[19th February 2013]
01. Sole Creation
02. Tamed Brute
You’re probably very busy, so allow me to save you some time: Swedish doom/sludge outfit Kongh’s Sole Creation - the band’s third album and first since 2009’s Shadows of the Shapeless - is a nothing short of a masterpiece; a titanic offering of crushing doom metal that manages to seamlessly incorporate progressive and blues elements into a ferocious onslaught of tuned down guitars and pummeling bass. The album’s four tracks span a ferocious forty-five minutes, and at no point do Kongh relent; at no point do the band hold back. Any way you look at it, Sole Creation is a stunning, grandiose achievement that will no doubt stand the test of time. If that’s not enough for you, I’ll continue telling you why it’s so good, but you won’t offend me in the slightest if you skip the rest of this review to go out and get this album RIGHT FUCKING NOW, because it demands your immediate attention.
Sole Creation waste no time getting down to business; after a scant three seconds of some ambient distorted noise on the first (and title) track, Tomas Salonen’s drums kick in and ratchet things up in a hurry. “Sole Creation” the song is a twelve minute saga that flows effortlessly between Salonen and vocalist/guitarist David Johansson seemingly trying to deafen everyone in a ten mile radius by playing as hard and loud as they can, before the duo slow things right down, producing melodic, almost ethereal song portions that somehow manage to hold on to the weight of the heavier, more typically-doom styled sections. Make no mistake: there is a tangible weight to Sole Creation; listening to the album is like a workout for your ears.
Johansson does a hell of a job adapting his vocal style as needed; his barking roar is nicely complemented by his clean singing, which at the beginning of “Tamed Brute” is reminiscent of the iconic Ozzy Osbourne. While there are a few instances where he sounds like he is over-singing, or straining to hit a note, those instances are few and far between, and just as soon as you find yourself having that thought, he drops an octave. Johansson’s deft vocal work is all the more impressive considering he’s also responsible for the guitar and bass work (Olle Hedenstrom handles the bass live). The moves between clean, melodic riffs and distorted bass lines so low you can hardly tell if it’s an instrument or static is part of what makes Sole Creation so magnificent, and Johansson nails it.
Salonen’s drumming is just as good, if not better; whether he’s crashing the cymbals to add some noise or filling the quieter moments with pounding double kick bass or simply keeping rhythm, he makes you actually want to pay attention to the drums, something missing in a lot of music across all genres. Part of that also has to do with how well the album is mixed; Sole Creation is one of the better mixed doom records I’ve heard, as everything comes through evenly. While the guitar and bass are a little higher than the vocals and drums, it isn’t so much that anything is washed out or over-emphasized.
If you’re still reading, I appreciate it, but let me reiterate: STOP RIGHT NOW AND GO GET THIS ALBUM. I can’t remember the last time an album made me this excited, and to be honest (and in full disclosure) this is the first Kongh record I’ve heard, and I’m beyond pissed that no one told me about this band. Sole Creation is an album that everyone should own; a doom metal record that manages to transcend genres so that even people who don’t like doom metal should be able to appreciate its majesty. The boys in Kongh knocked it out of the park on this one, so for the love of the metal gods, go listen to it!