Live review from Heavy #12:
The act every metaller who’d turned up on a Thursday night had been waiting for, Black Night Red Sky were homecoming kings on The Underground’s Orange Peel stage, after a triumphant appearance at the end of 2015. The band took their time setting up and creating the right mixture of spooky atmosphere and salivating crowd that by this point had filled the venue.
Sinister oscillations oozed from the stage before they’d even started playing. Guitar strings were dropped low and pedal effects added until the room was cloaked in a shadowy veil of reverb. Then it was time to begin. Guitarist Faro Gatmaitan began to whirl his long, red hair around like a deranged windmill as his eight-stringed axe blazed to life with mean, staccato riffing.
Stepping on to the stage after a short intro, vocalist Tyler Law took to the mic with a vengeance that didn’t let up throughout the half-hour set. Technical sections lay side-by-side with indiscriminate heaviness, with influences resting somewhere between Carcass and Opeth.
After bedding in with the scorchingly heavy Burns and Trials, third song Sorrow was opened with shiver-inducing soaring tremolo picking. The sombre track took flight with progressive, tempo-shifting drums and searing melodies, before culminating with Tyler’s terrifyingly furious roars.
Previous UG reviewers have praised the band’s experimental sound, likening it to Lamb of God, Meshuggah and Cannibal Corpse, and at this point Law may well be the best death growler HK has to offer. His gravelly voice barely wavered as he rumbled through lengthy verses, occasionally unleashing doomy, rooster-like crows on tracks like Perdition.
With just a few more worshippers in their flock BNRS will be ready to graduate from not only Hong Kong, but Asian stages too. With such polished, meticulously executed performances, they’d make solid additions to any heavy festivals in the US or Europe. Stepping up to the mic, guitarist JR Gabuya gave a shoutout to Chris B and The Underground, urging fans to “Support all local bands whether famous or not.”
The set and the night ended brutally with the unpronounceable Schizogeiniosis, a sluggish tangle of tremolo guitar, blustering bass and aggressive drumming. At least 20 bodies gave themselves over to furious headbanging to give the band the send-off that such a set deserved. These days, that’s only half a fan’s job though; get on social media, like the band, share the music, and help give HK’s often overlooked heavy scene the world recognition it deserves.
– El Jay
Live review from Underground Afterburn:
In theory, the term "rock" does apply for BLACK NIGHT RED SKY. But because of their very eclectic, interesting, unusual style, I hesitate to add one of the all-to-overused tag phases attached to the word "rock" (hardcore, metalcore, kiddiecore, WTF-whatevercore). Because for BLACK NIGHT RED SKY, in my humble opinion, none of these boxes really apply.
These guys STAND ALONE doing something completely unique and original!
Their music is certainly on the heavier side, like some of their noted influences (Meshuggah, The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza, Ion Dissonance, Dillinger Escape Plan, Misery Signals, Lamb of God, Slipknot, Cannibal Corpse, Throwdown, Hatebreed and Glass Cloud).
However, in the years that I have known many of the members from different bands that they have played in, their melodic side, sense and softness comes through in the music when you least expected. In fact, in the years that I have known them, they have never written a softer, melodic song that I did not love and adore. Deep deep feelings and emotions, layered with melodies and lyrics sung straight from the heart.
This is why the mixing and fusing of the softer melodic with the heavier harder styles makes the music so cool, unique and special.
They characterize themselves with each member having a different taste under the same category but with the same ultimate goal in delivering heavy fused melodic tunes. And part of our different musical approach is we really love experimenting and delivering a unique musical experience for the listener.
What sets BLACK NIGHT RED SKY apart from other bands is they are quite complex in terms of blending, fusing and experimenting ideas from various genres with Metal, Hardcore, Death metal and Post Rock. This is absolutely RARE and UNUSUAL. These guys are the only ones I have ever seen or heard do this!
The other thing that sets them apart from ALL other bands is both guitar players play and utilize 8 (EIGHT) string guitars to write and play in a lower register (dropped tuning). They really love that this allows them more options and freedom to not be limited and are able to express different interesting, unique concepts and ideas.
Watch for the new BLACK NIGHT RED SKY EP to be released very soon, and with more exposure will start looking at plans to tour outside of Asia.
– Gregory Tancer
Live review from Underground Heavy #8:
The second band on that night, Black Night Red Sky wasted no time in plunging the audience straight into the strong and fast current that is their music. Now, aside from their use of the word ‘ambient’ (typically used in retch-inducing lounge situations), they appear to have a very clear idea of what they sound like. They do have heavy and groovy music, and ‘melodic and ambient swells’ is just about as precise a description of the bursts of broody-moody guitars that their songs contain. The screaming is top-notch, and they covered a variety of different styles and feels through their set, and effectively so. From the sludgy Destruction, to the thrashy/shreddy Schizo andBurn to the more Noughties anthemic rock feel of Sorrow, they did it all with interesting textures and unconventional tones, without coming off as taking themselves too seriously (which many metal bands do) or resorting to overlong wanky solos (which many metals bands also do). They seem to like a guitar that sounds like elephants in the distance, an unusual feature to be coupled with screaming, and the result is commendable. The guitars’ wall of sound and the almost anti-solos played in most of their songs was good to hear, since it’s the sign of a different attitude to heavy music than the one that is typical. However, when shredding is required, shredding is given, as in the surprisingly early 80s virtuoso-like solo in Sorrow.
However, it does appear they have a formula – they start off a song quite fast, and then slow down after a minute or so, and do a sludgy thing, and then solo, and then a headbangy bit… It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it could so easily be remedied by a little more creative arrangement. This was particularly noticable on Burn, in which the transitions were clunky and had very little to do with each other, musically speaking – surely it could’ve been written better, especially in light of the songs that preceded it. Still, they’ve certainly hit on a promising vein with their current sound, and I hope to hear them consolidate this potential by developing this over time.