Scarlet Horizon 绯色地平线, Die From Sorrow 郁, Lie to the Silence
Mao Livehouse 2021.08.21
Headed over to Mao Livehouse to help them celebrate their eleven-year anniversary. It’s a feat for any venue to make it to a decade even, so to have eleven years under your belt as well as a chain of venues across China (who doesn’t have a Mao in this day and age) it’s clear they’re doing something right. For the occasion they rounded up twelve juggernaut bands over the course of two nights (in four sessions for maximum profit) – I managed to sneak over Saturday night to see what the metal kids are headbanging to these days. It’s always nice to pop into the metal scene from time to time – and was pleasantly surprised by bands whose names I’ve typed in again and again for over six years but had never seen till now.
The night kicked off with Hangzhou’s Lie to the Silence who got off to a rocky start with the singer’s mic being cut off for the first three tracks. Was pretty surreal to see him going through the motions whilst the crowd seemingly didn’t notice – and for a bit thought my ears had already given up on life (or an even worst theory – Lie to the Silence is a deaf metal band that slays). By the time the band, who use symphonic backing tracks to tease out their progressive deathcore antics, truly started it felt like the curtain had been pulled back a bit too much with the band’s backing tracks providing a bit too much cover for my liking. The crowds, on the other hand, ate it up.
I had no idea what to expect from Scarlet Horizon. I had described them as a visual kei band for years without fully understanding what the hell that means (it involves makeup right!?). But when the band came out to this cheeky little piece of satire, I had a feeling I was going to like it. Equal parts brutal and melodic – there’s something subversive about how the Beijing band Trojan horses their gut-punching breakdowns behind their visual kei get-ups and burlesque pop sensibilities. Or vice versa for that matter as I was just as impressed by the shameless pop chorus and swing piano on tracks such as ‘Love Letter’ as well as the bands ‘dance moves’ which the audience mimicked without pause. I’m all in Scarlet Horizon – be sure to check out their just-released new LP Cure.
The night closed out from a set from Beijing’s Die From Sorrow – the melodic death band that keeps it righteously old school. The band has been around for some time, cutting their teeth in venues across China before making their way to the Wacken Music Festival in Germany a decade back. There’s a veteran quality to the bands steadfast and chiselled musicality – no gimmicks, no-nonsense progressive death metal that doesn’t beat around the bush. Class act through and through.
Congrats Mao! Check in tomorrow with our coverage of Mao’s second day of celebrations featuring some killer indie acts.