Unearthing the Metal Underground: The Hong Kong Metal Scene
A couple of weeks ago I had the chance to tour around Asia with my band for eight days, stopping in seven cities. One of the highlights of the tour was Hong Kong, not just for the great crowd, but for the excellent bands I and my band mates had the privilege to share the stage with. Here’s a quick intro to those bands in this week’s edition of Unearthing the Metal Underground:
Melody, abject brutality, and paramount evil. This is the formula that death metal four-piece Elysium has adopted as its own. Featuring some of the most earthy and natural guttural vocals this side of Incantation and Immolation, along with the occasional elongated pig squeal thrown in for good measure, Elysium has been plying its trade for a few years in the Hong Kong scene, and has managed to make its way to foreign shores at least once, having played at last year’s Drown In Metal Festival in Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan.
While technical, Elysium manages to keep its songs memorable without compromising brutality—no mean feat. Slams and pinch harmonics are put to good use, but not overused, and the band knows how to employ versatility while still maintaining a discernable sound. Currently, the only way to hear Elysium’s music is to pick up a demo from them at a show or check out the band’s Facebook page.
Cadaver plays pure blasting, frenetic death metal in the style of later-era Cannibal Corpse, with slightly less emphasis on technicality. With a dual guitar attack and the same vocal stylings employed by their aforementioned countrymen in Elysium, minus the pigs squeals that is, Cadaver is again comparable to those bastions of old school evil “metal of death” bands that terrorized the American east coast in the late eighties and early nineties.
Think of Cadaver as New York Death Metal’s long lost Asian cousin, reared on a steady diet of bootleg copies of “Onward to Golgotha” and “Here In After.” In fact, by the sound of the band, you’d swear they crawled out of some Long Island tenement rather than the cramped, skyward confines of Hong Kong. But indeed they are forging the Far Eastern pure death metal sound and doing HKDM proud. Sample some of the band’s brutality on Cadaver’s Soundcloud page.
Massacre of Mothman
With the abundance of deathcore bands these days, it’s no surprise that Hong Kong has its own answer to Suicide Silence, Whitechapel, and As Blood Runs Black. Massacre of Mothman has a sound that sticks close to the typical deathcore formula—brutal breakdowns galore, alternating guttural vocals juxtaposed with high shrieks, and ultra busy verse riffs laid down over octopus armed, gravity blasting drum work to the point of sensory overload.
Massacre of Mothman have the tricks of the deathcore trade well memorized and translate this mastery into a live show worthy of veteran performers. The strains might be familiar, but it takes talent, hard work, and dedication to deliver such fury. Check out Massacre of Mothman on Facebook and let them know what you think.
These are just three of the many metal bands terrorizing the stages around the Hong Kong area. Be sure to check back each and every week as Metal Underground.com unearths more bands from around the world worth checking out.
Joe Henley is a freelance music journalist and editor currently living in Taipei, Taiwan. In addition to pulling vocal duty in a death metal band, he maintains a website on the Taiwanese metal scene and writes regular features on the touring bands that come through Taipei for a local monthly music magazine.
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