Title: Promo 2023
Hardcore punk in Southeast Asia is really stepping up, and I’m always on the lookout for new bands, especially the political and crusty punk stuff. But Southeast Asia is not just about d-beat and crusties; there’s a revival of the ’90s metalcore scene that’s going strong, and it’s not going away. Take Thailand’s Whispers, for instance. Their Narok Bon Din LP was a total blast, packed with killer metallic riffs and breakdowns that would fit right in with the infamous H8000 scene or controversial bands like Kickback.
Singapore’s xdetesterx may be new, but they’ve made a grand entrance, opening for straight edge heavyweights Magnitude and Envision in the Lion City. True to their name, xdetesterx bleed revived straight edge militancy. Their Bandcamp profile reveals a youthful energy, underscored by their October 2023 two-track promo—a raw showcase of their drug free convictions and unwavering musical influences. Both tracks pack a punch with their mix of chunky breakdowns, windmilling rhythms and intense Slayer-esque riffs.
“1337,” the first track, named after hacker-speak for elite (‘leet), delivers a solid straight edge message about personal strength and commitment. Lines like “I stand alone at the top of the hill” reflect a pride in standing apart, especially in a place like Singapore, where straight edge bands are few and far between. “Dominion”, the second track, delves into themes of betrayal and resistance, hinting at vengeance or retribution against external adversities.
Both tracks are a perfect blend of mosh-inducing breakdowns and forceful riffs, capturing the essence of ’90s Edge Metal without veering into watered-down melodicism. While the lyrics might tread into cliché territory and lack a bit of polish, xdetesterx’s uncompromising energy and authentic spirit make them a band worth moshing to. They remind us that the genre isn’t confined to Europe or the States—it’s a global force to be reckoned with. Keep an eye out for them and other new bands from SE Asia, as Edge Metal continues to assert its presence worldwide.