Live Review from The Underground’s 17th Year Anniversary Party
1. False State
2. Brothers in Arms
6. None Of Your Business
7. Toxic Generation
8. Walking Monsters
Cranking the dial all the way up to 100, Nepalese nu metal moshers Loud Shaft returned to headline for the Underground’s 17th Anniversary.
Still sporting their luscious long hair grown specifically for windmilling, the band attacked the set with all the pent up COVID-19 rage that they clearly had brewing.
I remember watching Loud Shaft at The Underground’s 16th anniversary gig last year, so I already knew what to expect. As they set up more hi hats and cymbals, I nudged my fellow metal fan standing next to me.
“You’ll like this. They’re heavy.”
His eyes widened. “Heavy heavy?”
I didn’t have time to respond before they got stuck in with False State. With chunky down-tuned guitar riffs and rap rock vocals, LS may have been away for awhile but their sound is just as cutting.
By the time they careened into Chaos, a circle pit had formed at the front of the stage. It had been so long since my last hardcore show that I’d almost forgotten the incredible energy of a good old fashioned mosh pit- the unity between band and audience, the wide grins and claps on the back as both boys and girls slammed into each other in the jubilant dance of the truly dedicated (and physically capable) metalheads. Weirdly, it was pretty beautiful.
Reborn may have been my favourite performance of the set- not only because the duelling guitars reminded me of something off Avenged Sevenfold’s melodic hardcore album Waking The Fallen (2003), but because of the breakdown. Or rather, the audience led breakdown. With the whole room repeating F*CK THAT SHIT at the top of our lungs, middle fingers raised high into the air, I think this was the most involved the crowd had been all night long. Perhaps was the unifying spirit of frustration which pervades us all these days in Hong Kong, but something tells me we all had a specific person or people in mind when we screamed in unison at nothing in particular….
The next three tracks seemed to pass by in a flash. They were all new songs, something I later realised primarily because instead of the urgent rage tapering off toward the end of the set, it seemed to keep soaring to greater, louder, neck-breaking heights. Toxic Generation had an air of Slipknot’s ‘Gehenna’, tinny and brash and resounding with industrial rock flavours. It slipped easily into Walking Monsters, another headbanger of a track which seemed to be reaching ahead to their usual encore cover of Killing In The Name- which, unfortunately, didn’t manage to squeeze into the set on Saturday.
Still, Loud Shaft stood sweaty and victorious after yet another killer show. With new songs as well as old peppered throughout their set list, my only hope is that next time they be given a double slot. Denying the new fans some Rage Against The Machine is just cruel!
Live review from 16th Anniversary Party:
4. False State
5. Toxic Generation
6. Breed of Our Own
7. Killing In The Name (RATM Cover)
Nepalese hardcore metallers Loud Shaft brought their A-game to the 16th Anniversary Party, creating the first mosh pit of the evening. One of the heavier bands of the night, they put the crowd through their paces with a sprawling set list, incorporating everything from nu metal post punk to melodic hardcore.
Don’t be fooled by their wide smiles and unassuming statures. These boys are here to Rock (yes, with a capital R).
Channeling early Slipknot, opening track N.O.Y.B effervesced with raw, unbridled angst. Despite the sound balancing being slightly off and muting the guitars to sit just below the domineering bass and drums, Loud Shaft pulled off an effortlessly energetic performance. Their excitement to be back on a stage was palpable, and it’s that prodigal intensity which makes them such a joy to watch.
Chaos brought nu metal back to 2020. Chunky riffs and a melodic chorus kept the audience under their thrall, with an unexpected, eye-watering guitar solo adding a touch of old fashioned rock n roll theatrics. The beat begged us to headbang, and that was an urge very few audience members could refrain from indulging.
Almost midway through the set, we experienced yet another tonal shift with Rebel. Featuring an exuberant audience singalong and a guitar solo with all the heart-rending clarity of a classic rock ballad, Loud Shaft again twist when you think they will turn. Moving from metalcore hooks to smooth, clean vocals before rounding off with characterising gritty guitars, this was another performance during which the band’s sheer love of playing truly shone through.
Fourth item on the bill False State delivered strong flavours of Sum 41’s All To Blame, that delicious “metal guitar chug” sound being a standout effect when played live. The breakdown, thick and heavy and pronounced, rattled every speaker in the room; by this point in the evening, the sound tech had corrected the levels so that the deep bassy rumble could be felt in every fibre of your being, and wow did it make a difference.
A treat for percussion enthusiasts, Toxic Generation featured some truly speedy pedal and wristwork from drummer Ab Gurung. Followed up by the anthemic Breed of Our Own, these final two songs on the set list were replete with heavy breakdowns, audience singalongs, and a hefty bite of nu metal.
But wait…it’s time for an encore!
To say that the room went feral when the first notes of Rage Against The Machine’s seminal Killing In The Name buzzed through the amps would be a grievous understatement. Everything about this cover was a dead ringer for Tom Morello and the gang, from the rap vocals to the tone of the guitars to the pure, undiluted chaotic energy that the band exuded. The walls were shaking from the cranked-up gain, the floor from the entire room jumping in unison, and the table I was resting my notebook against vibrated violently as concert-goers slammed their palms down in a defiant (and slightly violent) displays of enjoyment.
It takes a hell of a band to carry a crowd through seven tracks of aggressive hard rock without faltering, but Loud Shaft are a testament that it can be done.
(…Perhaps with a proud, cheeky flash of those pearly whites to boot).
– Jasmine Gould-Wilson
Live Review from Planetrox China Final 2018
1. Brothers in arms
2. Fight for freedom
3. False state
Loud Shaft’s performance that night definitely proved that last is not least. Formed in 2013, Hong Kong based Nepalese four-man metal band includes Alter Limbu (vox), Sajan Gurung (guitar), Binay Gurung (Bass) and Ab Gurung (Drums). By no means a newcomer to the Underground scene, they had most recently performed at Heavy #19 in March playing a mixture of original songs and Rage Against the Machine, one of their biggest influence’s, covers. However, at Planetrox, Loud Shaft clearly tried to come into their own instead of relying on their influences – no longer wearing a RATM shirt, they were instead wearing flannels and Gurkha T’s. With the rules barring covers, Loud Shaft played an entirely original set of new songs that, although were similar in content, showed the extent of their musicianship and creativity.
What was most interesting about them though was their look. With tied back long hair, cute smiles and casual clothes, it looked more like they were about to play some country songs but instead we got heavy metal, grunge, rap and screaming from both the band and the crowd. A bit shy to begin, their first song Brothers in Arms didn’t yet convince me, the band wasn’t yet warmed up and though full of energy was not as tight as they could have been. However, by their second song Fight For Freedom, the only song they’ve recorded and released on Youtube, they had warmed up and was playing like the band that would eventually win Planetrox. Aggressive and driving, Fight for Freedom featured a tight performance and great interplay between the guitar and bass. By their third song False State, the crowd was wilder than they had been all evening.
The most interesting performer in the band was undoubtedly the singer, Alter Limbu, who sang entirely in falsetto. Though originally unsure about this choice of voice with the genre of metal, I was blown away by how well he managed to make it work. Limbu’s unique vocal texture was almost a croon but with a strong rhythm, edge (think of a combination between Frank Sinatra and Zack de la Rocha) and the ability to do screamo. A very different voice to say the least.
What is most amazing about Loud Shaft though was not their performance that night, but the clear space they still had to grow. Already a tight, innovative and unique band, they were always a strong contender for me not because they were great, but because they could be better. Though the performance was memorable, perhaps it was just their set list but the songs seem to all be similar blend. Also, despite having praised Alter on his singing, there were still moments where he could have improved – his jumps from falsetto into chest voice didn’t always hit the right tone or the right pitch but when they did, the performance was amazing. The largest space to grow though is in their character as a band, when forced to improvise some stage banter due to a rogue dancer knocking over a ride cymbal, it became clear that the band’s interaction with the audience has leaps and bounds to go.
Having said all that, I cannot wait to see their next performance and hope that their time in Canada will perfect their act. Congratulations again to Loud Shaft, winners of Planetrox China 2018!
– Cyril Ma
Live Review from Heavy #19
1. Brothers in Arms
2. Fight for Freedom
3. Bullet in the Head (Rage Against the Machine cover)
4. False State
5. Blind (Korn cover)
7. Killing in the Name (Rage Against the Machine cover)
What second act Loud Shaft lacked in originality, they made up for with personality and execution in their tight and characterful performance. Bassist Gurung Binay kicked in with a mad groove on opener Brothers in Arms, while charismatic frontman Limbu Sisir’s voice alternated between Cobain’s nasally drone during choruses and Zack de la Rocha’s snappy rap style during verses.
The band wore their influences on their sleeve – literally: the singer wore a Rage Against The Machine T shirt, and they also sprinkled two of the band’s covers into their seven-song set. On Bullet in the Head, guitarist Gurung Sajan made clever use of his pick-up switch, flicking it on and off to create an unusual harmonica-like sound – very Tom Morello – alongside Binay’s simple, sluggish, snaking bass. Their originals, too, had a strong RATM flavour – Fight for Freedom recalled Renegades of Funk, while new song Rebel made use of a barrelling riff and a rapid wah-pedal solo.
Both guitarist and bassist each had a serious set of pedals – at least eight apiece – allowing them to manipulate their instruments through a carousel of distorted effects. Meanwhile, cool cat drummer Gurung Abiskar provided a solid, effortless backbone, while often disappearing behind a cloud of hair as he headbanged. The noise coming from Sajan’s guitar made it hard to believe there was only one guitarist on stage – his sound verged on thrash metal at times, particularly on False State (dedicated to Donald Trump) when paired with a blistering roar from the singer.
Riding high on the spine-tingling energy of their set, the band sneaked in another cover to close the show: a sped-up version of the classic Killing in the Name, delivered with all the vitriol of the original. An electrifying performance from a relatively new band on the scene.
– El Jay