Stoned to Death: SPACE BONG – Deadwood to Worms Review + Stream
When you run into a “stoner” metal band called Space Bong, you feel like you already know the entire plot without even opening the book, and that the same story is about to repeat itself again and again and again. So, how many endless legions of weed-worshiping doom metal bands have you encountered in your life that use words like “weed,” “bong,” “haze,” “smoke” etc. in their name? Like, millions? And what did they sound like? Slow as fuck, heavy as shit and intoxicated as hell, of course – all descendants of the Bongzilla, Bongripper and Sleep cult. So, while on one hand sitting down for the first time to hear a band called Space Bong didn’t really tickle us too much – conceptually at least – as soon we we pressed play on on their brand new album called Deadwood to Worms, well goddamn, that’s when we reconsidered our prejudice towards this band and started paying super close attention to what this band had to say. In a nutshell, Space Bong have blown new life into this lineage of intoxicated stoner doom, and have executed one of the most accomplished, visionary and exhilarating works seen in the genre in years. They are most certainly Sleep, Electric Wizard and Bongzilla worshippers, but what their ancestors and peers lack – and which Space Bong have an abundance of – is a keen sense of taste and of refined artistry in what they do, something that while not specifically demanded in the genre to “do it right” is also rare to encounter.
While their music is slow as fuck, heavy as a fucking elephant sitting on your skull and intoxicating/intoxicated beyond belief, as their music slowly unfolds you will notice a meticulous and almost OCD attention to detail in their songs, with every riff, solo and harmony carefully and masterfully placed in a very specific manner and executed in a very particular way. Another thing that really stands out is how these guys used some subtle feedback/noise tracks in the background to expand and swell their music into a towering magma of low frequencies and bone-crushing intensity. As you listen, you can hear a fucking slow-motion storm coalesce into dense and thundering clouds of static electricity, but everything has a mesmerizing, shimmering and puzzling clarity to it, a trait that makes this band’s music highly intriguing and captivating. While it’s slow and repetitive most of the time, there is always some subtle nuance or touch of class transpiring in this band’s music, which makes their songs highly immersive and full of body and texture. Far from being artsy or pretentious, though, Space Bong also know exactly which dials to touch in the listener. After all, this is not a philosophical dirge. This is no fucking nerd music. This is satanic reefer worship to the max, so these dudes know exactly what is needed to remain loyal and faithful to the weed cult: play it fucking slimy. Play it as toxic, abrasive, corrosive and putrid as possible. And the boys do just that, busting out a constant slow-motion flow of aural slime that envelops everything in a huge haze of sublime and filthy cacophony.
This can be easily exemplified by mentioning the talking corpse-like vocals reminiscent of Bongzilla, Eyehategod, Cavity and the rest of all the most legendary sludge heathens out there, past and present. The way the feedback is used to create texture is another staple trait used by the band to deliver an absolutely classic onslaught of filth, and so are their wobbly and bluesy riffs that unmistakably bring to mind the sonic swamps and toxic dumps of the most world-famous and classic southern sludge. Maybe it’s this that makes Space Bong so magical: their perfect splicing of class, musicianship, fine taste and great attention to detail on one hand, along with their filthy, toxic, grimy and slime-infested execution on the other – a pairing of different and in a way opposite approaches which as an end result has generated a grandiose and magnificent beast of a stoner metal album. Add ten-plus minutes as the minimum duration of each one of these five massive songs, with no weak points whatsoever, and there you have it: an almost ultimate stoner metal odyssey that we would not be surprised at all to see become a classic in the genre over time.