Kowloon Walled City; A caged world all its own in Kowloon, Hong Kong that once housed 33,000 people in a 6.5-acre of space; high rates of prostitution, gambling and drug use, not to mention unsanitary working conditions, filled by 12h days of passed down trade and no formal education. What was once just a band name to me became a journey through documentaries, photos, and articles depicting a city so buried within its own walls, I remain surprised at its detail in documentation. But in this case, what’s in a name is really not being captured here in their latest release through Brutal Panda Records, “Container Ships” on December 4, 2012. I just got a little side tracked by learning as per usual.
Seeing as I’m late on the draw for this one, letting it fall to the bottom of my pile and then realizing it had not yet been represented by TINAS, many have already made their case for Kowloon Walled City, one of which I’d like to address. To comment on MetalSucks, Sammy O’Hagar’s review of “Container Ships,” which dubs it as released during the wrong era; a time where post-metal is played out and primal riffs are where it’s at. I’d have to say, Sammy, I was not an instant fan either. Try falling asleep to this album on repeat over 3 hours of a bus ride and then re-write your opinion piece. Tell me then that your subconscious has not responded to all the albums intricacies, carving out favorite riffs into your mountain of musical memories and realizing this is not just another post-metal album of 2012; that it can hold its own and then some.
As my daily dose of Crowbar and Eyehategod will have you know, I like it heavy and raw with the best of them but there’s no need to dedicate an entire era to one type of music. You can love it all when it’s created. There will always be someone searching for the latest branching of a genre, simply because, we can’t all fall in love at the same time. If we’re talking about making money off it, then yeah, that might be a whole other kettle of fish.
My personal favorite was ‘50’s Dad,’ a heavy hitting tale of shame in their father’s eyes with none of those emo sentimental chords. Ian Miller’s bass nudges you forward reluctantly against milky waves of sound. Supplementing space with interesting fills, Jeff Fagundes holds it all together amidst ever changing tempos that are part of what make post-metal such an involved listening experience. Other obvious gems are ‘Wrong Side of History,’ with vocalist, Scott Evans’ guitar riffs weaving in and out of Jon Howell’s leads as he shout’s “Let your fists, let your fingers, cut holes in your hands;” as well as ‘You Don’t Have Cancer;’ a chilling title with equally emotive consequences once heard.
I can’t stop listening to this album! I have yet to have my sweet tooth stick into the toffee that is the latest Converge album, an album that has graced pretty much every metal zine’s top 20 of 2012, but yet, this is the album I can’t get enough of. Call me crazy, but I call it like it is. Maybe you’ll have to listen to it 3 hours on repeat too to get what I’m feeling but trust me, it’s well worth it.