Posted by: Necci – Sep 09, 2010
Rising from the ashes of short-lived Richmond hardcore band Brain Damage, Deep China make an excellent first impression on their four-song demo. Three-fourths of the band's lineup carries over from Brain Damage, but with bassist James Henderson now handling vocal duties, and the addition of second guitarist Reid Attaway, Deep China has a thicker, harsher attack. Much of the demo sounds like the harsh, downtuned hardcore produced by Southern bands like His Hero Is Gone and Coliseum, but there are some intriguing glimpses of melody. The clearest of these comes on the chorus of "Gun Line," on which Henderson forsakes his usual scream for a throaty croon that still projects plenty of menace. For a few seconds at a time, he vocally resembles Phil Anselmo, perhaps mixed with the sound of Entombed vocalist Lars-Goran Petrov circa Wolverine Blues. These vocals make clear that the influence of such swampy biker-metal bands is just as present in Deep China's music as is the influence of dark, heavy hardcore, but the moments of melancholy emotion that these influences usher in are brief, overwhelmed throughout this blazing nine-minute workout by speed and intensity--reflected in song titles like "Ornery Like A Wolf" and "Who The Fuck Are You?"
Deep China supplies a strong Richmond pedigree even beyond their connection to Brain Damage. Drummer Chris Brown is in Mouthbreather, both he and Henderson are in Race The Sun, and Attaway is in Murphy's Kids. Guitarist Ryan Pupa isn't in any other currently active bands, but previously played in The Human Timebomb and Vindication, among others. The wide variety of different sounds represented by this group of bands may seem strange in light of Deep China's devotion to all things heavy, but in truth, it is an asset. Bands whose members don't listen to any music outside the genres they play often grow stale and unoriginal, which is a fate Deep China shouldn't ever have to fear. Their demo is hopefully just a taste of all the excellent heavy music this band will have to offer in future. With almost all of the members in other currently active bands, they may not produce material at a very high rate; right now, they don't even have any upcoming shows. For now, I suppose we'll have to content ourselves with these four songs. As powerful as they are, though, they should be more than enough to sustain interest.
By Andrew Necci