Welcome me back

It’s been a giant break, this one. Shifting to Bangalore could not be more tiring. Yet now I plan to review albums once a week now. Slow start, but it’s my blog so I do the fuck I want. So follow up on sundays and also send me suggestions for music I must listen to. Old or new.

Meanwhile, Listen to this. Bandcamp has been a fascinating reprieve!

Waking Season: Both mine and Caspian’s

The last year has been one erratic journey for me, musically, of course. Too much or too little of new music, it has always prevented me from actually penning down my interpretation of the music I heard. Caspian’s Waking Season has given me the perfect opportunity to sit back and contemplate, think and write about this album.

I came across this band while surfing through facts about the Caspian Sea. A happenstance, that I probably have been waiting for a really long time. An instrumental undertaking that projects its music in its most basal form, simple structures intertwined within each other, making layers resulting in a rich soundscape.



This album paints a canvas of dull blue beats in the background with bits yellowing highs and reds and blacks of habitué strumming. “Porcellous” with its brooding power and “Akiko” in all her peace together with “Gone in Bloom and Bough” painting a scenic soundscape. This album adheres to the band’s stubbornness on not restructuring on their older songs (which seems like a tough on task in any genre but progressive) and yet I wonder how awful would it be if they did? The band has used a plethora of sounds, of things crashing and smashing, booming drum lines, enigmatic keyboard arrangements and bluesy guitar lines with orchestral vocal “aaahhhh”s. Well placed toned guitars and programmed voices makes this a good production.

Waking Season consists of ten songs which play for roughly an hour in one sitting. This being a dynamic production has its moments where it reminds one of ambles on some moonlit beach. It’s this confusion that is its vice. The songwriting feels rushed seeing how songs become really loud at times (“Halls of Summer”), places where I would much rather have preferred a low melody. But then maybe that’s where the band wanted to create out of the post-rock-cliché bubble. It caters well enough to person already aware of this genre but as far as it being labeled the best post-rock album of last year, it certainly is not. It sounds very much like something I would have expected out of Caspian and hence I was not blown away.

On a scale of 10, a 7 seems appropriate.

Kingpin Album of the Conceptual Genre, Kalisia’s Cybion

Most recently I came across this album, an album with such epic and stupendous soundscapes that I could barely catch my breath, my heart racing at the very first track. Not something I was expecting in a first listen from a French band, all this whilst sitting in the calm of the Delhi Metro. All of a sudden the passing lamps in the subway seemed to pass by in sync with the drum beats; you know how these things happen.

Kalisia is a French band that took 8 years to complete this album. The band consists of Brett Caldas-Lima (guitar + vox), Laurent Pouget (Keys), Thibaut Gerad (Bass, and an awesome one at that!)Bruno Michel (guitar) and Elodie Buchonnet ( vocals, flute, saxophone, some talent huh?). Cybion is a concept album revolving around the story of a Universe way ahead in the future with men in search of eternity and living far away from their home planet. The first idea that popped to my head when I read a gist somewhere was this naïve notion of star trek nerd-like fantasy. How wrong could I be? Brett Caldas-Lima undertook the monumental task of actually inventing a language takings tit bits from English, French, Sanskrit, Latin and even our beloved Quenya. I was stumped when I learnt of this. It shows the amount of detailing and intricacy displayed in the album.

About the tracks themselves, I have a version where the album consists of four tracks:

  • Revelation
  • Elevation
  • Regression
  • Extinction

I believe these to be an amalgamation of some 20 tracks originally released on the discs and vinyl. This is a 1 hour 10 minutes fest of continuous sci-fi epos. The music shift gears from one genre to another so many times one gets lost in this web of never ending orchestral symphonies and weaved-in blast beats, heavy riffs, pinches of jazz, deep bass of the electro-trance sounds, the whole lot. Vocals also vary from deep guttarls to clean high female vox associated with gothic music.

A special credit is deserved for the person handling the keyboard. The entire album gets its end-of-the-world urgency from the various do’s of the keyboard.

The range of genre’s displayed is truly a trip down memory lane, when hearing the album in leisure and in no pressure from having to critique it. One goes from song to song, note to note, and realises the sound and recognizes it to be their favourites from an era long. It is quite an experience.

The overall doom-like atmosphere that is prevalent in the album is reminiscent of an earlier Dimmu Borgir or Septic Flesh. But here and there you get riffage styles matching those of Megadeth, Opeth, Lacuna Coil, Riverside; the entire spectrum of metal in other words.

This is obviously due to the number of guest artists in this album. Angela Gossow, Paul Masvidal, Arjen Lucassen, Tom Mclean, Andy Sneap (producer), etc have all come together and contributed to what I think redefines conceptual or experimental albums. One of the best contributions to my collection, I am grateful to Kalisia.

If I could compare this with The Quantum Hack Code, I think our Indian counterpart needs to realise the competition. Amogh Symphony still has some way to go before they’d come near these French metallers.

As for cons, this album can get a tad bit too epic. There is a certain sense of relief when I pull my headphones out. They should’ve written some light music to give ear drums some peace. Quite a small issue but you’ll realise what I’m talking about once you hear this out. And the other that, since these guys came out with an album of these proportions it seems rightly a fool’s hope to expect anything just as dramatic and masterful as Cybion soon, if at all ever.

Here’s an interview that could inform you more about the band: Interview at Metalstorm. Cheers!

For sheer epical music an 9/10.

Autre Temps – Alcest

Alcest has always been the band to whom I turn when in search of beauty and tranquillity whilst in midst of utter chaos and havoc of the populace. This band has progressively graduated to being of the depressive shoegaze genre with all their music having this ethereal element in them. The new single out “Autre Temps” will not disappoint those of you who search for this very oblivion that I lust for.

The new single is from their third record, due to be released on the 6th of January by Prophecy Productions. “Autre Temps” plays on and on, gets under your skin, seeps deep inside. Neige has done a brilliant work of mixing vocals and instruments. His talent and influence is so easily reflected in the song itself. The sublime beat and the sad lyrics makes one wholly aware of one’s self and yet remotely distant from anything real. For those who get it :

Une prière lointaine que porte le vent du soir

Anime les feuilles dans leur danse alanguie.

C’est le chant des vieux arbres entonné pour toi,

Pour ces bois obscurs maintenant endormis.

Sans nous attendre tant de saisons ont passé;

Les feuilles dorées s’en allant mourir à terre

Renaîtront un jour sous un ciel radieux,

Mais notre monde érodé restera le même

Et demain toi et moi serons partis.

Simplistic, it lulls around the back of your head like pleasant memory just out of grasp. Surreal.

I could not be more anxious to receive my dose of Alcest. A good promo!

à la belle étoile, Amesoeurs

With the impeding tensions regarding the end of quite a tumultuous era of my academic life, I tend to listen to a range of folky acoustic tracks. My latest find in these waters is Amesoeurs. Technically they’re not “folky acoustic” at all, but the temperament they provide is pleasing nonetheless.

Amesoeurs was a French getup and their music is categorized as being post-punk (wiki). I don’t know what that means. They’re a lot like Alcest (another French group) and their music is quite interesting. I have their only album (Self-titled) which has mix good ambient moods and groovy riffs.

The album kicks off with an instrumental “Gas in Veins” followed by another fifty minutes of atmospheric riffage and the beguiling voice of Audrey Sylvain (clean) and Neige (harsh). (I preferred the former) The beguilement could also be resulting from the French, a language known to beguile. Either way, it is a beautiful mix of elements which have contributed to making one of the better albums that I have come across in the past few months.

The album is characteristic with the feature of being so subliminal due to the similar tones used, excessive merging of layers and basic chord structures. Lyrics blend in well with the colour of the entire album.

Tracks like “Faux Semblants” and “Les Ruches Malades” quite literally liven the mood up with their quick step beats and empyreal music (structure wise), but then one actually delves into what she sings and one realises one’s own naivety and the entire paradoxical scenario that was forged for the listener. The first half of the album is quite an adventure; the second half begins with “I XIII V XIX XV V XXI XVIII XIX – IX XIX – IV V I IV” which is this straight out black metal track, something out of a commercial Scandinavian band. It stands out like an off-note in an opera. And yet the rude awakening to reality is just as brutal as reality itself, quite fitting. “Video Girl” plunges one back into the familiar vertigo.

This album has shown every aspect of this band and its diversity. It was a sad day when Amesoeurs split, for they had just about everything right.

This album gets an easy 8.5/10 from me.


Unsung Out!

Insomnium have released a new track from their upcoming album One For Sorrow. This track, Unsung has quite much raised my expectations from this album. It is available for download for free for those who are registered to their newsletter, so sign up RIGHT NOW! Maybe it’s on torrents but this way is legit :D. Nearly five and a half minutes long, it is pure bliss.

About the track, an overall fast paced and intense song. I love the strength with which this song starts and the way with which it continues is amazing. It is so refreshing to hear a new Insomnium track, even though Weather the Storm was quite recent too.

Something that struck me was the firstly the lack of the typical acoustic element in a majority of their songs. The songs just entered into a heavy melodic riff with Niilo Sevanen’s vocals just blending in with the soundscape (one of the few bands that have pulled that off successfully). No fancy acoustic guitar of atmospheric keywork. Secondly, this clean vocals section that pops in somewhere in the middle (3.30, i checked). I still don’t know whether I like that. But yes, It does not hinder the fact that this song is amazing trailer to whats eems like another epic album.

\m/ Insomnium!

Register here : http://www.insomnium.net/




Rain Without End. Like a wave.

I was in the mood for some slow/sludge/doom like genre today. And October Tide is the best remedy for this sudden obsession. It was sad that the band did not continue for long (I have heard it is reformed with a new line up, but I haven’t really checked, so) otherwise this band has the potential to put me in a beautiful state of monotone, I love it.

So here is reviewed their first album Rain Without End. The brainchild of Jonas Renkse, the famous persona from Katatonia and member of the Bloodbath super group, this band showcases exactly how diverse one man could be. The soundscape of this album is a million shades depressing than Katatonia and more than just a tad less extreme than Bloodbath. A very audible bass line with acoustic tones supplement to the effort of the creation of this state of nothingness. A nice lightheaded buzz is retained, probably an echo of the patch used in a majority of the tracks.

The vocals have a quality of being dead depressing and hollow, like the voice out of the depths of an ancient oak. Not overly exerted, not too stretched, just the right amount of it to keep you interested and buzzed. A slight monotony makes this album, something I thought was not possible.

The guitars and the bass envelop the drum’s fickle rhythm pattern, creating the ultimate soundscape. Unpredictable, clear and an audible bass line did it for me. As I write Sightless’s mind blowing intro struck me, so different from its precedent. And now it has come back to its frequency, a shift in soundscapes so smooth and yet so strikingly different amazes and impresses me.

I had always considered Die Verbannten Kinder Evas as the kinds that I would consider Doom but this album has opened a whole new wave of music that I could listen to when I require nothing more than a doobie and solitude.

One can see that Katatonia could be heading this way, specially due to some familiar sounds in tracks likeLosing Tomorrow and others. This albums is a like watching a certain scat viral video, it takes time to build up, all nice and mellow, but when it does hit, it leaves a lasting impression.

This album is a beautiful production and I’m looking forward to reviewing their more recent works. Let’s hope they indeed have reformed, because I won’t give Rain Without End a score less than 8/10.

Don’t judge it’s title. New Moon it is.

So this band popped up on my music recommendations list on last.fm. Judging on its similarities to Insomnium and Ghost Brigade (according to the site), I decided I’d give it a try. I acquired their latest album (not so late), New Moon, 2009. The title got me thinking of vampires and bad actors, I don’t know, I must have had some bad dream :D. A little background research on the band made me realise it’s been in the circles for a fairly long time with quite a strong fan base. Anyhow I started my day with “These Woods Breathe Evil” (coincidence? I was hoping at that time not :D).

Having heard the album in its entirety and having heard this band for the first time I could very easily relate to the not-so-happy-about-this-band crowd. The album has all the makings of successful studio hit and yet it lacked the punch during its intro as well as the outro, nothing that would’ve left me still grooving to the beat I heard or air drumming like a nut. No, it clearly did not leave me wanting to hear more. I sense that this is one of those grow-on-you types of album. Cutting things short, if you’ve been a fan, you’ll like them because you do. One could relate this to Amon Amarth’s Surtur Rising. Yet there are instances where this album does prove itself to be far more progressive and occult than Surtur. One’s who never liked this band have no reason to start liking it again. As for someone who’s looking for something new read on.

The music itself was quite refreshing, seeing as I have been indulging in a lot of jazz recently. The tracks are well layered, the song-writing highly impressive. It was not like what I was thought it’d be, a fancy catchy riff with vocals merging into the backdrop of the soundscape created by the guitars.

No these vocals were good. Some of the clean parts had very striking resemblance to Katatonia’s Night is the New Day. Dashes of death riffs with keys  interlacing created quite an doom-like atmosphere. And then there are tracks that really reflect their Finnish roots (metal-wise), good old blackened death riffs with deep growls. Contrary to this sombre image, there are places where Mikko takes clean vocals with acoustic backing showcasing the mastery of minimalism that is so distinctive of doom metal.

I would also further go on to say that this album seems progressive in a lot of places, something towards which I’m highly biased to. Had they only composed this one bombastic intro or this orphic end to the album, I would’ve most probably be raving about this album. I’d be looking forward to something new from them nonetheless.

For shitty extremes a 6/10.


Blood Magic and Necromancy at it’s best! Belphegor people! \m/

Blood Magick Necromance has got to be one of the finest works I’ve heard coming from the entire black metal brutality/ambience category this year. I never rated Belphegor in my top bands no matter what they released. I never went beyond “It’s ok” whenever asked for an opinion. But man have they impressed me with this album.

Black metal the way it should be with hints of a baseline melody dressed in blast beats and aural orchestration, Blood Magick Necromance is just the kind of album you should listen and bow down to. The first track is a breath of fresh air (well not literally but you get the point), blast beats already setting in that backdrop of carnage. This track’s intro itself got me rethinking my prejudice against this band.

Subsequent tracks are only substantiation to this prognostication of mine. Well produced, layered and crafted with the experience and know-how, the album is just plain awesome. Rise to Fall and Fall to Rise and Sado Messiah would be my favourites with most of the other tracks not far behind. Why the hell could this skill not be reflected in their earlier productions? They have portrayed the potency that could easily get them the recognition that they lacked. (or maybe they didn’t, either way this is the better of productions till now)

A minute or two into the Rise to Fall…  and you would realise exactly how well-crafted this track is. Layers or typical Belphegor-esque riffs meshed with rhythmic powerful beats make up most of this album. I sit in awe thinking about how these guys managed to pull this album off so well with what I felt are minor changes to their soundscapes. What I do notice halfway through Angeli Mortis De Profundis is this is not one of those album with solid album selling tracks and otherwise trashy mixes and productions filling the spaces. No fucking way! Impaled Upon the Tongue of Sathan got me back on my feet, raw blackened energy splitting my speakers in two.

One more aspect that I love about this album is the way it has successfully blended true forms of both black and death, with all the brutality and iniquity and yet have these pieces of mellow pieces. However odd it may sound, the melodic opuses weave the tracks magnificently, taking this entire experience to a higher more potent state of beguilement. Considering the big names these guys compete against ( Behemoth, Necrophobic,Gorgoroth), they’ve set quite a bar. And one that challenges the current trends followed by these bands as well as upcoming black metallers (European and Indian alike).

This album has been on a loop in my library for the past week, while the much raved about “Consider This” and a brand new find “Mahayuga” have been sitting idle. Belphegor finally got their place in my playlist. I could only recommend this album strongly. GET IT!

I can’t think of one negation for this album and yet my ego refuses a straight ten.

8.5/10 ought to keep the masses happy.



Amorphis’s Beginning of Times

Amorphis comes under the category of one of those bands which sound just a powerful on stage and equally soothing on pair of earphones midway a long journey. So I happened to learn while listening to this album recently. After doing my bit of research and reading many other views on The Beginning of Times, I listed my sets of pro and cons.

Firstly, this album is a continuation on the story that the Skyforger started. The production sounds very similar and that would be a good thing, seeing the popularity that album got. Considered as one of their best ventures, Skyforger had music both melodic as well as potent. It was the peak of Amorphis’s transition from their more folk-esque/death sound to a more progressive melo tracks. This album I feel has done no more to contribute to that transition. With this album I believe we have reached the soundscape that Amorphis would operate and experiment with (tiny bits with the latter).

Shades of their former musical preferences are visible with the work on the keyboards. Vocals are beautiful when clean and the growls though unexpected, are welcome still. They are at just the right temperature with the setting of the songs. I wouldn’t comment on other parts of the production majorly because of their similarity with Skyforger.

Another aspect that really strikes a listener is the sheer number of tracks. 13 tracks, laid out well and in an order which almost makes this album gapless. Only if I am actually listening to the tracks individually (analysis mode :D), am I capable of differentiating. Else they beguile me, leave me in this state of perpetual day dreams involving distant wars and hymns that being sung about them (most Nordic bands of this genre leave this essence in me).

What I did not like about this album was not its lack of progress, for even though I am a fan of their earlier ventures I do like what the band has grown into. No, what this album lacked was that potency and that thrill. It does grow on you, but man does that take a long time. Thankfully, their music is awing enough for me to listen to over and over again; else I generally leave albums like these in my library, there for me to discover them later.

I was impressed but not to the point which was being so hyped about on the internet, hence for slight disappointment there I would give this album a 7/10.


Trippy Metal! Infernal Wrath’s Inside of Me.

Infernal Wrath is Mumbai based band. This fact alone makes me regret the fact that I’m not from that city. This band blew me away with its amazingly ethnic and naturally extreme soundscape.

“Inside of Me” is a treat to listen to, in one go. So many textures and so many variations in the span of about an hour, this album is what I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. When I say that, I mean the sound, the nature of this album. Being publically advertised as influenced by Indian Classical and World music, this band has done justice to bringing that sound immaculately into this production.

This album has all the elements of this grind meets black genre, but then it is sprinkled with stilted yet unexpected classical signatures with instruments ranging from the sitar to the cello (or at least that’s what it sounds like in The Swordbearer). This Forever Lasting Journey surprised me with a piano solo of the kinds of current trends of New Age artists. I definitely did not anticipate this, knowing full well that this is was self-proclaimed experimental undertaking.   Not highly intricate or of multiple layers but quite the atmosphere creator.

I’d say this album deserves the shelf of those who like a trip and do not just stick to Dubstep or Floyd while enjoying that buzz. I would’ve love to proclaim it as inspired by Indian culture, but I guess we’re not there yet. But this album and this band definitely has made quite a leap down that particular road. Up-coming bands should take a leaf out of Wrath’s book and see how well classical could gel with Scandinavian extremes.

Having said enough about the production and its diversity and concentrating more on the efforts by the band members, I’ll say it’s a decent job done. Work done on the keys was layered and the sampler used efficiently and quite successfully maintained the ethereal feel in the album. The riffage is memorable with my favourite being Inside of Me and Behold Ezekiel. Drums were actually overshadowed with the shear variety portrayed here.

Vocals I did not like, at least not while it was being delivered in the guttural manner typical of earlier death metal artists. It was too heavy for the patches used and quite the ambience-killer. But here too was an exception, were it was spot on in the track At the Foothills of Palestine.

I found this album quite a welcome change and for a debut album of this sorts, this band is what you need to keep a track of.



Be’lakor- Stone’s Reach

One of the few good productions from Australia that I’ve come across, Stone’s Reach is Be’lakor’s second attempt at getting the whole melodeath sound. And in a way they have succeeded.

For a guy who would’ve started out with the likes of Insomnium and Amon Amarth, this album would definitely be a treat. This album has all the elements of good melodic death-esque music, everything but the publicity. I came across this band at some random forum and was shocked that they aren’t big, because they have the patterns and the styles typical of commercial bands.

Not underground material definitely. But then again, band of this genre are more often than not dead before they start, unless they hit the jackpot with some big label. Currently they are signed with Kolony Records.

About the album itself, I can easily sum it up as similar to the last two Insomnium albums, production wise. Vocals

are quite similar, and the tones and patches used are deeper but the general sketches of the tracks are identical. Except that this band likes to create an atmosphere with the occasional pauses and then ascending into the choruses or verses. But then again it is equally powerful and catchy.

This production would also fall into the category of those that grow on you. The first time I got my hands on it, my reaction was kind of like what I have said earlier, rip off, nothing different. But then somehow I kept reverting back to it. Now “From Scythe to Sceptre” refuses leave my head. Brilliantly laid out tracks and soothing enough and yet with such varying soundscapes. It wouldn’t let you fall in to reverie without a clue as to when the album began and when it ended. Riffs you would remember and beats that stick, this album is thankfully not retrograded unlike most of the new material that is coming out (and possibly responsible for the slow demise of this genre). The unseen pro of not having a big label hold you up possibly. Either way for a melodic death fanatic, this album is definitely worth it. For those who aren’t too enthusiastic check them out here and realise what this genre is about.

Their previous album “The Frail Tide” was a rawer production, would talk about that one sometime later.

As for this album a 7/10 would be apt.


Eryn Non Dae. – Hydra Lernaia [2009]

The latest band to grace djent compendium are the French Eryn Non Dae. I started with the likes of Meshuggah and they to me seemed like zenith to which most of band of this genre tried to reach. Excruciatingly powerful and the queerest of signatures made me want to rethink my obsession with classic progressive metal of the likes of Opeth as my favorites. Eryn Non Dae. makes me think again, again.

As per its mythological definition – the mythical nine-headed serpent, slain by Hercules, that grew two heads in place of each one that was cut off, unless the wound was cauterized – Hydra Lernaia explores nine human feelings as many-sided problems that present new difficulties each time one aspect of them seems to be solved or overcome. Each song is a feeling; each feeling is an incurable disease that tortures the heart of man.

I got introduced to this band via The Djent-Lemens Club, a group on Facebook, so Thank you!

One thing about this music is the complexity of getting the vocals right, especially when the production of most of the albums is very raw and very potent and savage. It being one of the newest of the genres to be explored, many bands have tried numerous variations, with gutturals, shrieks and even clean female goth vocals (Mask of Judas). Of them I found Periphery and Hydrojent/Skyharbour (Indian!) top notch. Till now. Vocals, done by Nogues Mathieu backed by Quintin, sound heinous and are apt for this production. This debut album is an hour long assault and leaving the listener begging for more. I heard the album twice over and Obzen once before I couldn’t any more. Bliss.

Hydra Lernaia is a beautiful production, honest. The instruments have been handled so perfectly that there is almost no scope for me to suggest tweaks. The refined signature patterns along with the arithmetical beats really gelled well and helped create this diabolical atmosphere. The Decline and the Fall and Lam Tsol Oua effectively use patches of hanging notes and silence to give this ethereal feel of brooding iniquity, something quite unique to this sub-genre of music.

For any guy out there with a thing for seven stringed blasphemies, this is it. Through Dark Skies, Existence Asleep (video below), Echoes Of Distress would rank amongst my favorites. Pure is this 11 minute track which I swear would transport you to a different dimension all together, minus the prerequisite trip. This mystic underlying rhythm in the entire song would continue to echo long after the track is over and done with.

But, after having given justice to this album, I would still point out a few things that I think END could add. Firstly make the drums prominent. The skill portrayed in this album is phenomenal and yet the drums are not the first thing that hit me. They should be loud, bombastic and unrelenting which this album lacks. Secondly, a couple of the tracks sound similar, so after the initial boost, no riff or melody sticks to you. There is no hangover after a dosage of this album. The album would’ve been more impressive with a fewer tracks, showcases their skill cent percent.

Nonetheless, for a debut this is one of the best albums I have heard so far and I’m eager to see what this band grows into. Love to see them tour India sometime.

A well-earned 8.5/10.

Cheers! Check the track out :