Generally speaking, fans of heavy metal music don't care about geographical boundaries. That's probably why metal bands from Norway can have hits in China, and this means that even Singapore metal bands like Rudra, Bhelliom, Wormrot and Impiety have made their mark outside our shores, even though they may be a little under the radar for local audiences.
Well, another Singapore metal band, Meltgsnow, had its debut album released in the United States back in 2003 and recently, the band's sophomore effort - Black Penance - has been released both locally and overseas, with the band due to undertake a tour of Australia at the end of October, sharing the stage with Australian rock band The Eternal.
Their second album has been a long time coming. According to vocalist Dannie Hamid aka Lord Insanity, the band "had many problems with the change of musicians due to commitment issues". As a result Black Penance took seven long years to record.
For metal fans, however, it has been worth the wait as Meltgsnow has employed greater melodic sensibilities than most modern metal outfits, choosing instead to draw from the gothic doom rock of pioneers Black Sabbath and the sonic pyrotechnics of Judas Priest.
Conceptually, the dark themes are the norm with unlikely inspirations drawn from the Bible.
"I was raised in a Catholic church and school when I was a kid and till today, even though I am not a Catholic or Christian, with respect, I do like to use the Bible as a source of inspiration as it contains a lot of personal mishaps and many learning journeys," said the singer. "The concept of Black Penance is like a 'black book', whereby you pen and confess your sins into. I wrote these songs with visions of such betrayals, vices, wicked lusts and evil intentions that require a self-repentance."
Black Penance is a more inclusive album than appearances would suggest, and should easily appeal to metal, goth and indie rock fans with equal measure. In addition, the band hope to "open up avenues to more diversified listeners and to also perform at more festivals overseas" with this release.
But even as it seems that Singapore metal bands can flourish overseas, the question remains: What about the Singapore metal scene itself?
Said Lord Insanity: "The scene is slowly growing again and getting some form of recognition from media coverage. Also with many new and younger quality bands that are coming up, I really hope that we will be able to get those much needed venues that allow us musicians to showcase our talent to the hungry fans here."
MeltgSnow's Black Penance is out now.