The band Kong was founded in 1988 in Amsterdam. In the slipstream of bands like Ministry, Nine Inch Nails and Skinny Puppy their instrumental music was a mixture of industrial rhythms, post punk and progressive metal. They gained some cult status from their live shows, where they played in a quadraphonic setup. Only the drums would be on the main stage, the 3 others would have their own mini stage surrounding the audience.
The first incarnation of the band, that released 5 studio albums, ended in 1999. After 7 years bassist Mark Drillich rebooted the band. From the original members apart from Mark Drillich only Dirk de Vries remained involved as producer. Between 2009 and 2014 3 more studio albums were released.
And now after a hiatus of 9 years the ninth studio album is released. In between they released the 25th anniversary edition of their debut album Mute Poet Vocalizer (1990), and they released the EP Phlegmatism, with four tracks rerecorded from their second album Phlegm (1992).
The current line-up consists of Mark Drillich (bass, guitar, samples), Oscar Alblas (drums), Tijs Keverkamp (guitar) and David Kox (guitar, samples). Surprise guest Jan Akkerman plays a guitar solo on Chaos As Law.
The new album is largely a continuation of the sound and style of their previous albums. Again fully instrumental (apart from some sampled voices). Only slightly different accents. Because touring was limited in the last couple of years they took the time to record and pay attention to details. Like a more extensive use of electronics and samples. The rather weird and abstract track titles are a habit that goes back to their very first album.
Traders Of Truth could have been the soundtrack to a Jacky Chan or Jason Stratham movie: very well orchestrated and a bit over the top but not too much bloody violence. A very high pace to hide the lack of story. Thrilling but also with a subtle sense of humour. And in the end the good guy wins.
Kong is a quirky band that sticks to their own sound, and Traders Of Truth is a solid album, a musical journey to rough and adventurous territory outside of the well-trodden paths. Kong is most of all a live band. On stage these tracks will really come to life.
The album is released on their own Kongenial label as a CD or digital download.
**** Erik Gibbels (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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