Masked up and ready to mosh -- China’s heavy metal scene has re-emerged in Beijing.
Spiritually-inspired, black metal band Bliss-Illusion held their first post-lockdown concert to an audience of 200.
Many were wearing masks while rocking on.
Live venues in Beijing were recently allowed to reopen at 50 percent capacity,
after six months of shutdowns that kept the lights off in the city’s underground music hotspots.
And some fans could hardly wait:
"I feel like a wild animal breaking out of the cage after being locked up for so long! I'm really happy, especially since I can come here with my friends, which makes me feel even happier."
Bliss-Illusion is part of the country's small but buoyant heavy metal scene -- where bands mix genre standards with Chinese elements.
They’re part of a black metal sub-genre that creates a dark, moody atmosphere, layering heavily distorted guitars and high-pitched vocals.
The band’s frontman Shui Shu said restrictions put a halt to rehearsals and performances.
Folk-metal group Dream Spirit, who perform in traditional Chinese hanfu garments, said they used the downtime to write songs.
But lead singer Shunzi said nothing compares to a live gig.
"It feels very strange. I love going to concerts too, because I think you can have strong interaction with people on stage and people around you at live performances. Now everyone has to keep a distance from each other and wear a mask. It's just very strange."
Beijing’s underground music scene had already come under pressure in recent years,
With club managers and promoters saying local authorities would sometimes shut down events.