Live review from Heavy #16
It was clear from singer Enson’s guttural vocal warm-up that The Priceless Boat were about to go in heavy on Orange Peel. After the breathless scream and clunking rhythms of opener 白夜行, it didn’t take long for the frontman to incite a circle pit for 皇后碼頭 Queen’s Pier. Deep bass riffs and high-pitched guitar melded to give an exceptionally vicious take on this King Ly Chee song.
With his frantic and unhinged manner, Enson commanded respect among the crowd of metalheads. It took half the set for him to gain control over his breathing – just in time for the Mastodon-meets-Obey the Brave speedfest of 透明的心 and the Bring Me The Horizon-influenced 立秋.
Six melodic post-hardcore songs focused on Hong Kong themes and culminated in the thunderous 單手劍, a sombre blend of hornet-drone, crashing drums and confrontational lyrics. It was The Priceless Boat’s second Heavy show, and the set was rough and ready and in need of polish, but also very entertaining and involving.
– El Jay
The Priceless Boat（無價寶）不單是一隊樂隊，在現場表演時，他們更像一隊軍隊。每當歌曲演到停頓的一點時，主音Enson就會站在Orange Peel的桌上指揮，猶如一名戴上太陽鏡的軍官，長髮令人抓不住他的眼神。在他的一聲吼叫下，Jim和Danny會把手中的結他如長矛搬搖晃，而台下的觀眾就會組成mosh pit，聚攏、衝撞。場地雖小，依然震撼無比。
這隊社運樂隊的風格，與2000年代在MySpace社交網站經常碰上的melodic hardcore龐克樂隊有些微不同。與Killing the Dream、Modern Life is War等典型美加樂隊相比，無價寶歌曲中節奏的變數較多，觀眾不能只管拚命搖頭。從「立秋」和「單手劍」兩首歌曲的中段可見，他們更加著重凝聚緊張氣氛，以緩慢和高音的結他旋律模仿教堂的鐘聲，彷彿自己爬上了中環某大樓的頂點，瞻仰著一去不再復返的香港，片刻停頓…… 然後一次過竭斯底里地爆發。這就是他們的賣點。
– Elson Tong
Live review from Underground Heavy #5
1. Wai Han
2. Trees of Life
4. Crying Rain
5. Your Smile
This was the fifth time that the Underground Heavy carousel had taken a round, and it was time to up the ante. And that it was, right from the very first band. TPB are one of those rarest of metal-influenced bands, in that they have a female singer. And, lest you think that she does the whole Amy Lee—faux-opera-shtick, let me say that: NO – they have a female singer who screams. I mean out-and-out post-Slayer metal screaming – i.e. she’s good at it, too. Just for that, they rack up a bunch of points for their novelty. Plus, the guitarist fills in with singing-portions, so that the screaming doesn’t become tedious. Once you get past this fact, though, you may begin to notice that their style is not flawless. Their songs tend to sound conflicted, because of the blatant differences in the (broadly speaking) two houses of metal they inhabit – early 80s, with thrash just developing and still having a strong Sabbath and classic rock influence, and that of the Noughties, with greater polish, more zipping melodies and less sharp-sounding guitars. Development between these two distinct styles was sometimes lacking, and after a while you begin to consciously hear the switching between them. Which can get a little clunky in a live show, when you’re trying to concentrate on the performance. Countdown was an example of this, in which the different bits didn’t quite come together. Trees of Life was lacking groove in the drums, and the bass sounded (to me) a bit more hardcore than was appropriate. However, instead of the archetypal metal tempo-changes, it featured changes in beat, which was a nice change.
Having said that, this is typically a feature of a band that’s still developing its signature, and improvements can be anticipated. In fact, within their set itself, there were some songs that were clearly better-structured and filled out than others. And, as musicians, they appear to be quite competent– for which, when referring to metal, there is a high threshold, unlike punk or hardcore. Crying Rain was just such a song, more Zombie-esque in its approach, and a true success in what they were trying to achieve musically. There were some delightful speed metal solo portions in Your Smile, which melded excellently into the more grinding, rebellious 90s-metal sections towards the ending, and the song-structure just worked. Despite the fact that they can be underwhelming sometimes, and I would like to see them play a longer set, they seem to be going down the correct path. And the best thing to be said is that they do not need sympathetic judgement just because they have a female singer – they’re good enough that you can judge them just the same as other, good metal bands.