Kong is an interesting band from Amsterdam with their new album Stern under their belts. Their first album Mute Poet Vocalizer was released in 1990. Stern is their eighth studio release.
The four piece band consists of David Kox (guitar, samples), Tijs Keverkamp (guitar), Oscar Alblas (drums, sabar) and Mark Drillich (bass, samples, guitar). To help augment the sound there are a five guests on a few of the tracks.
To call this music progressive metal is not as easy as it seems. Yes this is heavy stuff (some excellent chord progressions I might add) but there is an undercurrent of industrial and techno flavours that enhances these songs as well. The use of samples and electronics spices up the sound giving the album a modern, edgy vibe. It is difficult for me to make comparisons with other bands as I am not a heavy/industrial expert by any means. The opening track "Fool's Engine" starts the disc with a bang with its heavy progressive metal riffs and industrial beat. In "Rage8FA" the band does a nice job incorporating atmospheric trance-like parts within the main riff. "Wide Awake" exhibits a similar fashion as moody keyboard/electronic flavours are used to break up the intensity. The Hammond provided by guest musician Thijs Schrijnemakers is also used to good effect, augmenting the guitar riffs with just the right balance of colour.
Being an instrumental album, although there are background voices used on some tracks, it is important for the music to hold the listener's attention and for the most part this disc succeeds. My favourite parts are when the band blends its metal, techno and industrial aspects as in "NOZL" where synths play a more dominant role. The last track "Feast Or Burden" also does a nice job utilizing electronic atmospheres within the progressive metal construct.
The album is packaged in a tri-fold digipack. Overall, the artwork and design, done by two of the band members, is professional and clean.
What's cool about this band is it's something a little different and far removed of the many Dream Theater clones of the world. So in that regard, Stern sounds pretty refreshing to these ears.
1. Fool's Engine
4. Wide Awake
6. Surfing Narrative Waves
7. Stars & Tribes
8. Contenu Inconnu
10. Inflate Expand Release
11. Different Odds
13. Feast Or Burden
Added: November 20th 2014
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Official Site
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