Since 1998 Gonga have been laying down granite heavy riffs and low-desert grooves that sound more at home in the sun-drenched expanses of California than their cider-fuelled southwest homestead of Bristol. Indeed their previous touring has taken in support slots with a host of stoner/doom royalty including High on Fire and Mondo Generator, so with friends in heavy places its perhaps surprising that its been a wait of five years since their last full-length set, 2008's Transmigration.

However, this half-decade has seen a big period of upheaval for the band, as they have shed two vocalists and in their own words "managed to lose/fire/upset every bass player in the region." As a result this MK God knows what incarnation of the band sees the Elgie brothers and new four-stringer Latch Manghat reconvene as an instrumental power trio to deliver their third album of sonic battery Concrescence.

To discard vocals as Gonga have done for the new album presents no shortage of challenges. Dynamics and structure become even more important as the temptation to retreat into repetitious dirge pushes it's way to the fore. Fortunately Gonga have a crucial weapon to guard against this in the form big, heavy, beat you in the face riffs. This can be felt in the low-end bass rumble and 10 rpm drum lurch of the album's opening track Miasma, which sounds like a cross between the slow savagery of early Black Sabbath and the prog-groove of Mid-period Kyuss. Latch's bass sounds like a barely audible swirl that washes through the metronomic thud of the drums and the rolling guitar work from George Elgie. Then at the halfway point this epic beast transforms in to a double speed juggernaut that hurtles towards the 10 minute mark without pausing for breath.

From here Gonga then segue into the tribal drum strut of 'Calumet Altar', a slice of low-desert groove that showcases the live skills of a band jamming at their peak. Indeed being freed from vocals allows each instrument to fit seamlessly next to each other, as transitional drum fills become centrepiece stylistic devices. That and the serious head-nodding potential are two of the strongest features on Concrescence.

Nowhere is this more evident than on the stripped-back slow burn of the album's closer 'Solar Maximum', which eschews the dense bombast of the previous five tracks, instead finding heaviness in the lurching space between notes and offers a wave like wash that harks bark to early Monster Magnet, albeit without the images of a Bull God collapsing into the sun and eating its own face, or something equally ridiculous.

On a personal note, desert/stoner rock has always been able to tick boxes that few other niche sub-genres of rock can manage. From Fu Manchu to Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats, the mix of powerhouse guitars and rolling grooves that characterise the sound of the American desert can soundtrack everything from an isolated midnight drive to a beer soaked underground nightclub, and Gonga's 2013 return can certainly sit alongside any staples of this style of guitar, bass and drum battery. Whilst there are times on Concrescence where unpunctuated instrumentalism can seem a little unrelenting, the feel of the six tracks as a whole is one of a proficient, well constructed and above all cool-as-hell album.