What a great night! We were so happy to resume our popular Heavy showcases. Partnering with a great new venue called Wave Music, we welcomed four bands, new to The Underground stage, to perform their music to an eager audience. Thanks guys for showcasing your best songs for a truly memorable night. Thanks to Addy for working hard on the sound. Thanks too to Leon for photography, El Jay on reviews and Dicky on door duties. Thanks to Polaroid for gifting four lucky winners with headphones. Let’s do this again soon! 認真狂歡的一晚！我們很高興可以回歸到最流行的重型音樂陣容。在新的合作表演場地Wave Music，我們請到四隊從未在The Underground登台的樂團，為熱切的觀眾們表演。感謝每位表演者以最出色的音樂留下了難忘的一晚。感謝Addy控制音響，多謝Leon為演出拍照，謝謝El Jay撰寫樂評和Dicky把守入場工作。最後感激Polaroid送出耳機作為抽獎獎品。希望很快可以再和大家見面！
❤️ Chris B xx
ShadowEscape impressed Chris B at one of her Shazza showcase events and The Wanch, earning the young six-piece a slot at The Underground’s eagerly anticipated return to metal-themed events. Their debut appearance was heavier than their Shazza slot, Chris B remarked after the show, meaning these guys put all their effort into amping it up as the night’s opening act.
The dual scream-n-clean vocals recalled early Enter Shikari or similarly nascent Bring Me The Horizon. While James Pong’s growling was solid, his fellow frontman Keith Chan’s singing sounded quite thin when competing in the heady cacophony the six-piece was churning out. On second song 獨腳鳥 especially, he was off-key – it seemed like he couldn’t hear himself through the monitor. To make things worse, his mic kept cutting out throughout the set and even began falling to bits on fourth song 圍牆.
Lead guitarist Arthur Wan’s harmonics work provided a nice accent to the riffing coming from rhythmist Nova Chan, but breakdowns sounded dulled and faraway, as if heard through a concrete wall. The overall sound – though especially the drums and bass – could have had more bite. On 心裡的花火可會再摧燦, bassist Kai Lam’s machine was loud and distorted.
Fung Lam’s drumming sounded punchy and assertive on 圍牆, a track on which guitarist Chan took the spotlight with some impressive fretwork. The track recalled the melody-driven post-hardcore of Alexisonfire and the emotive songwriting of As I Lay Dying.
Final track 無需答案 launched with a cool tremolo guitar effect which sounded like a helicopter taking off alongside an almighty strangled scream from Pong. Midway through the track, Wan broke a string, but dutifully carried on to bring the curtain down on his band’s set. In all, ShadowEscape’s set was a fun gateway to an eclectic night of metal noise and signposted them as a group to watch out for as they polish their sound and advance to larger stages.
– El Jay
1. Brothers in Arms
2. Fight for Freedom
3. Bullet in the Head (Rage Against the Machine cover)
4. False State
5. Blind (Korn cover)
7. Killing in the Name (Rage Against the Machine cover)
What second act Loud Shaft lacked in originality, they made up for with personality and execution in their tight and characterful performance. Bassist Gurung Binay kicked in with a mad groove on opener Brothers in Arms, while charismatic frontman Limbu Sisir’s voice alternated between Cobain’s nasally drone during choruses and Zack de la Rocha’s snappy rap style during verses.
The band wore their influences on their sleeve – literally: the singer wore a Rage Against The Machine T shirt, and they also sprinkled two of the band’s covers into their seven-song set. On Bullet in the Head, guitarist Gurung Sajan made clever use of his pick-up switch, flicking it on and off to create an unusual harmonica-like sound – very Tom Morello – alongside Binay’s simple, sluggish, snaking bass. Their originals, too, had a strong RATM flavour – Fight for Freedom recalled Renegades of Funk, while new song Rebel made use of a barrelling riff and a rapid wah-pedal solo.
Both guitarist and bassist each had a serious set of pedals – at least eight apiece – allowing them to manipulate their instruments through a carousel of distorted effects. Meanwhile, cool cat drummer Gurung Abiskar provided a solid, effortless backbone, while often disappearing behind a cloud of hair as he headbanged. The noise coming from Sajan’s guitar made it hard to believe there was only one guitarist on stage – his sound verged on thrash metal at times, particularly on False State (dedicated to Donald Trump) when paired with a blistering roar from the singer.
Riding high on the spine-tingling energy of their set, the band sneaked in another cover to close the show: a sped-up version of the classic Killing in the Name, delivered with all the vitriol of the original. An electrifying performance from a relatively new band on the scene.
– El Jay
1. What Have We Become
2. All Hope is Gone
5. Song 9 (New song)
6. Protect and Serve
Having stormed the scene with the release of their eponymous debut EP last year, metal supergroup Dagger were ready to make their Underground debut at the long-awaited return of Chris B’s hallowed Heavy nights. After amp levels were cranked up to ominous levels during the soundcheck, lead singer James Waters stepped forward wearing a hooded raincoat – perhaps to protect himself from flying moshpit secretions – before proceeding to pogo to the battering storm of overdriven guitar and machinelike bass and drums.
Right on cue, the pit opened as guitarist Riz Farooqi rushed the crowd and began inciting mayhem. “How did this come to be?” the bellicose singer growled over stomping blast beat breakdowns. His suffocated, raspy, Scott Vogel-esque guttural barks attacked themes like injustice and corruption, while the vicious decoction of downtuned distortion swirling around him evoked the crushing artillery of Hatebreed as well as Terror’s blend of metalcore guitar and thrash rhythms. Repent’s rumbling bass and serrated melodic hook sounded particularly effective, but at times the level of distortion and amp-busting volume was so great that individual sections – particularly the vocals – disappeared into an indiscriminate, cluttered, deafening chaos.
Ahead of final song Protect and Serve, the guitarist took to the mic with a plea to support local bands and nurture local talent, citing other Asian cities that comparatively put Hong Kong to shame by showing up in force for their homegrown groups. A strobe light began flashing in time with crushing thrash riffs for disorientating effect (Why was this the first time it had been used all night?), before the band began to slow down the tempo to make way for a chiming, picked guitar section. Despite a couple of mic problems that prevented the set running smoothly, Dagger slashed through their set, delivering six trenchant tracks that left the crowd primed for more.
– El Jay
1. Sadistic wraith
2. Corrupt Dynasty
4. Unforeseen Rottenness
Little could have prepared the crowd for Human Betrayer’s vicious onslaught. The arrival of a mean-looking six-string bass and the addition of approximately 10 more cymbals to the drumkit spelled trouble. Ever the practice noodling sounded dangerous: bassist Wing Lam’s spidery fingers were a blur as they flickered across his fretboard. The speed of his playing throughout the set was consistently astounding and his rapidfire scales sounded almost jazz-inspired at times. He adopted a deep stance for first song, Sadistic Wraith, and began using a slapping technique to get the vilest, dankest sound from his strings. Frontman Randy Leung’s voice was a chaotic gale of retching and growls; in one moment feral and animalistic, the next sounding like two heavy boulders were being ground together. He let out a classic deathcore “BREEEEEE!” before unleashing a series of twisted screams to a steady, almost doom metal tempo.
Guitarist Michael Kwan’s axe was so loud and clear in the mix that he barely had to tickle his strings for them to fry with a deathly low, fearsomely distorted crunch. Corrupt Dynasty was ridiculously heavy – almost grindcore – featuring a shredding solo from Kwan, sinister cymbal crashes and grunting vocals. Omega conjured a stampede like rumble, practically shaking the venue’s foundations and causing the guitars hanging on the wall to tremble in the tumult. The nasty-sounding, visceral track bounced low riffs off extended shrill screams. In fact, the tornado of sound built to such an intensity that Leung was almost drowned out at times. Fans of melodic deathcore will have picked out similarities to groups like Aversions Crown, Abiotic and Rings of Saturn in the duality of the vocals, shifting tempos and floor-trembling rhythms embellished with guitar speedwork.
Final song Unforeseen Rottenness was truly rotten to the core. A soft melodic section lulled everyone into a state of calm until Takashi Shing crashed in with heavy, mid tempo drums alongside Leung’s goblin-like screeching, more berserk basslines and some truly evil black metal riffing. Executed with precision and force, Human Betrayer’s set was a spectacle to behold. Four intricate and masterful songs left an awestruck crowd wondering where their jaws (and eardrums) had disappeared to.
– El Jay
Photos by Leon Che’ Clark.
由Leon Che’ Clark攝影。
Poster by Angus Leung.
海報由 Angus Leung 。