Five years into Hong Kong metal band INDenial’s journey, the four Hong Kong based metalheads (Wolf, Man, Alex, and Jay) have finally unleashed their self-titled debut album. As the record slams you in the face with a blast beat right on the opening track Dying Easier Than Living you know you’re in for a motherfuckin’ treat of epic proportions. The band has packed an album full of melodic metal with face-melting guitar work, arena ready choruses, vocals that go from guttural growls to melody, all neatly packaged under insanely pristine production.
The band sat down with us to discuss the album and their road that finally got them here.
M: Man (drummer)
J: Jay (guitarist)
A: Alex (guitarist)
W: Wolf (vocals/bassist)
Congrats guys on finally releasing your debut album! Pardon me for the directness, but what the hell took you guys so long to release something? Hahaha…
M: It took us forever because of Jay. He has the craziest standards for music on Earth. Not just towards the other members in the band, but high standards for himself as well. We kind of started the production in early 2016. Finally because we had a pretty big show coming in June I was able to push the guys and really just say “let’s make it happen”. It helped speed up the process finally.
This sweetheart apparently is the sole reason the band has taken 5 years to finally release a full length! 🙂
Tell us about Jay’s craziness…
M: He is On Lun 9! [Editor’s note: “On lun 9” is Cantonese slang for “fucking crazy”. For further enlightenment on the supreme beauty of Cantonese slang cuss words please google “5 lun D”, “tiu la sing”, “hum ka chan”, “mut lun yeh ah”, “tiu gao nei”, “chi 9 sin”, “mong mut lun yeh ah”, “chi lun jor sin ah nei”, “gum lun yeung do tai dek ming? nei ho lek ah pok kai! 咁撚樣都睇得明？你好叻啊仆街!”]. His playing is too tight, too fast and too clean. That means everyone else’s mistakes are super obvious. He should have just joined a Djent band, hahahaha. All joking aside, we are of course more than happy to have him in this band because it’s his high standards for musicality that has brought us to another level. If it wasn’t for him, all our songs would’ve been much slower and way more chill. He is the driving force that has made INDenial thrashier, tighter, faster, harder.
When you guys started the band was their a specific sound you guys were going for? How did you guys end up sounding like you guys do now?
J: There wasn’t a specific sound we were going for. Actually, each band member has very different musical preferences and influences, hence we tried to frankenstein these into an album. You can hear bits and pieces all over the album e.g. some old school Slayer, cheesy power metal, generic metalcore shit, and even J rock.
INDenial selfie in their practice studio that is renown in Hong Kong to have the most ampheads, cabinets and guitars.
In terms of the recording process, how did it go? Most Hong Kong bands don’t have the funds nor trust in many “recording studios” in Hong Kong to record heavy music so we all tend do it on our own. Luckily technology has become convenient enough that we can do this. What was the process like for you guys?
J: Yes I think with today’s technology we can achieve an acceptable sound at a much lower cost. Our good friend Brian helped us record drums, then all the guitar/bass tracks were tracked at home then re-amped afterwards. The vocals tracks were recorded in our rehearsal space. Brian then did all the editing, mixing and mastering work. [Editor’s note: Brian is a Hong Kong based producer who has produced bands such as King Ly Chee, Mensheng, Shepherds the Weak, Burnmark, Fear Forest, and many others. Look up his portfolio! It’s stacked with incredible work.]
The album cover itself is also quite striking in a very post apocalyptic way. What was the concept behind it?
M: This album is all about what’s been going on in Hong Kong such as: the crazy property market, the notorious education system, derivatives issue in the financial market, a new wave of emigration from HK to foreign countries, so on. There is so much stress in the city. It feels like all these problems are driving people nuts. That’s why on the cover the expression we were able to capture was both of lunacy and anger. People who live here are literally losing their minds yet also fraught with anger. People are always ready to explode. The face was supplanted next to the infamous Hong Kong skyline as the backdrop which is all greyed out.
The actual CD package comes with a set of postcards each one depicting the issues we want to raise. The postcards include an image on one side and lyrical content on the other.
I heard that even with the artwork you guys decided to do it yourselves.
M: Yeah we did the fucking artwork by ourselves like you did in King Ly Chee. What a fucking pain in the ass! At the end of the day, I can only cross my fingers and hope everyone likes it and understands the concept…
And you know what? After going through that hell it’s now my other band Evocation’s turn to begin working on our new album artwork. That’s going to be a COMPLETE nightmare. Yippee me…
A: I just want to add that besides our common interest playing music, each of us in INDenial appreciates photography. We often head out and explore our city viewing our through a lens. So when it was time to talk about artwork/imagery that went with our debut album we thought it’d be a great idea to supplement our music with our own visual work. So the photos you see in the CD packaging were mostly shot by ourselves. So with the album you get to hear us and also see things from our perspective too hopefully.
M: The only photo that was taken by us what the Black Cross one which was taken by our friend Joey Leung.
Drummer Ah Man also plays drums in this legendary Hong Kong death/black metal band Evocation who are about to release a new album this year as well.
Wolf – in terms of vocals – there are quite few a different techniques you incorporated on this album vocally. Makes the vocals really stand out! What are your main influences as a vocalist?
Ever since I was young I have always been a big fan of metal music. My favorite vocalists are James Hetfield, Robb Flynn and Alexi Laiho.
Once the album is released what are your plans to promote and support the release?
M: No plans. All bets are on Uniteasia being able to give us some much needed attention from the world outside of Hong Kong! Hopefully we can get tons of show offers and start playing all around the world. Book us! We are tight and heavy! We need to get out of Hong Kong – we’re stressed out here!
That’s it everyone! Go blast their debut record and spread the word! It continues to be a stellar year for underground heavy bands from Hong Kong! Add INDenial as another Hong Kong band you motherfuckers need to watch out for!
The band will be celebrating the release of this album on CD at the following show part of a new series entitled The Gig Week on June 22: https://www.ticketflap.com/thegigweekhk