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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Elysium Metallum - part 2

 The Indian metal scene is truly exploding with world class releases and better bands coming up on a daily basis. May this flourishing continue.

Dark Helm - "Persepolis"
My Verdict : 7/10

While India isn't the hotbed of the metal-core genre, this band does not let the side down. Very young these lads, from the city of Pune, they have succeeded in forging their own sound in the Indian Metal scene and struck a chord and record deal with the fine folks at Itchy Metal Entertainment, a metal label based in LA.

This first effort "Persepolis" is a concept album, based on an ancient warrior from Persia. More details can be found in a band interview here, http://www.metalwani.com/2012/03/interview-destructive-dark-helm.html . The sound is typical metal/death core with bits and pieces of melodic death thrown in for good measure. Where these lads have really established firm ground, is in the use of eastern instruments, like the Sitar and the Santoor in their songs and made them sound amazingly well. Almost all songs feature Sitar/Santoor interludes embellising the guitar solos or providing a counter melody to the vocals. The strongest tracks on the album are "Persepolis", "Borrowed Time" and "Cymbeline" - the best coming together of the tight guitar parts, brilliant drumming, vocals and the eastern instruments, and hence an establishment of identity.

The weakest cog in the works has to be the clean vocals, audibly limited in range and runs out of depth very quickly with the growls coming in almost as a sigh of relief. For people who expect a lot of the nerdiness in the lyrics, they will be put off, not me though. There is a lot of double bass and two finger tapping guitar solos and plenty of interesting arrangements to counter the shortcomings and make it sound good.

There is a video out for "Origins II (Endings)", which is another one of my favourites and is very tastefully done. All in all, a solid debut and do expect much more of this good stuff from this band. Album interesting enough to shell out money for, without worry of being ripped off.

Eccentric Pendulum - "Winding the Optics"
My verdict :  9.2/10

"Winding the Optics" is the first full length album from those geeks from Bengaluru and is more than a logical evolution of the being from whence came the EP, "The Sculptor of Negative Emotions". One look at the track listing and the nerdiness is visibly all pervasive. But that isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Because, in a very simplistic way, to quantify this band, would be to describe them as equal parts of Meshuggah, Thrash, Groove and a lot of weirdness. With djent and extreme metal exploding in all directions, there are a lot of sub standard djent and melodic death metal bands out there. What Eccentric Pendulum do on this album is, take all of that fake stuff, tie it up, gag it and blow it into the middle of the last century.

The opening track itself, "The Axioms of Aphotic Expressions", is my favourite and is an ample representation of all that makes this band so awesome. Kickass drumming (a lot of double bass ala Tomas Haake and some really crazy drum fills), odd time rhythms, eerie clean vocals, excellent growls and a guitar tone that is so reminiscent of Rob Flynn and Kerry King at the same time. Growling vocals have real depth to them and so does the guitar playing."Anonymous Existence", which stretches for a better part of 10 minutes, the bass playing really shines through, the solo passages on the keyboard with crazy drum fills and guitar interludes, is really a testament of how mature this band is in its outlook and musicianship.

The production values speak for themselves, because there are very few albums in this style of music with such clarity and balance. There is never a moment where, you would think, that one instrument overpowers others for no apparent reason. The artwork is another gem of an effort, real eye candy. Makes the album worth having. And with all that great music, thinking is not an option.This is a must buy, must have and must play album.

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