Category Archives: Album / Ep / Demo / Teaser Reviews

album review : Firdous (2013) – Coshish

album : Firdous

artist : Coshish

genre : Progressive Rock

year : 2013

The idiosyncrasies of a band that has been hard at work, silently, has been perfectly captured on Firdous. Coshish is not giving away music here, they are coming towards you with a flame of emotions.

coshish firdous logo album coverWith the underlining strength of Firdous being undeniable melody, and a lot of soul, Coshish‘s vigorous storytelling ability is a fresh departure from the aisle of oft heard rock, that all seem to be a product of the same flock. After clambering out of life’s unpredictable trenches, day in and day out, putting your life in the hands of some purposeful work of art doesn’t just lift one’s spirits, but that is also the only way of life I’ve known. Firdous is a carousel that has heaps of images from your past, present and future on-board. Let’s start the ride.

The poetic carnival kicks off with the title track Firdous, and is a very post-rock influenced song where the vocals also act as an instrument. They are all on the same layer, so to speak. Hence, the intro builds up a range of possibilities, where the lyrics act as the nuts and bolts of this emotional bridge. It’s a comfortable song, and you’ll be absorbed by the tune. The grace lies in the details. Listen carefully…

The progressive aspect of the whole prog-rock thing becomes visible on Raastey, complete with oscillating patterns, vocal range variations, tightly in-sync instrumentation and unexpected guitar tunes. You ought to be aware of the fact that you definitely do not know where the songs are headed. The songs don’t hit you in-the-face nor do they befuddle you. What they do is heighten the pleasure of the sonic enlightenment you are up against. The odd timings are carried forward on the tracks CoshishMuktiWoh Kho Gaye and Maya.

coshish music video

Rhythm is like the cornerstone of Coshish‘s sound. Pick any song and try to dodge the rhythm sections. It is very prevalent, it is very necessary and it is in the context of the entire scenario. I would most definitely want to highlight the work on RaasteyWoh Kho Gaye, Firdous and Hum Hai Yahin. So, we’ve established that the life of the band lies in the strings. The guitar solos on CoshishWoh Kho Gaye, Rehne Do, Raastey and Hum Hai Yahin animate the whole experience of hearing Firdous.

While the versatility on drums is all over the album, hear Maya, Raastey, Coshish and Mukti to remove the tag of a procrastinator, if you carry one, because the throbbing will get you going!

shrikant sreenivasan  guitars coshishThe opening piece on Behti Boondein initiates acoustic strumming, accompanied by sitaresque samples and the band goes onto induce a trance-like state. The innocence is inevitable in the vocals, so are the active beats on the percussion well complemented by the bass, thereby liberating you from the shackles of some self built mystery.

Maya means illusions, but the irony of the track is very evident in the words. The band uses the route of reality to replicate a similar world of illusions through the song. It is a hard-hitting composure, bringing you face to face with a mirror, and you have to decide which side you are on. Luscious harmonies dominate majority of the album, and I swear by the tracks Rehne Do, CoshishBhula Do Unhey and Raastey.

Your allegiance to memories would be tested on Hum Hai Yahin and Rehne Do. A lump in your throat would be an apt metaphor to this song’s adroitness at handling you. And since everything comes with two sides, you could also be vivaciously looking forward to the future. The entire track has been knit together as one entity, with the libretto breathing life into it. The more you hear it, the harder it gets, if you know what I mean. I’m in love.

An epic closure to the album, comes in the form of an instrumental titled Mukti – the longest track out of the ten gems. Supreme play of instruments, unconventional mind-bender moments and varied temperaments best describe this song. The outro, being an instrumental, gives you time to reminisce about the entire record thereby playing a series of events in your mind that you were actively part of.

coshish band live

The production on the record, by all means, is as clean as a hound’s tooth. A very essential need for bands recording their material is to find the right sound, and Coshish could not have asked for a better launch. The bass gets its ass kissed on CoshishWoh Kho Gaye, Maya, Rehne Do and Bhula Do Unhey. Some twisted vocal talent, inclusive of high range is displayed on Raastey, Woh Kho Gaye, Maya and Rehne Do. I have to add there is a lot of room for experimentation in the vocal department.

Well, if love means to you what power means to a politician, what erroneous situations mean to superstition and when looking after her doesn’t mean obligation then Firdous is right on money with the sound and worth every penny you want to spend because you’ll fall in love with the record. Impactful songwriting aside, Firdous contains some of the most heavenly lyrics. Coshish talks about stuff you already know. But, every now and then we require some means through which we can relate to anything and everything around us, and that is what Firdous successfully achieves.

hamza kazi drums coshish workshop

Picture this: A mug of your most-liked beverage, overcast skies and light drizzles outside while you make yourself comfortable in one corner of your balcony. That’s when you’ll want Firdous in the background. You wouldn’t want to trade all of that for anything, would you? Go ahead, pick up the record and swim in a pool of dreamlike melody…

Rating: 4/5

Coshish is:

Mangesh Gandhi on Vocals, Rhythm Guitars, Mouth Organs
Shrikant Sreenivasan on Lead Guitars
Hamza Kazi on Drums, Xylophone
Anish Nair on Bass

coshish band 2013

Firdous has been produced by Zorran Mendonsa.

Coshish‘s facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Coshish

Coshish‘s website: https://soundcloud.com/coshish

Raastey‘ official music video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXKzA0YDjDw

Have something to say to the band, send an email to: coshishband@gmail.com.


album review : Orkan (2012) – Vintersorg

album : Orkan

artist : Vintersorg

genre : Viking/Folk Metal, Progressive Metal

year : 2012

Jamming even more seriously to their own proggy folk tunes, the Swedish-duo reproduce their jolly good music, and while you’re playing the album you’ll even forget to wipe your nasal mucus. Effective, eh?

Start a topic on folk metal and a detailed discussion would lead to the conclusion that Vintersorg are second to hardly any bands. These sons of Sweden could never make an intelligent critic frown at their tracks, simply because the mesmerizing output of their hard work is beyond the realms of musical pleasure. Managing to weave together viking topics with heaps of progression has made them a bullet proof metal act. With seven full-length albums that speak on behalf of this band’s talent, the journey that Vintersorg has had, looks straight out of a successful band’s biography that has multiple merits to it’s credit. Correction – A successful folk metal band’s biography. Folk is a step ahead, it is an elaboration of metal, and makes the genre proud.

Never simplistic in their approach, Vintersorg‘s eight full-length Orkan takes its time to unravel some of the untouched mysteries of a lovable metal category. Within an year of Jordpuls, the duo consisting of Vintersorg and Mattias Marklund have dropped an unsurprising package of eight tracks. Take for instance the speed-driven riffing on Istid, with a lot of clean vocals accompanied by many parts of chorus. The drumming pattern on the album is circuitous, and dials a different progressive number each time. Ur Stjärnstoft Är Vi Komna sets the surrounding on fire, helps vocalist Vintersorg growl his own words, and is mostly symphonic. Growls take the pole position on Havets Nåd, and Norrskenssyner.

The beauty of Vintersorg lies in the fact that even though they might be working too hard, their songs come across as seamless. Like how some things are meant to be, their songs too meant to be logical and musically meaningful. Third track Polarnatten has it all packed into one, be it the vocals, the keyboards, the boundless guitar playing. It is one song that has folk written all over it, along with Orkan and Havets Nåd. Vintersorg has been a town of melodies with every alley filled with melody in some or the other form. Even Orkan would receive all of my votes for carrying rhythmic tunes. Specially on Norrskenssyner and Urvädersfången, as they raise the groove bars too.

Nature, philosophy, culture can have bright as well as dark aspects to them, and when an epic band like this one decides to devote their songwriting to such subjects then the music branches out into several directions. Myren has a surprise in store with a very bluesy and pleasant guitaring. Orkan is entirely in Swedish, which won’t hit you in the first instance. The production is neither excellent, nor a let down. A fine balance is maintained, and is even raw at places.

The ever-lighting lamp post that goes by the name of Vintersorg has once again produced songs that pierce deeper into your skin, and make a visible place for themselves, even if it means to find the whole space already clogged with some good folk releases this year, which includes my favorite album Helvetios. Orkan will usher you into the strong viking kingdom, where the floating bubbles of progressive material will burst softly and you’ll cling on to the record for a long time to come.

Rating : 4.5/5


album review : My Dark Symphony (2012) – 1833 AD

With the Indian black metal scene starving to a painful death, one band has managed to break open the vaults and is making it difficult to be ignored. Open your ears to 1833 AD.

album : My Dark Symphony

artist : 1833 AD

genre : Black Metal

year : 2012

Introductory thoughts

We are living in an exciting time when metal bands from across the globe are waking up to the fact that they still haven’t played a gig in India. Move over how the Indian Premier League united cricket aficionados from everywhere and how our country is now posing a missile threat to far off nations. The evolution of the Indian metal scene, which includes the bands and the fans, has been expeditious. But obviously metal being the devil’s best friend, popular and hence shitty media in India do not tilt the torch towards it. There has also been a rise in the number of instrument players ready to take on their neighborhood with their own brand of metal. Amidst all this the genre of black metal seems to be in a deeply unconscious state. To the point that one can count the reliable providers on one finger, if you know what that means.

My Dark Symphony – True to the roots

The above paragraph gives you a fair idea of the lack of inspiration, and the crisis surrounding black metal in India. Picture this. It took a good eight years for a band like 1833 AD (they do have fans) to release their debut effort My Dark Symphony! The motivation had to come from the notorious Norwegian scene, which itself is burning out, has a handful of passionate releases and can only boast about a diminishing graph of the quality of albums. 1833 AD‘s first studio full-length My Dark Symphony has stamps of several bands on it. If you’d find a Burzum portion staring down at you, there is another place where Watain would knock on your door. The classy old-Immortal makes an appearance,  with Emperor and Darkthrone sprinkled here and there. Now, although inspiration is important for any band, it should not reach a point where the band is not taken seriously. Here, thankfully, only a leaf or two have been smoked. Exactly why you’d be able to relate to this record is because along with the aforementioned bands you’ll see that there are traces of some underground depressive black metal outfits you might have heard sometime.

When all this is frozen, and the tracks are wrapped with several layers of originality, that’s when you’d get the product that is named My Dark Symphony. Do not expect to understand what true to the roots means unless you’ve spent considerable amount of time putting yourself through the sweet torture that is black metal. The drug of darkness will eclipse all the non-sense in your life, and this record would come across as a stranger to you if you want just music. Because My Dark Symphony brings forth a certain state of mind which is not within everyone’s reach. Apart from being a tribute to the originators of the genre, it is a gift of rage for the fans of the genre too. 1833 AD‘s influences are in place.

Vocals

Although 1833 AD has an inspired sound, the members have held their own. The shrieks incorporated on My Dark Symphony are an assurance that the band doesn’t want to be typecasted. Vocalist Nishant Abraham is as unique as unique can be and can be best described as scraping. One cannot make a mistake in identifying Ihsahn‘s vocals, nor can you not compliment Jon Nödtveidt. There is style, and there is exclusivity. 1833 AD has both. Style that cannot be cloned, and exclusivity that will be remembered.

Well, it’s okay to get confused between Quorthon and Abbath‘s vocals. Get over the resemblance already.

Nishant pulls off a Dani scream on a song, that obviously happens when you aren’t noticing. Guess the song, and you will win nothing. The scream seems logical though unlike Dani Filth, who is nowadays seen screaming for no reason whatsoever. You agree, don’t you? You will get your money’s worth on Sephiroth’s Curse where a million dollar scream gives birth to a mysterious situation. Be prepared…

Guitars

One striking attribute carried by 1833 AD is melody. If all will fail it is the singlemindedness shared by the band and melody that is sure to provide them blowjobs. On a serious note, the shortage of black melody in India has been supplied through intense tremolo riffs, produced by the intertwining of supremely raging instruments that we know as guitars, handled by Nishant and Rahul Mehalwal. The guitar tone vents out a strong mirage of the band’s ideology. Shrilly caricatures all painted in black, will haunt the listener’s mind.

The synopsis of My Dark Symphony lies in the melodic ripples of oppression which is sure to keep you glued. Hell, the solos seem like a result of years of research as to when and where they should fit what. Go figure…

Bass

The ravenous kingdom of bass has always been tricky. While the rest of the band walks away with top honors, it becomes a difficult job for a bassist to slyly assist the drummer. On this release Sushmit Mazumdar hits the strings, and is equally dominating but could have been louder. Blame your speakers for being a bit unfriendly with the bass, or blame yourself for liking 1833 AD‘s music…

Drums

For an unrelenting black metal band, finding a drummer who shares a passionate firmness is as important as a hunter who knows when to pull the trigger. The hunter here is Raghav Sehgal. Fact is that anything (drums played perfectly, maybe?) can be recorded on an album to gel with the on-going proceedings of a song, but another fact is that this very band has reciprocated their songs during their live sessions, gathered all those horns raised towards them and have looked back with a grin. So, the drumming isn’t ‘virtual’, it is for real and is like a dagger pressed against your weak god’s neck. Heard a groovy black metal album before? My Dark Symphony would be out soon. Don’t keep your senses closed…

Songs, production and artwork

My Dark Symphony is a concept driven album (the inlay would have it all), does not contain time wasting fillers, all tracks are written to fit within a radio-friendly time period and has been produced by the fine hands of Anupam Roy (Grey Studios). Apart from the four songs that were previously released online, the album has five more full length tracks. The twelve songs are broken into three separate chapters and each chapter has one inductive song for the other three tracks that follow. Holding the written concept in your hand when being musically entertained by the record would definitely be a smart move. Speaking of which, the inlay artwork by Reuben Bhattacharya crosses borders of imagination and delves deeper into the subject of visual art.

The songs have more strengths and less weaknesses. Ma Nishada, Ten Gods and 1833 AD deserve special mentions, as they go on to show how the band has branched out post their Ep ‘End of Time‘. The song which, according to me, is a complete embodiment of venomous darkness, winning musicianship and detailed songwriting is Wiser Than The Wisest. If someone would come and ask me to name one song that defines the sound of Indian black metal I’d recommend them this herculean song. Period.

1833 AD is now confidently carrying a bright torch for the up and coming Indian black metal artists who wish to follow suite. They provide you a slice of well-adorned black metal without the gimmicks of anti-christianity, have no corpse paint to cover their weaknesses, do not encourage naked whores dancing around them on stage, and they give a fuck about their metal.

All said, I do not want to remember one of India’s only active black metal band as just a mere by-product of my favorite artists. Getting My Dark Symphony out was necessary for the band, to break even, to put forth their version of ‘ancient art’. I hope next up on the agenda is sharpening up their skills, crossing the border more often to play bigger gigs (which has already kick started), churning out another album that would take the band straight into Fenriz‘s band of the week, and the clock has already started ticking.

Rating : 4/5

[ And, this band, right here, is promising and yet unsigned. Are the record labels taking note of this? ]


album review : Where the Corpses Sink Forever (2012) – Carach Angren

album : Where the Corpses Sink Forever

artist : Carach Angren

genre : Symphonic Black Metal

year : 2012

‘Where the Corpses Sink Forever’ is a much needed new chapter in the grueling genre of extreme symphonic black metal.

Let’s see what we’ve got here. A symphonic black metal release. This genre, if not the toughest, is one of the toughest ones for a band to dip their hands into. Not only does a band need to think extensively about the songwriting bit but also about fitting of multiple instruments at the same time. Symphonic black metal is a disaster if the compositions do not make sense. Hence the lack of many bands choosing to include ‘symphonic’ to the tag of genres they play even thought they are somewhat close to sounding like one.

Wobbling their way into the dictionary of symphonic bands that the metal world sat up and noticed is Carach Angren. They hail from a country where everything is legal, which is the one and only Netherlands. A debut record like Lammendam had to create ripples, and a follow up album like Death Came Through a Phantom Ship showcased the band’s pliability. With Where the Corpses Sink Forever a third dimension has been added to the band’s resume. One that defies the norms of extremism in the black metal field.

An unconventional intro (An Ominous Recording) with a voice over and some wavy eclectic stuff happening, Carach Angren break into a blazing concoction of tunes on Lingering in an Imprint Haunting. The clear vocal quality of Seregor was, is and would always be working in favor of the band. Little time has passed by since you saw a hybrid composition hit you, and post 2:10 on the same song the tables are turned. In short it’s a ride of musical harmony seeking to make you act deaf and dumb to everything you know about symphonic black metal.

Bitte tötet mich (‘Please kill me’ in German) has such elegant orchestral arrangements by Ardek that could challenge even the most experienced opera composers. Mad apocalyptic rush is in the offering as the album progresses, and we have on our hands the soundtrack for death spiced up with brutality as well as melody. The ghost stories they tell are made interesting by the era they recreate on their songs. Take for instance the grandest and yet the most depressing tale named The Funerary Dirge of a Violinist. The world comes crashing down and the negative surrounding winks at you as the three members release their emotions.

Time for some more experimentation now. Thought Carach Angren cannot stir things up? From screaming verses to growling passages, Sir John carries forward the album with true valor and spunk. You aren’t watching an ordinary exchange of looks between a vocalist and a keyboardist here, but a detailed rendition that broadens the creative perimeters of not just the band, but the genre as well. Spectral Infantry Battalions is groovy, smart and spread over a span of just over two minutes. Cutting down the time was probably the right thing to do at this point in time on the album. Never drag your songs, nor your relationships too much, you know.

Being sublimely groovy, due to the hypersonic beats given by drummer Namtar, is just one part of General Nightmare. The other part contains tricky riffs not overshadowing the dual vocals that are beautifying the track in their own way. Taking away some more life, and adding a few pessimistic notes gives birth to Little Hector what Have You Done?. Complexity laden suspense emerging after every note, and considering all this began with a sweet synth intro helps this track gather a lot of praise. What an evolution of an album that could not be predicted right till the end with yet another song to go. The game’s not over yet, as These Fields Are Lurking presents a thorough report of how many instruments do not always lead to untidiness. Another edge of the seat thriller which leaves you hanging with the solemn sound of piano, violin and dropping water that forms the album’s outro.

Diversity is the need of the hour, and Carach Angren is a cracker of an act, with every capability to topple even the bands that might have influenced them. Continue working in the same way fellas, as the marriage of grim ferocity and interestingly spun haunting stories needs to keep going strong and healthy. Till forever and even after that!

Rating : 4.5/5


album review : Obsidium (2012) – Enthroned

album : Obsidium

artist : Enthroned

genre : Black Metal

year : 2012

After a few not-so-terrific releases, Enthroned has managed to capture the essence of some real black metal we all need at the moment.

That Pentagrammaton wasn’t an impressive album is something I had made very clear but little did I know that Enthroned would take it so seriously and produce such a fiery black metal record in 2012. Enthroned is a five-piece satanic black metal band hailing from Belgium and they are very much from the early nineties era. 1993 to be specific. Despite one or two weak releases in the last few years one cannot ignore the strong force of musicians behind the venomous black metal that Enthroned have been offering. Things have been mended at the Enthroned camp, and Obsidian is spot on.

All their understanding of occultism have been squashed into nine different raging tracks. Diving straight into some pure uncompromised dark riffs, Obsidium contains a lot of desirable music which would very comfortably canoodle with the side of you that likes pure no-bullshit black metal. The riffs on Obsidian are like heavy winds blowing in pitch darkness, ready to blow away everything in their way. The blast beats (by Garghuf) would turn a dilapidated place into a palace. Take for instance the supreme song Nonus Sacramentvm – Obsidium. It, in no way, shows any signs of weakness. Right from the point of introduction, this track has oodles of black metal which can only make your spine stronger.

Then there is The Final Architect carrying a very heroic aura around it. Nornagest and Nerath Daemon time their entry with their respective guitars to merge with the band’s theme. Rarely do I get to see such empowering metal nowadays in the genre of black metal, considering there isn’t much to experiment in this genre or so is the image being portrayed by today’s bands. It has come down to a point where I listen to a new album and instantly know whether this is worth my time or not. If a band has it, it just has it. Well if it doesn’t then just move on. Horns AflameOblivious Shades and Thy Blight Vacuum usher in the negativity, the progressive bits, and the growth in the album is already on display. Petraolevm Salvia is my pick from Obsidian for being ferocious, cold and energetic at the same time.

With Obsidian I can see Enthroned visiting their old days with double the determination and triple the belief in their music. You might hit and miss Obsidian, but that is why I am here for, to remind you about the best, worst and the mediocre releases. There have been better releases in 2012, no doubt, but Obsidian definitely isn’t littering our black metal. Light a campfire, sit around it and play Enthroned‘s new record to darken the occasion.

Rating : 3.5/5


album review : Lillie: F-65 (2012) – Saint Vitus

album : Lillie: F-65

artist : Saint Vitus

genre : Doom Metal

year : 2012

The next time someone comes to you and weeps that there is no band in this world that has been consistent, or there is not a single metal act who have not given in to stupid trends that tend to influence them in their career, make sure you hold that person by the neck, rush to the nearest wall and bang their head against it to produce a loud thud. Then make them listen to Saint Vitus.

Just so that you know Saint fucking Vitus are a revolutionary band from California who paved their way to success through chunks of creeping riffs and thought provoking lyrics, making a point and leaving a mark with every song. Today, after seventeen years, Saint Vitus have decided to pour some more wisdom into the closed minds and have yet again laid down the foundations for the upcoming doom metal bands. Originally inspired by Black Sabbath, and that was evident in their music, Saint Vitus have derived only the sound from the said band which was then refined by heavy slabs of their own, thereby setting a benchmark in doom metal that would remembered across generations.

Lillie: F-65 makes up for all the years we’ve had to wait, and how! This album also marks the return of Wino on vocals, and is a celebration of all things pure. Without as much as an ounce of change in their approach, Saint Vitus give you simultaneous orgasms in their own old school fashion. Worrying becomes the least important thing in your life, when a band like them brush aside the dust and still look fresh and prepared. The constant reverb is ever-present on Lillie: F-65, so is their original heart-winning style of songwriting combined with an attitude that only these veterans could possess.

The ambiguous melody keeps you on the edge of your seat which is Saint Vitus‘s strong trait, can be seen on every track from their discography and is no different on Lillie: F-65. The album has its own share of speedy sections, flawlessly executed solos and a deeply indulging envelope of heavy metal that fills every gaping hole there is by the use of crunchy guitar tone, swift movements up and down the speed scales and having a strong hold on the issue in hand. Nobody is in a rush on the record, and so you shouldn’t rush through things too. The album definitely merits several listens, and you’ll see that the album grows on you each time you play it.

Separating out favorites is done for albums that require the audiences to decide whether to pick up the album or not, but in this case it is the entire album’s vibe that make the clouds move faster. Bands come, and bands go but only a notable few are able to give you a dose of life in a way you want it. The return of Saint Vitus with Lillie: F-65 is a sign of good things to come, as the lords of life-pausing doom hit the bull’s eye one more time.

Rating : 4.5/5


album review : Tragic Idol (2012) – Paradise Lost

album : Tragic Idol

artist : Paradise Lost

genre : Gothic Rock / Metal

year : 2012

They are amongst the first names from the early death/doom metal era, but Paradise Lost cannot be labelled only under that single genre anymore. They’ve contributed to the genesis, shaping and advancement of doom metal by taking themselves outside the perimeters of the genre much before bands started to think that changing their style is something that is actually possible. A career spanning over twenty years, thirteen full-length albums (including Tragic Idol) and fans across galaxies, they are one of those extraordinary bands from the underground scene to have kissed tremendous success and they keep applying their own laws of music as and when they feel the need. Paradise Lost‘s dabbling between metal and rock, their trysts with clean and harsh vocals, and the evergreen theme of despair on all their albums have proved fruitful to the fans and the band.

Coming to Tragic Idol (love the name), the vibe of the album is much like most of the earlier works of the band, and finding something new for your memories becomes a little hard. The album is true to the roots of Paradise Lost, battling every personal issue, opening every sphere of the mind to indulge into the problem and not drawing a line when it comes to talking out inner problems. Coming very close to the band’s music you realize that Paradise Lost does not want to break free of things, they only want to share so that the rest of us who are floating in the same river have a voice. The lyrics on Tragic Idol (and every other PD album) is not some mindless blabbering about beer or chicks, it is an in-depth journey into the deepest lanes of this complicated world that we call ‘mind’.

One really cannot argue with a band such as this one who have vowed to take ownership of the darkest corners in our head with their music, producing riveting tunes such as those on Solitary One, Crucify, Honesty In Death, . Then there are a few others occupying you with their atmospheric greatness such as Fear Of Impending Hell, In This We Dwell, title track Tragic Idol, or the straight-forward fast riff worship on Theories From Another World and To The Darkness. Face melting solos, designed to assist your thoughts to keep going lest they bite the dust, have been evenly distributed on the album.

Tragic Lost is very strong on emotions, less driven by variety, and has some fabulously crafted tracks that can definitely be played at funerals. This definitely isn’t an album for party lovers because this is exactly where the party should stop. Tragic Lost is poetry in motion, and as is sung on one of the songs on the album, “My honesty in death, honesty adorns the end, modesty’s intent“, it is only the end that matters to Paradise Lost as can be inferred from the band’s name that there never was a paradise, and if at all there was one it has already been lost. Now that’s what we should call a happy ending.

Rating : 3.5/5


album review : Rise of the Phoenix (2012) – Before the Dawn

album : Rise of the Phoenix

artist : Before the Dawn

genre : Melodic Death/Gothic Metal

year : 2012

When you drink a solid beer, that tastes exactly like how you had imagined it would be, once, you don’t stop drinking it. That’s how it is. Something along the same lines happened when I first heard Before the Dawn‘s last release Deathstar Rising. I wasn’t fooling around when I said I’d hear their discography and it was Deathstar Rising that forced me to do so. Finnish metal bands sharing their melancholy with the planet is old story now, but how do you present in a way just so it doesn’t sound like it has been done to death? You soak yourselves from head to toe with the negativity and write your music and your lyrics in the same disturbed state. I learnt this rule from Before the Dawn who chose melodic death metal for their outlet without sounding like infinite other bands playing the same genre. Rise of the Phoenix is, without doubt, a slab of bleak melody and features several original compositions where we see the band adding new bits and pieces here and there.

Album number seven for the band, Rise of the Phoenix is a package of twelve tracks which will provide you a respite from all things happening in melo-death at the moment. Heralding a message of trustworthy metal, Before the Dawn barge into your ears through their fresh efforts. You’ll find yourself catapulted into another space, amongst the stars, shining brighter with the songs from Rise of the Phoenix in tow. Adventurous as it may sound, the album is a ride filled with extreme emotions and there are flakes of every genre falling over you.

Confined acoustic strums takes us into the album with Exordium. The first smack comes the moment we get into Pitch-Black Universe. All their other albums start playing in your head because it is the same trademark Before the Dawn sound. Like forever, somewhere along the way our head is teased by the meandering melody. There are brutally honest and abrupt parts on songs like Phoenix RisingEclipse and Closure where the pace acts as a topping. Melody that bails you out can be found Cross to Bear, Throne of Ice and Fallen World.

The echo of each song will be left behind, as shrines of desolate thoughts crumble down. This power driven by Tuomas Saukkonen‘s recognizable vocals align everything in line with your mood. Acoustic instruments, piano and slow instrumental sections up the appeal of the record. Rising of the Phoenix is very much closer to many of the earlier works by Before the Dawn, and I would say this album separates out itself from the oft heard melodic death drama and arrives at an acceptable conclusion. The album loses points for having a few ordinary tracks, which probably happened since the band did not take much time in recording this album after having released one only last year.

Before the Dawn is an important band to have come out of the Finnish metal scene, and their tragedy makes for pleasant hearing, not once or twice but each time the band enters the studio. Rad!

Rating : 3.5/5


album review : Midnight in the Labyrinth (2012) – Cradle of Filth

album : Midnight in the Labyrinth

artist : Cradle of Filth

genre : Extreme Gothic Metal

year : 2012

Midnight in the Labyrinth is a re-recording of ten old Cradle of Filth tracks. The album has two compact discs, one of which is purely instrumental. This time the ten tracks have not been recorded as complete songs, but only used as backgrounds scores to the lead scream-ist Dani Filth narrating something that wouldn’t interest you. One can only like him when he is abnormal, and screaming the shit out of his throat. Joining him in boring the listeners is Sarah Jezebel (ex-Cradle of Filth) who occasionally says a thing or two on a few tracks. All of this on disc 1.

The songs that have been chosen to be recorded again in a different ‘format’ are –

A Gothic Romance (Red Roses for the Devil’s Whore)
The Forest Whispers My Name
The Twisted Nails of Faith
The Rape and Ruin of Angels (Hosannas in Extremis)
Funeral in Carpathia
Summer Dying Fast
Thirteen Autumns and a Widow
Dusk and Her Embrace
Cruelty Brought Thee Orchids
Goetia (Invoking the Unclean)

Filth had stopped growing with every release long back, but I did find traces of old-Filth in Darkly Darkly Venus Aversa. The gong did ring loud enough to take notice of the band. Always expect the unexpected from them, as they have managed to take you through the shittiest of the shit, and even the best of the best. When Thornography and Godspeed on the Devil’s Thunder struck the Cradle of Filth camp like Hiroshima and Nagasaki (the two albums were successful though), it became clear that the wait is not going to bear any fruits. Apart from being a terribly boring live band, the band is not left with any ability to write pummelling music anymore as well. Look at what they released in 2011, which again strengthens the fact that they do not want to be forgotten. I wouldn’t be surprised if they have another release lined up in the next six months. How about complete silence on the next one, Dani?

Disc 2 is an instrumental / orchestral recording of nine of the tracks from the above ten. Goetia (Invoking the Unclean) has been skipped. What I fail to understand is this – Cradle of Filth is a fit band with sharply talented musicians then why doesn’t the band just sit down and go back in time to comprehend the reasons that got them noticed in the metal scene in the first place. Probably doing that would save me (and this world) from putting myself through albums like these that really don’t strike a chord. The reason I give a fuck even now is because I always believed they were an astounding ensemble at some point in time. I’m almost getting to a point where I’m going to give up on them and join the other haters who fall in this category, just that I’d have a solid reason to do so!

Rating : 2/5

MUST READ –

Reviews of Destroyers of the Faith tour, Boltfest and The DesertFest

Paradise’s Lost new album ‘Tragic Lost’ reviewed here

album review : Rise of the Phoenix (2012) by Before the Dawn


album review : Umskiptar (2012) – Burzum

album : Umskiptar

artist : Burzum

genre : Black Metal, Ambient

year : 2012

The story so far…

By now you know everything about this one man who single-handedly annihilates every description of black metal. Google would help you, and not your god, to get to know Varg Vikernes better. The most read articles on Absurd History ever are the reviews of links : Belus and Fallen which are Burzum‘s last two releases. You can even go through them to get an idea about this man who should be the only person commenting on true black metal. But if you have noticed he has never opened his mouth or spoken about his music. That’s says it all about him.

Three years have passed by since Varg Vikernes a.k.a. Burzum (also known as Count Grishnackh) was released from prison. During and before the Hliðskjálf years, Burzum had already usurped the throne of metal’s most underground genre and moved on ahead. In 2010, the man with the dark touch was ready to burn down every established black metal act. Belus happened, and lives changed. The formula was repeated in 2011, and Fallen brought out the black clouds out of the sky yet again. Now, we are in 2012, hearing Umskiptar. Can you feel your erect hair everywhere on you? It is an indication that the bell has been rung, and the year’s most awaited release is here to show you how important your time is.

Umskiptar (2012)…

So what do we have here? Another masterpiece or a strong man’s silent efforts to make everybody obey him? We are looking at a fully charged and matured musician out with his tunes where he reads out verses from a Norse poem, Völuspá. When he said vocals are going to be the most important aspect of Umskiptar, he bloody meant it. What you hear in abundance are the words performed entirely in Icelandic. And if you’re thinking that there has been a compromise in music then let me assure you, my friends, that Burzum has taken himself out of his own boundaries to compile a release that will trample albums without any efforts.

Be very scared of the intro that is named Blóðstokkinn (meaning ‘Soaked in Blood’), for if you do not obey the master you are in for a thrashing which follows in about a minute. For the first time Varg speaks on his intro music, which has chilling beats in the background. Jóln (meaning ‘Deities’) pulls the cloth and we are already participating in the yearly Burzum ceremony. Bring out your dancing attires and robes, because the music is in established Burzum-style. Lush riffs, persistent guitaring and entirely thematic in its approach, there is no difference on song number two and what we know this man for.

As you spend six precious minutes of your life breathing in Varg‘s breath coming out of your speakers, lined up next is a totally unexpected piece of piano intro. It’s called Alfadanz (meaning ‘Elven Dance’). The piano is then transformed in exact same fashion into guitars and drums, carrying the story forward with more determination. I did not realize the nine and a half minutes that passed by during Alfadanz. That happened due to a plain fact that even though you are three songs into Umskiptar you are still reeling under the pleasant shock as to how poetry, folk, darkness and the instruments are all woven together into one record. This song goes slow, and at places releases loads of energy at once with some tricky benders.

Song number four is Hit Helga Tré (meaning ‘The Sacred Tree’). Progressing at the same rate as before, Hit Helga Tré ushers some more grimacing facets and it has harmonies that should be respected for they pause the proceedings in your mind. On the next two songs Burzum talks about honour and esteem. I don’t need to add separately that these qualities have already been showcased on Burzum‘s previous records. Æra (meaning ‘Honour’) and Heiðr (meaning ‘Esteem’) are short, to-the-point, final words on the two qualities which are less about the music and more about the concrete meanings.

Fold your hands as the next three songs are prayers. Valgaldr (meaning ‘Song of the Fallen’), Galgviðr (meaning ‘Gallow Forest’) and Surtr Sunnan (meaning ‘Black from the South’) take you into a fantasy world and to understand what I’m saying you need to just translate the lyrics. Do that much. With consoling twin guitar work and almost no-drums, Varg isn’t in a hurry, as he croons the passages gently so it reaches us. The album’s longest song, at over ten minutes, Gullaldr (meaning ‘Golden Age’) is a one-sided conversation where we, the audiences, gain Norse wisdom. Beautifully put together, the entrancing epic phrases are unfolded, so this one’s about the ambience. The album sealer Níðhöggr (meaning ‘Attack from Below’) mixes and matches various instruments to produce sound that makes sense as the doors to Burzum‘s ninth full-length are seen closing.

Not the ultimatum, the tale continues…

Although many around would see this as a black metal ultimatum being issued by Varg, but it is only a matter of another year or so before he will come down heavily with another biggie. He does not make an appearance, nor does he comment on anything unnecessary. He only enters the studio, records his albums, and gives them to us lowly creatures so we can continue discovering the meaning of our lives. Far from the disturbing world, in one corner of the planet we have this person named Burzum who caters to the known as well as the unknown aspects of the glorious nature of black metal. Bow down.

Rating : 4.5/5


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