I’ve wanted to post the Hong Kong Blood Opera as a Band of the Day for a while now for the simple, lame reason that they’ve got my favorite band name out there today. But as sad an accomplishment as that may seem at first — think of it this way: There are tens of thousands of band names out there right now. And I prefer this band’s name of all of them.
But of course, the quartet of hardcore boys out of Hermosilla, Mexico, is more than their name — which comes from the style of frenetic Cantonese John Woo movies like Hard Boiled and The Killer that have been either praised or maligned (take your pic) as “blood operas.”
Rising out of Hermosilla, a border town near the US, the group rose to fame by winning a nationwide competition sponsored by a bigwig corporation (Rockampeonato Telcel, 2006). But instead of doing what most bands do in that position: vanishing into thin dust without a real record contract or toning down the music that had gotten them there in the first place — fiery, electro-backed hardcore metal — they put out a full-length that showed they had real musical chops. That was Not For The Faint Of Heart — and it spring-boarded them to tour internationally, playing at Austin’s SXSW festival, and snagging a Guardian review that summed them up as such: “Imagine Phil Anselmo of Pantera jamming with LCD Soundsystem, or Steve Albini and Paul Epworth arguing about who’s going to produce the next Hives album.” In ’08, they headlined a New York City festival curated by Vice Magazine.
So what do they actually sound like? Over a rocky sea of jumpy, dissonant electro they shakily shout a mix of light-hearted and terrifying lyrics. “Everybody’s screaming ’bout the new sensation,” they sing on “Level 5 Song,” in the tone of an advertising jingle. With titles like “Crazy Mexican Scientists,” “Killing Joke,” and “Disco Sucks,” they’ve clearly got a sense of humor. On the opening of “Cansei De Ser Gangsta,” blippy electro mimics a nintendo shoot-out. But things get dark when the screaming vocals come in: “We keep moving until we’re gone.” The mix of cheesy, cheery jingle-jangle and outright screaming of course recalls the band’s perfect name (will I never get over it?). For of course the genre of the blood opera is one where things are so violent, it’s almost…funny. And so too the genre of hippy-happy scream-o seems to see only pain, yet take nothing seriously — another mode of defense against the world’s havoc.
Formed in ’06 out of the ashes of hardcore band The Noise Cabaret and the experimental group … En La Orilla De La Utopía, the group is Sebastián Samaniego (vocals), Luis Andonaegui (guitar), Luis Alvarez (synths), Miguel Valdez (drums), and Memo Ibarra (synth, guitar). Listen to their songs on MySpace, download “Cansei De Ser Gangsta” below, and watch their videos. In the next month, they’re playing at both SXSW and Noizefest, so you should have plenty of opportunities to catch ‘em.
2/26 Querétaro Pixel
2/27 Aguascalientes Bar Rockoko
3/6 México, Distrito Federal Pasagüero
3/11 Monterrey, Nuevo León Garage
3/18 Houston, Texas Aztecas Bar and Grill w / Vicente Gayo
3/19 Austin, Texas SXSW 2010 @ Opal Divine’s Freehouse
3/27 Tizayuca, Hidalgo Noizefest
Their winning performance in ’06 for “Killing Joke”:
“Crazy Mexican Scientists”: