There remain boundaries to push in heavy music that don’t just concern the way it sounds, even if you’ve got to take off from the West to find them. Windrunner is a metalcore band from Vietnam — yes, Vietnam — with their debut album MAI releasing November 30, 2018, on Famined Records. Although a Western listener might not be able to name any heavy bands from even Vietnam’s general area, the members of Windrunner are ready to be heard.
Their formula for approaching music takes them through a familiar but personalized process. They’re concerned, they explain, with expressing themselves via their artistic undertaking. That’s led them to push against societal norms — the Vietnam metal scene is small and young, they say — and onward into the world of music.
In so doing, they’ve helped prove some of the staying power music possesses in the first place. Across issues, cultures — and countries — there’s always going to be something to be angry about, the band quips. The emotions tie us together, and push Vietnam, where you might not expect to find metal, towards representation.
“Metal will always be a bond across cultures,” as they put it. “Nothing beats that feeling of family that exists all over the world, plus, there will always be something to be pissed off about. Metal music will always be that vent.”
There’s more to their own undertaking than just venting, though. They’re aiming to craft music along the lines of the tracks that captured their own attention years ago.
They explain: “Heavy, metal music is definitely not native to Vietnamese culture, but essentially it was the natural drive to express ourselves that led us to discover heavy music and shaped our music in that style. Along that line, we try to blend our native culture with what influences us to create what we feel is a fresh and organic new style.”
“We can all remember the first time we listened to ‘heavy music,'” the band adds. “We are all more or less the same age, so we can all remember the first handful of bands that blew our minds when there were screaming vocals or fast distorted guitars. I guess for some people, it sticks and never lets go. We are a group of people with a passion for music that developed young – and heavy music just naturally became something we wanted to play because we loved listening to it so much.”
Their own personalities and backgrounds have informed their new direction for music, serving well to illuminate the wells that have fed heavy music over the years in the first place.
For instance, on a practical level, they explain: “We do have certain lyrical themes that reflect where we are from, having a few tracks about topics that would be quite unfamiliar with Western cultures such as ancestral worshiping, traditional beliefs, family pressure, etc. Naturally our lyrics were written from our personal perspectives, which are certainly influenced by our unique culture. We also incorporate a few Eastern traditional instruments into our music, which we feel complements our heavier guitar and drum patterns.”
The band’s music blends low tuned fury with atmosphere in work that should be noted for the beauty of its synthesis.
In addition to the practical features, their music packs a drive to be recognized among non-mainstream metal greats the world over.
“In general, Vietnam has a very small and young metal and alternative music scene,” Windrunner says. “New bands are popping up all over with various different styles, which is really exciting for us. We hope that in the future more and more bands will start getting recognized, and further inspire more musicians and artists from Vietnam to push for their own success. We may be small in number, but we have some amazing talent in Vietnam ready to hit the global scene.”
Check out a single released ahead of MAI below — and pre-order the record at this link.