Original English text by Poswicht
Dutch translation by Degtyarov (klik hier voor de vertaling)
While Western metal is all too often plagued by a quaint sense of morality and political correctness, Chinese bands face another obstacle on the path to superiority in the form of an oppressive state that prohibits “immoral” or criticizing content, thereby castrating the potential for sufficiently elite bands to emerge.
One need only look at the sad joke that is the Chinese Hip Hop scene, characterized by a fundamental misunderstanding of their craft.
Fortunately, unlike our friends from overseas, Chinese groups can still tap into two thousand years of history and mythology, which leads us to Fú Xī.
The band name is derived from a mythical Chinese ruler, first of the so called three sovereigns, credited with having invented fishing, trapping and, most importantly, writing, laying the esoteric foundation for Chinese characters. He is also reputedly the author of the Yì Jīng (I Ching), the Book of Changes, an old divination manual central to Chinese culture and still in use by modern Chinese, as well as new age troglodytes wordwide.
Information on the band itself is sparse. Fittingly they originate in the same province as Fú Xī supposedly did, Gansu province in the northern centre of China. A heartland of Chinese culture, nowadays known for desertification and a nasty climate.
The music itself, for the most part, a unique blend of Chinese instruments and Western Harmonies, creating a very calm, introspective soundscape that still is much easier on the ear, than most traditional Chinese music would be. Rhythmic guitar and percussion form a background on which Chinese instruments like the Èrhú, the Chinese equivalent to a fiddle, and the Qín, a string instrument, play more traditional melodies. It all is accented by background samples of wind, rain and thunder, as well as a clean singer with the rare talent of emphasizing the beauty of the Chinese language.
The lyrics complete this picture, following the traditions of Chinese poetry to primarily describe landscapes and emotions in sparing words, focusing on such concepts as Autumn and death. Though it is difficult to judge to the fullest extent the writing skills of a band so far removed from my mother tongue, at least it is safe to say they are of suitably poetic complexity.
Overall it is refreshing to see Chinese bands embrace their cultural heritage, instead of tiredly aping genre stereotypes. It is rare enough for artists to stick to their own language in the first place and even that is hardly a sign of quality these days. The big problem with black metal, or metal music in general, is that there is too much of it. Any spark of creativity is drowned out by the same old American and Norwegian music clichés that were outdated ten years ago.
The album certainly leaves a lasting impression and may serve as the starting point for a foray into actually good Chinese music. The trend of unique Chinese metal is on the rise and that, perhaps, is a sign of times changing. Your move, Europe.
Wei Daixin – Bass
Mao Mao – Drums
Chai Xudong – Èrhú
Du Xiaoyue – Guitars
Wang Chengyin – Guitars
Wang Yi – Vocals
- 伏羲 (Fú Xī)
- 在寂静的路上 (In the quiet Road)
- 舞 (The Dance)
- 遗 (Left Behind)
- 赤灵月 (Red Spirit Moon)
- 南无疆 (South has no boundary)
- 结束曲 (Conclusion)
Total running time: 35:20