China Fire II (VA)

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General Information

Artist: Various Artists
Title: China Fire II (Zhong Guo Huo II)
Release Date: 1996, August
Type: CDDA & Tape
Catalog No.: MSC-020,ISRC CN-A50-96-317-00/A・J6 (Tape)
MSD-020,ISRC CN-A50-96-317-00/A.J6 (CD)

Track Listing

  1. Underbaby - All the same
  2. Dou Wei - Lord
  3. Iron Kite - This Summer
  4. Zhang Chu - Known
  5. Wang Yong - The Seance
  6. Zhou Ren - Marsman
  7. Fang Ke - August 10,1999
  8. Shang - Golden Eyes
  9. Edge - The problems of Sam
  10. Overload - Trashed


(c) Jack Tang (3 out of 5 stars)

It's pretty much established that China Fire I was among the all-time classics of Chinese rock albums. The toughest thing for Magic Stone was to put out a new compilation that would surpass China Fire I. I'm not sure if that's their intention for China Fire II, but knowing that China Fire I is too hard to beat, I am not disappointed that China Fire II did not come out as good as its predesessor. Lots of things have changed since China Fire I. It was the first rock compilation album in China. Now you can find albums with the word "rock" on them in every corner of every record store, and the quality of those albums are usually less than sophiscated. China Fire II is a good effort by Magic Stone to stand out from the crowd, and it got its share of hits and misses.

"It's All the Same" by Underbaby kicks off the album. It's a grungy tune reminiscent of the likes of Nirvana. Other people have been whining about how much Underbaby is just copying Seattle grunge, but I think at least they are doing it very well. It's not the easiest thing to start a band and come up with something that's totally unlike anything else out there. It can probably be done by either a bunch of super geniuses or some guys who spend the last twenty years living in caves. Underbaby definitely got their style down. Simple and powerful music, good lyric, I really think they form a very promising band.

Some say "Lord" by Dou Wei is a mixture of his Black Dream and Sunny Days style. I couldn't agree more. This song feels like a song in Black Dreams with a brigher synthesiser sound and a hint of tradition Chinese tune, the two charateristics that are prevalent in Sunny Days.

"This Summer" knocked me out. I've never heard so much anger and despair in a Chinese rock song before. Iron Kite's lead singer sings in such intensity that you feel he's going to have a total emotional breakdown right after the song. Some people criticize this song to be just another piece of mindless loud hysterical metal crap. I think they just can't feel any of the emotions behind the distorted guitar and screams. All that saddness, all that despair, all that rage, almost making this song painful to listen.

Wang Yong's "Zhao Hun" is an excellent piece of work. Blending metal, ethnic, and traditional Chinese music, it's quite unlike anything else. I only wished he had used a real drum set instead of the mechanical-sounding drum machine. To me, real drums would just sound a lot better, giving the song a more dynamic sound.

What's great:

Good collections of songs, representitive of the diverse talents in Chinese rock.

What's no-so-great:

Some songs just passed right through my ears, without much of an impression.


Further Information

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