Despite the gradual shut down of many of the city’s music venues, the Hong Kong metal scene remains active as ever. Plenty of young and exciting acts emerge each year, causing something of a stir in the local music industry. One of the more recent additions to the 852’s metal scene are melodic deathcore four-piece Human Betrayer, who have been putting on astoundingly heavy shows in both Hong Kong, and more recently on the mainland.
“We had a great time,” said 22-year-old guitarist Michael Kwan, speaking of their performance at MAO Livehouse in Guangzhou. “The atmosphere was awesome – the audience was really enthusiastic, and there was a lot of interaction between us and the crowd.”
The group also stole the show at Hong Kong’s The Underground’s Heavy Night back in April. Their jaw-dropping four-song set closed with their cryptic debut single, Unforeseen Rottenness, which they released alongside an animated lyric video.
“The lyrics were intentionally vague,” revealed vocalist Randy Leung, known for his chaotic growls and twisted screams. Speaking of the overarching metaphor of Unforeseen Rottenness, the 26-year-old explained, “The song is talking about how society is becoming worse – just like how fruit becomes rotten, because of the conflict between people with differing opinions, and government policies where they put the cart before the horse.”
“The video was made by [music video and typograph specialist] Nan Arhkam,” said bassist Ronnie Lam, 22. “We told him that we wanted to have illustrations of rotten fruit to represent the meaning of the song, and he did a fantastic job.”
It’s not just their live shows and music videos which make Human Betrayer stand out from the crowd – their harsh, spiky, purple logo also draws a lot of attention, too.
“We think an eye-catching logo is [part of the] culture of deathcore or death metal, so we wanted our logo to be cool,” confessed Leung as he recalled the moment the logo was created. “I came up with this idea while I was eating pizza. Then, we sent the draft to Chinese artist Kiryu Zhang, and he finished the final logo for us.”
While the four-piece cite US-based deathcore bands Lorna Shore and Enterprise Earth as inspirations, the group also said they look up to well-established heavy metal acts a little closer to home.
“Evocation HK is one of the biggest bands, locally, because they are very powerful and representative of Chinese culture,” Leung said. “Facelift Deformation are also a great, slamming, brutal death metal band for people who like super heavy music. Their music is very technical and groovy.”
Human Betrayer are currently recording their debut album, which is likely to include live favourites such as the rumbling Omega, the doom metal-esque Sadistic Wraith or the ultra-heavy Corrupt Dynasty. Drummer Jeff Lai told Young Post that they will be releasing a few singles before then, as well as debuting new tracks at their next soon-to-be announced show.
“There are so many metal bands working hard to produce good music, but there aren’t many platforms for them to publicly promote,” the 34-year-old said, laying the blame on the government’s regulations on entertainment licenses. “Getting an entertainment license for a band show is hard – just look at Hidden Agenda.” The independent music venue has relocated several times in the past few years. It is currently in Yau Tong, and has been rebranded as This Town Needs. Despite all of this, though, Lai said that the group remains optimistic about metal music in Hong Kong.
“We still think it’s a vibrant scene in the underground.”
Follow Human Betrayer on Facebook for the latest news on their upcoming shows and music releases.