The stage at Orange Peel was transformed into the perfect setting for a Heavy event. So great that we’re going to be hosting Heavy shows on the first Thursday of every month. Big SHOUT out to Carr, the amazing soundman and to the wonderful staff at Orange Peel. Big thanks to The Underground team who were managing the event. Huge applause for the audience who headbanged and were moved by every bands performance that night. Last but not least, thanks to Jack Daniels for supporting our Heavy nights!
love Chris B xx
Orange Peel 當睌的舞台搖身一變成為一個Heavy的環境對於我們Heavy 12簡直適合不過！我們很高興可以在每月的第一個星期四舉辦Heavy活動。好多謝Carr – Orange Peel 嘅soundman同埋每位工作人員。當然唔少得The Underground嘅team啦！當晚每位觀眾都非常投入，令樂隊都玩得好開心！最後要多謝Jack Daniels對於Heavy活動嘅支持！
love Chris B xx
As HK rockers JatBunSing wordlessly took to the stage and began noodling, punters may have started checking their dates to make sure they weren’t at another of The Underground’s Songs Without Words nights. A beautifully constructed intro track was more reminiscent of Prune Deer than Slipknot, with shimmering chords and softly building melodies. It was just to warm up their fingers though; the fury was well and truly unleashed after Chris B introduced the first act of Heavy #12.
First song 一點一點 (Little by Little) began with a nu-metal throwback of pudgy, Korn-style funk-metal bass and a raw punk scream from lead singer 敬程 worthy of Refused’s Dennis Lyxzen. Mullet-headed guitarist 哈利 barely had to tickle his distorted machine for it to produce the evening’s meatiest riff and drummer 孖田 knew when to unleash a blistering snare whack – without overdoing it.
The main job of opening act on a heavy night may be to gently break in the crowd to the ear-splitting cacophony that is to come from later bands, but JatBunSing offered no such solace. Rather than being little brothers to the following groups, the band delivered a bruising set that blew the plaster from the walls of Orange Peel with a succession of furiously raw metal.
– El Jay
1. You Can’t Stop Me
3. Life Goes On
4. Step Right Up
Nasty Dudes??! Nasty Dudes! What a name. The most amusingly-monikered band of the night may have trudged in nearly too late for their slot, but they brought their A-game to the stage with a cheeringly OTT classic rock set that evoked KISS, Aerosmith, Van Halen and Whitesnake. A deceptively short setlist was puffed out with constant, frivolous musical embellishment – guitar noodling, solos, and hair swishing at every single opportunity. While guitarist Kim and bassist Warren teamed up for Steel Panther style for dual power stance rocking, vocalist Terry reached the upper echelons with warbles and wails that would make Axl Rose wince admiringly.
Opener You Can’t Stop Me was a grab bag of hair metal clichés: stickin’ it to the man lyrics, woah-woah-woah singalong sections, and shrieking fretwork. After second song T.G.I.F, Kim let rip with the first of many lengthy solos; his fingers a blur as they flickered over the notes. Terry sat back to admire the scene as Kim passed the spotlight to Warren and drummer Chris, who belied his niceboy bowl-cut ‘do with a rapid fire solo leading to an instrumental funk-rhythm duet.
Life Goes On was another melting pot of all-American retro rock tropes. The sun-soaked track allowed terry to reclaim the limelight with an outstanding, soulful performance. It was singalong time again as the band led punters into a wistful “na na na na” ending, before breaking it up with a barn hoedown solo. It was overblown, tacky, bombastic…and entirely in keeping with the genre.
The energy was ramped up one final time for closing track Step Right Up. A beefed-up riff punctured the nostalgia as the band shed its glam rock wings for something nastier. Kim’s face was a blur in scribble of hair as he delivered the final, triumphant solo of the set. Spinal Tap could never compete.
– El Jay
Scream for silence
5. 第五首（No name）
After the final gallops of Nasty Dudes’ rock rodeo left the stage, it was time to sober up the party atmosphere with something a little more raw and wrenching. Scream for Silence opened a vein of emotion with five post-hardcore tracks harking back to 90s Washington punk brevity and contemporary screamo acts, such as Of Mice & Men. An angst-laden melodic opener led into 導航’s fevered screaming punctuated with atmospheric guitar blasts.
The most excessively noisy act of the night, SfS took time to build up bruising walls of sound against which to bash bitter lyrics and impenetrably heavy guitar. The songs – frustratingly vaguely named and even more frustrating to locate online – blossomed from the incoherent rage of 6/8 to the more tempered emo alternative rock of final track 第五首, which recalled scream stalwarts Circle Takes The Square.
Lead singer [X – don’t know his name!!]’s vocal cords sounded like they were being tormented by a cheesegrater as they bore the brunt of the sonic violence, alternating between blistering, anguished screams, and tortured singing. Little can be found of this Canto band online, but this is music that loses its potency on record. See them live: they have a few gigs lined up over the next few weeks and are sure to build up an ardent following before they next surface on an Underground stage.
– El Jay
Black Night Red Sky
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
Photos by Angus Leung.
Poster by Ryan Chiu.