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Kongh - "Shadows of the Shapeless" (CD)

Kongh - "Shadows of the Shapeless" CD cover image

"Shadows of the Shapeless" track listing:

1. Unholy Water (11:32)
2. Essence Asunder (15:12)
3. Tänk På Döden (4:24)
4. Voice of the Below (9:37)
5. Shadows of the Shapeless (15:53)

Reviewed by on March 19, 2010

"...'Shadows of the Shapeless' is a suffocating, thick album that is well worth a lonely, late-night listen."

With soaring leads and thick, depressive bouts of gloom and despair, Kongh plays a particularly misanthropic brand of stoner doom. Taking leads from the psychedelic weirdness of bands like Yob, the groovy stoner riffs of bands like Acid King and Electric Wizard and even, in parts, from the deep, cavernous misanthropy of bands like Esoteric, with just the right amount of sludge thrown in for effect, “Shadows of the Shapeless” is a pretty decent addition to the stoner doom genre from a relatively lesser known band. While it doesn’t quite live up to the massive status of the previous bands mentioned and is neither terribly complex nor offers anything that is new or unique, it does have moments of greatness that shine through.

The album starts out with “Unholy Water,” a thick depressive track that starts out the experience strongly. Ranging from trudging gloominess to higher, progressive leads to a decent solo that veritably rapes the whammy bar, the track is a solid, 11-minute chunk of blazed-beyond-recognition murkiness. “Essence Asunder” features a great progressive intro before slamming into a dark, hypnotizing song that leads up to an intense drum build-up near the end.

“Tänk På Döden” is a superb, haunting instrumental track that leads perfectly into the fast-paced, kick-in-the-face intro lead to “Voice of the Below.” The final track, “Shadows of the Shapeless,” is a 15-minute behemoth that is rather disappointing. While it skillfully utilizes all of the elements used previously, it just doesn’t have the same energy as the rest of the album and falls quite flat. It doesn’t ruin the album entirely, but for being the album’s title track, it is a letdown.

Kongh shows a lot of promise with this album. While nothing ground-breaking is done here, the majority of “Shadows of the Shapeless” is solid. Whether they are deep in caverns of despair, soaring above the landscape with groovy stoner riffs, or plucking out contemplative leads, Kongh brings a lot of power to the table with this album. Some of the longer tracks may be a little much for some, but Kongh is able to pull off the hypnotizing, oppressive dark sound very well. While the titular track is a bit disappointing and, in the end, way too long, “Shadows of the Shapeless” is a suffocating, thick album that is well worth a lonely, late-night listen.

Highs: Thick, engaging stoner doom.

Lows: Title track is pretty repetitive and unnecessarily long.

Bottom line: While the massive titular track is rather mediocre, this album is solid.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)