Saturday, August 16, 2014

Bongripper - Miserable

Bongripper are a Chicago-based doom band who began their career with a highly productive string in the mid-2000s before slowing down over the past few years. They released their 7th full-length studio album earlier this year.

Bongripper are a slightly odd band to talk about. For one thing, "doom" is a pretty inadequate label to frame their sound. If I were the type to adopt absurdly specific sub-genre labels, I'd call them instrumental funeral stoner sludge. As that label indicates, they don't actually have any vocals or lyrics, though their music is still conceptually centered on weed. Their material tends toward the extremely slow, heavy, and hostile.

This album has only three tracks, yet it clocks in at over an hour. With that ultra-slow pace and the lack of vocals, it may seem like the music would be a little directionless. I won't deny that I think the band would benefit from a more focused approach, but in general the glacial muck makes up for its lack of direction with an overabundance of aggression and atmosphere. This is genuinely hateful sounding stuff, so if you're in a dark mood and you're looking for a backing soundtrack to that, it's perfect.

Ultimately, this won't appeal to everybody. I personally like it really well, but I still think I need to be in a very specific headspace to fully appreciate it.

Grade: B

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