Updated: Jun 16
The below album review was written for AreaDeath Productions’ release of Explosicum’s 2014 full-length "Raging Living." Posted on Metal Archives, the target audience for this review was metal music enthusiasts and potential consumers. Metal Archives is an online metal music resource that is considered by many to be The Holy Grail of all metal music-related information.
See original posting here.
Every once in a while a thrash band comes around that encompasses the full spectrum of thrash attitudes. From the social and political commentary, the sexual and silly wordplay, and thrash merely about thrash, Explosicum’s material embodies them all. The Chinese thrash maniacs’ sophomore release, “Raging Living,” is no exception. It’s a perfect headbanging-fist-pumping-smorgasbord. Listening to it puts you in the mood for a major sonic beat down, but in a civil, no one was annihilated in the execution of this thrash attack sort of way. Songs like “Thrash Butcher,” “Thrash Your Life,” “Mosh or Die,” and the instrumental titled “Push into the Pit” candidly depict the thrilling insanity and brutality that thrash distinctly portrays. But that’s not all. “Raging Living” also pays homage to the fact that thrash, like other forms of extreme music, is a way of life; thrash is a life ideology and it’s all in the name of raging.
Not only do Explosicum fly the flag of thrash and the genre’s entitlement as a lifestyle, but they also question the integrity of modern Chinese political and social affairs throughout the entire opus. Every song is washed in social and political commentary. The rebellious pull away from the mainstream, harsh stance against the harmonization of sheepeople, and the sociopolitical elites’ hegemony of society is in-your-face analyzed. But political and social injustice isn’t just something prevalent in the Orient, it’s running rampant everywhere, and thrash bands globally are questioning and satirizing the stupidity of social hierarchies and the enslavement of the masses. What distinguishes Explosicum’s anthems for change is that they’re doing it in a society where river crabs are still fighting grass mud horses and to rebel against the norms is disrespecting the grave importance of tradition.
Explosicum certainly is a brother-in-arms of the Teutonic Reich lyrically and instrumentally, but they are also class clowns with a naïve fascination about sex. The song titled “Fly in Twins,” which is a direct Chinese to English translation, best denotes this. In Mandarin Chinese, fly in twins is pronounced shuāngfēi (双飞; shuāng means two or double and fēi simply means to fly), and alludes to a particular type of ménage à trios. “Fly in Twins” is sonic euphoria, a true gem that elicits eargasms of colossal proportions with its soaring and pounding instrumentals that are fundamental to all of Explosicum’s songs. And, like seeing lead vocalist and bassist, Tan Chong, bare He-Man pecs on stage, will leave any thrasher hot and bothered. The promiscuous playfulness and wordplay isn’t just present in some songs’ lyrics: their name even exemplifies it! The term explosicum isn’t just an adolescent goofball’s blending of explosion and cum, but comes from a Stephen Chow comedy called The God of Cookery (食神; Shíshén), where explosicum (爆浆; bàojiāng) is a component to a dish’s name (爆浆撒尿牛丸; bàojiāng sāniào niúwán).
Explosicum’s “Raging Living” is a fast-paced, exciting album that leaves you eager for more. It will transport any thrash maniac to a headspace of serenity, where the only thing you want to do is bang your head, pump your fist and scream along to the war cries and rebellious hymns of sociopolitical unrest. But, at the same time, sometimes you just need to thrash for thrash’s sake.