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One of Us IV

Live Reviews Sunday, 27 June 2021 09:49
One of Us IV

One of Us IV

June 25/26, 66 Livehouse, Tianjin China

“You will never be one of us.” The Nails lyrics go through my mind every time I see the advertisements for the Chinese festival. Now in its fourth year, One of Us focuses on the thriving young crop of bands who are making huge waves in China. As the festival has grown, so has the number of days, with the festival now expanded to two, with seven bands playing each day.

Day 1

The first day of the festival proved to be the more eclectic of the two, with sprinkles of melody, hip hop and epic, cosmic metal mingling in with old school thrash and deathcore.

After the doors opened at the 66 Livehouse at 6:00PM, the first band of the night, Benetnasch, warmed up the crowd for what was to come. The new tower of cube video screens on the side of the stage made their first impression - showing that even indoor venue concerts can have pizzazz.

The spacey Cosmos were a captivating band to see this night. Founded in 2019, the music is full of oriental flavor and tangible atmosphere. The vocalist is truly a talented dude who effortlessly holds the audience in the palm of his hand through epic, ballad-like cosmic metal. Progressive music fans should take note of these cosmonauts.

Scarlet Horizon were next up and the crowd were absolutely stoked for the gorgeous deathcore masters. Festival veterans, Scarlet Horizon have played the last two years of the festival, and have the audience trained to their back-and-forth dance moves. Brutal, catchy, and beautiful, Scarlet Horizon are your band if you like visual kei infused with brutal breakdowns.

One of Us doesn’t only focus on the new breed of Chinese talent, as one of China’s oldest thrash bands, the legendary Suffocated made their presence felt next, showing the young studs just how its done. Their placement on the card was key as they provided a bridge between styles and were pivotal for interested fans who may only like thrash to check out the festival.

Korsion were the first of two surprises for the festival in terms of broadening its horizons and including styles which aren’t grounded in metal. Featuring a male and female vocalist and 80s looking sunsets on their video screens, Guangdong’s Korsion brought an upbeat, electric shock of a set.

The next surprise of the night was Leeyon, who truly broke the mold for what the One of Us festival is about. It wouldn’t be wrong to say this guy is a heartthrob, as his many fans in attendance can attest to, but it also wouldn’t be wrong to say he’s very talented. With songs including hip hop, emo and deathcore trimmings - one minute you’re reminded of Eminem and the next Bring Me the Horizon.

Awake Mountains represent the once silent and solemn mountains coming to life to inspire awe in the masses. The band was formed in 2017 and in just a short time, have proven to be headliner material with their made-for-TV form of accessible, emotionally driven metalcore. They were the perfect choice to end the versatile day 1 of One of Us, which featured some true superstars of the scene.

Day 2

The second day of the festival was a who’s who of Chinese core giants. The first four bands hitting the stage on this day are all smashing the barriers of heavy music in China and should be exposed more to the Western world. Well, I’ll try my best.

Hangzhou’s Lie to the Silence were the first to pummel the audience, and could be a headlining act on their own. Their use of symphonic backing tracks to their skin shredding form of deathcore is something I haven’t heard utilized in such a way. Truly a new sound that others may be copying if they get wind of this noise.

Leviathan have gone through many change-ups throughout the years, and while I haven’t seen their past iterations live, this one has to be by far the strongest. The sea god parted the pit and caused the good folks at the 66 Livehouse to crash together in a wave of death as they destroyed the stage like a raging ocean storm.

Straight from the streets and ready for a beatdown, Armed Conflict then hit the stage to put a kill-shot to anyone still standing after Leviathan’s set. The young fellows are masters at creating churning slam parts that slow to a crawl. If there is any slam band who could reach the heights of one Dark Prison Massacre, it’s Armed Conflict.

Guangzhou’s Horror of Pestilence were perhaps the most anticipated band of the whole festival. The musicality of this technical death metal band is simply staggering - like a symphonic plague. Apart from their heavy-as-hell side, they had the crowd lighting up their phones like Ozzy asking to see those cigarette lighters for the softer areas.

Another Guangzhou act, The Will on Kill provided a pivot in styles for night 2 of the festival. Now clearly in the metalcorish realm with clean singing and more melody than the wreckage of the last five acts, The Will on Kill captivated their many fans, having them screaming the choruses in euphoric fashion.

A bunch of droogs who opted to pick up some instruments rather than hang around at the milk bar, Clockwork Moon were by far the most melodic band of night 2, marking a much needed break in the heavy platter that came before them. The band was ethereal and dreamy - the perfect thing to listen to under a golden moon.

One of the longest running and strongest of China’s deathcore bands, Four Five started in Beijing in 2004. Throughout the years, their style has morphed - covering death core, djent, hardcore, new metalcore and more - and with each passing year, their legend has grown. After two long days, the fans, now worn out, were ready for one more fight with the dreadlocked veterans.

When all was said and done, the tired, but mostly wired crowd left the livehouse, knowing they’d just experienced a concert for the ages - maybe the concert of the year. What’s next for One of Us - a three day festival? An outdoor festival? I guess we will see next year.


- Ryan Dyer

Written by  Ira Hunter
Ira Hunter

Ira Hunter

Ira's bio coming online shortly!

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