Review: “Lying On A Barren Bed of Roses” by Kong

Produced, Engineered, Mixed and Mastered by Eric Chase, New Jersey quintet Kong have unleashed a debut EP which incorporates a pair of tracks that appeared on their October 2018 two track demo “Demonstration of Strength“, while also citing influence from the likes of Kublai Khan, Daughters, Full of Hell and Jesus Piece. Their bio is strictly limited, but we can tell you that Anthony, Theo, Alex, Nolan & Steve “strive to achieve a sonically visceral blend of Metalcore, Hardcore and Death Metal” and have a couple of guests of note in Cody Canning and Bill Cardella on the record. 

The first track on here was on the aforementioned demo alongside and “Fury” is exactly what it is, a belligerent fusion of Metallic Hardcore riffs with a intense and barbed nature that hits just below what you might expect from a Melodic Deathcore act in places, especially vocally. It’s full of fits and bursts of aggression with a couple of blistering tempo changes in both directions to get the message across like a blunt force trauma. There is a vocal dynamic at play with multiple members of Kong adding unclean barks of different pitches orientated around that main vocal punch. “Bloodletting” sees the first cameo appearance of the EP with Bill Cardella, an individual from yesteryear (as he puts it “Retired Rocker“) known on the New Jersey scene. He’s dusted off his microphone to join in with the fun of the two step on this one which is loaded down with combination interplay in the guitars. Powerhouse rhythmic staccato riffs are ripped through by some tight leads and the solo is an unexpected joy. Some Metalcore leanings rise to the surface beside the introspective lyrics of “Cold (The Soil Breath)” but they are very old school and helped by the guitar tone which has been deliberately kept raw, abrasive and live sounding. “Mastering in the art of repression, The sorrow is swelling, Behind my eyelids, Wake up“, it seems like a waking nightmare gone wrong. The title track clocks in just under the 4 minute mark, the longest cut on the EP and sees Cody Canning of Depreciator and Krooked Youth fame lend his throat to the heaviest track here. Make no mistake “Lying On A Barren Bed Of Roses” is the Deathcore track that elevates what the band produced earlier to the level of the likes of The Acacia Strain. That added weight gives the band a knock out punch with lyrics that bleed catharsis. If the title track was the hammer, then the second track re-worked from the 2018 demo “Demonstration of Strength” is a fist forged in steel. It has a menacing groove of Death Metal riffs which threaten to explode into breakdowns at any point as they chug through, paying homage to bands like Fit For An Autopsy as they do. That blood and thunder groove continues into “Dying In Vain… Aching Eternally…” which offers a few words of clean vocal in a pummeling track that is a call to the pit from the very start. The Slam vocal at very end will be thing that catches you off guard, it’s a real head turning ‘what have I just heard?!‘ moment. A change in direction on the next release? Or just a tease? [7.5/10]

Track listing

  1. Fury
  2. Bloodletting (ft. Bill Cardella)
  3. Cold (The Soil Breath)
  4. Lying On A Barren Bed Of Roses (ft. Cody Canning of Depreciator, Krooked Youth)
  5. Demonstration of Strength
  6. Dying in Vain… Aching Eternally…

Lying On A Barren Bed of Roses” by Kong is out now and available over at bandcamp.

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