Kowloon Walled City
Container Ships


3.9
excellent

Review

by Greg Fisher STAFF
December 6th, 2012 | 68 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A monolithic mash-up of sludge metal and noise rock that provides a relentlessly bleak soundtrack for a desolate urban landscape.

Hong Kong's Kowloon Walled City has an unsavoury reputation to say the least. Originating as a Chinese military fort, the place converted into an enclosed crime-ridden community mostly ruled by the Triad syndicate. Due to its fortified structure, it had been devoid of sunlight or any sort of intervention until the Hong Kong government decided to demolish the place and transform it into a public park in the 1990s. San Francisco-based noise rock foursome of the same name has found an inspiration in the dystopian stories about this god-forsaken place and it so happens that their powerful, if grimy sludge metal provides an ideal soundtrack for a desolate urban landscape.

Similarly to the act's debut full length released three years ago, Container Ships revolves around an abrasively heavy sound propelled by constantly throbbing bass lines, combative drum fills and dissonant guitars that oscillate between sounding clean and ominous. The atmosphere of mounting paranoia feels complete with Scott Evans’ tortured wail that's totally in line with overpoweringly bleak lyrics. Most of the time he sounds like someone who's on the verge of losing his sanity, yet the controlled intensity he displays results in a plethora of gut-wrenching moments throughout the record.

Even though this approach to sonic assault bears close resemblance to a gritty brand of noise rock invented by the formidable Unsane, Kowloon Walled City distinguish themselves by a muddier guitar tone and a nuanced use of sinister atmosphere, which make for a more metallic sound. The opener “The Pressure Keeps Me Alive” elusively builds with its unsettling guitar play only to rapidly burst into a huge wall of sound built upon a swinging groove. Crushing “50s Dad” seems more unapologetic culminating in cacophonous soloing and Evans yelling “bad days come again after all,” whereas a palpable alternative rock vibe cuts through the muscular riffs of “Beef Cattle.” Elsewhere, driving “Wrong Side Of History” is ingrained in post-hardcore of 1990s making the outfit's subtle sense of melody especially noticeable.

Just as the name of the band, the cover of Container Ships is nothing short of relevant to understanding the quartet's oppressive blend of sludge metal and noise rock. A dilapidated vessel broken in shallow water is a symbol of dread and decay, and Kowloon Walled City are remarkably efficient at making this vision frighteningly real. In its lean 35-minute running time, this album is both relentlessly bleak in its scope and surprisingly alluring.



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user ratings (74)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
greg84
Staff Reviewer
December 6th 2012


7432 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

Here's the stream and free download:

http://kowloonwalledcity.bandcamp.com/album/container-ships

Enjoy!

Digging: Wildbirds & Peacedrums - Rhythm

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
December 6th 2012


6286 Comments


love the album art, reminds me of Cormac McCarthy's novel The Road, in which considerable plot had been going on in a wrecked ship close to the shore.

Digging: Madred - Supersonic Brainfuck Overdrive

greg84
Staff Reviewer
December 6th 2012


7432 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

Yeah. I like it too. It also reflects the music really well.

sniper
December 6th 2012


19080 Comments


sounds sweet as fuck, will check this out.

Imperial
December 6th 2012


1738 Comments


This is fuckin good

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
December 6th 2012


7122 Comments


Must check it, pos

chambered49
December 6th 2012


1727 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

pretty cool

Cygnatti
December 6th 2012


21890 Comments


ooh

Digging: Chansey - Natural Cure

Funeralopolis
December 6th 2012


11774 Comments


review has me interested.

pos

Digging: Waxahatchee - Cerulean Salt

greg84
Staff Reviewer
December 6th 2012


7432 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

Thanks. It's a depressing album, but it's well worth checking out.

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
December 6th 2012


16113 Comments


pos review, might check it out

Digging: H.P. Lovecraft - H.P. Lovecraft II

wabbit
December 6th 2012


7020 Comments


this sounds so fucking cool.

Will get once I'm off work.




insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
December 6th 2012


3483 Comments


Great write-up. Pos. Even if it's not my thing, I'll check it out.

Digging: Brant Bjork - Black Flower Power

NightmareCinema16
December 6th 2012


2016 Comments


Another nice review, have a POS.

tragic.details
December 6th 2012


624 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice review, really wanna check this out but I'm backed up on so much other music right now...What the fuck, I'm getting this

Colliiiin
December 6th 2012


673 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sweet review man, this band is fucking awesome. I'm not yet sure how I feel this is in comparison to their fist full length, but they're both awesome.

Digging: Polvo - Today's Active Lifestyles

Spag
December 6th 2012


1844 Comments


7. You Don’t Have Cancer

LOL

Digging: Devin Townsend Project - Z2

foxblood
December 6th 2012


6797 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

sludge ok i'm in

turnip90210
December 6th 2012


321 Comments


Nice write-up, cool music to go along with it. Pos.

foxblood
December 6th 2012


6797 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this riffs pretty hard so far. fantastic tone too



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