- Funeral Doom/Doom
Bongripper are on some shit, I can tell you that much. These guys have always been a unique force in the metal world with a diverse selection of albums to choose from. They always have a different feel with each release like they re-approach their music each time. The album art changes drastically and the stories are varied and often colorful. I particularly admire them for their ability to communicate ideas without using vocals or lyrics. The albums are tight and the listener receives a clear theme or message each time that’s only foreshadowed by the track and album titles. I will always have patience for this album, it’s up there with Crimson by Edge of Sanity in terms of length and replay-ability.
This album art is full of morbid decay and spot on coloring. This was done by Sam Alcarez – Instagram – check him out because he’s only getting better. He’s still working with Bongripper in 2019 and I think it’s the perfect collaboration.
Listening to drone doom is a whole activity, you don’t bother putting on an album that consists of two super long tracks unless you’re going to sit there and listen the whole way through. The average songs of normal bands build up towards the chorus and punch in under two minutes, Bongripper spend an EP worth of time getting there. Many bands and genres mess around with long songs here and there, but drone and funeral doom make it an album rather than an isolated track. It’s spiritually anti-consumer and anti-marketing in its approach to music, mostly appealing to fringe communities and audiophiles. I think it’s the perfect music for studying, writing, driving and almost all of the things I do in a day while chronically depressed.
Bongripper continue to stand out within their genre thanks to their ability to create fascination within a format that has more limits than most. There’s a speed limit and tone expectation and often no vocals. They also create themed albums that tell a long ass story through a purely instrumental medium and its always a little different each time. They are storytellers but use musical notes instead of words, this happens to be a story where words don’t matter. Only music can penetrate this subject so deeply, for in death, the last thing that matters is our words.
Terminal has two tracks, Slow and Death. So what we have here is “Terminal Slow Death”. I’m assuming is an album about terminal illness or losing someone to terminal illness. The first track represents the slow moments leading up to an expected but unknown time of death – A watched pot boils slower and so on. It starts with the hard crunch and rumbling of being diagnosed and washes away into guitar driven melody about confronting that diagnosis and coming to terms with it. It feels serious and personal. It ebbs and flows between this heavier crunch the melody parts throughout the 23-minute track speaking to the difficulty involve in coming to terms with death. The nights where you are trying to sleep then the crushing realization of the bigger picture of it all pulls you awake in a fit of anxiety. That’s what this track is to me anyway, based on three words and some sounds. The band could have a completely different explanation.
The second track “Death” is immediately a lot heavier and thrashing about like the ocean in Call Of the Wretched Sea by Ahab. It’s sharp and abrasive, just how I imagine death. It stays this way right until the last 30 seconds where it fades away into the sonic atmosphere. I believe there was also audio allusions to the sound of a heart monitor flat-lining with the way some of the guitar licks were arranged using sharp high notes evenly spaced. The track is full of nervous energy building and depleting to eventually be depleted forever. As a whole, “death” is consistently sludge driven doom that performs as if it were orchestrated masterfully.
As far as a concept album goes they nailed it. The did a great job using audio to convey the feelings. I never feel bored when it’s on and it persistently stirs something within me, something very valuable to study and writing – a voiceless yet moving story. This has become one of my all time favorite albums. I play it weekly at least and often run rainymood.com under it. It actually seems to sync up with the thunder in a way that tickles me to no end.