Tumourboy – Condemned to Extinction
Vintage old school thrash from the heart of Beijing, Tumourboy are at the forefront of the new wave of thrash bands in China. While they may not be rewriting history, there’s no denying the skill and more importantly, the charm on hand here. With an arsenal of demolishing riffs, high-pitched vocals, and rhythm sections that particularly demand a fist pump, this is metal done with its heart on its sleeve and with an ear for technical prowess. It’s brutal without being heavy, giving each instrument it’s moment to shine, from the low rumbling of the drums to the deadly bass. Lock and loaded.
Zafka – The Abraham’s Machine
Zafka, aka Zhang Anding, a promient piece of the underground experimental and electronic scene in Beijing, brings some buoyant charm and sophistication to his latest release The Abraham’s Machine, out on play rec. A sound artist, experimental musician, youth culture expert and the co-founder of China Youthology (a leading youth research and consultancy company in China), the one thing that stands out in Zafka’s music is the pacing. While it certainly isn’t minimalistic, there’s a calmness to how each of the tracks unfolds, riding each new flourish or wave that comes its way with assured yet playful ease like a modern day Phantom of the Opera. Zafka has created his own ambient-filled electronic sandbox and is having a field day.
Macondø – Macondø
I’ve been tossing around the term ‘power post-rock’ for Macondo for some time. Besides the fact that I completely fabricate genres and disregard others on a whim, there’s a conviction to the transnational five-piece out of Beijing – something in their poise, a gravity to their sound that would place them right alongside the heaviest of metal bands. This isn’t your dad’s drug-fueled Pink Floyd escapades. This is prog rock by way of Mogwai with a hefty amount of electronic padding and 80s rock posturing. Whatever influences can be found within – at the end of the day, these boys are looking to the stars. They may just get there.