Live review from Heavy #16

1. 故地重遊
2. 人間失格 Not Human at All
3. 意有所至而愛有所亡
4. 無形無相 Formless
5. Barely Hear an Answer

Looking back at the videos from Maniac’s headline Heavy set evokes a lot of glee. From the opening song to the finale, the band commanded a worshipping sea of full-body headbanging and a perpetually vicious moshpit (srsly: one meathead kept getting carried away and straight-up punching people).

Hong Kong’s answer to the modern US post-hardcore of Suicide Silence and Pierce the Veil, Maniac boasts a devoted local following that was not disappointed by this brisk yet brutal five-song set that blew the other Heavy 16 bands out of the water with well-rehearsed polish. Frontman Jason Ngan’s raw, raptor-roar delivery echoed his US contemporaries, as he sang in Cantonese to a roomful of pumping fists.

Opener 故地重遊 recalled Bring Me The Horizon – a band that Maniac once supported – in its synths, screams, and softer mid-section. An aggressive Atreyu-esque coiling bassline from KL Mo defined Not Human At All, as guitarist Randy Sze spun intricate melodies and the more rhythmic Jason Kit managed the down-tuned riffs during 意有所至而愛有所亡. The ferocious song combined elements of classical piano, pig squeal harmonics, a machine-gunned bass pedal and irate vocals contorted with venom.

For closer Barely Hear an Answer, Ngan became a deity thronged by worshippers as he entered the pit and was encircled by a thrashing sea of hair. It was unlikely any recent Heavy show, and will go down in history as one of the most exultant. Truly, a masterclass in how to get a crowd going, deliver a no-holds-barred rock show, and leave everyone wanting more.

- El Jay



Heavy 16四隊樂隊中,最有號召力的無疑是出道逾十年的Maniac,他們出場時已經差不多接近凌晨,不知是台上或是台下更加擁擠。這隊組合的風格以hardcore為出發點,添上一部電子琴、三層結他(……當晚好像多了一名結他手?)、無數的踏板效果器,結果形成非常廣泛的音響。「意有所至而愛有所亡」一首歌,靜的時候是一片寂靜,爆發的時候是一棟音牆,可以聽得出不同的層次。

筆者特別欣賞Maniac成熟地使用效果器,光看排列在地上踏板,觀眾可能會誤以為這是一隊post-rock或shoegaze樂隊。最後一首歌曲「Barely Hear an Answer」可能是全場的精華,從溫柔的前奏到尾段一浪接一浪的聲波,殘響、迴音、玩弄頻率等效果通通被運用至極限。主音Jason似乎操控了時間這個概念,把聽眾帶回觀塘,在偉業街破舊工廈的band房之間穿梭,最後在一片feedback迴響中完結。
– Elson Tong

U_heavy_1_111.jpgLive Review from Underground Heavy #1:
So it’s looking like the average players for a metalcore bands is 5, as confirmed by the 5 men of Maniac who are next to continue XmasMetalFest09. The start of their set had caught everybody by surprise. They kick off with an electronic song being blasted through the house sound system. For a moment, we could very well be at a hidden rave party! Just when you’re about to run to the closest 7-11 to get your value pack of glow sticks however, the distorted axes and beatings of the double kick riot through and we’re back to moshing and slam dancing. Well not me of course, I’m naturally at the back of the room tucking into Chris B’s Cajun French Fries. Which are amazing by the way. I’m constantly in fact waiting for Chris to go on another Cosmopolitan run so that I may jam a fistful down me. But no one wants to hear me go on about my barbaric feeding rituals. Speaking of barbaric however, Maniac are the first band of the evening to get the famous ‘wall of death’ going. If you are unfamiliar with such a feat, I highly recommend that you youtube it immediately. Not much to say about the music though. It is of course played very well, and you can tell the band have done a lot of work to get it tight, but it’s pretty much everything you expect. No real surprises. Maniac perform a good show, and I’ve realised that if you are to play real heavy music, you need to sell it, and each band tonight has done just that.
Tim – Hong Kong Independent Music Blog


Live Review from Underground 39:

Whatever you think of the music, you can’t accuse Maniac, the final band, of being pedestrian rock. I was worried at first, when during the soundcheck the guitarist showed off his knowledge of blues and jazz riffs, while a Yorkshire voice to the right of me ventured that in his opinion, Rancid were “just sublime”. A surreal moment. However, soundcheck over and the guitar went back to the standard deathtrashcore metal chugga-chugga-chugga-wheeeeeeeep! Game on.
I have to say the songs kinda merged together for me. Maybe this was because they were all shouted in an indeterminate language, or maybe the beer was starting to take hold. Anyway the main thing that struck me was their energy and passion, which was especially noticable after the previous band. The audience was appreciative as well, and there was a mini-mosh in progress before too long.
Musically they were hard to pinpoint. The main theme was a death metal thrash, with its attendant sudden chord changes and non-standard time signatures. However at points they wavered off into Thin Lizzy territory, and one of the songs was a cover of Radiohead’s Creep, which was bound to please me. In the end, this kind of music is more about the emotion than the lyrics, and they definitely pulled that off well.
All in all a very interesting Underground, and one that spanned the full range of musical expression. There was probably something for everyone there, and it reminded me why I come back time after time.

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