New Blood Rising: 11 of China’s Best Deathcore Bands
China’s blossoming deathcore uprising has captured the country’s youth.
More than just a re-hash of the most famous bands from other countries, China’s best deathcore acts are breathing new life into a sound that is making its second coming, bringing in symphonic and technical aspects to the tried-and-true chugged riffs, pig squeals and breakdowns. Festivals like One of Us, which focus on upcoming talents while also showcasing bands from the old guard, are some of the hottest events you’ll see in China.
Here are a handful of Chinese deathcore bands currently killing it on the scene.
From Xi’an, home of the Terracotta Army, comes Leviathan, a deathcore battalion who would be worthy of guarding the emperor’s tomb. Their current lineup is iron-strong and has been tearing up festivals across China recently, making those walls of death look like the parted waters of an ocean before crashing together. The name Leviathan has been used by a few other acts before them, but the band incorporates well-placed keyboards into their breakdown-filled assault, adding some beauty to the sea beast.
Lie to the Silence
Hey, deathcore purists: you know that new sound you’ve been looking for? Click the video below and listen to the future of the genre. Lie to the Silence are a cutting-edge act who use symphonic backing tracks to bring progressive mutations to their skin-shredding form of deathcore, a sound that others may be copying if they get wind of this noise. Their album Hysteria offers shades of symphonic deathcore not unlike Septicflesh jamming with old Chelsea Grin.
From Tianjin, known for the infamous explosion which rocked the city some years ago, comes a new blast in the form of the brutal deathcore band Iron Throne. In the past year, they have shed many of their folk metal trappings for a new, brutal sound and identity. A new logo, new members and a new mean streak have proved wonders for the band, who put on boot stomping sets which are perfect soundtracks for a death march into battle.
Dressed in riot gear, Stabbing pulverize audiences with “downtempo” deathcore, low tuned, slow as fuck breakdowns meant to crack your neck better than any chiropractor. This is back-to-the-primitive, caveman-style banging, clanging and roaring… and of course stabbing. The sample-filled songs mock topics such as religion before the beatings begin. If you’re looking for all-out heaviness in your deathcore serving, this is the band to listen to.
Horror of Pestilence
From Guangzhou, Horror of Pestilence are a group of metallic conductors who specialize in creating symphonies of sickness. Since 2012, when their debut EP The Last Judgment arrived on the scene, the band has been blending tech-deathcore savagery along with symphonic elements, as seen with the many instrumental versions of their tracks and “Capriccio No. 24 from Hell,” inspired by Niccolò Paganini’s 24 Caprices. The shock and awe of Horror of Pestilence is certainly something to behold, and their new album Illiterate Construction // Inaudible Deterioration marks a new chapter for the band.
Veterans of the scene, Four Five started in Beijing in 2004. Throughout the years, their style has morphed — covering deathcore, djent, hardcore, nu metalcore and more — and with each passing year, their legend has grown. Currently, they bring the mosh, being a veritable wrecking crew on stage. For that pure core sound, check out their 2011 EP No Leader for a snarling example of a high point for the genre in China, which continues to grow to this day with exemplary releases from Four Five and those they’ve influenced.
Looks can be deceiving. At first glance, I assumed Scarlet Horizon wouldn’t sound like they do. The members and their gorgeous looks resemble Japanese visual kei musicians. When these guys get on stage, though, their sound is brutal, catchy, and refined. The look has done wonders for them, though, as the band are doing quite well for themselves. During their live sets, they have the crowd perform some back-and-forth moves that I have never seen before, along with the usual audience participation staples, which they’ve perfected. This is your band if you like visual kei infused with brutal breakdowns.
Since 2017, the various cities of China have had their outlining walls invaded by this band of hulking, smashing and devouring giants. The knuckle-dragging, troglodyte riffs and boulder-smashing percussion from these behemoths is straightforward and cathartic. Listen hard and you’ll hear hints of Mongolian style singing buried within the grunts, squeals and bellows, making the band seem that much more intimidating and ready for war.
From Beijing, The Falling offer tight, effective tracks sung in frothy mouthed English. Their From Omega Back to Alpha album is filled with catchy, no-time-to-waste energy, punctuated by guitar dissonance influenced by their Western counterparts. The Falling have attracted enough attention to have opened for likes of In Flames and Lamb of God.
Make You Hopeless
This Shanghai band has but one EP to their name, 2013’s Desolation Of The Cerebral Labyrinth, but if it’s a one-and-done deal, they surely made an impressive mark before going off into sunset. The technical deathcore presented on the album is top-tier shit, with lyrical themes exploring the weakness of the human mind and the struggle to understand the notion of a soul. We may want another album but the band might leave us all hopeless…
Formed in Hangzhou in 2008, October Capricorn fancy themselves as deathcore/nu thrash, bringing together two of the most pivotal new musical movements in metal into one mouldy pumpkin. The description is apt, as their riffs are very Slayer-esque and their vocals are grueling and agonized, albeit with a femme touch, making them sound a bit like Fuck the Facts playing an ’80s thrash cover set.