Kowloon Walled City with Fight Amp

One of the Bay Area metal scene's most celebrated underground bands, Kowloon Walled City seems poised to make a major breakthrough with the release of their latest effort and debut for Neurot Recordings, Grievances.

Taking its name from the densely populated, crime-ridden Hong Kong settlement that was demolished in the 1990s, Kowloon Walled City first came together in 2007 when vocalist/guitarist Scott Evans founded the band with guitarist Jason Pace, bassist Ian Miller, and drummer Jeff Fagundes. Early releases Turk Street and Gambling on the Richter Scale explored a sludgy style of aggressive noise rock that nodded heavily to the classic sound of Amphetamine Reptile and Touch and Go Records bands like Big Black, Unsane and The Jesus Lizard. 

By the time second guitarist Jon Howell had replaced Pace for the band's 2012 album Container Ships, KWC had moved in a slower, more deliberate (but no less heavy) direction that incorporated atmospheric elements that echoed post-rock experimentalists like Slint and Unwound.

With it's new release Grievances for the imprint run by iconic like-minded Bay Area metal mavericks Neurosis, Kowloon Walled City takes its sound even further. Written and recorded over the course of two years, the songs on Grievances unfold with a spare and studied sense of dynamics that suck the listener into a mournful and cathartic sonic vortex recalling the harrowing intensity of fellow locals Oxbow and Porch.

For the band's current West Coast tour, KWC is joined by kindred spirits Fight Amp. Originally hailing from New Jersey, bassist Jon DeHart and guitarist Mike McGinnis have been refining their tuneful style of bludgeoning punk/metal for over a decade. While drawing on some of the same '90s noise-rock influences of Kowloon Walled City, Fight Amp injected a considerable amount of melody into the songs on early albums Hungry For Nothing and Manners and Praise.

The current line-up featuring drummer Dan Smith (who joined the band in late 2011) has put out two blistering recordings -- Birth Control in 2012 and this year's Constantly Off -- that have further spread the word of Fight Amp's melodic mayhem. The two bands are joined at this  show in Oakland by hometown shoegazers whatfunlifewas and acoustic duo Doralice, whose recent EP Rusted Pieces recasts thrash-metal anthems by Megadeth into unlikely chamber rock instrumentals. 

Kowloon Walled City with Fight Amp
Saturday, Nov. 7, 8 p.m. $8-$10
Golden Bull