10 Years of King Ly Chee by King Lychee

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Songs on the CD:

  • 1. Scarred
  • 2. Do Something
  • 3. EPD
  • 4. 土炮 I Belong
  • 5. 所见所闻 Sickened Eyes
  • 6. 硬企 Stand Strong
  • 7. A USELESS Gift
  • 8. 再见老香港 Goodbye Hong Kong
  • 9. 誓言
  • 10. 亚洲起义
  • 11. 拒绝
  • 12. 这是我新的开始
  • 13. CNHC
  • 14. We will Find a Way
  • 15. This is Our New Beginning
  • 16. Promise
  • 17. Unite Asia
  • 18. Refuse

Before this, I’d never had the good fortune to listen to KLC; if you’re like me, this will really make you want to see them live ASAP. As can be instantly seen, the CD is a fairly extensive compilation of KLC’s work over many years. The sets of songs have been chosen, from many of their previous offerings, and this creates a definite disjointedness to the sound, as the stronger links between songs are severed from album to album. The flipside of this is that they have been able to choose some of their best songs, resulting in no filler material. The subtle yet significant changes that came about in the band’s sound over the years are highlighted well in the album. The overarching theme of the lyrics seems to have remained unchanged: the songs are all about maintaining individuality in spite of a world that’s trying to pin you down, about never giving up, and a big “fuck you” to everyone who thinks otherwise; in keeping with this spirit, many songs have an anthemic feel to them, and can be quite rousing, I imagine, if heard in the correct atmosphere. The style of music is mostly metal, with a solid hardcore, topped off with grungy overtones throughout. Texturally and feel-wise, however, the songs show the clear progress of the band as their vision of their own music changed and grew clearer.

Songs 1-3 have light, post-grungy sides to them, and the changes into the chugging metal rhythm stand out here from the rest of the songs, but without sounding artificial or contrived. Do Something even has the three-note flourishes of post grunge. Songs 4-7 move on to a more dark-grunge style, with an increase in the metal-ness of the music, with an increase in the zip of the guitars, as on Sickened Eyes, and a broody, pensive yet overdrive-free A USELESS Gift. This song is surprisingly motivating, if slightly clichéd (but, perhaps this is inextricable from explicit motivation), and the screamed and sung layers of the vocals contrast nicely. The drums so far, are not at all in the metalcore-mould, with a minimum of pounding and double-bass, and more of a groove to the rhythms. This all changes from song 见老香港 Goodbye Hong Kong, taking on more thrash and classic heavy metal features, including the rapid, pounding and double-bass drum patterns. Songs 12-15 bring in a penchant for chorused vocals, and guitars going into different areas, such as the punk feel to CNHC. Songs 16-18 are the English versions of 9-11, and though a bit repetitive, it offers a different emotion to the songs.

The guitars maintain a nice consistency to their base: the lower register shredding, with a zipping sound abounds. There’s a nice understatedness to them, as the guitar solos are not the metal standard. As the albums go on, they do become more stylised, as the band explore more atmospheric ways of expressing their sound. Overall, it’s a great album to listen to, with a minimum of missteps, and some awesome moments. As the added bonus, the CD-sleeve has lyrics (YAY!!) and interesting liner notes, which should please devoted fans who’ve stuck with them for through the decade of their existence.

— Shashwati Kala

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