For fans of Godflesh, Master Boot Record, Deafheaven, Senser, Circle of Dust
Released on Friday 3 March 2023.
Amsterdam-based Dutch quartet Kong have been forging their own path for more than 30 years, melding elements of heavy metal, progressive rock, dance and industrial into their own, unique brand of largely instrumental music. Traders of Truth (2023) is their ninth full-length studio album.
Kong’s music is performed quadraphonically (what might now be called 4.0 surround sound), making use of a quadraphonic sound system and having each member positioned in a different corner of the venue with the audience in the middle.
“Flat earth sobriety” (track1) reminds me hugely of both Senser and Portishead with a pleasing helping of Circle of Dust thrown in for good measure.
“Radiance” (track 2) is like a pleasing slab of Ministry that wanders off for a meditation halfway through. As is “Hit that red” (track 3) which gallops along its own little groove. “Fringing” (track 4) takes a little time to warm up, finding its place in a ponderous guitar-driven riff.
“Rök” (track 5) bounds along above a funky bassline like the incidental music to some jungle-based police drama. While “Mirrorizon” (track 6) keeps with the TV theme vibe, instead dancing on an upper-register guitar riff and percussion.
“Glasslands” (track 7) pulls us into a mysterious, reverb-fuelled soundscape, before “Ripper” (track 8) returns us to a Senser-esque driven rock track that glides and slides us through every twist and turn of this half-mellow track.
The pace quickens with “Chaos as law” (track 9), but not for long as it lunges from one glade to the next. But when its head is down, the main riff rips!
“Stray marks” (track 10) strays into experimental territory with a track that at first wouldn’t seem out of place in the clubs. (I imagine, I’ve never really been!) This is another track that spins on a sixpence between one style, one riff and the next. There are echoes of both Circle of Dust and Senser. This is probably my favourite track on the album.
Despite it being a mostly upbeat track, there is something ethereal about the final track, “Destressed and unrestrained” (track 11). This is a majestic way to close the album.
While many bands produce songs that are like journeys, this album is filled with moments and experiences. From the bouncing opening track “Flat earth sobriety” (track1) to the ponderous and introspective “Destress and unrestrained” (track 10), this is an album that is unpredictable and massive in its scope.
Review score: 80%
MDPR contacted me inviting me to preview Kong’s latest album, thank you. I have no connections to either MDPR or Kong. I’m not being paid to review this. But I did get a free digital copy of the album to review which is pretty cool. Many thanks to Zach from MDPR, and to Kong for continuing to create fresh, exciting new music.