Come with me ladies and gentlemen and journey into the uncharted realms of the astral plane, a place of spiritual awakening and enlightenment, but take heed the human mind is only capable of understanding so much, and once you have learned something it cannot be unlearned. I think that about sums up the disclaimer that Suffering Luna should have put on their latest offering ‘Blood Filled Bong’.
Hailing from Los Angeles Suffering Luna have had a long and slightly mysterious history, forming in the 90s and flitting between active and inactive statuses releasing splits with both Dystopia and Gasp along the way, before disappearing as soon as they appeared. Now currently back on active status and teamed up with Grindcore Karaoke they have set about their business of making psychedelic tinged powerviolence with avengeance.
‘Blood Filled Bong’ is a concept album, a term that fills some people with dread, however in this case you should cast those feelings of disparity aside and take a chance, much like Alice did by going down the rabbit hole. Before you plunge headlong into this release, I should probably reiterate the sentiments of the opening paragraph of this review. This is a concept album not for the faint of heart, probably best described by the bands own press release, “A conceptual journey through six visions conjured by the satanic ritual of smoking from a bong filled with the blood of freshly murdered demons. Visions alternate between megalomania and paranoia, meeting angels and killing cops as the bong reveals each vision in turn.” If you’re still willing to push your consciousness into the unknown then by all means read on.
The introduction to ‘Blood Filled Bong’ acts as a precursor to all the chaos about to unfold, a heavily distorted and unsettling computerised voice demands the sacrifice of those ‘demons who walk among us’ notably political figures and corporate personnel, portraying a politically minded underlying theme. From there on in you are picked up and carried by the title track’s wave of bludgeoning riffage, that sends you over the precipice and into the darkest reaches of the human condition and way beyond.
Trying to remain detached from this record is a feat near impossible, there is an almost pseudo accessibility to songs like ‘Go Ask Alice’ and it blends almost seamlessly with the ethereal and vast sounding ‘Dirge (For All You Greedy Haters)’. It’s this fusion of brutal driving guitar riffs and growled vocals with the dense layers of ambience and samples that really opens up this album into being nothing short of a sonic experience, as opposed to just a record. I am reminded in listening to ‘Blood Filled Bong’, of Milton’s epic poem ‘Paradise Lost’ and it’s portrayal of Satan as a tragic hero, who overreaches and is subsequently punished for it. If this book were to have a soundtrack then this would definitely stand in contention as the sheer elemental weight of this record could bridge the gap between paradise and pandemonium.
By the time the sinister message of ‘Outro (The Antichrist Speaks)’ has rung out in its twisted and misanthropic majesty, there is the sense hanging over you that you have actually been witness to these carnal and forbidden visions and much like Milton’s Satan or the Greek character of Prometheus, you have the unshakeable feeling that you too have been forever burdened with knowledge that you will never be rid of. An utterly twisted kind of genius!