The 10 Best Chinese Metal Releases of 2022  – New Noise Magazine

For Chinese metal, 2022 brought back old favorites (The Dark Prison Massacre, Dark Fount), expanded the legend of already established, exciting new artists (Human Instrumentality Project, Vitriolic Sage) and showed expansion of the scene, inviting in overseas collaborators (Dehumanizing Itatrain Worship). While full-length albums have added to some band’s legacies, EPs and single tracks have also cemented what is to come from the scene – here, we take a look at 10 of the most exciting Chinese metal releases of 2022. 

The Dark Prison Massacre – Triple Insanity (Amputated Vein Records)

China favorite sons of slam, The Dark Prison Massacre, returned this year with their third album, Triple Insanity. On the strength of the video No School Violence, the highly anticipated album displayed a maturity for the band in covering topics encouraging social change in corrupt systems. The band has always been known to use tried and true song writing dynamics to give their brand of slam extra zest, and Triple Insanity continues the trend. For the full experience, its best to check out the band in concert if you can make it to China.

Human Instrumentality Project – Come, Sweet Death (Single) (Brutal Reign)

Guangzhou’s Human Instrumentality Project is one of the leading bands in making anime-influenced metal a serious genre. Neon Genesis Evangelion is their bible, and Come, Sweet Death is the latest track inspired by the complex and spiritual series. For the song, Argentinian singer Melisa Jimenez assisted the band. In 2023, they will expand upon their prior EP The Brutal Angels Thesis with their new album, LCL seaCome, Sweet Death is a taste of things to come…

Screaming Savior – 相 / Reveal the Unreal (Pest Productions)

Shanghai-based symphonic black metal band Screaming Savior unleashed their EP 破碎正相 Reveal the Unreal in 2022. The band utilizes sci-fi and electronic textures with progressive riffs and Dimmu Borgir-esque vocals. Some parts sound akin to a latter Final Fantasy soundtrack (even bringing to mind the operatic elements of Parasite Eve), which when combined with symphonic black metal and Guang Yangs always pitch-perfect album art, makes this a must-have release.

Dehumanizing Itatrain Worship – Eien Parasites (Single) (Stillbirth Records)

The second anime-themed metal band on this list is known throughout the underground as being the most extreme – China’s Dehumanizing Itatrain Worship. The band released the single “Eien Parasites” (featuring Duncan Bentley from Vulvodynia), which showed a slight evolution for the band, who site the anime Love Live! as an influence. The song is another taste to come, as the band will release a new album in the next year featuring guest appearances by Gorepot, Bodysnatcher and The Dark Prison Massacre. 

Demonslaught 666 – Nekroslaughter Battlefield EP (Dying Art Productions)

The second EP by blackened speed metal band Demonslaught 666 is as slick as it is grimy – like an out-of-control ghost train with its wheelset covered in dried blood. Influenced by the evil aesthetic of Venom and Bathory as well as the malicious speed of Razor, on this EP the band flexes some knowledge on Greek mythology with tracks like “Grave Knights of Tartarusreferring to the dungeon that tortures the wicked.

Vitriolic Sage – Feuerschlucker (Pest Productions) 

The mysterious one-man avant-garde black metal magician known as Vitriolic Sage returns with his second album, Feuershlucker. With this sequel to Ascension, more abstract song writing has come to light, with tempos going into territories where you might need a calculator to keep up. Along with aural madness, the sage has kept the trend of using linguistics with his alchemy, with the band name being in English, the album title being in German and the song titles being in French.

Armed Conflict (AC無端械斗– 三不管 (Single) (Independent)

Armed Conflict are street-wise slam who when listening, makes you look over your shoulder for unprovoked knife-wielding assailants. The Qingdao-based band added another anthem to their arsenal this year with a prelude to their upcoming full-length album, 三不管. The track contains what AC is known for, though they bring it down during the final third with a softer passage accompanied by female vocals, before letting the chugging dissonance take over again.

Holyarrow – 大员合战/1661 – 1662 The Siege of Fort Zeelandia EP/ La L​é​gende de Koxinga (Pest Productions/Antiq Records)

The imperial-themed black metal produced by Holyarrow is something which is a must-hear for fans looking for new approaches towards the genre. The band compose songs based on true events, which put the listener on the battlefield feeling the surge of bravery and violence from the battles. 大員合戰 is a two-song ode to Siege of Fort Zeelandia where the army of Koxinga ended the Dutch East India Company’s 38-year rule over Taiwan. This isnt the only release they have in 2022 – check out their latest full-length as well,  La L​é​gende de Koxinga, released on Frances Antiq Records. 

Dark Fount – Become the Soul of Mist (Pest Productions)

20 years since their establishment, Dark Fount, one of Chinas most renowned acts, released their highly anticipated second album Become the Soul of Mist (their first since 2007A Sapless Leave Withering in the Night Fog). Harsh, misanthropic black metal riding the second wave, Become the Soul of Mist is as throat-cutting and diverse as any new classic to the genre should be, with songs like A Boat Rowed in the Mist letting the distortion rest for a minute with an acoustic passage before Fallen Gods gets the crimson boat sailing again.

Tassi – 北之国3/4 (Northland 3 and 4) (Lifeless Memories Records)

Bliss-Illusions vocalist Dryad has been letting his softer, more introspective side sing with his acclaimed Tassi project. The Northland series brings to mind bands like Sigur Rós turning up the distortion and playing black gaze. In 2022, Tassi released two more albums in this esoteric storyline to find his lover Uni. The accompanying video for 幽灵世界” does well to represent the spiritual quest of this unique and seemingly limitless artist.

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