There’s a case to be made for doom metal to be classed as metal’s most multi-faceted and progressive genre in recent years. From the underground to the metal mainstream, doomsters across the country are indicating the strength of the scene, and an increasing number are tinkering with folk, post-metal, atmospheric electronics and ambient sonics in an effort to come up with something new. BongCauldron are an exception to this trend. Stripping doom of any ethereal frills in favour of an abrasive form of sludgy metal, the group has a proclivity (not to mention a knack) for muscular bellows and colossal riffs, all of them oozing in the thick black tar of hazy feedback.
Despite lucrative tour support slots with Corrosion Of Conformity, Eyehategod, Yob, Windhand and Monolord, BongCauldron’s apocalyptic brand of fuzzy sludge-ridden stoner doom has long been underappreciated in the UK metal scene, but their debut full-length Binge could be about to change things. Unsurprisingly recorded at Conan’s Skyhammer Studios with Chris Fielding, the album’s sound shares the Liverpudlian doom monoliths’ proclivity for hefty guitars, but largely refrains from delving into the sort of mesmeric touches many modern doom acts opt for, instead tinkering with hints of punk or, in places, blackened doom.
That said, there are touches of noise music to Binge. Despite the sort of tongue-in-cheek humour that many stoner rockers revel in (including songs about Bigfoot and Boglins), BongCauldron aren’t afraid of brief experimentation, so long as the riffs aren’t too far off. Occasional breaks in the bedlam allow for feedback-heavy passages that offer a deeper and more captivating listening experience – the yang to the groove-laden riffs yin. Even when the band delve headfirst into more straightforward ragers, though, their sound is distinct and undeniably fun.
Some will have hoped that BongCauldron would have delved more consistently into their more experimental side, a creative choice that could have seen them aligned with the scene’s more hypnotic propositions, but most will undoubtedly embrace Binge for the irresistible dingy fun it is. The Yorkshire trio have crafted a distinct style yet managed to stay true to their doomy vision, birthing one hell of a debut LP in the process.
Binge is out now on APF Records. Purchase here.
Words: George Parr