What a great night! We were so happy to continue with our popular Heavy showcases. Returning to Wave Music, we welcomed back Parallel Horizons and three other bands, new to The Underground stage, to perform their heavy 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 so much to Leon for photography, El Jay for her reviews and Dicky & Raymond on door duties. Thanks to Polaroid for the last two giveaway prizes! Let’s go heavy again in 2019!!
認真狂歡的一晚！我們很高興可以繼續我們的重型音樂表演。回到 Wave Music，我們請到 Parallel Horizons 以及另外三隊從未在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及Raymond把守入場工作。最後感激Polaroid送出耳機作為抽獎獎品。2019再同大家見面！
❤️ Chris B xx
“I’ve discovered new vocal technique: bronchitis,” Parallel Horizons’ Naseem Khan quipped wheezily at the start of their Heavy 20 opening set. While most vocalists’ performance would be hindered by illness, Khan took full advantage of his shredded larynx, ripping out some extra phlegmy barks, hoarse shouts and reptilian screeching throughout the band’s five songs.
Parallel Horizons should have been headlining Heavy 20, but elected to perform first. A solid selection of new tracks debuted a sound leaning more towards post-hardcore than the death-tinged metalcore the group has previously espoused, allowing Khan to show off his talent for clean singing as well as his signature growls.
The bass and drums came hefty and dense on opener Distress, while guitarist Jerome Turner, delivering enough noise to fool the crowd into thinking there was a second player hidden somewhere behind the scenes, showed off his impressive precision and technical skill. Fronting their death influences, the band ploughed into Marrow, a brutal platform for the sickly Khan’s shout-screech-sing variation, signed off with a furious breakdown.
Penultimate song Asphyxia, from the group’s 2017 debut album Dissonant Echoes, ratcheted up the tempo. Razor-sharp screams gave way to a rhythmic onslaught from Turner and intricate basslines by Aaron Mordeno that fired up the room; a punter wearing rather tiny shorts leaped into the fray and a small pit began forming around him. “We played Asphyxia during a Shazza show, our first show. I just screamed a load of bullshit because I couldn’t remember the lyrics,” Khan revealed to chuckles and cheers from the crowd.
On last song Thoughtseize, bouncing tom-tom drums built to a pummelling beat that inspired more moshing and Khan’s deep, frog-like gurgles made it sounds like he was burping in a sewer. The shorts-wearing gig-goer whipped his shirt off and began windmilling it in excitement to the sound of blistering riffs and smashing drums. Parallel Horizons’ seemingly effortless show proved that, in sickness or in health, they are one of Hong Kong’s premier metal acts and are among the most exhilarating live performers the city has to offer.
– El Jay
Energetic six-piece Fiester performed an unexpectedly strong set at Heavy 20. Pronounced “fiesta” (not “fyster”, fyi!), all members played their instruments with attack, drive and presence. Lead singer Vicky’s voice was a bit fragile during the verses as she competed with the band. However, her strong charisma and excellent leadership made up for occasionally weak singing.
First song 從頭開始 opened with a dose of dubstep and the band kicked into action with a hiss of dry ice through the stage. Everyone was instructed to crouch down, a la Slipknot, for 半天, which was only semi-successful, given they were only two songs into their set. Guitarist Iris had tonnes of personality and flair, but her guitar could barely be heard in the mix at times. She and guitarist Coco delivered crunchy industrialised riffs alongside synth-player Kelly’s off-kilter keys and backing vocals.
Meanwhile, Vicky switched between harsh scream/growl delivery and cleaner, futuristic-sounding autotuned sections, which came off sounding a Hatsune Miku at times. Bassists stereotypically shy from the spotlight, but it was impossible to ignore Amy, who stood centre-stage and rallied the crowd to punch, cheer and jump at every opportunity while thrumming out galloping basslines. New song 湧 had a vivid electronicore flavour, triggering a fluttering of strobing lasers and turbocharged performance that ended with a thick breakdown.
Keyboardist Kelly had demonstrable classical training, evidenced by her switching from a gothic organ effect to extraterrestrial synth stabs with flair on 至死不渝, which featured a powerful and catchy chorus. Final track 殘酷時光 was the most successful of the set: smooth drumming underpinned more powerful synth-metal, a confident sign-off from a magnetic rising act.
– El Jay
曰．央 YEUK YEUNG
1. 映現 (Show Up)
2. 井底蛙 (Frog in the Well)
3. 墨 (Ink)
4. 故土 (Homeland)
Third act 曰．央Yeuk Yeung certainly didn’t overstay their welcome, performing just four very polished songs at Heavy 20. The band, whose name means “Reflection” and whose sound loosely falls within post-hardcore, emerged to the atmospheric opener 映現 (Show Up), which dealt crushing strikes with high-pitched screams and guitar violence.
Soft melodies at the start of 井底蛙 (Frog in the Well built) to a heavier song, although the lyrics were at times hard to make out. A highly versatile lead singer in a night of vocal powerhouses, frontman JR paired sinister pterodactyl-style “scraaaaws” alongside spuming snarls. At the end of the song, he apologised for not singing in English, though it’s hard to imagine this being too much of gripe for any concert goers.
On 墨 (Ink), he charged clean singing with emotion amid blowtorch guitar effects and imposing rhythms, before the group got patriotic on final song 故土 (Homeland). “We live here, we were born here,” said JR. “We love Cantonese and that’s why we promote it,” he added to a round of applause.
An Enter Sandman-style opening melody and military drum rolls built to buffeting effect as the song quickly became much heavier. Smashing cymbals and a bouncing beat signalled a thick breakdown, involving a low, sinister riff and screams to close. Although 曰．央 Yeuk Yeung impressed with their well-rehearsed show, four tracks didn’t really give them enough time to develop. A couple of extra songs in the setlist would have been welcomed.
– El Jay
Insects Wake 驚蟄
1. Black Curtain
2. Black Flame
3. Inferno World
Little could have prepared the Heavy 20 crowd for the deliciously evil ambush of melodic death metal outfit Insects Wake 驚蟄 – even their soundcheck practically blew the PA. Curtain-raiser Black Curtain brought a stomping onslaught from outset, crowned by a rowdy solo from guitarist Sang. Here was a line-up of musicians that just worked.
Singer Ying proved a sheer force to be reckoned with, commanding the room with dark glowers and darker vocal techniques. Lister’s chattering bass rumbles met Ying’s crisp growls and screams for Black Flame, during which guitarist Sang’s instrument stopped working. While a technician jumped on stage to help, the band carried on, with barely any let up in intensity. After a few minutes the guitar was back, albeit temporarily muffled and distorted.
After a slick finger-tapped intro, Sang rose like a phoenix for Inferno World, a truly wicked and doom-filled track enhanced by strobe lighting. Sang slayed a solo while guitarist Fish leaped into crowd to encourage moshing. Drummer Adrian left barely any space between beats, ensuring all eardrums in the room received a relentless pummelling.
Insects Wake 驚蟄’s live show reached its finale with Shogun and Erosion, featuring putrid, bubbling riffs, machine gun riffing, twisted screams of fury and spooky incantations combining to produce stunning metal theatre. Technical niggles aside – with exacting musicianship and undeniable presence from all members, Insects Wake brought one of the most well-oiled and compelling performances seen at The Underground this year.
– El Jay
Photos by Leon Che’ Clark.
由Leon Che’ Clark攝影。
Poster by Tony Kan.海報由 Tony Kan 。