Kongh - Counting Heartbeats (Agonia Records)

Heavy prog metal joy...
Release Date: 
23 Sep 2013 - 11:30pm

Kongh's debut album has been re-released with bags of extra goodness and I suggest that you get in pretty quick as it's sure to sell faster than the proverbial hot cake. This is some heavy prog experimentation and as the lone riff of Pushed Beyond began to seep from my stereo, my ears immediately pricked up. The drums punch in and suddenly it all kicks off; a savage affair that really forces you to pay attention to what's going on. It's quality metal that forces you to go mental and it's difficult to explain the sense of scale of this album - the sound is huge and will sweep you away if you let it. Then as quickly as the riffage kicks in, it drops away - there's a whisper of snare and a patter of cymbal - then comes an almost sludgy, black metal section but it all fits perfectly. It's just over 11 minutes of top notch composition, guaranteed to make you smash all the furniture in your living room. In fact all five tracks of Counting Heartbeats clock in at well over ten minutes each (and the bonus track Drifting on Waves is a stonking 25 minutes long) but they all deserve your attention; they're relentless and constructed with several diverse sections. It's heady stuff so crack open a bottle and sit back.

The title track Counting Heartbeats opens with a growl and a jangle of distorted, overdriven chords. It's slow and heavy as fek - a great, lumbering iron-clad beast of a tune - and at times I'm reminded of a Cult of Luna composition. But this is no poor imitation; it's done with a beautiful sense of originality, and the tune gets even slower and more minimal until a rogue note twangs mournfully alone. It's Sabbath-like, dramatic and dark, then after a good few minutes the searing riff and vocal line come crashing back in. It's powerful song writing and this certainly isn't a casual, throw-away album. As for Megaprimatus, I thought my head was being repeatedly stamped on by some enormous dinosaur. The repetition of the riff  is, as previously mentioned, absolutely relentless.

The limited edition release also comes with the full 2006 demo of which includes Zihuatanejo and Adapt The Void, which are also on the album. You can while away a good few hours spotting the differences between the demo tunes and the album cuts with a slight riff change here or a different drum pattern there. Or maybe not, after all, that is slightly OCD.

Anyhow, it's a great piece of work and I'm glad I've been switched on to Kongh's dramatic prog madness.