Like an aged silverback pounding its chest with cupped and haggard hands, the percussive opening to Kongh’s Sole Creation is a primal display of dominance, a warning to any that would encroach upon their boundaries. Released on Agonia Records, Kongh’s third LP is a devastating slab of melodic doom drawing influence from black, death and sludge metal, and with Cult of Luna’s Magnus Lindberg handling production, Kongh have never sounded so good.
When guitars aren’t chugging with crushing efficiency they’re airy and quaint, draped in moonlit reverb. The snare doesn’t cut cleanly through these frequencies, rather, it smashes through them with little regard for its own safety, as the kick drum batters the skin, serving as a rhythmic reminder of Kongh’s immense presence.
Title track and opener ‘Sole Creation’ is an immediate expression of intent. The aforementioned primal percussion leads into its vicious verses and savage vocals. By its soaring chorus Kongh’s acumen becomes clear. The clean vocals give a hook as sharp as any you’re likely to hear from the genre in this incredible opening track.
The dynamic interplay between earth-shifting volume and passages of solace on ‘Tamed Brute’ is a further display of the supreme intelligence showcased throughout the album. Vocalist David Johansson chains mountainous croons to bloodthirsty howls, and subtle and exquisite synthlines drift behind quieter moments, keeping things interesting.
The blackened sludge of ‘The Portals’ is reminiscent of High on Fire at their most menacing. A filthy and burled bassline takes the track into a fearsome verse featuring another haunting vocal delivery from frontman David Johansson. But again, Johansson is capable of unpredictable shifts in vocal style.
Swedish for twilight, final track ‘Skymning’ opens with the decaying remains of the previous track underpinning its sublime picked guitar introduction. Immediately it feels airy and aloof, walking the line between graceful and sinister. Slowly, the track increases in intensity, before finally exploding into its final third and masterful climax.
With their third effort, Kongh have crafted an intelligent beast that knows exactly when to wreak havoc and when to rest. Sole Creation is dark and troublesome while maintaining a cosmic elegance unusual to the genre. Its balance between earthy sludge and soaring beauty is one often misjudged by lesser bands. It’s refined savagery condensed into 45 minutes. Rarely has music so bleak been so mesmeric.
For more info visit www.kongh.net