In fact, the third album from German cannabis lords Earthbong completes a hazy, dreamy trilogy of sorts, following 2018’s One Earth One Bong and 2020’s Bong Rites. The word “bong” is used in both the band and album names, suggesting that this must be stoner connected in some way. Tomorrow, August 25, Church Of Bong will be released through a partnership between Evil Noise Recordings and Black Farm Records (for the vinyl version) (for cassette).
The rumbling, mesmerizing Bong Aeterna gets off to a wonderful start with a cry of feedback that gradually develops into a lumberingly legendary doom theme. A complementary blend of earth shattering riffs and dreamy, psychedelic moments that drift and swirl around clean guitar hypnotics fill the first track of the album’s two, which clocks in at more than eighteen minutes. The obvious inspirations are all present, including Bongzilla, Sleep, and Electric Wizard. The swelling apocalyptic “breakdown” that begins at around twelve minutes is a brilliant mirage of stoner doom joy, while the structure and style always feel a little samey in this genre. The vocals are strong; they remind one of Matt Pike but occasionally have more deathly roars.
The second portion, Dies Bongrae, is a little longer, but you hardly notice. You’d be too occupied getting engulfed in never-ending waves of churning dread, Boris-like levels of fuzz, and an overall tone that is considerably deeper. Dies Bongrae appears to be that shadowy area under the pulpit where all of our uncertainties congregate if Bong Aeterna were this Church’s stained-glass windows.
The song’s continuous march towards eternity is accompanied by powerful riffs and roars, and after around twelve minutes, you briefly believe you’ve arrived. Similar to the first tune, a reflective and peaceful portion gives you a glimpse of life between RIFFs. Yet you can’t get away from the RIFF, as we’ve seen time and time again. The RIFF returns swaggering into a ripping solo atop a moaning background, proclaiming itself to be our God at this point. An enormous undertaking in more ways than one.
The Church of Bong appears to represent the pinnacle of Earthbong’s efforts, where the old Mary Jane’s devotion has evolved into a place of worship. Earthbong are really getting into the weeds with this one, promising a couple of hefty, doom-filled invocations as the foundation for this new universe. To experience Church Of Bong to its fullest, you might need to use illicit drugs, but I can assure you that the trip is worthwhile when I’m sober. Maybe it’s a church where we can worship Bong? That kind of religious zeal is something we could support. ✪