some superbly creepy chanting rises above the drones. It’s all smoke (wonder what that could be from?) and mystery in Bong’s all-consuming nocturnal world.

‘Find Your Own Gods’ starts with a voice: “Find your own gods/ not in dreary chapels and dismal shrines/ but under the stones and streams/ in faint mist and familiar hills/ through soft morning light/ behind the shadow of trees”. The words supply further mental imagery to the bands sinister yet beautiful drones, putting me in mind of the cinematic folk-horror of The Wicker Man and Blood on Satan’s Claw.

Such touhcstones apply thematically not musically- there’s no folk odes to any landlords daughter here. Its also unlikely Bong will be burning any policemen in a giant wickerman any time soon, but this could provide a rather fitting soundtrack.

The album clocks in around the 35-minute mark, and with only two tracks you’ll probably appreciate the kind of epicness you can expect when giving We Are, We Were and We Will Have Been a spin. The album shares some common ground with Wolves in the Throne Room's expeditions into ambient drone territory with last year’s Celestite album. It’s a subtle, decidedly spaced-out affair.

Bong is a reasonably prolific outfit, but We Are, We Were and We Will Have Been would be an excellent starting point for the uninitiated. A willing sacrifice at the altar of doom-drone! 

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