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CultureDaily Drip

Watch: This Beijing Metal Band Mixes Burzum with Buddhism

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Today’s exploration of the intersection between local tradition and the international language of metal comes via Si Miao (嗣妙), a video platform launched last year to tell bite-sized stories about Buddhism to a popular audience. If this is your general thing, the channel is worth a closer look overall (Si Miao’s 42nd episode, released earlier this week, is about a hipster calligrapher). If you just want to cut straight to the metal, here’s a member of Beijing band Yu Ji talking about his twin interests in Buddhist cosmology and heavy metal:

Yu Ji — English name: the thoroughly Buddhist Bliss-Illusion — formed in 2015, and is gearing up to put their 2018 debut Shinrabansho on the international market via a release on French label Anesthetize Productions next month. “Post-Black Metal with folk and ritualistic elements,” says the press release, and judging by the track titles the dharma is strong on this one. If I had to choose just one track to recommend, it might be “Naraka” (the Sanskrit word for hell), but you can stream the entire atmospheric, Maya-piercing trip right now on YouTube ahead of the album’s formal April 2 release:

Cover image: “Singing Buddhist Scriptures in Heavy Metal” by Si Miao (QQ Video)

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Josh Feola
Josh Feola is a Shanghai-based writer and musician, and RADII's Culture Editor. His coverage of Chinese music and art has appeared in The Wire, Dazed, Artsy, LEAP, Tiny Mix Tapes, and more. He's been active in China's underground music scene since 2010 via his booking platform pangbianr.com, and is a former member of Beijing bands Chui Wan, SUBS, and Vagus Nerve.