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Kong - "What It Seems Is What You Get" (CD)

Kong - "What It Seems Is What You Get" CD cover image

"What It Seems Is What You Get" track listing:

1. On The Contrary 4:59
2. Overcrowd/Underdog 4:44
3. Last Hunt 6:12
4. Tenfold Right 5:57
5. The Imposter Syndrome 7:28
6. Glossip 4:59
7. Tao Of Eric 5:43
8. Change 2012 3:33
9. March Of The Eltanin 4:19
10. Musclebound Elf 4:34
11. KLZQ 3:34
12. Factorum Inconstantum 6:29

Reviewed by on November 3, 2010

"Kong is yet another band that can be added to the ever growing list of watered-down acts that are using the term 'progressive metal' to try and appeal to a wider audience."

The term “progressive metal” is used to describe so many different things in today’s scene that nearly a quarter of all bands in the genre are hardly even metal to begin with. European instrumentalists Kong are yet another band that can be added to the ever growing list of watered-down acts that are using the term “progressive metal” to try and appeal to a wider audience. While the tactic has worked for talented bands like Porcupine Tree, Kong falls short of touching anything remotely close to the realm of actual metal with its bland instrumental compositions, minus a few riffs scattered across the album’s hour long playing time.

The album begins with the one riff wonder “On the Contrary,” which goes absolutely no where. Despite the echo of synthesizers that layer themselves across this track it is essentially one, singular guitar riff that plays itself over and over again throughout the entire song. Whereas progressive metal is meant to be a genre of rule-defying and law-breaking songwriting, Kong keeps things very simple and go for the most minimalistic approach possible.

Out of the twelve tracks that make up “What It Seems Is What You Get,” only two are really anything to be impressed with. The third track, “Last Hunt,” features a nice build from a mellow post-rock influenced sound to include a down-tuned chunk. The synth patches are occasionally interesting when coupled with the more hard rock guided riffs. The bass also makes a nice appearance here around the four minute mark, but that is what plagues this album. While filled with a few great ideas, the songs take far too long to capture any sense of imagination. The music here doesn’t tell a story, which any form instrumental music needs to do to be able to create a memorable experience.

Besides the King Crimson inclined “Musclebound Elf,” the rest of the album falls short of culminating in any effective climax. The better half of the record is a more radio rock lead affair that also dips into the realms of electronica, barely breaking the surface into a progressive metal style. While a few of the songs do contain some riffs that are on the heavier side of the spectrum, most progressive metal fans will want to skip this release entirely. Nothing here challenges the laws of music or breaks boundaries and it’s really just a melting pot of sounds that everyone has already done before. So take with it what you will. Those that don’t mind a simplistic journey through lengthy songs that contain very few musical twists, or those who ride elevators for their musical nuances, might enjoy this release.

Pretentious it may be, but metal it is not.

Highs: A few interesting moments, "Last Hunt" is a decent listen.

Lows: Most songs go nowhere and end up being a waste of time.

Bottom line: A 'progressive metal' release that is many things before it is metal.

Rated 2.0 out of 5 skulls
2.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)