I originally wrote this for inclusion in Metal Hammer. Alas, there was some kind of technical error and the piece was double commissioned. I’m interested to see what the other writer named Carter thinks of Bong’s newest release but for now, here are my thoughts*
1. Dreams of Mana-Yood-Sushai
2. Trees, Grass and Stones
Mana-Yood-Sushai heralds the first Bong studio recording in their prolific seven year history and it’s a surprising addition to their output so soon after last years full length Beyond Ancient Space. Two tracks of vibrating drone make up this release and whilst it’s lovingly crafted and deftly handled, there’s a little something missing. Mana-Yood-Sushai feels too sterile – the unfamiliar environment of the studio perhaps affecting the tone. The thrumming undercurrent of manipulated sound pulses and pushes around soft drum rolls and flourishes of sitar expertly, but Bong seem content to let the twenty minute run time of first track “Dreams of Mana-Yood-Sushai” pass with nary a moment to marvel over. It’s hypnotic sure, but not captivating enough to completely hold the attention. Drone should transport you into another dimension and the Indian instrumentation used by Bong is otherworldly in texture and depth, yet it’s not until the murmuring vocal filters through “Trees, Grass and Stones” does Mana-Yood-Sushai start to take shape. Unfortunately, it’s a case of too little too late for this otherwise bewitching act.
As is customary, I also gave it a score.
*I have been given permission to use this, please don’t strike me down Hammers Gods.