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【本地薑】M.1.4 沉醉於消極中的蓓蕾 - Chimeras



在撰寫這篇有關本土交響旋律末世金屬 (Symphonic Doom Metal) 樂隊 Chimeras 的音樂分享之前,心中有過一陣執筆的遲疑。其因,在於這張在手的唱片是張只有兩首曲目的式模輯錄(Demo)。用兩首曲目來看一隊樂隊,就似在高速行駛的車子中看到一張路旁的街招,頂多就是一個模糊的概略;這個思緒,叫人多次擱筆。


但 Chimeras 音樂的潛質和可塑性確實叫人驚訝。作為一隊香港的新進末世金屬樂團,筆者忍不住要執筆推薦;他們的完整專輯實在叫我引頸以待。


末世金屬,大多數人認同是沿於黑色安息日(Black Sabbath)樂隊中一些低沉、延緩、描述負面情緒的一些曲目。在漫長時日的發展裡,傳統的末世金屬以低沉的怒吼、延緩的節奏、以宗教典故、各地神話借喻負面情緒及體驗等自成一派。當然,在末世音樂的成長中,或有歌德(Gothic)的亂入,引進交響樂的和弦與聲樂的高音腔調,亦有像名隊 Opeth 般在尋根於70年代的末世音樂的過程中遇上迷幻(Psychedelic)與滾石搖滾(Stoner Rock)等元素,並揉合於末世金屬中。但其腰脊,終歸為音樂人對自身的失落、抑遏、沉瀝、情緒與孤獨等負面情緒的「深度遊」,是一種對負面思潮的了解與反思。



14分鐘的消極沉淪中,Chimeras 將我扯進一個負面的落寞世界。那緩緩的節拍,就像疲憊的身軀下那蹣跚的步伐,一步沉重拖著一步不情願,那是軟弱的人在逼迫下的無止苦路。結他的廝打,是鞭撻,是殘酷的世俗目光與侮辱;弦音,是墮落了的思索、自虐的自我責備。整個氣氛的營造,說是「放負」,倒不如說是忍痛地自我解剖,深切地去尋覓自己負面思緒的根源。



但吸引我的、把我拖進無盡深淵的,是那一把聲線。一刻間那是憤恨的低吟怒吼,一刻間那是哀慟的高嗥;那是難以抗拒、叫人著迷的美妙聲線。主音的現場表演,穩建而高揚,令人感嘆其聲的多變及其極與極的演繹。


兩首曲目中,《Hidden Label》所展示的是世界給予我們的無形的標籤。軀殼宛如器具、生命皆被利用,在洪流中,我們只是隨時即棄的犧牲品;眾人口中的公平,是真正的公平嗎?要是真有所謂的公義,何以我們每天都會活在恐懼與淚水之中?...《Mind Deception》所刻劃的,是時間在磨滅人的獨特性、在製造痛苦、在為生命蒙上陰霾;那個隨時間改變的人性,每分每秒在沖走傷痕、沖走快樂、沖走生命的意義與向往。


兩首曲目,就像將我們的自我質疑、我們在社會和時間洪流裡的壓抑、衝擊和不安,全都凝結成永恆的結晶,用痛與凄厲種出美麗的寶石。然而,最叫筆者喜歡的東西,是歌詞中那隱含的鼓勵與自勉;《Hidden Label》中的 "One day we will throw off the labels from our backs" 以及《Mind Deception》中 "come take my hand...I'll show you the way to escape from this maze of time",是愁雲慘霧中那一絲的祈望和解脫。這一絲的引導,筆者認為,正正是末世音樂的核心。



末世音樂的內容,被很多人看成是負面傾向的沉迷與自毀。筆者不認同。因自我探討、了解自身的負面情緒之後,以旋律與文字深切刻劃出音樂的藝術,當中的過程、努力與行為,本身就是一種積極的生存之道。也就是說,在探討負面情緒的消極中,歌者自有其積極與創造。這種轉化,在不斷創作末世金屬的樂隊中常有所見,如前所提及的 OPETH,從《Orchid》到《Blackwater Park》、從《Damnation》到《Ghost Reveries》、《Pale Communion》到《Sorceress》,那不同元素的混合,不同演繹的手段,不同題材的深入探討與刻劃;每一次的蛻變都是從末世金屬的負面情緒的探究中進化出來的。這種從消極到積極的演進,不就是矛盾的生命和思潮的真實反映嗎?



Chimeras 於這張式模輯錄的一霎凄美,盡現了其可塑和潛能。我會有著貪婪的期望:我期望他們在未來的專輯中仔細苦心鑽研混音的成效,將那音色中的壓縮感轉化為遼闊的氛圍和空間感,令那感染力更上一層樓;我期望他們在歌詞中深入骨髓地探討那哀傷與失落的故事與思維,將那抽象的氛圍以文字刻劃成幽怨的水墨油彩,用他們優美的詩句觸動人們反思那令人共鳴的負面情緒的根源;我期望在頻譜中聽到他們宏大高揚的弦音及交響樂之聲,在那廣大的平原上將那高頻的天空填上古典雅致的旋律...當然我亦希望他們把握優美的廣東話,用富藝術性、天下間獨一無二的語言廣東話,創作一些僅這個香港才擁有的末世金屬。我知道,一天,我會見到比美麗當下更璀璨的、在煉火中成凰的 Chimeras。


Edward@ Jamintheroom

Chimeras的樂隊專頁:

https://www.facebook.com/chimerashk/

CHIMERAS 的 DEMO CD 於 INFREE RECORDS 有售:

https://www.facebook.com/Infreerecords/

JamintheRoom 專頁:

https://www.facebook.com/Jamintheroomhk/


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I hesitated to write this article about the local symphonic doom metal band Chimeras at the very beginning. This demo I got from Soni@InfreeRecords is the reason I was frustrated. Commenting the music and the band according to a 2-track demo CD to me is a bit rush. It is like having a glance of a poster on the street from a fast moving car; I expect I can only have a blurry impression of the band. I hesitated as I am alert that an incorrect impression written in this article could affect audience much. I thus hesitated much.


Yet, Chimeras' music has given me the confidence to pick up my pen. The band has great potential and I can feel their willingness to explore and fuse various music elements. I am excited to see the maturity of their music as a symphonic doom metal band, and I indeed look forward to hearing their complete album in the near future.



Many believed that the slow, dragged, low tone, depressive music and lyrics from the Black Sabbath were the cradle of Doom Metal. As time past, the vocal in low growl, drums with slow, dragged rhythm, lyrics with religious or Nordic myths as metaphors of depressive, lost and negative emotions and experiences had become the signature of Doom Metal. Doom Metal evolved throughout time and history, for example, the inclusion of gothic music elements like symphonic strings, choirs and operatic soprano vocal, or the like of the renowned OPETH, who searched for the roots of Doom Metal in 70s alternative music and evolved from the psychedelic, progressive and stoner rock elements of the 70s.


No matter how, the deep reflection and self-exploration to the depression, lonesome, lost, demeaning, fear and stress inside our mind and body, is always the purpose and backbone of the genre.



I have been dragged by the Chimeras to a 14 minutes journey drowning myself in the deep depressive ocean. The slow paced beat is the footsteps of a tiring man, which dragged the unwilling body of the suffered man through the thorny road . The blasting guitars are whips on the man's body, like the torture and cruelty of this cold society; the strings are the self-demeaning whispers we heard from our mind. The atmosphere is filled with negative emotions, yet I can envisage it as a painful dissection of our depressive thoughts, which leads to the search for the root of these drowning emotions.


The “hand” that holds me tight and leads me into this endless drowning is that charismatic voice. The voice that growls deep and low in fury, the voice that cries and sings beautifully like the misguided angel Lucifer. The versatility and the consistency of the voice surprised me, and I am attracted by the dance of her voice from one extreme emotions to another. I am hypnotized by the enchanted voice.


The track "Hidden Label" displayed the hopelessness of being stigmatized by the twisted social norms. The bodies are treated as tools, lives have been used to satisfy the selfishness and greed, and everyone turns into a dispensable sacrifice. The band doubted that the sloganized "equality" ever existed. If equality did exist, why are so many of us living in fear and tears every day?... "Mind Deception" is all about time, instead. Time washed a man's purity, uniqueness, led man to the circle of pain and shadowed one's self-esteem throughout living. The nature, the purpose, the humanity of men were all brushed away along the tiks and toks.



Chimeras' songs crystallized the demeaning of self, the stress and fear stirred up by time and the surroundings into a gem made out of pain and sorrow. However, what I love most is the positivity in the hidden trace, like in "Hidden Label", the band expected "one day we will throw off the labels from our backs", and in "Mind Deception", the band called the audience to "come take my hand… I'll show you the way to escape from this maze of time". It is a glimpse of light in the dark deep ocean of sorrow and depression, a hope to the hopeless. This search for light in darkness, to me, is the core of Doom Metal.


The content of Doom Metal was interpreted as an addiction to depression and self-destruction. Writer disagreed with this interpretation. From the reflection and exploration of the depressive and negative thoughts, musicians and audience go through a positive exploration of oneself. This exploration of negativity is a contradictory creative process to positivity through Doom Music. Such transformation is evident in renowned Doom Metal bands. Like the OPETH, from Orchid to Blackwater Park, from Damnation to Ghost Reveries, from Pale Communion to Sorceress, the exploration and in-depth search for the dark sorrow had led to the search for new music elements in their compositions. This contradictory polars of life, in writer's belief, is the very true picture of our existence.



This Demo CD from Chimeras had indeed demonstrated their musical ability and potential. At this point, I am hunger for more from Chimeras and expecting a lot from their future album. I am optimistic in seeing the compressed sound in this demo being relieved and recreated to an epic and spacious mix that creates the amble hollow atmosphere of Doom Music; I wish to see an in-depth reflections on the various struggles of man in life through poetic lyrics, and imaginary scenes being pictured by the sophisticated picks of words; I would love to look for the light treble in symphonic strings and orchestral synths and choirs to fill the high frequencies; and of course, with the love of our local culture and the uniqueness and beauty of our mother tongue, there would be some Cantonese written songs to tribute our special language that were spoken by only in 2 or 3 cities in this world. I wish Chimeras could create the Doom Metal that could only be done in Hong Kong. With this demo in hand, I am certain Chimeras could reincarnate from the reflection and the exploration of the depression and sorrow and fly high.



Edward@Jamintheroom


Chimeras’ Facebook Page:

https://www.facebook.com/chimerashk/

CHIMERAS’ DEMO CD is available in INFREE RECORDS:

https://www.facebook.com/Infreerecords/

JamintheRoom’s Facebook Page:

https://www.facebook.com/Jamintheroomhk/

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