Written by: The Administrator
Proponents of, y'know, not judging a book by its cover: try this one on for size. Look at that moniker. Look at that project title. My god, look at that artwork.* The black lagoon beckons. Prepare thyself accordingly.
Bong Coffin's bio states "heavy stuff, we hope." I am but one listener with limited authority as such, but I'm comfortable stating that this is, indeed, heavy stuff. But sheer weight aside: is it good? Aye. And the most solid indication that this is Good Shit? The reality that each of the three tracks herein is my favorite on the project. They are each unique, and surprisingly catchy, and emotive enough to generate a heartfelt kinetic response. As such, Swamp-Kings and Sunken Citadels presents a high degree of replayability. I've listened to this thing quite a bit at a generally inappropriate volume, as any fellow inhabitant of ye olde Sleeping Village can begrudgingly attest.
Opener "Träskkungen" offers a solid display of the overall Bong Coffin package. The thick stoner/sludge riffage is obviously dredged from the mire, dripping with as much swamp gunk as ye might expect, but yet the guitar rises from time to time to deliver a tastefully psychedelic tinge. The percussion is delightfully present, with the cymbals providing a level of interest that helps up the intensity. It's an uncommon element of praise when discussing music that is nominally riff-centric, but I'm tempted to say that the drums are the most impressive singular element. And, speaking of intensity, the vocals are utterly monstrous, ranging from a wonderful gurgle/howl to piecing shrieks that seemingly sit on the verge of blow-out. The sheer range of sounds is quite impressive. This track features a sizable solo in the back half, which lends a well-timed mellow break. Definitely a smart choice, given the in-you-face quality of the vocals. The second track, "Mistress of the Obsidian Temple," ups the ante in terms of sheer heft without losing the dynamic approach. The chanted chorus here--expulsions of "Iä! Iä! Iä! Iä!"--is pretty damn visceral in its simplicity, and remains a pervasive earworm. And, continuing to hit the mark of quality established thusfar, closer "No Hope In Sight"--a Paradise Lost cover--balances a menacing weight with surprisingly bright leads and an onslaught of crashing cymbals, a catchy refrain on display all the while.
I'd say I want more, but the reality is that within the past month or so, Bong Coffin have released two more distinct EPs--neither of which, I am ashamed to admit, I've yet had the pleasure of consuming. It is an inspiring level of output, and I think the small release template fits what the band is doing quite well. Small but frequent doses keep the audience wanting more, whilst avoiding the kind of inevitable loss of interest that occurs when releases are few and far between. As a result of Swamp-Kings and Sunken Citadels' heft and memorable songwriting, alongside a notable proclivity for releasing new tracks at an impressive rate, Bong Coffin has been at the forefront of my mind over the past few months. That certainly ain't a bad thing. Needless to say, I'm very excited to witness this project flourish.
Bong Coffin - Swamp-Kings and Sunken Citadels was can be found Nov. 11th, 2021
*artwork courtesy of Kim Holm
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that wakes us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry.