Article by Dave Wright & Hector Herrera
With 2016 officially wrapped up, it’s time to look forward, and Xi’an’s music scene is giving us a lot to be excited about. Look for these bands and albums in the coming months.
There is no shortage of bands that rush to get onstage and into the studio before they are ready; Archaeologists is not that kind of band. Guitarist Marcello Gil and drummer Seann McKay have been honing their craft for years, laying down daringly intricate rhythms and melodies for vocalist V to sing and rap over. It’s been described as “Rage Against the Machine by way of math rock,” and if you like that kind of thing this is math rock at its finest. They finally played their first show on November 11th. As is often the case with debut performances there were mixing issues and the band had clearly not yet perfected their stage demeanor, but the music still shone through brilliantly. Marcello’s guitar sound was particularly impressive; he doesn’t use any effects but still creates a sonic experience anyone can appreciate and is perfectly locked in with the rhythm section despite the complexity of the rhythmic structure. As they effortlessly shifted from one time signature to another, V’s delivery stayed on point with a biting attack, particularly on standout songs“Rendezvous” and “Territories”. Even if their sound might be a little dense, the passion was indisputable. News that the band expect to record and release their debut album within the next couple months should have the entire music community salivating.
Along with Leviathan, Sign represent the new blood in Xi’an’s metalcore scene and were a major player in 2016; if you were out on the town chances are you saw them tear through an epic set or two. Their tendency to over-promote themselves during the show may grate slightly on the nerves, but one can’t fault them for playing the game, especially when the music is so damn good. In June they released their first single, “Normal Neurosis,”and laid to rest any fears that their energy wouldn’t transfer into the studio. It is pure metalcore, withambitious guitar riffs, commanding vocals laid down over the precise pummel of their rhythm section, all counterbalanced with eerie noises and echoes. Their first album is expected in the spring so we can hope to see even more of this electrifying group in 2017.
When Dave Jenkins met up with local foreign musicians Leo Silveira and Dave Wright, tons of ideas flew in the air, and all it took was a good jam to get them together
Jenkins, still fired up from his time in a local instrumental metal band, took these two on a whole different roller coaster. After many failed attempts with singers, their music kept morphing from simple metal/grunge reminiscent of Helmet and the Melvins to become a whole different monster. With the addition of Wu Jiang on the mic, they’ve established a style that makes you wonder if they’re trying to give Laney Staley a run for his money. Driving guitar riffs, unique arrangements and insane aggression when the time is right, Shadows Even has put their years of effort into an 11 song LP that will be released around the Chinese Spring Festival. A strong debut album and an even better show make them something to look forward to in 2017.
Dave and Hector are long-time residents of Xi’an and stay active in its local music scene.