Published May 02, 2018You'd forgive a psychedelic stoner drone-doom band for being a little slow when it comes to getting work done, but Newcastle's Bong have kept up an almost constant stream of live albums, splits and EPs since they first burst onto the scene in 2005. Most of their stuff follows the formula of "make it sound like your guitar took acid," but it's certainly never boring. In fact, Thoughts and Existence is more engaging then any two-song stoner odyssey has any right to be.
"It happened, as it always does, in dreams," begins "The Golden Fields," a 17-minute audio hypnosis session. Guitars this distorted aren't often found outside of Sunn O))), but Bong wisely put a bit of rhythm into their monolithic soundscape. Scatterings of percussion and creepy Gregorian chanting fit nicely alongside the abyssal drone. Other groups have tried this type of thing and failed, but Bong succeed by knowing that less is more.
Second track "Tlön Uqbar Orbis Tertius" keeps things going, dutifully disappearing into a hallucinogenic wormhole. It could stand to be more different then the track that preceded it, but at least they don't muddy things up with pseudo-philosophical lyrics. Instead, Bong let their music do the talking for them.
Sleep may have put out 2018's highest profile stoner album, but it's Bong that have truly pushed the boundaries. The opening line of Dopesmoker, "Drop Out of Life with Bong in Hand," comes readily to mind. (Ritual)