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KONG

Experimental/Post Metal • Netherlands


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Kong biography
The best way to describe this band is a mixture of ideas from electronic and experimental music fused with progressive metal. An all instrumental band, Kong are able to create various sounds and moods, not unlike some post rock. Kong often has segments where the band is playing entirely separate from one another, yet the sound works. Eclectic is a word that comes to mind when listening to this band.

The production level on the first few albums suffers, but is not a major detractor. After "Push Comes to Shove" the band distance themselves from their metal sound and go for a more house beat sounds, really almost to the point of progressive techno. When playing live, the band puts themselves not together on stage, but rather in separate corners of the room allowing for a much different concert music experience. The band has been disbanded for some time now, playing its last show in 2000, as the members were headed in different directions from the Kong sound.

: : : Joey Kelley (aka OpethGuitarist) : : :

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KONG discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

KONG top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.96 | 5 ratings
Mute Poet Vocalizer
1990
3.94 | 6 ratings
Phlegm
1992
3.96 | 4 ratings
Push Comes To Shove
1995
3.00 | 4 ratings
Earmined
1997
3.50 | 2 ratings
Freak control
1999
3.17 | 4 ratings
What It Seems Is What You Get
2009
3.25 | 4 ratings
Merchants Of Air
2012
3.91 | 2 ratings
Stern
2014

KONG Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Live At FZW
2012

KONG Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

KONG Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.67 | 2 ratings
Best of Kong: 1988-1995
2001

KONG Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

KONG Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Stern by KONG album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.91 | 2 ratings

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Stern
Kong Experimental/Post Metal

Review by dsbenson

4 stars Stern is an excellent release from Kong. It's more experimental in tone than most of their work, and has a wider range of mood, from hard-driving "King Crimson" Red-era metal, to the techno influence of their middle period. Some of the softer pieces sound like they'd be at home on an Ozric Tentacles album (though perhaps a bit harder edged).

One of the things that I particularly like about the many moods of this album is the use of organic sounds throughout as background elements: some spoken word (some in English), laughter, bird song, etc. The album is, as always, instrumental only (apart from the background words used as sonic or rhythmic elements).

There's quite a bit of King Crimson influence at play in this album, including some guitar and bass elements that remind me of later Crimson (Beat and beyond). I'll have to do some comparative listening to see how Stern compares to some of the more recent Kong albums, but at first listen-through I'd put this as one of their best (though not at the peak of Phlegm).

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 Phlegm by KONG album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.94 | 6 ratings

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Phlegm
Kong Experimental/Post Metal

Review by dsbenson

4 stars I have all of Kong's albums, and to my mind Phlegm is still their peak. All of their albums rate over 3 stars in my book, though (with Earmined probably the lowest but still enjoyable).

I got into Kong around 1992 when Phlegm was released, on the recommendation of music stores (yes, there used to be such a thing) based on my love of King Crimson's album (and song) "Red." That's the closest comparison I can come up with for Kong at their strongest: very hard driving, progressive, instrumental metal. After Phlegm they started getting more synth-techno elements, but their music generally remains very metal-influenced, and well worth a listen. At very loud volumes, naturally!

I wish the first two Kong releases would get a quality remastering/remixing job, as the sound suffers considerably compared to later work. But the music and energy is still top notch.

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 What It Seems Is What You Get by KONG album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.17 | 4 ratings

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What It Seems Is What You Get
Kong Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 'What It Seems Is What You Get' - Kong (5/10)

A hiatus throughout the better part of a decade, and the Dutch instrumental rock/metal group Kong is back . Having changed most of their lineup since the band's early days, the band here may very well be a different act, were it not for the trademark sound that has been preserved over the years. Kong is a band best known for its heavy-laden instrumental rock, often fusing in electronic samples and ambiance to enrich the sound. With 'What It Seems Is What You Get', Kong delivers more of their sound, and as someone who has not heard their music before this, they are not ones to give a most excellent first impression. Not even taking into account the length that Kong fans were waiting for this record to come out, 'What It Seems Is What You Get' is something of a shallow and incoherent album, but for what it gives, Kong's atmospheric sound still makes the album worth a recommendation to those who find themselves drawn to the particular sound.

Not a great deal can be said about the songwriting here. The riffs are kept fairly bland and simplistic, and although a few songs prove to be a pleasant exception, the songs rarely feel like they go anywhere, instead being content to dawdle along in one place. Luckily, the sound that drives these songs is very nicely put together, often using jam-friendly guitar licks and electronics both highly reminiscent of Porcupine Tree's instrumental material. The guitar tones can feel a little too polished, but then again, the guitars are not the reason one listens to Kong in the first place. Instead, the best thing about Kong are the electronics, which aren't anything groundbreaking, but always manage to counter the crunch of the guitars with lots of atmosphere. Besides that, the drums here are also quite impressive, once again reminding me of Gavin Harrison's work in Porcupine Tree.

Most of the songwriting still feels bland despite the nice presentation the band gives it, but a few tracks do stand out. Among these, 'The Last Hunt', and the very good closer 'Factorum Inconstantum', both of which manage to build up into something quite good. Overall, Kong creates a lukewarm music experience with 'What It Seems Is What You Get', and true to the albums title, there's not much to dig into here past the surface.

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 Earmined by KONG album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.00 | 4 ratings

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Earmined
Kong Experimental/Post Metal

Review by bluesynight

3 stars when a friend asked me what is kong, i said that Kong is... Kong, and there is nothing like it...

Kong are using allot of electronic elements especially in this album ...shynth, drum loops, samples..in other words they using what ever they can, and i love that in a band! there is nothing like a band that hitting with all shes got. but using allot of instruments is not enough, you all so need to know how to use them, and i think that this is the main problem...

well lets see, first the ELECTRONIC:

the drum loops are pretty good, the intro to the song wonderwood reminded me of prodigy(and its a really big complement!). the samples are not bad, and of course they are every were. the big problem is with the synthesizer(and its funny because they have two programmers). electronic without good shynth player/programmer, is like instrumental prog without good guitar player. the shynth parts are kind of cheap and boring, like in the song HearMind its just not really good, its really a basic shynth playing/programming. if you want an example for a really good shynth playing/programming, i highly recommend the band THE GOURISHANKAR.

the INSTRUMENTAL:

the guitar riffs are really catchy and kind of simple, but i really like them, the main riff in the song TroubleMuter is one of the coolest riffs i ever heard. the live drums sounds really good over the drum loops, and in the song wonderwood they all so used bagpipes.

i think it was a good idea with a bad exaction, dont get me wrong, i like Kong, is just that i dont see they music as a masterpiece. i think that they really need to get a good shynth player/programmer, its really makes the difference. they have two bad programmers, but all they need is one that is really good.

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 Push Comes To Shove by KONG album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.96 | 4 ratings

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Push Comes To Shove
Kong Experimental/Post Metal

Review by OpethGuitarist
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Kong's most experimental release

Considered by some to be Kong's best studio release, Push Comes to Shove is really the second of two outstanding Kong albums from their "peak" era. This one is not quite as straightforward as Phlegm, though it can hardly be thought of as a straightforward album as it is a genre breaker.

The album goes more in depth into sound exploration and is somewhat less metallic than Phlegm, although their is still ample amounts of overdrive. More emphasis is put on atmosphere and finer qualities of the music than the actual notes themselves as on previous Kong releases. "New" is the best track here, being an epic-like piece that not only emphasizes their sound they had been building on but also gives us insight on the transition the band would make on the next record. Those looking for something similar to the Phlegm sound should try the opener Results, as it has a much rougher textured sound to it.

To those who have not seen my other reviews of Kong, it is recommended that you understand this band is one of the few that really sounds like nothing you've heard before, yet you will be familiar with it. An odd duplicity that the band is able to capture, making them one of the few bands on earth that is unlike anyone else, as overused as that phrase is. Also to note are the absence of vocals, yet the band is anything but a solo exercise for its musicians. You will find few solos across all of Kong's material.

This album is probably the most difficult to approach for a new fan to Kong. Although, for fans of RIO/Zeuhl material this might actually be the best place to start. Not as complete as Phelgm, but the Boxset would capture almost all of Kong's best moments. Another remarkable contribution to the annals of music history that only a select few will be able to hear and enjoy.

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 Earmined by KONG album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.00 | 4 ratings

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Earmined
Kong Experimental/Post Metal

Review by OpethGuitarist
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Kong modifies their sound and branches out into new territory.

This can be considered the second half of the Kong sound, with this album and Freakcontrol being considerably different from their first 3 releases. More house style sounds are incorporated with the digital effects, this could almost be considered progressive club music in parts, as awkward or off-putting as that may sound. With few exceptions, most of the metallic elements previously present in Kong are gone, though the track Barkflower has a real highlight with the metal riff closing out the song backed by many electronic effects.

Songs like Lumberhome have a definitive house beat quality to them, completely blending the genre with metal. A lot of this is interesting to explore, but alas I miss the old style of Kong, as their is just too much techno styled effects here. It can be good in small doses, as can be seen on some of the tracks, but sometimes it can just wear on a listener.

Still an extremely innovative release, with Kong once again pushing the limits of sound.

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 Phlegm by KONG album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.94 | 6 ratings

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Phlegm
Kong Experimental/Post Metal

Review by OpethGuitarist
Prog Reviewer

4 stars A band finds their sound, a band creates something like never before.

Phlegm is the greatest studio release by this unheralded Dutch band. The elements of their sound really all fall into place here, with brilliant aggressive drumming, superb sonic effects, and a smooth melody line that will put you in an almost trancelike state when put together.

This record is very much out there. The band is very close to RIO with their entire setup and structure, crafting an entirely new sound. M.O.N. for example, is based on a very heavy riff that is played alongside an electronic groove bordering on house style beats and significant psychadelic influence. Stockhouse is arguably the most profound thing the band has ever done, creating an environment that is one that must be experienced.

Phlegm is also extremely catchy. It's a record you will enjoy moving around to, giving out an overall vibe of pure ecstacy. The guitar work here is also well-done, though may be perhaps overlooked by the significant impact of the drumming and electronic effects. This record will captivate you, and an hour of your time will pass by unnoticed, enchanted by the magnificent work that Kong has brought us. An extremely overlooked asset to the prog community.

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 Mute Poet Vocalizer by KONG album cover Studio Album, 1990
2.96 | 5 ratings

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Mute Poet Vocalizer
Kong Experimental/Post Metal

Review by OpethGuitarist
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The beginning of something really, really good.

The beginning of the Dutch project Kong is an escape into the fields of a new style, one that still needed some artistic polishing that would be found on later albums. Mute Poet Vocalizer, like other Kong works, is an instrumental effort that focuses on incorporating electronics with metallic elements. The creative elements are all here, but the songwriting brilliance hasn't yet been established, although it is clearly there as evidenced on tracks like Fair and Quiet!.

Aside from the quirky names, including the album name itself, the album has a very industrial quality to it. The production lacks the most on this album, but that doesn't detract from some of the grooves that can be found. Some of the songs are a wash, as perhaps the band hasn't developed an ear for it, but the creativity is almost ripe for picking, as it would be on Phlegm.

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 Best of Kong: 1988-1995 by KONG album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2001
4.67 | 2 ratings

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Best of Kong: 1988-1995
Kong Experimental/Post Metal

Review by zaxx

4 stars I suggested this band eight or nine months ago, and it's nice to see they've made it to the PA. KONG is a band that doesn't fit in any category of music, because their music is nothing that can be compared to any other band. They blend metal, symphonic prog, techno (more on their last two albums though), sometimes each member of the band playing a different riff resulting in a weird combination. This album is a compilation of the Peaceville era (first three albums), and since their albums seem to be out of print, it's the best way to get familiar with the band.

The first track "Fair" is actually the demo of the song that appears on Mute Poet Vocalizer - the sound here is raw and reminds a bit of heavy King Crimson ("Red" for example comes to mind). The next track "P.r.o.k.o.v." is one of the most progressive song on this compilation and follows "Fair" in the same Crimsonesque pattern. "Cows" is weirder, with dissonances, and if it still reminds of King Crimson, it's more the "Discipline" era that comes to mind. "Quiet !", as the title suggests, is a quieter song - somewhere between King Crimson ProjeKcts and The Art of Noise.

"M.O.N." starts the "Phlegm" part of this compilation - the sound has improved, the music is more metallic. "Stockhouse" is maybe the trademark of KONG's sound - industrial metal (Ministry like) blended with electronic samples. "Wrong" is a short slow paced industrial metal track. "Bela Soul" follows "Stockhouse" in the same industrial/electronic pattern.

"Workbank 3" is a previously unreleased track written between "Phlegm" and "Push Come To Shove" - sounds a bit like a demo/improv track.

The first track from the "Push Come To Shove" album, "Results", is presented here live - and introduces the particularity of KONG when playing live: all four members playing not together as a band, but on four different locations on the stage for an ultimate musical experience. On "Ditch", a relaxed track, the sound feels more polished, with more electronic samples. "Hoover" sees the return of the industrial sound, with a calm interlude after three minutes or so. The last epic track "New", almost 10 minutes long, is very catchy with heavy guitars, and again reminds of quieter Ministry.

Rating: 80/100 (excellent - 4 stars)

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 Best of Kong: 1988-1995 by KONG album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2001
4.67 | 2 ratings

BUY
Best of Kong: 1988-1995
Kong Experimental/Post Metal

Review by OpethGuitarist
Prog Reviewer

5 stars The essential release by Kong - the greatest band you've never heard of

Combining the best songs off of arguably their 3 best albums (Mute Poet Vocalizer, Phlegm, and Push Comes to Shove), Kong has left us with a fine collection piece that culminates their greatest artistic work. Kong established sounds never thought possible, combining multiple styles and blending them into a truly original sound. An influential band that really has no peers, Kong really distinguished themselves with the release 'Phlegm'.

Blending styles of metal with electronics and house rhythms, this collection was a tribute to the fans of Kong, incorporating their favorites on a final release. The music here is all instrumental, with driving drums and heavily distorted guitars through a myriad of electronic sounds. A more advanced breed of Radiohead would not be too far off the mark, with more metal tendencies.

The real highlight tracks here are Fair, M.O.N., Stockhouse, Bela Soul, Results, New: although, you really can't go wrong with any of the selections. Stockhouse is perhaps the best and easiest to enjoy along with Bela Soul. Both are highly energetic, to a frenzied, almost to the point of an out of body like experience. It's important to note that despite all indications one might get, Kong did not particularly experimnet with drugs. M.O.N. is a track that might be looked at as an establishment for the Meshuggah sound before that band really crafted their sound.

I urge you to try and find this record. Fans of highly experimental music as well as music with electronics will not be dissapointed. A truly groundbreaking set of releases in one disc. We have some of the finest artistry the world has seen from these Dutchmen.

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Thanks to Joren for the artist addition.

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