Kowloon Walled City – Container Ships

By Gruesome Greg

Though they’re named after an opulent area of Hong Kong, this band hails from San Fran, across the Pacific Ocean. And after their self-released debut record generated a bit of a buzz three years back, KWC has signed with Brutal Panda for this, their sophomore release—35 and a half minutes of punishing post-sludge.

Container Ships starts off slowly, “The Pressure Keeps Me Alive” a decent five-minute number that brings Neurosis and the Melvins to mind, though it doesn’t offer as many interesting detours as we’d expect, particularly from the former. “50s Dad,” while noticeably shorter than its predecessor, does a little more in the way of tempo variations, a solid foray into mid 90’s noise rock. The very 90’s titled “Beef Cattle” continues along a similar vein before the title track, weighing in at a hefty seven minutes and change, slows things down, its droning intro leading into a decent doomy atmosphere, slow-mo riffs and raging, rising vocals trading places throughout.

The denouement debuts with the equally gloomy (though half as lengthy) “Cornerstone,” before “Wrong Side of History” takes a more jagged, angular route to reach its destination. The epic conclusion comes in the form of “You Don’t Have Cancer,” which also contains more than its share of doominess, though the drawling, spoken-word-style vocals kinda remind me of Scott Hill fronting a NeurIsis inspired Candlemass, which makes for an odd combination, to be sure. Not to mention, holy stoner bass solo, Batman—before things take a turn for the sludgier, somewhat akin to, I dunno, Black Tusk, Black Cobra or Bison B.C. in its driving, straightforward attack, albeit interspersed with some more melodic passages. Not too shabby in the slightest!

(Brutal Panda)

Links: Official Site | Listen to the album on Bandcamp!


Sean is the founder/publisher of Hellbound.ca; he has also written about metal for Exclaim!, Metal Maniacs, Roadburn, Unrestrained! and Vice.