This was our first Heavy event in 2015. We were delighted to have Weeper back along with 3 bands debut at TheUnderground. Thanks to ALL the bands, The Underground team members + The Live House. 2015年第一個Heavy演出，我們很高興得請到Weeper回歸，並聯同3隊初踏Underground台板的重金屬新晉演出。感激所有演出的樂隊, The Underground團隊成員及The Live House。
Love Chris B x
2. Through the Rain
3. Paper Cranes
The night began with Underground newbies Parallel Horizons, who are one of the few bands I have seen around that actually describe themselves accurately and informatively. In particular, their use of the coinage ‘djent’ in description immediately points to exactly what they sound like (if you’re familiar with the term); they have a very highly-distorted, melody-oriented, chainsaw-buzzy guitar with lots of gain, a generally thudding rhythm section and a singer alternating between screaming and singing. Along with their other self-descriptors, they describe their own music pretty well. They’re in the genre of bands that sound like Edgar Winter Group’s Frankenstein with less groovy rhythms, more shredding and screaming and at the pace of Judas Priest. Not many bands seem able to accurately assess their sound, so kudos to these guys on that front.
The band are all pretty solid in general, with few noticeable flubs and their drummer, in particular, is really kicking; however, their singer could do with some lessons for when he sings. The drop-off in quality from screaming to singing is really large; either cut down the singing bits to focus on his strength, or improve the singing. The tyranny of metal and the technical perfection it demands to sound good will allow little else. You don’t have to be a great singer, but the standard HK-metal-male-vocalist voice just won’t do. It probably doesn’t help, though, that his mic seemed to be mixed very dry, and made his voice stand out uncomfortably from the rest of the mix. They generally oscillated between death metal/metalcore melodic bits and the standard headbangy breakdowns but to my immense surprise, there was a very strong connective thread between the different sections of most songs (particularly Into the Rain and Psychosis). The changes seemed natural, were warranted and not jarring; considering that this has been a bugbear of mine for a while, they get a lot of praise from me on this front.
However, they do descend into lollipop metal at times, with just a colourful-sounding, chromatic guitar melody and fairly samey rhythms; given that screaming generally means most of your lyrics won’t be understood, this makes their songs underwhelming and difficult to tell apart after a while. Still, given that they’re a very new band, I have high hopes that they are working on differentiating their sound from the landscape of other bands. A good Underground debut, and certainly a good set to start off the show with.
— Shashwati Kala
去年勇奪香港青年樂隊節 2014－公開組冠軍、最佳鼓手的殘念Zennen，屬於本地非常年青的金屬樂隊，Underground Heavy #11當晚是第一隊的出場單位。第一首歌曲《空洞》，主題是關於破碎家庭，或許是metal本身就會散發出黑暗的感覺，又或是家庭破碎本身就是一個「殘念」，聽著是更有歇斯底里的感覺，而且主音的screaming很深遂，值得一提。第二首的《小心提防》，似乎和雨傘運動有關，一開頭又密又重的鼓十分能引起觀眾的注意，美中不足的是到中段music break時主音想帶動mosh pit，唯觀眾似乎不太受落，又或者是沒有心理準備而已吧⋯⋯？來到最後一首歌曲《殘念》，應該是代表著他們的歌曲，當中有獨白位讓人稍作喘息，也是整個編排和情感更有層次，十分不錯，觀眾也十分投入。總的來說，殘念每一位成員都十分的有實力，歌曲也相當有意境，而且以金屬樂隊來說是非常容易入耳的那種，相信不是聽慣metal的人也不會太抗拒。
– Sidick Lam
ZenNen were the second band to come on, and despite having some starting trouble, they got their technical issues fixed pretty quickly and their set began with a sombre arpeggio-style notes, which then quickly moved into a shreddy, headbangy mode. In contrast to the last band, their sound was more broody, slower, more droney and even sludgy, with a bit of The Melvins showing through every now and again. They also used guitars with more sustain than the last band, and their melodies were less colourful and more heavy and dark in general. The singer, again tries to sing like (almost literally) every other male metal singer in Hong Kong (seriously), but to his advantage, he has a younger-sounding voice and this makes him sound edgier than most singers do; this actually turns out to rather suit the band.
However, they definitely had the classic metal band problem of almost signposting when they change styles; 空洞 is a perfect example; from the broody to headbangey transition mentioned earlier, they added a bit a little like the opening to Immigrant Song, from which they moved an Iron Maiden-style shreddy solo-bit, and then another moody part. Now, these guys don’t actually have changes as drastic as I’ve seen before, but nonetheless they can sometimes be discomfiting. I would say that they might try to work on transition bits to add to their songs so that the rhythm/mood changes are smoother to listen to. 小心提防 was a mix of fast and dramatic metal, while 殘念 was a more grinding, churning and chugging song, with gunshot drums and an anthemic feel; a really satisfying listen, and perhaps not coincidentally a song in which the different portions were stitched together really well. In all, a very good (if short) set, and they’re definitely to be looked out for by metalheads looking for interesting new bands.
— Shashwati Kala
00) Sound Check
01) Laena’s Cupcakes Suck
02) No Mistake
05) In Plain Sight
06) Sunken Eyes
07) Legs Of Gold
WEEPER are one of the really great local hard rock, punkish (okay, HARDCORE) bands in Hong Kong. Comprising of members from a few different local HK bands, with two of the members coming from the dearly beloved THIS IS AMMUNITION. In fact, I lovingly refer to them as THIS IS WEEPER.
Guitar: Mira Petroslav
Bass: Simon Griffin
Drums: Joe Hastings
Vocals: Danny Kostianus
Mira: 8 string custom made Jackson, w/Axe FX2 rack mounted effects, split into two Blackstar HT Venue amps.
Simon: Fender 5 String Jazz Bass w/double humbucking pickups, running through Darkglass B3K Distortion and Tech21 Bass Driver Deluxe, into Ampeg (fashion monkey) SVT w/one 8×10 cabinet.
Joe: Drum sticks and house drum set.
Danny: House vocal microphone, and as Simon so colorfully puts it “sweaty balls”.
Worth noting right up front, I really don’t have many nice things to say about The Live House sound mix. There was a lack of the most basic “mix” (actually there was no mix) and with the extreme volume, when the low end came out of the speakers, it sounded like an undistinguishable blurry blob. The guitars were barely cutting through, with the vocals the only piece that was almost clearly identifiable. In speaking with the band after the set, they experienced the same “professional level” sound mix on the stage. I will just leave it at, the promoter and all of the bands on the Underground HEAVY #11 show were left at the mercy of the venue’s sound person being MIA (missing in action).
At 11.56pm, WEEPER opens up the seven song set with the customary sound check (Song #00, which sounded great). Then at exactly 12.00 midnight, WEEPER IS introduced by Chris B, and proceed to rip into the opening number (Laena’s Cupcakes Suck) like a ton of bricks. It was a bit reminiscent of Rage Against The Machine with an attacking syncopated hook, but quite unique to WEEPER.
WEEPER’s style, feel, and overall song and sound composition are really quite unique and interesting. They intertwine a straight forward rock/metal/punk/hardcore style with sometimes complex, very interesting guitar parts. Seeing the live set and hearing their song writing and arrangements, the audience is presented with lots of musical surprises. The pounding, driving drums and bass hold down the bottom end, adding in the very eccentric, technical style and difficult to play 8 string Jackson guitar and screaming, passionate vocals, in a word, this is WEEPER!
As they moved into the next song No Mistake, the WEEPER song composition took a melodic turn. They were mixing a standard rock feel with some very cool obscure musical passages. The vocals of Danny Kostianus started to become introspective and deeper, with more range and melody.
One thing that started to immediately become apparent was the very unique, interesting style of Mira Petroslav. To be able to play his 8 string guitar would take some general musical gymnastics. But to play these very unusual guitar cording and patterns on that guitar takes a real technician. Lesser men would have crumbled with faced with this challenge, and for certain, he is a better guitar man than I. And I kept watching him, thinking about and wondering how it all made sense musically, and what the heck is he playing and where is it coming from. But when it comes out of the amp, it all makes perfect sense. Again and again through their set, I found myself very intrigued and enamored by this guy.
Next up was Victimless and Terror. Victimless included a very non-standard musical rhythm, and a mixture of older style hard rock with a hardcore twist.
Then Terror turned the tables completely. It included vamping on a few cord patterns, then split the rhythm into a half-time pattern. The style was something I had never really heard before. If I had to define it, I would characterize it as SURFCORE. A mixture of surf music with hardcore (especially the second half of the song), it sounded totally bitchin’. And remember, you heard the music genre term “SURFCORE” here first…!
Continuing the set, the next two songs were In Plain Sight and Sunken Eyes. In Plain Sight created a somewhat complex, great feel. It’s very intriguing, and very hard to describe, but I know I enjoyed it.
Then Sunken Eyes, continued to elaborate on similar cool themes as earlier in the set. Very straight forward ROCKCORE, weaving and transitioning back and forth between very unique guitar patterns and arrangements.
Last up was a WEEPER classic, Legs Of Gold. If it were possible to categorize one song from the set as “guitar driven”, this would be the one. Very straight forward, WEEPER style, unique and interesting. With Joe and Simon solidly holding down the fort, Danny rippin’ away on throat, and Mira letting loose again with some very difficult, creative guitar playing, the volume is turned up to “11”, and it was the perfect song to close the set.
If you’re a hardrock, punk or hardcore fan, and enjoy something interesting, creative, different and loud, make sure to get out and see and support our local Hong Kong WEEPER!
And as always, many thanks and much respect to The Underground for their tireless hard work helping all the Hong Kong bands, and for their eternal passion to create and give the public a music scene we can be proud of.
Gregory J. Tancer
1. Into My Core
2. Break the Present
3. Life is Crime
4. Day by Day
5. Change of Human
The last band of the night were a more out-and-out metalcore band, with strong leanings towards bands of the early Noughties like Linkin Park or Limp Bizkit; the poppy lollipop-metal style with distorted guitars that have smooth contours in general, and a similarly smooth-contoured rhythm section. Now, while I do not personally like this sound, many people do, and I can appreciate why; it’s easily engaging, fast and easy to headbang to, and that’s pretty much all many people want from a song.
However, Vnighters share another aspect with the Noughties metalcore bands which I think is quite bad; their singers have weak voices. Now, Vnighters singer isn’t as weak as someone like Chester Bennington, but his voice isn’t strong. The trouble is that they have hints of death metal in their song composition, and that demands a strong and technically skilled singer; hence, their current singer ends up sounding weak since the songs aren’t suited to his voice. He’s pretty good, again, at the screaming parts; Life is Crime was a particularly good one, sounding rather a lot like Judas Priest in their Screaming for Vengeance phase. However, this only served to emphasise the point that these sorts of songs need a singer with a strong and commanding voice like Rob Halford’s, and unfortunately the Vnighters’ singer at the moment does not measure up.
Day by Day was reminiscent of Metallica’s Wherever I May Roam, and they closed on an almost poppy song, with parts of Change of Human almost sounding like they were part of a Franz Ferdinand song, before moving on to a more typical breakdown. The band might also want to work on differentiating their sound, since at the moment all their songs sound like half-covers of some other more famous song. In all, a good set, but they could be a much better band if they worked on making their songs more distinctive, and their singer worked on his vocal skills.
— Shashwati Kala
Poster & Photos by Angus Leung