Quite an epic album. The fuzz is there in all its imperfect majesty, while the pace is as slow as ever, bringing back the doom where it belongs: in the realm of repetitions, through think layers of narcotic sounds. Overall, the final result is a solid evolution from the psychedelic throes of Shadows of the Shapeless, but whoever (well, everyone) says that Kongh sound like Yob is right. And yet they’re wrong at the same time [Oh God! Which is it!? — AMG], since the sound these three lost souls from Nässjö and Småland (that’s southern Sweden, for the most curious nerds amongst yourselves) seem to enjoy touching on the likes of Alice in Chains (“Skymning”), Mastodon (“Sole Creation”) and Brooklyn’s own Tombs.
The band that spawned Path of Totality appears to be the main point of reference for these Swedes, but it would be foolish of us to think that Kongh is a band that thrives on other ensembles’ achievements. On the contrary: the riffage is so inspired and prolific that it almost capers on the verge of confusion [You used “caper” in a metal review. That’s crazy! — Steel Druhm]. If there is discipline in Sole Creation, it’s the type of self-limitation that is usually born out of a constant resort to melody. In fact, no matter how far the gloomy inspiration takes the band, there is always an eternal return to harmony and consonance at some point. Even when the dark blues on a tune like “The Portals” seem to be somehow detached from the obvious domestication naturally given by euphony, there appears a sudden hint of musicality taking things back to the prearranged route.
There is no shortage of seismicity on the album, and the band can be excused for roaming astray from time to time, because the quality of the music on Sole Creation is clearly above average. Above the poor, usual Sabbath-y renditions and far higher than the cyclical rip-offs of any random cult band from the ’70s, only at slow motion. David Johansson’s vocals may take the listener back to yet another great combo like Yob and it probably lacks a certain degree of originality, but his voice is purely a tool whose purpose is to convey and complement the desperate feelings his guitar is so good at creating.
Four tracks and all of them are longer than nine minutes. If that isn’t enough to put you off then, chances are, you will enjoy a great ride. Sole Creation has a few flaws, all due to the number of references that can be easily recognized during the first few spins. But what makes Sole Creation a good album is indeed the use the band makes of all its influences none of which clog up the stream the music that follows.
Kongh seems to stop (just) short of entering the dangerous territory of progressive metal. It lacks the credentials typical of the genre (the prolonged solos and the intricate dynamics above all), with the result that the music appears to be a clear step forward from Shadows of the Shapeless and Counting Heartbeats. Sole Creation is an exciting piece of contemporary doom that is guilty of being a hybrid between the psychedelia of Kongh’s earlier works and an idea of what the genre should be. There is a sense of dissatisfaction at the end of the album, which leaves you wanting for more, but if these are the premises, the next record will not disappoint.
May the sludge be with you wherever you go, however you decide to travel.