Bong – Dreams of Mana– Yood– Sushai
Newcastle’s Bong are a new discovery for me, having only heard of them this morning while reading an interview with the band’s front man Dave Terry over on The Quietus and my interested was piqued by the description of heavy, psychedelic, stoner/doom. And obviously their name is as flat-out stoner as you can get. Maybe lacking the charm of Bongzilla or Stoned Jesus, but Bong should indicate what kind of sonic delights you’re in for.
This track, taken from their album Mana-Yood-Sushai which was released in May of this year, takes the aforementioned tags and swirls them together with a pinch of eastern mysticism and two parts weed and bong water to create an omnipresent, ragged black cloak of sound.
The works of Irish fantasy writer and dramatist Lord Dunsany form the backbone of the progtacular themes of Mana-Yood-Sushai. Dunsany’s work The Gods of Pegāna presents Mana-Yood-Sushai as the creator of the God of God’s, kept sleeping as when he wakes he will destroy the world and begin rebuilding it. Standard, fantastical fare then, but the rewards of this track are such that the crazy back-story ably sets the tone for the music.
Clocking in at just over 27 minutes long, Dreams is a song that oozes considerable ominous menace, conjuring images of long forgotten temples somewhere in the Himalayas where once ancient priests toiled daily to ensure their ancient god’s slumber was undisturbed. More droner than stoner, Bong’s eastern influences are present in the concept of the drone itself, augmented by eerie touches on Ben Freeth’s Shahi Baaja which floats upon the blackened void of feedback and guitar that create the sensation of an evil wind billowing out of a darkened monastery, or indeed, the languished dreaming of a forgotten deity. The drumming and chanting which appear out of the swirling, aural fogs only further enhance the tracks mountainous presence, and makes the track’s transition from straight doom drone to hazey groove all the more palpable.
It’s a track that demands your full attention. Breakaway even for a second then Dream’s sleeping, ferrous trance will be lost and the feeling hard to re-acquire. But listen closely for the duration and you’ll see how Bong have managed to take Lord Dunsany’s strange concepts and present them through a smoke enhanced miasma to ensure that this really is the sound of an undisturbed, powerful creature.