Bongripper end four years of silence, destroy mind and body with devastating opus ‘Terminal’

There used to be a time bands loved to get their music into big-box retailers in order to have their records accessible to more people. With that came compromise, be it censored album art, “clean versions” of albums sold a stone’s throw from DVDs containing murders and graphic sex scenes, and what have you. Then, there were bands whose very names pretty much disqualified them.

I’m assuming, if they give a fuck at all about their music being sold in Walmart, that you’d never find a Bongripper album next to whatever shitty pop country albums they’re shilling. Though it would be amazing. Instead, they have to make their way selling records the “hard way,” whether that’s in a record shop or at their shows on from their website. Lucky for all of us, they have new product in the form of “Terminal,” a two-track, 43:25-long ripper that’s going to tear off your goddamn head, but in the chilliest way possible. This, their seventh full-length in 13 years as a band, is more of the smoking good stuff from the Chicago-based instrumental quartet (guitarists Nick Dellacroce and Dennis Pleckham, bassist Ronald Petzke, and drummer Daniel O’Connor). You don’t necessarily have to drop out of life, bong in hand, to get with these songs, but I’m assuming it makes this beast even more enjoyable. Oh, and if you’re headed to Migration Fest later this month, these guys will be there to melt away your pain.

“Slow” kicks off the record, a 25:10-long behemoth that arrives out of a cloud of dust and unleashes burly, muscular riffs. The track is slow moving and heavy, sometimes channeling proper Sabbath worship along the way and often getting muddy and ugly. The track goes dreamy for a second, with sunburnt melodies finding their way to the surface, before steely guitars take over and ease things in a gazey haze. That builds and grows louder, while the band starts to hammer away, with the riffs utterly destroying. Devastation reigns, while sludgy playing clogs arteries, and a relentless barrage of damage lays waste. The guitars lather, while the sound cloud spreads, and everything comes to a simmering, which naturally spills its way into 20:06 “Death.”

Pushing through a noise tunnel, the song boils while cosmic gusts float overhead, and it sounds as if the machine comes to a slow, painful demise. But then the riffs tear into you like a sudden burst of thunder, crashing and thrashing, rumbling over everything that stands before it, burning toward its core while riffs kick everything into high gear. The music tramples over your prone body, chugging heavily while noise screeches peel your flesh from the bone. The path is beaten forward, with the drubbing feeling like it’s chewing away at an already prone wound, and sounds strike to add to that aggravation. The guitars flood the scene, noise clashes and disorients, and everything bleeds away into a black hole of confusion, leaving you there to succumb to force.

The four years since “Miserable” that we waited for “Terminal” sure feels worth it after indulging in this blazing instrumental exercise. Bongripper remain at the top of their game, smoking you out with their powerful ways and torching the hairs on your arm when you get too close. Whether you’re looking to zone out and get your nose bloodied, these guys keep providing ample opportunity to do one or both.

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