That metal can be tempered into many forms is an enduring feature of the genre. Many an ungodly creation has been thrown up with but a simple adjective placed before the word: death, black, or perhaps the most kvlt of all – baby.
Yet as fads fade and new blood looms, there are bands still seeking to refine classic old sounds. In Hong Kong, nu metal is alive and well in bands like SEESAW, looking to make the most of the heavy-hitting formula, minus the Fred Durst ego.
Opening track ‘到此為止’ is a clear indicator of what’s to come, with djent-style riffing and stop–start dynamics that help to break apart what could become just another headbang. The band seem well aware of the need for an escape plan from nu metal’s biggest pitfall – repetition – sidestepping this neatly with Dillinger-style dissonance. You half expect a jazzy segue into the next phrase, typical of the modern, progressive style, but SEESAW keep it simple with a singalong chorus that ends too soon and too easily slips back into the opening riff.
The careering screams and soaring sung vocals on the album fit the metal profile well, but seem at times without focus, especially on next track ‘輿論自由’. Droning, Mad Capsule Market-like raps punctuate the gaps left by relentless punches of guitar, though at times the screams feel strained and overworked. The vocalist is clearly capable, and given more time it will be exciting to hear the development in this aspect of the song. A funky half-time instrumental provides respite from the hammering riffs and is almost reminiscent of dreamy math-rock passages. It’s a given that the dynamics of nu metal need diversifying to sustain interest and SEESAW are clearly intent on applying this ideal.
Closing track ‘定局’ is soon back to basics with a chugging guitar that Slipknot could easily call their own. A noteworthy passage soon floats on by with dreamy delay, offering some introspection away from the angry voicings of the verse. This is the best example of the band’s use of contrast on the album and is a great sign of things to come. Closing out with a huge riff of wailing, harmonised guitars slung low, we’re looking forward to hearing more from a band so willing to refresh the genre anu.
CD Review by Jon Billinge