Album: The Intergalactic Gorebong of Deathpot
Label: Barbaric Brutality
Genre: Death metal
Country: United States
Release Date: April 20th, 2023
For Fans Of: 200 Stab Wounds, Cannibal Corpse, Frog Mallet
This will be a little different. For starters, this is the first time for this website that I’m reviewing an album made by people I know in real life. Bonginator is the brainchild of renowned astronaut and marijuana wizard Erik Thorstenn, who I met over a year ago through the tight-knit local Boston death metal scene. So obviously I’m biased, but hopefully I can convince you that Bonginator is not just some throwaway gimmick band.
Pressing play on ”The Intergalactic Gorebong of Deathpot” treats you to one of the best intro tracks of all time. The intro to Bonginator’s EP “The 1986 Doink City Massacre” was iconic, but this one tops even that. The NASA sample and cheesy alien sound effects set the tone for the dankest mission briefing of all time, supported by retro 80s synths before guitars build tension into an epic climax that calls us to action once again. Packed with ironic charm and self-aware Gen-Z humor, the intro track is the wink and nod that lets you know Bonginator are in on the joke.
More often than not, bands with a sense of humor don’t tend to have the highest quality music. However, Bonginator have their cake and eat it too. The title track is a hard-hitting, low-IQ riff fest, and who better to feature on this track than Devin Swank, the vocalist of Sanguisugabogg. In the promo material, Erik writes “[The title track] is easily the most ignorant song on the album. The riffs go absolutely caveman mode, this shit could’ve been written by a toddler it’s so dumb heavy.” Devin lends his characteristic low growl to critical moments, namely the chorus and the infinitely-quotable pre-chorus where he barks out “I’m a motherfucking astronaut who smokes weed.” Maybe it’s because I’m friends with Erik and I’m in on all the inside jokes, or maybe just because I’m an absolute idiot, but that shit is fucking hilarious. I highly recommend reading the lyrics to these songs whenever you need a laugh.
Just when you thought the title track was a typical caveman death metal stomp, Erik throws in an incredible uplifting riff and triumphant heavy metal solo that scoffs at the accusation of monotony. A few more slams after that and it’s a done deal. The title track establishes that Bonginator are not some random local band writing out-of-touch comedy metal, nor are they a one-dimensional weed gimmick band. These songs are carefully crafted to balance humor with compelling songwriting and mean as fuck riffs, all with the production to back it up. Erik’s (partial) Berklee education in audio engineering shines through on this record, as the production is exactly what you want for death metal like this. Oh yeah fun fact, every member featured on this record went to Berklee College of Music, and Ron and Jake (bass and drums) actually graduated too. Ironic? Probably.
But wait, up next is “Zombie Party Rockers”, one of the advance singles and one of the reasons this band is exploding in popularity. “Zombie Party Rockers” is a groovy death metal romp that tells the story of a horde of zombies invading a death metal show and eating their fill. This track, with its infectious grooves and massive stomping riffs, will be a guaranteed hit at their shows, which are already an absolute riot.
“420lb Poop”, one of my favorite tracks, begins as a mid-paced stomp and crescendos as the track progresses, culminating in a series of stops-and-starts and frantic blasts which feature Bonginator at their most dynamic. The subsequent interlude is a wonderful synthwave composition that feels straight out of a retro arcade game, with a subtle spookiness that foreshadows the rest of the record.
Death metal anthem “Blunt Smoke Suffocation” sees Bonginator toying with the characteristic groove and guitar-forward writing of Swedish death, with track 7 throwing some Bloodbath sound into the mix. The track also features Scab Hag and label-mates Snuffed on Sight, who lend some dynamic sounds to the cataclysmic moments at the end of the track.
The opening of “From the Ashtray” should sound immediately familiar to modern death metal fans, as Bonginator write a distinct love-letter to none other than Arizona’s Gatecreeper and their iconic track “From the Ashes”. Despite a noticeable stylistic shift, this song still fits in with the flow of the album, and Bonginator return to familiar ground towards the end of the track.
Tempo changes and hard-hitting stabs punctuate “Ritualistic Mariuana-Related Anal Defilement”, and “It Makes Babies” carries the energy into the closer, the first advance single “Chopped 2 Pieces”, which finishes off the album on a high note. “Chopped 2 Pieces” is a certified moshpit track that will certainly be a highlight at their shows.
There is so much to say about this record, and I’ve already written far too much. In a word, Bonginator’s debut is a triumph. This record will appeal to both the old school and the new wave of mosh-crazy hardcore kids with its compelling songwriting, youthful energy, and acute mind for groove and fun. Bonginator lean into classic death metal tropes and combine them with an ironic, Gen Z sense of humor in an entirely unique way. They seal the deal on their debut with compelling performances and earth-shattering production, giving the record a professional touch that sets this band apart. Do NOT make the mistake of writing these guys off as a stoner band, a gimmick band, or a one-dimensional low-IQ moshpit band. Bonginator transcend appearances far and away, and are sure to be a force in death metal for years to come.
- The Intergalactic Gorebong of Deathpot (ft. Devin Swank)
- Zombie Party Rockers
- Brined, Smoked, and Deep Fried (ft. Mutilation Barbecue)
- 420lb Poop
- Blunt Smoke Interlude
- Blunt Smoke Suffocation (ft. Scab Hag, Snuffed On Sight)
- Fucking the Wounds
- From the Ashtray
- Ritualistic Marijuana-Related Anal Defilement
- It Makes Babies (ft. Texas Ketamine)
- Chopped 2 Pieces
Total Playing Time: 44:17
Click here to visit Bonginator’s Bandcamp.