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Zuriaake – black magic from China’s metal underground

In China, where subcultures are critically eyed, censored, and sometimes sanctioned, heavy metal – Zhòngjīnshǔ 重金属 in Chinese – has established itself as a solid niche since the early 1990s. The scene here is rarely political or socially critical. Instead, local color is an important selling point. Many bands are proud to address their history. The use of traditional instruments such as the knee fiddle is a standard for many groups, as is a country-specific aesthetic. A combination of hard rock music and Chinese elements is not always easy to digest. Some bands take to the stage in kitschy Hanfu costumes, while others specialize in patriotic irritant themes like the Nanjing Massacre.

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