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Thursday, April 4, 2013

LP Review - Bongripper/Conan Split 12"

How low can low go? Ever since I first heard Electric Wizard's "Come My Fanatics" I thought that was it, heavy music could not get any heavier beyond that album. Then they released "Dopethrone" and the bar was lowered even more. Surely that was it? El Wiz pushed low as low as low could go. I was wrong though. I later discovered a band called Floor featuring Steve Brookes in his pre-Torche days on guitar. Floor put out an album featuring the heaviest tones I had heard put to record. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. The 'bomb drop tuning" as coined by Brookes proved that a player could down tune a guitar very very low indeed and so achieve a sound that physically rattles your guts. The low-end tone is more than just a listening experience, it is a physical sensation that seems to massage the listener's insides. Whenever I listen to extremely heavy music I have this sensation deep within in me that is more than physical. It is as if a portal opens within me and I am sucked within myself and plunged into the lowest fathoms of the sub-atomic universe.

With this release the low-end tone is taken to new extremes in a 12" that is sure to twist your guts and shake your bones and suck you into the abyss of pulverising weight. To celebrate their upcoming UK tour, American instrumental doom legends Bongripper team up with the UK's rapidly rising heroes of heavy Conan, for a split LP to be released on vinyl 22nd April from Holy Roar Records. And oh my, what heavy heavy (yep, heavy x2) soul crushing sounds are on offer here.

Conan's slice "Beheaded" is 17 minutes and 3 seconds of slow, low and nether-worldly doom metal. From the outset tribal drums drift upwards towards you from the silent depths that bring with them a mighty tone of ultra-low end that slams you full bodily leaving you prostrate in worship of the heavy. Huge droned out riffs pour forth in a tsunami of devastatingly crushing tones as shouted chanted vocals echo from deep below. Conan are the epitome of heavy as declared loud and proud in this slow paced monster of a galaxy devourer. The walls of my house are shaken with plaster falling from my ceiling and my intestines vibrate to the frequencies causing me to want to shit urgently. My brain cells rattle as I nod slowly along to the pounding drums that drive this track forward with each bass and guitar hit sounding even more heavy than the last. On it drones in thick waves of sludge and crunch while a buzzed and searing guitar lick adds to the deliberately drawn out affair on display. I am caught in a catatonic trance as I dribble spit onto my shirt and the sensations that whirl through me are a satisfying guttural massage, which Conan so graciously give in this veritable behemoth of a track.

The mighty Bongripper follow with "Zero Talent" which opens with a dark atmospheric ambient intro and the sound of a robotic mosquito buzzing through my head. There is an obvious electronic music influence in this prelude reminding me of an intro to some dark Drum and Bass tune, that is until the fucking immense weight of crushing riffs falls upon me and I am left prostrate for the second time in under 30 minutes. The riffs are delivered in that unmistakable Bongripper style with drums that bash out the huge and infectious riffs with pace changes that build the tension of extreme doom to a point where the track unleashes some frantic and urgent riffage that then plunges into crushingly down-tuned bomb drop tones. The ante is upped (or rather lowered) then as a huge wall of sound takes this track into even heavier dimensions. This is "off the hook", to use a popular yoot term, with a production that is just something out of this world, it being so damn heavy but still very clean in the mix.This track hearkens back to some of Bongrippers' earlier work but with an evolution in their sound that shows Bongripper are a band that are not afraid to push themselves forward.

I will be attending one of the shows of the Bongripper and Conan UK tour so look out for a review of that in the coming weeks.

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