Queen Elephantine

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 12 April, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 12 April, 2007, 12:00am

Tomorrow, 8pm, Les Visages

What were you doing at 17? Chances are you weren't playing in several bands, managing a record label and distributing releases from some of your most revered musical figures.

Indy Shome is, and over several years the teenager has made a name for himself as one of the most dedicated figures in Hong Kong's underground music movement.

After first emerging as frontman and guitarist for stoner-rock monsters Molten Lava Death Massage, Shome has gone on to form doom-metal outfit Queen Elephantine and found Concrete Lo-Fi Records, which has helped with the local distribution for big names such as US garage rockers Brian Jonestown Massacre and Canadian sludge kings Sons of Otis.

Whereas Molten Lava were an amalgamation of intense guitar jams and guttural vocals, Queen Elephantine have stripped back the sound, revealing strong influences from the likes of pre-grunge godfathers the Melvins and drone pacesetters Earth.

Queen Elephantine's latest release, a single 25-minute track on a split three-track CD with the Sons of Otis, sums up the band's modus operandi: the constant strumming of a low bass chord intermingles with sparse guitar notes, creating a subtle interplay that drones as much as it rocks.

'There's actually quite a lot going on underneath,' Shone says of the track Battle of Massacott. 'The guitars are kept really low, so just the higher and lower frequencies penetrate. There's an intense amount of an emotion that can be expressed in such a small variation in the music.

'We were trying to make something with a spiritual undertone. We all got lost in a trance when we made the track. It was four guys standing in a circle in the dark for 25 minutes, and by the end we were all chanting into our mikes, really drained.'

Glacial-slow doom metal brings the headbandgers' soundtrack back to its logical progression after the extremes of lightning-fast grindcore. These aren't the sorts of tunes that are going to appeal to people seeking pyrotechnic guitar antics.

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