Live review from Jager x Underground:

1. Opening + Tattoo
2. Dissembler
3. Sickening
4. 928
5. So Sick

Extreme metal bands, let alone those with a female lead singer, are unfortunately few and far between in Hong Kong. Escharotic occupy a niche so tight that it’s unclear whether they’ll ever gain the recognition they’d find in a more receptive market for extreme music. It’s a sentiment hammered home by a blistering set at Orange Peel, in a first for a venue known for its lounge and jazz.

So much female-fronted death falls into the ‘shrieking’ category, but vocalist Summa’s growl shreds through the rapid, down-tuned riffing with refreshing depth, clarity and presence.

After forming in 2009, the quartet, have sustained a local fanbase with melodic, brutal and (dare we say) catchy heavy metal that tips its hat to the songwriting noose of Slipknot, the melodic sensibilities of Symphony X as well as the out-and-out vicious intent of Slayer.

Second song ‘Dissembler’ mixes staccato, barked vocals with gurgling bass and guitars that veer between Iron Maiden gallops and Trivium’s outrageous finger-blurring solos.

The set is dense and atmospheric, yet never feels overwrought. Summa stalks the crowd like a snarling vampire bat, as drummer Chi Wai machine-guns his bass pedal with a precision that stabs through the distorted guitar blasts. Set midpoint ‘Sickening’ coughs out the kind of lyrical poison that would make Randy Blythe cower, before the derision is revisited for blistering closer ‘So Sick.’

– El Jay

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Performances by Escharotic: