Kongh Sole Creation

Kongh Sole Creation
8
Sometimes first impressions are everything, especially with album cover art. In metal, as opposed to other genres, there's a higher percentage of "what you see is what you get." After three albums, Kongh's simian namesake finally makes an appearance on the cover of Sole Creation as a blank-eyed behemoth towering over a dark, forested lake. Accordingly, these Swedes have stripped away their recognizably melodic Hyatari references on 2010's Shadows of the Shapeless for this 45-minute colossus. Bandleader David Johansson retains some lingering, Callisto-like notes on the hulking title track, but by the time "Tamed Brute" makes landfall, it's clear that Kongh have become Sweden's answer to Yob. Only one of the four tracks is under the ten-minute mark, and the band make certain to cram every song to capacity with doom chords of augmented amplitude. "The Portals" exemplifies Johansson's clean/growly vocals — and his manic, High on Fire-esque guitar solos — as his prodigious acuity is matched note for note by Tomas Salonen's expert drumming. The duo's creeping prowess in "Skymning" is a fitting soundtrack to safari videos with big cats stalking their prey in slo-mo. Of all Neurosis's descendants, Kongh have long reigned supreme in the post-hardcore sweeps, and with being mixed and mastered by Magnus Lindberg of Cult of Luna (the other phenom of 2013's first quarter), Sole Creation will hypnotize its way onto more than a few year-end lists. (Agonia)