坠入燃烧 沈阳 4.20 Live - 2019 - Sexy Chicken
Bizarre Tales From The Past And The Future - 2023 - Awakening

Anathematise image
Globularcyst, Mvltifission>>Morbid Gut [Zhao Tianqi]>>Globularcyst, Mvltifission - Headive, Holokastrial>>89>>Headive, Holokastrial

Globularcyst, Mvltifission>>TORMENTORX>>Globularcyst, Mvltifission - Faster Alcoholics>>IRONFINGERHO>>Faster Alcoholics

Extreme Rot>>DARREN [吕子澄]>>Extreme Rot

Extreme Rot, Choleraic, Faster Alcoholics>>SPEED SCUM DOG [张欣冉]>>Extreme Rot, Choleraic, Faster Alcoholics

History & Biography
Anathematise was founded as Dugu (毒蠱) and issued a self-titled demo in 2018. Gut and Speed Scum Dog were the founders. Sexy Chicken Records (later Huangquan Records) belonging to founder Morbid Gut pressed this. Another demo tape followed in the same year. The label also pressed 坠入燃烧 沈阳 4.20 Live in 2019 as well as a Demo 2019. The Kurong label issued a 7” for the act depicting a scene of Chinese spas-gone-wrong on the cover. The band had more live work immortalized with the 黑魔法之夜现场 DVD.

The group switched to Awakening Records of China and compiled its demo material into 腐臭尸骨深渊 (Nausea Skeleton Abyss). IronFingerHo joined in 2019. Change happened and Darren joined on bass. More materially, singer 89 took the place of Morbid Gut in 2022. A bona fide debut full-length album appeared in 2023. Bizarre Tales From The Past And The Future was typical for the band in that it included a cover version, a gruesome cover artwork and loads of influence from the films of Shaw Brothers’ studio. 89 had departed by the beginning of 2023 and Unholy Cult became the replacement.

Speed Scum Dog and IronfingerHo are a couple. The band members share other acts as well.


Heavy metal has long gone global and infested every nook and cranny, which probably speaks to the talent embedded in every territory and triumph of art, but underground acts out of China are likely still a novelty outside that region. Metal aside, Anathematise’s Bizarre Tales From The Past And The Future through Awakening Records is a China-based band issuing an album centred mostly around Chinese culture courtesy of a Chinese label. Do not stop reading however. This is not Amorphis or Korpiklaani style crap. For one, these guys are actually metal and bereft of Chinese music or anything like that. For another, the music is delivered with as much commercial potential as intelligence at a Finntroll convention. Moreover, let us address it upfront, the female vocals have as much to do with Nightwish, The Gathering and Within Temptation as those bands do with heaviness.
OK, great. What are the specifics around Anathematise?
The band has its longest tracks at the beginning and end of the album with the shorter tracks sandwiched in-between. Revenge Of The Corpse is the lead track of the 55-minute-long album and is a good representation of what this quintet intends to deliver. Theirs are pretty standard bread and butter death metal titles, but at the same time there clearly is an authentic feel and an extra spooky twist to the songs. This is owing to the presence of a theme throughout of titles derived from Shaw Brothers’ studio from Hong Kong. The female vocals invite comparisons to early Kreator and that band’s Terrible Certainty era. The deathrash metal of this band is solely built upon the primitive and crude side of things, eschewing anything remotely slick or polished. Revenge Of The Corpse’s intro is one such spooky moment and leads into such a 1986 sounding deathrash sound production. Is this circa 1986 Sodom-like sound truly Anathematise’s sound or is it deliberately tweaked to be retro? The gruff vocals certainly have an effect applied and the aggressive music is akin to early Incubus material with a drummer reminiscent of Possessed’s Mike Sus who consistently chops and shreds the songs. There is one instrumental at the end of the album, but the group likes to deploy instrumental passages. A hint of bass can be heard. In short this is not just in possession of an early death metal production, but is also composed of early death/thrash metal instrumentation that should delight fans of early Possessed, Bloodlust, early Sodom, Germany-based Poison and 1980s' Kreator. The group itself cites Morbid Saint as an influence. That band, unsurprisingly, had toured China and even released a record of the sojourn. Oily Maniac sounds funny until one remembers that it is the title for a movie. Then one notices that it sounds funny anyway. The noise solo is so early death metal. Haunted Tales’ intro introduces the rare Chinese movie dub. Next comes a cover version. These things are a dime a dozen and been done to death. Worse, the cover version of Possessed’s Death Metal lacks the ferocity of the original and only serves to place Anathematise in a bad light. Think about it, 40 years later the original cannot be matched. Well, cover versions are all useless anyway.
If any song on this CD was to have a grinding sound then Corpse Mania would be the most appropriate given the title and so the track has this brutal grinding sound. It hits hard. Likely the most intense of the tracks here, the song hits hard even if the band’s playing ability, as far as lead guitars are concerned, is almost non-existent. Noticeably, this lends even more credence to the 1985 vibe. Ghost Eyes has a death/doom quality to it. Another ghost follows and is called Seeding Of A Ghost. It contains these cool chords the band throws with a crackling distortion. Spirit Of The Raped is frenzied and includes the band’s noise solo. More riffs, smashing drums and a crazy noise solo on this that make it worthy. The seven-minute long closing instrumental is satisfactory, but repetitive. Slayer had Evil Has No Boundaries and Anathematise has Hell Has No Boundary. Perhaps this is a good time to point out that the English lyrics display a good knowledge of the language. Chinese folks mastering English is no surprise of course, but it is worth pointing out given the intricate and horrific lyrics.
Are we sure and can we prove this album contains new material and that the band didn't originally record this prenatally back in 1986?
One can either buy this because he likes the music or pick it up in order to hear what deathrash metal sounded like in the underground before any of the members were born. - Ali “The Metallian”

Anathematise Interview
China-based old-school deathrashers Anathematise have been around for a few years, but have issued a full-length studio album only now. Bizarre Tales From The Past And The Future, courtesy of Awakening Records, is chock-full of underground unpolished metal ore and true to its name. Ali “The Metallian” rounded up the Anathematise members for a group Q&A that addresses the story and intentions of the band while simultaneously introducing the name and updating the readers with the latest news. - 12.04.2023

METALLIAN: Thank-you for your time and the interview. I believe the theme for the interview is novelty, information and confusion. We like to pick up information, understand the band and answer as many questions as possible.
TORMENTORX: OK, we will do our best to answer the questions.

METALLIAN: Given that the band is young and not well-known, could you tell us about your formation and how it all came about?
TORMENTORX: The band was originally founded by death metal/thrash metal enthusiasts TormentoRx and Gut at the end of 2017. DUGU, which is Anathematise now, is a band with a passion for the B-movie and cult genres and we inadvertently got the idea for the band's name from director Peng Ling's movie 毒蠱 (a.k.a. Brutal Sorcery from 1983 - editor).
SPEEDSCUMDOG: I met TormentoRx at the show of Overkill in 2016 and Gut at Carcass in 2015. After watching the performances we all without exception gathered together to drink. Then I joined DUGU in early 2018 and… it seems like Gut asked me to join in the first place, but they needed me to play some crazy quick two-strikes and then we wrote the first song, Killer On Wheels.

METALLIAN: Where is the band based today? Have the band members moved their base since formation? I ask because it seems members do not live in the same city or area.
TORMENTORX: Yes, none of the band members live in the same area. I live in Chengdu now and the other musicians live in Anhui and Xi 'an.

METALLIAN: Was this arrangement always the case or have the band members moved around since formation?
TORMENTORX: We used to know each other through the Internet and then we met at a concert before deciding to play in a band together. So, we were never in the same place. It was hard to find people in the same area who had similar interests and played that kind of music.

METALLIAN: Does this mean that the band is strictly a part-time affair and rehearsals or concerts are going to be scarce?
TORMENTORX: It's true in a way. Everyone has a job. It's fun for us to rehearse and perform once in a while. The shows are like a drinking party with our friends.
SPEEDSCUMDOG: Rare, but we feel great every time.

METALLIAN: The most obvious question is regarding the monicker. Why did the band change its name and why was the new name chosen? Is it because Gut left?
TORMENTORX: The band's change of name has nothing to do with Gut's departure because I think DUGU needed an official English name. At first, I considered many names, such as Black Magic, Poison etcetera yet finally chose Anathematise, which is a unique name.

METALLIAN: In the meantime, the band seems to have three guitarists.
TORMENTORX: We always have two guitarists and live shows were also me and the other guitarist, IronfingerHo. For the recording of this album, the first song and the eighth song’s solos were recorded by a friend of mine in Chengdu whose name is LaoXia.

METALLIAN: Thanks for the clarification. At the same time, what happened to Gut Xiansheng? How did you and 89 connect?
TORMENTORX: In fact, Gut is now more focused on Mvltifission, which is his and my other old-school death metal band. He may not want to be a lead singer in the thrash genre anymore. 89 and I are friends from the same hometown and, by chance, she recorded our album with us.

METALLIAN: Was 89 born in 1989?
TORMENTORX: Nope, actually born in 1992 (laughs).

METALLIAN: IronfingerHo and Dog Xiansheng are married. Do other members also have a similar connection?
TORMENTORX: The others don't have a similar connection. IronfingerHo and SpeedScumDog have been in love for many years and then married one another. Their being in one band is quite rare. I wish them a happy married life.
DARREN: I can quite understand your logic for asking. It’s like finding my uncle and aunt in the photos of my ancestors so I unconsciously keep looking for my uncle and aunt.

METALLIAN: Yes, exactly. The band is known for its interest in Shaw Brothers films. Firstly, are you interested in all the studio's films or just the horror ones? It seems the answer is the latter , but that studio is better known for its Wuxian releases.
TORMENTORX: Yes, I am a big fan of Shaw films and not only its horror films, but also the genre of martial arts. The effect of Shaw's early martial arts films was quite cult, such as the film The Five Deadly Venoms. I recommend you watch it.
UNHOLY CULT: I am interested in almost all of the Shaw films including all the Hong Kong films that were made up until around the turn of the millennium. Personally, I think Shaw's horror is more of a kind of underground genre. But there's no denying that it influenced a lot of horror movies. Because its ideas, props and makeup are really great.
DARREN: Shaw's porn is great too.
SPEEDSCUMDOG: Actually, we all saw some Shaw movies when we were young. Most of the movies on TV were Shaw martial arts movies. I visited IronfingerHo's grandfather at the end of last year and he was watching Cheh Chang's House Of Traps!

METALLIAN: So all members are interested in these films and not just a couple of you.
TORMENTORX: Former singer Gut, SpeedScumDog and I were very interested in Shaw films and watched a lot of them.

METALLIAN: I know that the roots of the Shaw Brothers goes back to Shanghai, but the studio was based, and famous for being located in, Hong Kong. Simultaneously many mainland Chinese do not consider Cantonese speakers as being true Chinese. Do you see the studio and its output as Chinese or non-Chinese?
TORMENTORX: First of all, Cantonese is a kind of Chinese dialect, which comes from Guangdong. I don't quite agree with that idea. Hong Kong is definitely a part of China. Maybe there are some Taiwanese - not mainlanders - who think they are not Chinese.
UNHOLY CULT: Chinese, of course. Don't forget that many universities in China have Yifu Buildings (Named after one of the Shaw brothers who donated money towards the construction - editor). I don't think speaking in different tongues represents a split.
DARREN: I don't know which idiots misled you, but it needs to be corrected that Chinese do not discriminate by country. It can be said that Shaw's works before 1997 do not belong to the mainland.
SPEEDSCUMDOG: Throughout the long history of China, different regions have developed their own language habits and different accents, but they are undoubtedly all Chinese.

METALLIAN: Here is something interesting: The Shaw Brothers’ theatrical output was released before the band members were born. Moreover, the band's musical style is reminiscent of the underground of the 1980s, again before the band members were born. How do you see this?
TORMENTORX: Yes, our band members were all born in the 1990s and the music genre we like is thrash and death of the 1980s. I watched some Shaw Brothers’ martial arts movies on TV when I was a child and spontaneously thought we could combine them into our favourite music, which is very interesting!
UNHOLY CULT: Classics will last forever! Shit will soon be forgotten.
DARREN: I've loved it since I was a kid.
SPEEDSCUMDOG: I am glad we invented devices to preserve video and sound from the 1980s and before.

METALLIAN: I hope this question makes sense and you can understand where I am coming from: Is the sound, playing ability and style of Anathematise deliberate or it all came about naturally? Again, the style goes back to days before you were born…
TORMENTORX: … Yes, most of our music must have been deliberate. There's an old song called Haunted Tales, which you might say came naturally. I wrote it after drinking three beers in one night. In fact, our style hasn't changed much. Everything has a raw underground sound. 89's singing may be a little more hardcore and I personally prefer Gut's singing style.
UNHOLY CULT: From my knowledge of TormentoRx and Gut, this was well thought out and discussed. They liked the style from the start.
DARREN: Cha, which is a Chinese character meaning insert, in the blood!
SPEEDSCUMDOG: For me, there's usually no thought involved in writing and playing drums, just writing out the crazy rhythm in my head and playing as hard as I can!

METALLIAN: Speaking of which, my favourite track by the band is Spirit Of The Raped. The speed, heaviness, smashing drums and noisy solo all come together. Could you say a few words about the story behind this track?
TORMENTORX: The riff part of this song has a bit of a brutal death metal flavour. I modified the middle transition part many times. The solo has a mid-tempo melody and a fast dissonance part. I was going to write a death metal paragraph at the end of this song, but I thought the song Ghost Eyes was long enough before. So, it stayed the same. The song also takes its title from Chin Hung Kuei's movie Spirit Of the Raped.
SPEEDSCUMDOG: I love this song too. Crazy speed changes, twisted odd beats, things I'm not very good at, it took me a long time to write. Fortunately, the result was not too bad.

METALLIAN: How big is the underground deathrash fan base in China? What does this mean for possibilities to play live or tour?
TORMENTORX: In China, I think black metal has the largest number of fans and the underground death/thrash music fans are also gradually increasing. At present, China has no COVID-19 controls so there will definitely be more opportunities for concerts or touring.
UNHOLY CULT: Not a lot. But I don't care how much there are.

METALLIAN: A good attitude. Could you update our readers on what is next for the band? Any immediate plans or news?
TORMENTORX: We do have a new change at the moment. 89 has left the band for personal reasons. I appreciate her work on this full-length album! Our new lead vocal is Unholy Cult from Xi 'an. He's a real die-hard thrash bastard. It is possible that we will schedule shows this year and then continue to create new works. New songs are going to go into a more technical route. Stay tuned!
UNHOLY CULT: I am a new member and actually an old friend joining the band to play some shows this year.

METALLIAN: Why do you think Metallian is the best website in the world?
TORMENTORX: You really are the best metal encyclopaedia website in the world! I don’t even need to use a VPN to get access to it. Thank-you for the interview. Cheers!

Even the Chairman knows the value of Metallian. To delve deeper into the band’s music visit this link: https://awakeningrecordscn.bandcamp.com/album/bizarre-tales-from-the-past-and-the-future Readers should not forget Shaw Brothers’ most important contribution, namely Blade Runner.

If you enjoyed this, read Skeletonwitch