King Bong [Italy]
Psychedelic Stoner/Doom Metal
With a name like that, one would immediately expect King Bong‘s music to be one hell of a psychedelic trip. Space Shanties is this Italian trio’s third full length release, and being someone who isn’t much of a fan of psychedelic music, along with weirder track titles like Even 50 Feet Hamsters Have Feelings, it leaves me wondering what to expect on this album.
But what is on Space Shanties is surprisingly pleasant. Opening track Even 50 Feet Hamsters Have Feelings sets the psychedelic mood with the clean, reverby guitars and the dark, spacey atmosphere, yet all this while there is a strange sense of calm that overcomes the listener, putting the listener into a trance, opening up his mind to soak up what King Bong has put in place on the album. The band certainly takes its time to build up the climax, with the long intro eventually giving way to the first signs of life with the guitars of Andrea slowly coming in.
On Space Shanties, the personal main focus is on Andrea’s lead guitars. Various effects are often used on the guitars, on top of the brilliant playing of Andrea that commands and steers the mood of the listener as the album progresses, from those that are melodic and extremely soothing to those that cause the listener’s heart to skip a beat such as the chaotic segment in the middle of Even 50 Feet Hamsters Have Feelings. The fuzzy tone of the guitar that lasts the entirety of the album, and the experimental style that Andrea indulges in at times somehow reminded me of Paul Gilbert and his later instrumental works, especially on Inhale on Main Street, though on Space Shanties this is put to a doom pace. Feedback from the guitar is also present in extremely generous dosages. The psychedelic tendencies is probably the most obvious in Andrea’s playing on Of Bong and Man.
The rhythm section of drummer Teo and bassist Alberto help to provide the doom elements in the music, with drummer Teo giving much of the heaviness to the music, backed by Alberto’s groovy basslines, giving a slight stoner touch to Space Shanties as well. That said though, each of the members also have their time to shine and display their versatility with the constant shift in musical styles, and the ability to easily go into different genres and styles yet sound extremely cohesive throughout.
To be honest I have no idea how to properly describe Space Shanties. All I know is that Space Shanties is one hell of an enjoyable album, with nice grooves with an almost soothing effect for the most part of the album that is a nice record to calm one’s nerves, or to simply take a nice shut-eye to, with the occasional heaviness and chaos providing some variety in the mood of the music.