Tuesday 13 September 2022

ZONG - Astral Lore (Album Review)

Date Released: October 7th 2022. Record Label: Cardinal Fuzz Records/Little Cloud Records. Formats: DD/Vinyl

Astral Lore: Tracklisting

The Serpent

Spheres Of Nebula

Encounters On The Astral Plane

Primordial Void


Zac Anderson - Guitar

Michael Grinstead - Bass

Henry Bennett - Drums


Astral Lore is the new album from Psych Stoner Rockers Zong and the album isn't what you expect for an Instrumental Spaced Out Stoner Rock album. Zong plays a more experimental style of music with moments of Krautrock and Gloomy Atmospherics. Their main sound is constantly evolving to a Spaced Out and Progressive sound. There's still that noticable Stoner Rock vision which lends itself to a more Jazz based approach that touched upon the edges of Doom Rock.

Opening song The Serpent is a fourteen minute opus that is played at a slow pace but Zong operate within their own creative structure with the Krautrock elements being the main thing that holds everything together. The stop/start approach of the Doom/Stoner grooves has a lovely bleak magical feel with some Eastern based vibes being played alongside the extended guitar jams. Some trippy guitar effects and sounds bring a more adventurous style of music and Zong operates best with that style of music.

Second song Spheres Of Nebula continues with the Spaced Out theme with another lengthy composition running past the eight minutes mark. More direct than the opening track with the focus shifting to one of gloomy riffs. The Psychedelic vibe does feel inspired by bands such as Earthless and Hawkwind though with Zong doing their own creative spin. Long drawn out guitars and intelligent drumming expand further into the Psychedelic background of Doom Rock and Stoner Rock. There's a fantastic Post-Rock or Post-Stoner flow that opens the song before Zong plays a more riff-centric style of music on the later stages of the song.

Third song Encounters On The Astral Plane is the standout track for me. As this album has the perfect balance of swirling Ambient textures with Zong playing a more direct style of Space Rock that feels firmly rooted in Seventies Psych Rock and modern day Instrumental Stoner Rock. The Eastern based Jazzy vibes  appear once again that allows Zong the opportunity to play some mighty fine instrumental jams amongst the trippy psychedelic noises that appear in the background.

Fourth song Primordial Void is perhaps the most DOOM based track on the album with its bleak Post-Rock sounds. The song once again starts slowly with Ambient noises appearing to allow Zong the chance to play some of the most intense and creative grooves on the album. 

Astral Lore is a sombre and superbly produced release. The album may sound too low-key at first but there's a lot of hidden depth and huge riffs that even slide into AMPLIFIER DISTORTION territory. Allow yourself a few listens to this album before making final judgement on this release. I'm glad I went back a few times to listen to the album. As I missed a lot of different things the first time round. This helps to the overall experience of the album with Astral Lore being a standout release from the underground Stoner Rock scene.

Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Words by Steve Howe

Astral Lore will be available to buy on DD/Vinyl from October 07th 2022 from the links below.

ZONG BandCamp Page (Australia)

Cardinal Fuzz Records (UK)

Little Cloud Records (USA)


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