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Reviews | International Tue, 28 Mar 2017 15:50:17 +0000 en-gb Born Of Osiris-Tomorrow We Die ∆live∆live.html∆live.html Born Of Osiris-Tomorrow We Die ∆live

When I first heard that Born Of Osiris was about to emerge from the studios with a fresh batch of tracks, the first thought that occurred to me was, if this album was going to be “The Discovery 2.0” or were they going back to same pattern they followed on “A Higher Place”. Owing to the much gossiped about departure of their colleague on the previous album, guitarist Jason Richardson, there was much speculation behind the direction the band would opt for. Safe to say, much of that had been allayed with the release of the 2 singles from the album, the first to tracks "M∆chine" and “Divergency”.


“Tomorrow We Die ∆live” comes as the 4th offering from Chicago based Prog Deathcore giants, Born of Osiris.. First thing first, those who prefer their metal sans any studio effects or anything that does not strictly fall under orthodox Heavy Metal sounds would be best seeking their share of headbangs elsewhere; for those who are game for down-tuned riffage peppered with a plethora of apocalyptic keyboard work, would be more than at home. Starting the album with the much publicised single "M∆chine", the band gives us a gist of what to expect from the album thereon. “M∆chine” is an anthem of sorts with the instruments picking up the tempo to a point where it blows up into frenzied action. Soon enough the band vies for attention at all fronts, especially Cameron Losch’s footwork and more importantly Joe Buras’ keyboard which forms a crucial part of the blueprint to any BoO number. “Divergency” picks off where “M∆chine” ended to embark on more apocalyptic, doomy keyboard soaked action. The track dances around the album title as the chorus, ending in a mish-mash of Dubstep inspired cacophony. By now, most listeners would be aware of the potential Lee Mckinney is wielding to balance a 2-men job on his own shoulder and I give him much credit with the finesse with which he pulls off his task. 4th track “Exhilarate” is a good example of how much the band has become accessible over time. It’s hard to zero in on what, but the band has somehow re-invented their approach to the same instruments that they played on the previous album and have engineered something much more enjoyable. “Absolution” highlights another new aspect of the band; Buras’ cleans. Something that we enjoyed sparingly so far, Buras’s snarly cleans add a different dimension to the vocal segment, which makes the chorus all the more catchy. Another interesting addition would be a Middle-Eastern sound tinge; prevalent throughout the album, but now in hindsight I believe it was never unheard on a BoO album before this. “Illusionist” begins in typical BoO fashion till Lee Mckinney unleashes a simple yet mesmerizing sweep to state business. What sounds most remarkable would be the bizarre duet that McKinney’s guitar layers do with the haunting keyboard.


I have usually come to associate Born of Osiris to be the soundtrack to my endless hours of Devil May Cry sword-slashing so the eloquent, diverse and melodic synth-work that Buras has in his kitty are something of a brownie point for me. Albeit every band matures with every album it releases, but to make the most of with the tools at hand is something a few are able to apply. BoO would be one of the rare bands who have coped with the immense scrutiny and anticipation they garnered with the release of their previous album and have come up with an equally promising follow up. Make no mistake, composition-wise the band is formulaic as ever: Cannizaro’s gutturals complemented by Buras’ screeches sync perfectly over the keyboard driven anthems; Lee Mckinney is yet to disappoint fans; also, the one to watch out for on this record would be the man behind the drum-kit, Cameron Losch. Consistent throughout, the album, Losch does not go out of the way to illustrate technicality, but impresses upon the listener with the sheer brute force with which he skin-slams through one track after another. Given the limited few times I have replayed the album, Losch, in my opinion did his best on “Divergency”, especially with the bridge section.


The easily negligible flaw one can point a finger at would be the lack of flow between the tracks, which poses a hindrance only after the first few spins, making it hard to differentiate between a track and the next, but that is essentially nit-picking and not big enough to  belabour the band’s  best efforts. I would be more worried about the cookie cutter bands that rip off BoO by the dozen but are essentially generic EDM sprinkled Post-Hardcore at the best. The crucial factor one should keep in mind while listening to the album is to stop comparing it with any of their previous works, and by previous works, I mean their last release “The Discovery”. The prime reason behind this would be the shortening of their ranks. “Tomorrow We Die ∆live” strikes the perfect balance between melody and aggression and all the elements in between to offer up a melting pot of various influences. I suppose, the variation between the new BoO album and the previous would be equivalent to the variation between Lamb of God’s “Sacrament” and “Wrath”. This is as “modern” as Modern Metal gets. 


Pros: Accessible, catchy.


Cons: Formulaic composition.

]]> (Arkadeep Deb) Reviews Thu, 22 Aug 2013 12:43:51 +0000
30 Seconds To Mars-Love Lust Faith+Dreams 30 Seconds To Mars-Love Lust Faith+Dreams

“Love Lust Faith + Dreams” is a concept album, that has been split into 4 segments, Love, Lust, Faith, and Dreams, with an unknown female voice declaring the start to every segment. Love comprises of “Birth” and “Conquistador”, Lust features “Up In The Air”, “City Of Angels”, “The Race”, “End Of All Days”, Faith runs from “Pyres of Varanasi” till “Do or Die”, and last of all stands Dreams with “Convergence”, “Northern Lights”, and “Depuis Le Début”. Spanning over 45 odd minutes, the album’s choral sounds were captured by an ensemble of 25 or so audiences who had gathered for “The Summit”, a convention where fans gather to contribute for the choral parts, a routine which was followed on the previous record “This is War”. This time however the numbers were played down by almost a couple of hundred people. “Up in the Air”, the first single from the album was shared with NASA for the Dragon Spacecraft program, for the crew’s entertainment, making it the first piece of commercial music to be made available in space.


Jared Leto, the artist with a sea of talent and imagination in his closet, takes the rein on “Love Lust Faith+ Dreams” from the word go, and how. The lyrics are poignant, doused in all things humane, reflecting much of Leto’s social efforts and persona. 30STM have ditched the Industrial influenced Alternative Rock/Metal sound prevalent in the debut and sophomore records and shifted permanent base to the comfort zone of piano/keyboard driven ballads, with minimalistic Guitars. There are plenty of hooks and memorable moments to grant the album more than a few handful of spins (assuming you are an open-minded listener, irrespective of whether you are an old fan or new). While all these grandiose elements are effective enough to help the record climb the charts steadily, the overall sound should feel a bit forced after a while. The amalgamation of all things good and pure, coloured and cultural that audio-evangelist Leto has tried to incorporate into his album are bound to give most fans a soothing experience, some are bound to miss the epicness of erstwhile hits such as the “The Kill”, “Beautiful Lie” and the likes. Maybe the global peace project should have behoved from compositions in the lines of “Buddha for Mary” and “(This is) The Story” too, something to chew away the ironical traces of monotony. Having said that, it would be a mistake to brand the album as a superficial shot at pricking new ears; “Love Lust Faith + Dreams” is a solid, stadium/arena Rock record that holds its own and should sit well with anyone who has been a fan their last record.


It is amusing how people expect so many unrealistic offerings from the musicians they love. As I recall a peer from the music circle mentioning the other day, most artists survive a phase and then they live as a shadow of their former selves; this is because the fans who would have carved the former’s logo on themselves only a few days ago, jeer at the same artists if they try on a new mould and brand them as sell-outs, or crucify the artist if they keep tinkering with the same old sounds,  basically belabour the artist for what is a self-discovery every musician makes at one point of time.


Roughly put, 30STM has achieved what Linkin Park tried to do but failed on more occasions than not, what bands like Red have always did and succeeded only marginally- To grow out of the cocoon and be accepted for what it has set out to accomplish and HAS accomplished so far. The transition has not been achieved over night, nor is it selling out. They grew as musicians, period. Thirty Seconds to Mars does not, anymore, sound like a juvenile band with angsty reasons to produce captivating sounds; Thirty Seconds to Mars has outgrown itself, evolved, in a broader aspect of lyrical concepts, philosophy and of course, sound.


Pros: Experimental, unorthodox.

Cons: Too mellow at parts.

]]> (Arkadeep Deb) Reviews Mon, 20 May 2013 12:59:14 +0000
Auras-Panacea Auras-Panacea


Four-piece outfit Auras, hailing from Ontario, Canada caught my attention on an online music promotion site first. Thanks to the multitude of Djent-core bands out there, with their love for nomenclature in plurals and inserting hitherto unknown number of breakdowns layered with electronic clickety- click and ambient wankery, more often than not I dismiss most of this bands. Discovering Auras was a gut-shot to that ignorance. A little research revealed that Auras have been around for a while now and is one of those bands who do not rely solely on palm muted riffing to win over fans. January witnessed the release of their debut EP which comprises of singles released over the last couple of years and more. Auras is Josh Ligaya - Guitar/Vocals; Nathan Bulla - Drums; Aaron Hallman – Guitar; Eric Almeida – Vocals.

“Emerge” opens the EP which spans over 7 tracks clocking at roughly 22 minutes. “Sciolitst” gives you the gist of what to expect from the quartet- Serious technicality and no-nonsense compositions, Chockfull of groove and polymeric guitar melodies complemented by in your face death-growls and exceptional drumming. Eric Almeida packs some of the heaviest growls I have heard recently. “Aporia” boasts of an enchanting solo that paves the path for Almeida to strike when the listener’s off guard. Hard to believe such brutality and intricate melody exists as one. “Chimerical” a personal favourite of the EP, is perhaps the best example of the bands talent; past the 3 minute mark the track reaches surreal heights of moshworthy grooviness and melodic feel good vibes. “Susurrus” paints a beautiful picture with its gentle drumming and clean guitar tones. Clearly this is one outfit that has some sense of direction and variety. “Cascade” is as detailed as they come; Drummer Nathan Bulla shines behind the kit and does so with style and dexterity.. Title track and EP closer “Panacea” features The Afterimage’s Kyle Anderson in the guest spot. This track should gain a lot of replays be it old fans or new: Everyone likes their faces to be melted off by some brutal skin slamming and chugging riffage. Make no mistake the track has its melodic moments as well, rounding it off on all fronts signature Auras.

“Panacea” bears unmistakable signs of stereotypes that plague the genre and cannot be touted as completely flawless, but that much is understandable given how nascent they are.  However, Auras have much credibility to their name given the finesse with which they have cut the EP; something very rarely seen in the over-produced albums churned these days. “Panacea” is available on iTunes and the Bandcamp.

Pros: Extremely groove laden, steady flow between tracks, fresh.

Cons: Overdoes some of the Djent meets Core elements.

For Fans Of: Elitist, Volumes, Scamp.


]]> (Arkadeep Deb) Reviews Wed, 06 Mar 2013 10:57:33 +0000
Puscifer-Donkey Punch The Night(E.P) Puscifer-Donkey Punch The Night(E.P)


Things had been dead silent in Camp Keenan for a while now, on all fronts. Even Keenan was not sure if there was going to be a Keenan album, by the end of 2013. And then low and behold the farcically conceptualized outfit that is Puscifer drops a not so farcical EP on us, the sixth record in its kitty since the band’s inception six years back. 

“Donkey Punch...” features more or less the same collective as the previous release, “Conditions of My Parole”, which include Keenan on vocals, Carina Round on vocals and guitar, Mat Mitchell on bass, guitar and programming, Juliette Commagere on additional vocals, Josh Eustis on guitar and piano, Matt McJunkins on bass, and Jeff Friedl on drums and percussion. Musicians Zac Rae (on piano), Josh Morreau (on bass) and Claire Acey (on vocals) fulfil guest spots on the EP.

“Donkey Punch...” kicks off with a glorious cover of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”, nailing a near-perfect rendition that does justice to the original. Puscifer remains very much faithful to the original with slight alterations in the vocal melodies, which suit Keenan’s unique voice which brings makes the cover all the more fruitful. The track is out of place, tonally, given the rest of the tracks, but that matters little given the gravity of the achievement. Got to give credit to a band that carries on then tomfoolery while making sure the music is as no-nonsense as its older siblings in Tool and A Perfect Circle. “Breathe” is as “V for Vagina” as “Donkey Punch...” gets: Soaked in fuzzy keyboard vibes and bass heavy sound textures, the 2nd track on the EP paints a lush haunting picture, which rumour suggests, has something to do with Maynard’s tryst with the Arizona desertland. Essentially a duet between Maynard James and Carina Round, “Breathe” echoes long through the consciousness like a alien love ballad fading in and out of the air around Area 51. Maynard’s vocals snake in and out of play-time in the form of multiple-layer. In “Dear Brother” which nosedives into a complete different direction with its funk-driven guitar and drum-work, Maynard gets bluesy. The EP borrows its title from a recurring line in this track. As is with most of Maynard’s lyrical dexterity, the underlying meaning is lost in ambiguity. Carina Round satisfies with sensuously rounding off Maynard’s efforts. “Balls To The Wall (Pillow Fight Mix)” is a cover of Accept’s critically acclaimed track. First of all, it is very difficult to infer whether the band was covering this track as an act of jest or in all seriousness, but it achieves  something that would leave most of Accept’s fans sitting there with a dumbfound expression until they either bravely confess to being impressed or walk off cussing. Either way, the cover is everything the original was not, and not in a bad way. The outcome is very much industrial and synthetic, in the same flavour as a Depeche Mode composition. All four tracks are remixed and added to cater to those who like their Maynard extra fuzzed up. The original composition “Breathe” is worked upon by Drumcell and the remix sits in the track-list as the 5th track- Chaotic and drone-ish, but that’s about it. It keeps on giving the impression that it’s building up for something big and dramatic but wait! There is more fuzzier electronica waiting at the end. Acting like an unnecessary filler, this is the only let-down in the 9-track long EP and fails the original we heard a couple of tracks ago. “Dear Brother” is “re-worked” by Denton and boasts of the direction that the previous track lacked. Perhaps it was a wise move to make the track 30 seconds shorter than the original. The Accept cover-remix or the Silent Servant El Guapo Mix on the other hand is quite interesting to the ear. The absence of vocals gives the feel of a chilling post-apocalyptic machine-dominated era in the background. The final track is the remix of the Queen cover and it comes as a little surprise that the composition has the collective trading the grey area between Industrial and Post-rock. The result is quite soothing, after the assault of electronic glitches and what not. Vocal work is minimal to negligible. 

As far as Puscifer’s nomenclature for track-titling goes they clearly follow an in- your- face “Fuck you and your sensibility” policy; In all possibility Maynard may have taken a leaf from the nomenclature of fast food subs; don’t get what I mean? Check the title length of the Accept cover-remix- See, Accept cover-remix is funny in itself. This attribute is not only restricted to track titles, but also the rest of the album, meaning that they follow the ballsiest ideas out there on the table, that somehow did not find their place on the Tool album, which is not to say that Puscifer’s discography is made up of rejected tracks from the Tool album blueprints and B-Sides. Ergo, Puscifer left little to our understanding as to how or why they captured such a wide plethora of sound textures, with the resultant nothing less than extraordinary and thought-provoking. The listener is given a free pass to either enjoy the stark-raving madness that is “Donkey Punch the Night” or sit and try figure out the thinking process behind the album, which is equivalent to picking a scab in the hope that you remember how you got the wound in the first place. WIN eitherway.


Pros: Intelligent, challenging to ears. Definitely a Puscifer EP.

Cons: Losing your mind by the time you’re done spinning the album for the day.



]]> (Arkadeep Deb) Reviews Wed, 06 Mar 2013 04:44:19 +0000
Preludium-Impending Hostility Preludium-Impending Hostility

When England has Bolt Thrower and Netherlands has Hail Of Bullets, Poland got it's Preludium. Crying aloud war all the way through their new album, 'Impending Hostility'. Damaging the nation's peace, all the way from Poland, here is their hostile album for you,war black/death metal served right. I've recently got the copy of this album and I would be glad to say that I'm definitely not disappointed but way happy with the release.

The album starts with 'Legacy Of Destinations', with a slow intro of marching beats, which would bring out the warmaster out in you, when the song starts with a bang. The vocals are very monstrous and this song would definitely be one of my favorite songs from the album. Constant barrage of blastbeats and good riffing would definitely devastate your way. The next three songs 'Realm Of Void', 'Desolation' and 'Hostile Area' starts with a hammer plunging on your head. Definitely deepens their warcraft. With a nice solo in the song 'Hostile Area', they certainly show the right way to mix soothe with the aggression. 'Bitter Cold' starts with a siren and moves onto their usual bestial attack. This song would be another of them songs which would be my favorites. It's slow, not fast-paced like other songs, done the right Bolt Thrower way. I loved this song, as I would be a big fan of Bolt Thrower and mid-paced death metal. This song brings out an unsaid feeling aggression. The next two songs, 'Blessing Of War' and 'Death Campaign', actually blesses you with one, as they again leaps from a comparatively slower previous song to a pulverizing fast war cry. 'Execution' would be yet another song that has a very good mixture of slow and massively fast tempo. A song perfectly done. The album seals it's monstrosity with 'Warfare', yet another song that would comparatively song, and definitely my favorite song of the album and an instrumental. All said and done, the album actually comes to an end.

This thirty-one minute of war leaves me absolutely destroyed and and close their extravaganza with drum rolls. One small point, according to me would be a tiny bit of monotony at some bits, but then when you're hearing the album for the first time, and you're pleasantly surprised with the sudden slow-paced songs, you know monotony rolls down the drain. There's a constant barrage of hammering drums, heavy riffing and good bass and definitely very strong vocals. I loved the vocals, personally, but surely vocalist couldn't do his part without all his warriors. Doing their part in this fight, they recorded a very powerful album coupling with definite strong parts. Well done, Preludium. You've definitely done enough to conquer listener's mind.

]]> (Rupsa Das) Reviews Tue, 26 Feb 2013 00:00:00 +0000
Circle Of Contempt-Entwine The Threads(E.P) Circle Of Contempt-Entwine The Threads(E.P)


Following weeks of hype and speculation Finnish Tech Metal crew “Circle Of Contempt”, have finally released their 3rd record “Entwine The Threads EP”. Circle of Contempt have undergone a crucial line-up change, and now possess vocalist Denis Hautaniemi in place of former vocalist Riku Haivisto who had been on the debut full-length “Artifacts In Motion”. They have also incorporated Ville Patrikainen as their new member. The Axe-wielding duo of Risto-Matti Toivonen and Ville Patrikainen and beastly skin-slammer JP Kaukonen has reprised their roles as the founding members.

With “Artifacts In Motion”, Circle Of Contempt had cemented the fact that they were leagues ahead of their contemporaries, with their Godly chops in their respective roles and vivid and air-tight, sound musicality to back it up. Ungodly riffing at break-neck tempos on string, earth-shattering vocals and unforgiving drum work, glitchy effects and hauntingly melodic soundscapes built from atmospheric wizardry marked C.O.C.’s sound. “Entwine The Threads E.P.” sees the 5-piece tighten up their sound notches higher, if that is even humanely possible given the near-immaculate execution on the full-length. The title track pretty much gives you the gist of what is to come. The production leaves plenty room for all the instruments to stand out from each other. Denis Hautaniemi’s deep gutturals are anointed by gentle piano notes here and there. Interesting thing to note is that the piano plays a respectable part in the song-writing process. Good to see a certain flow between the tracks when the 1st track ends and the 2nd track begins on the same melodic hint. A fair amount of electronica is prevalent too. At this point, it would be redundant to mention that no such thing as monotony exists within the album. All the tracks stand out from each other thanks to intuitive song-structuring. If partiality is to be voiced “Perceive The Mendacity” is the personal favourite- The plethora of sounds- the notes, the tones, the vibes, the complexity and the sharp contrast between the atmospherics and the vocals, et al. It is safe to say that this shall be the benchmark to judge all things C.O.C. henceforth.

“Entwine The Threads E.P.” deserves every bit of attention it captured from the hype it generated over the last few weeks. Picture yourself kneeling in chest-deep water, with your eyes closed in anticipation of those ominous waves crashing against you; in case you are a little short on imagination, just wait for the outro to “Perceive The Mendacity” to come up- Surrealism Achieved. E.P.’s are not exactly a personal favourite, because most Artist ruin the entire feel, in an effort to cram everything they can within a few tracks; on the other hand, there are a few times when an E.P. comes out that hits the spot, perfectly. With precious little to crib about, C.O.C. rival the likes of veteran fellow Prog Jedis, Between The Buried And Me’s latest release The Parallax II which itself had three tracks that packed more punch than most of the generic records that (Pseudo-)Prog Metal outfits churn out these days. Simply put, the quality predicates the quantity.

When the news of the Sami Ratikainen (Necrophagist) taking care of the studio work for the record had been initially circulated, it became quite obvious that the sound would be nothing short of spectacular, polished in every hinge. Evidently Sami had left no stone unturned to produce one of the best E.P.’s of the year, leaving little room for any complaints and plenty to marvel at.

Pros: Refer to the rating.

Cons: Lolwut?


]]> (Arkadeep Deb) Reviews Wed, 12 Dec 2012 03:48:36 +0000
The Advaita Concept-The Ratio(E.P) The Advaita Concept-The Ratio(E.P)


Hailing from Clermont, FL, 5-piece Prog Metalcore outfit The Advaita Concept release their 2nd record “The Ratio EP”. The Advaita Concept comprises of Steve McCorry - Lead Vocals, Karlton Tillman- Guitar/ Vocals, Alec Larson- Guitar/Production, Derik Corl- Bass, Spencer Franke-Drums.

“The Ratio” starts with the familiar number “Ontology”. “Ontology” employs clean guitar segments, Hardcore riffing, clean sung verses a la Periphery, and interspersed with mid to high range screams and gutturals. The basic song writing pattern repeats itself every now and then. However, I would be remiss to say that this leads to monotony, because the record is anything but repetitive. 2nd track “The Spaces between Spaces” sees vocalist Steve McCorry do a Spencer Sotelo, with alternating growls and cleans. The riffs get catchier by the second. A flurry of activity circulates “Constellations”. With a killer verse breakdown and catchy chorus to boot, the 3rd track makes way for more brutality as it progresses. ‘onstellations” fades away abruptly to make way for the 4th track “Ananda”. “Ananda” came as a surprise and is a personal favourite. Not sure what policies the band follow with the nomenclature for their compositions, but the relevance to the Hindu dialect make it a tad bit intimate (“Ananda” translates to “Happiness” in the Hindu scripture), and not without good reason. The cheerfully clean reverberating guitar tones and keyboard notes synch beautifully with McCorry’s hauntingly mesmerizing vocals. Faintly reminiscent of Alternative legends INXS, this is The Advaita Concept at their ballad-ish best. Stand-out track “The Awesome Song” boasts of one of the most memorable clean segments on the album, which lends a laidback vibe at the beginning and the end, rounding off the frenzied action the 5-piece evoke. Karlton Tillman packs the most ammunition, with a solo reminiscent of the Slipknot number “Psychosocial”, and Derik Corl to back him up with the rumbling from down under. Clearly the band has no issues leaving hidden cookies throughout the album- AWESOME SONG IS AWESOME. Period. One would beg the question why an abrasive harsh number like “Something Massive” is lined up right after the soothing end to “The Awesome Song”. Rest assured, the track holds a charm of its own complete with the sudden shift in dynamics from down-tuned chugging riffs to dissonant spacey segments, in the veins of Germany’s Caliban. A chameleon of sort “A World Away” begins as a another gentle number only to lead onto neck-breck Hardcore groove. Obviously this is where Spencer Franke’s contributions shine the most. It really catches your attention when a band introduces the element of humour into their music, especially in a genre like Metal where it is generally a humdrum affair. Ergo, when Steve McCorry spills the vitriol in his lyrics with “PEEP MY BALLS”, AROUND THE 2:23 mark on “Testicular Tetris”, you know this is the track you want to fast forward to, before playing the others. “Ontology Pt. 2: Searching” closes the album at a clock time of 40 minutes approximately. While the track is as good as the others, it does not sound as grand as it should have. It also suffers from tiny production glitches which render the guitar segments a bit too treblish and unclear to the ears. While the record did not have a exactly lily-white clean sheet when it came to production despite Ken Susi's best efforts, the minor glitch in the final track leaves a bad aftertaste. Nevertheless, a good effort should not be bereft of applause.

The brilliance of the record lies in the fact that The Advaita Concept do not try to step out of their comfort zone to impress the listeners with something fancy; they pack standard, bone-crushing, Metalcore, chockfull of groove with Progressive touches and atmospheric vibes to top it off. The simplistic approach makes the record very much accessible to listeners, old and new alike, such that you get the gist of it at the first spin. The production adds much value to the record- The instruments sound crisp, the lyrics audible, the atmospherics taking it a notch higher altogether. Ken Susi’s (Unearth) force is strong with this one! The band maybe heavily influenced by some of the frontrunners in the genre, but at the end of the day they strike one home with catchy, original, straightforward compositions. However, the trouble with such a record is that no matter how good it sounds on the first listen, over successive listening sessions a generic feel creeps in, given how much it stresses on the Hardcore side of it, chugs, breakdowns et al. But for the record, it would be wrong to point fingers to the Artist or the Music, for this inference. It is more of a nuance of acquired taste, than anything else. Another noteworthy fact would be the “E.P.” suffix to the album title, when the 10-track playlist clearly begs to differ. This comes as a boon, more than anything else, since “More tracks the merrier” is what most of the fans would welcome, given how the band has build up a solid repertoire. The Advaita Concept seem to be a happy band of musicians bent on churning out groove-laden Metalcore, and they do it good.

“The Ratio EP” does not really challenge the norms, but it makes for a good listen, if some pure solid Metalcore with a knack for spacey good vibes is what you are looking for.

Stand-out tracks: Ontology, Ananda, The Awesome Song, and Testicular Tetris.

For fans of: ERRA; I, the Breather, Mycelia.

Pros: Good spacey vibes; Mosh-worthy moments.

Cons: Feels somewhat generic after the first few spins.


]]> (Arkadeep Deb) Reviews Tue, 11 Dec 2012 12:33:41 +0000
The Contortionist-Intrinsic The Contortionist-Intrinsic

“Intrinsic” comes as the sophomore effort from Indianapolis based 5-man outfit, The Contortionist. The Contortionist features Jonathan Carpenter (vocals), Robby Baca (guitar), Cameron Maynard (Guitar), Joey Baca (drums), and Christopher Tilley (bass). “Intrinsic” is preceded by a debut full length, titled “Exoplanet” and 3 E.P.’s.

“Intrinsic” opens to the six and a half minute long “Holomovement”. The album opener nearly gives the listener a taste of what to expect throughout the album- Lush rich tones, scintillating lead work, memorable chord progressions, and atmospheric keyboard work, philosophical lyrics, monotonous drum-work, and mediocre bass-lines. The vocals deserve a special mention, because Jonathan Carpenter has exhibited so much potential than his counterparts from the brethren. Carpenter seems to have imposed a huge responsibility upon his shoulders given the direction the band is turning to. Nevertheless, he is yet to let down. The ambient keyboard notes, more or less present throughout the record, perform a duet with his pitch-perfect clean vocal delivery. Much credit is to be given to him for handling both the gutturals and the cleans with such élan. The entire album is constructed out of criss-crossing patterns. “Feedback Loop” opens with scathing basslines that promise a good-solid Deathcore assault, only to wade into sludgy pastures, with queer keyboard effects to top off the dissatisfaction. “Casualty” puts the band back on the track, if only for a limited period. The bridge section is beautifully painted with intricate guitar work by the duo of Robby Baca and Cameron Maynard. Clearly the two have built up their chops at an exponential rate, post-“Exoplanet”. “Sequential Vision” ruins the evanescent effect that the outro to “Casuality” has rendered the listener into, without fail. Nevertheless, the track finally allows drummer Joey Baca to have his moment. “Geocentric Confusion” comes as a breath of fresh air. With well written verses come smooth bass lines and mad drum work. The sudden shift in dynamics, from an upfront Deathcore number to spaced out guitar leads and well-articulated poetic lyrics- “Geocentric Confusion” gets it right at the first time, and stays right. Again, “Dreaming Schematics” does precious little to sustain that charm.

To state it in a single statement, “Intrinsic” lacks proper direction: Either the ambient segments are heaped together all at once, e.g. Parallel Trance, or the chugs and riffs are hoarded as one, e.g., Solipsis; past the first few tracks the album gets predictable, formulaic. While the bass-work may seem like mere syncopated handiwork, there are some sections on the album where Chris Tilley makes his presence felt, tying up that stray loose end where the complexity in the riffing patterns or the oddly positioned breakdown fails to impress. Joey Baca, fails to impress with his percussion work. Much of the time the man spent behind the drum-kit, on this album, seems to lack cohesion. It goes without mentioning that he is a musician worth his salt, just that he does not bring any surprises to the table like the rest of the members. “Cortical” is as good as the band gets. The track has a multifaceted feel to it. The laid back, atmospheric driven segments at the beginning enables the band to nail this track hard one’s mind. Reminiscent of Skyharbor in some parts, Carpenter amazes in his persistent alteration between soft, spoken, clean sung verses and guttural shrieks. The lead section in the bridge is another gem to look out for.

The band has broken out of the textbook mould followed by the dozens of Progressive Deathcore outfit. Make no mistake, there is no dearth of Deathcore elements, but it is obvious that the band has focussed much on the Progressive aspect of the song-writing process. The “Exoplanet” album in itself was a great record, setting a benchmark for the band and its sound. Surpassing that came quite easy; naturally it seems, but not completely without flaws. As a whole, the song structuring may sound a bit disoriented, which is obviously the melodic segments, the spaced out Proggy part clashing with the forced Deathcore influenced breakdowns and Technical Death inspired riifage. Ambition and skill in spades, but the lack of vision to execute it properly, is something that plagues the record- Incoherence, is the word.

This is not to persuade any fan to not indulge into the record. “Intrinsic” is a near perfect record which shall appeal to new and old listeners alike; just that the flaws become more and more visible with every time the record is spun. Considering the fact that the record had been constructed under the watchful eyes of industry-legends Jason Suecof and Eyal Levi, one would think that there would be no imperfections to chance upon. However, it is the little imperfections that make the record so much more accessible. The carefully sculpted lyrics seem to lend a helping hand in that matter, as well.. By attempting too hard to blend in all that they vouch for (Read: Too much Post Rock, and unnecessary riffs), the band has placed forth a decent Thinking Metalhead’s album, which meanders through the entire play-time, cluelessly.

Irrespective of the criticism, “Intrinsic” comes out as a personal favourite, ready to feature on the end-of-the-year- Top albums list, merely for the effort a two album old band took. Experimentations at this level are synonymous with a tried and tested war-horse like Between the Buried and Me- Perhaps “Intrinsic” may present itself as a list of DO’s and DON’TS of this genre. Then again, experimentation is an intrinsic trait for a band of The Contortionist’s nature (no pun intended, or was it?). But there needs to be a clear limit set in stone where the band must stop, lest they deviate from the path they started upon.

Pros: Mature individual structures strewn all over.
Cons: Loses flow at times; Immature over all execution.

]]> (Arkadeep Deb) Reviews Thu, 06 Dec 2012 03:43:49 +0000
Dionysus-The Hymn To The Dying (E.P) Dionysus-The Hymn To The Dying (E.P)

Here's a brilliant Death/Doom Metal outfit from our neighborland, Lahore, Pakistan. Dionysus, who recently came out with a blasting EP, "A Hymn To The Dying", released by the Salute Records, Sweden. Before the release they've released their songs online, through download, by mediafire. A twenty eight minute EP, with five songs in it, has surely left many people spell-bound, all across the world. When I first heard this band, I was blown away by their clean production, beautiful guitar riffs, soothing tunes and monstrous vocals and drums.

The EP starts off with a beautiful piece of instrumental, with such an amazing folk element in it. I hear this 2 and a half minute instrumental for ten times a day. With such soothing riffs and changing tones of guitar coupled with an ambiance to hallucinate, this song certainly gives the listener heaps of expectations, which surely have been fulfilled later in the album as well. The second track and my favorite track from the album is The Valor of the phoenix. The soul-ripping scream in the beginning , proceeding with some intense riffs certainly takes this song to a different level. The variations in this nine minute song is massive. The listener would never get bored of this long doom song, rather at the end of the song, they would be craving for more. Burial ground, the next song, is a song with the perfect doom elements, and also my second favorite song from the album. It creates a very heavy atmosphere all around, with the actual essence of death and doom mixed with some killer riffs, beats and vocals going along. Bathing in Unholy blood, the most loved song perceived by the listeners is the fourth song of the album. Yet another song, with variations and perfect mix of melody , which Dionysus does best. After 1:46, the song becomes aptly Death Metal, with solos going at the back. Aptly received as the most loved song by all the people around. The last song, that marks off the end of the album is yet another blissful track with hissing vocals in the beginning. The perfect ending track of an album. This song has huge amount of Post Rock element punched in with some Ambient black Metal as well. The ending track surely leaves the listeners craving for more.

Dionysus has done a great job with their EP, and has come up to be a promising act from Pakistan. It's surely a band to look forward to. Creating a sound more unknown to most of the people, these boys are surely on the right track. I am much elated by this release and waiting for more and a never-ending journey and consistent in the future. Grab your copies soon! A limited 100 copies are to be over soon, with people buying like a whirlwind from obscure town to famous cities!

]]> (Rupsa Das) Reviews Wed, 21 Nov 2012 09:35:39 +0000
Elitist-Reshape Reason Elitist-Reshape Reason

After two EP’s, and much deserving hype later, Los Angeles crew Elitist are out with their debut full-length record “Reshape | Reason”. Elitist features Julian Rodriguez, Mike Danese, Chris Balay and Ben Kazenoff.

“Reshape | Reason” retains most of the Elitist-goodness from the days of Caves EP, and ditches some of the glaring nuances (and coming up with some new ones); there seems to be a hint of Misery Signals thrown into the mix along with the good old melodic guitar leads.

The band has not really refined the style of music they compose; all the same, the four-piece seems to have done much research on their musicianship and the end-product they put out there. The vocals require less getting used to, given Chris Balay’s vocal range which is much more intelligible to the listener than the vocals on the Earth EP. The band has also eschewed the use of programmed drums and brought on board Ben Kazenoff. Production duties have been handled by Dan Braunstein (Volumes, Bermuda). “Reshape | Reason” is more about slow measured delivery of intricate song structures. The band has pulled out all the stops that plagues the Earth EP and stepped out of the default Elitist song-template and gone much ahead cashing in on the absence of restraints of a record label- Introducing a modest length instrumental track would be one of them. Thankfully, the melodic creativity that saved the “Earth EP” and made “Caves EP” usher a surge of enthusiasm, is still intact. It appears that this quartet takes the clean vocals thingie quite seriously, having featured it in some of the tracks and going to the extent of getting Garrisson Lee from fellow Metalcore outfit ERRA to do a guest vocal stint on the track “Sacred Geometry”, but what they love more than anything else is their own guitar parts, because those have drowned vocalist Balay’s efforts more often than not. It seems the band had sworn to come up with something mediocre for every good moment on the album.

Much generic feel had crept into the Progressive Hardcore scene after Deathcore bands with keyboard fills and Metalcore bands with oddest of time signatures and clean guitar layers had been crawling out of the woodwork, left, right and centre. For once, thankfully, we had a band that did not overdo any of its key elements, and still managed to stick to its roots and produce quality music for a while, and best of all- Did not sound like every other band out there that’s trying to put up a unique “Progressive Metalcore” sound. Unfortunately, “Reshape | Reason” will not be the end-all be-all for all things Technical Metalcore, henceforth; while “Reshape | Reason” sounds fresh, it is not a milestone for the genre, or the band for that matter. Despite trying to eliminate any traces of monotony or mediocrity the band hogtied most of the playlist in its own lack of foresight such that it eventually fell flat as a merely passable record, probably to be treasured by avid fans only. Had I not known better, I’d say “Reshape | Reason” was a veteran band trying to salvage a bunch of B-Sides.

Nevertheless, the rhythmic complexities, the haunting lead-work, curb the imperfections and sums it up as a record worth more than a few spins. Stand-out tracks include “Square and Compass”, “Equinox”, “Life Lost”- which is signature Elitist plus some clean vocals, and a beautifully composed instrumental, titled “Transmutations”. There are hints of Electronic (read: glitch effects) to round off the wall of Progressive seriousness. With their
A-game captured within 10 almost-amazing tracks that reshape reason, something tells me the band is going to unleash some masterpieces by the time they reach their prime, but “Reshape | Reason” just won’t cut it.

Pros: Clean Vocals, memorable melodic leads, introducing an instrumental track.
Cons: Generic in parts.

]]> (Arkadeep Deb) Reviews Tue, 06 Nov 2012 03:58:44 +0000