Saturday, 13 August 2011

#072 Tang Dynasty - A Dream Return to Tang Dynasty

China does not have a huge metal scene of yet, however, for years, many bands have existed, many being greeted with success in one form or another. Tang Dynasty are regarded by some as China's very first metal band, and their 1992 debut, while not being hugely heavy or extreme, is still an interesting listen.

The metal listening available in pre-internet china was a somewhat interesting affair, with many of the metal CD's and LP's which made it to china being those which were being cut from record labels, and were being thus "disposed of". This has, it would seem, have lead to an interesting selection of influences on Tang Dynasty's sound - It could be considered traditional metal, but also has a very strong blues influence. What emerges is something akin to what glam-metal would become, if it was played in an extremely epic style, focusing on musical beauty, as opposed to attitude and catchiness. Added to this mix are haunting, high vocals (all in Chinese) and guitar playing and arrangements which also have a distinctly Chinese flair, especially in terms of the harmonies and extensive, unique solos. It's definite that the album has a haunting, beautiful edge much more pronounced than many bands who play a similar traditional metal style. Songs like "Paradise" are anthemic, and would be more so if I had a clue what the words were.

All in all, musically, the band are very accomplished, especially considering the odds stacked against them - being in a country with almost no metal scene at the time, with no Internet to spread awareness of themselves, and this being their debut album. It's well produced and recorded too, with well captured atmosphere and beauty. The album feels very whole and complete, perhaps due to all of the factors of musicianship and recording. The whole work is infused with a powerful uplifting feeling, which is both relaxing and inspiring to listen to. It's reasonably catchy too, with most of the songs leaving some kind of impression after only one or two plays. The albums something unique and very pleasing to listen to, to say the least.

All in all, I'd say that Tang Dynasty are well worth a listen. You can get the MP3's on Amazon for a fairly reasonable price (although they don't have the latest album, and many of the tracks are mistitled) with a bit of research, you can get the right names though, although the songs speak for themselves, regardless of title.

I give the album 8/10, if you're in the right mood for it.

Tang Dynasty on Metal Archives