Tag Archives: extreme progressive metal

album review : Heritage (2011) – Opeth

album : Heritage

artist : Opeth

genre : Extreme Progressive Metal

year : 2011

Although I can never understand how an album leaks, I am not complaining. This new record by Opeth has slipped from the band’s hands and the progressive hungry bunch would provide the verdict on their new sound roughly three weeks before the album hits the stores. Sitting here in India, I am trying to figure out from where this new direction has been inherited by Opeth.

Heritage, as they name their tenth album, is an indication that the band wants to hide the extreme parts on their music and instead want to replace the same with a lot of effects that paints a mild picture of the band. I wouldn’t deny that I had to yawn my way through Heritage, but considering the band is trying to balance a lot of things here they clearly entered the studio with their past buried. With almost negligible traces of anything they have played before, the scent of old-Opeth is dearly missed.

Following their journey uptil Ghost Reveries and then of course Watershed, even Opeth geeks might not have predicted this but this isn’t amusing. A promising intro allows one to cook up big things in the mind, but only until the first track The Devil’s Orchard begins. Those comfortable and experienced fingers seem confident but as the song unfolds I realize there isn’t much to hold onto here. While I wait for things to settle down, I can’t help but notice songwriting not being a part of the band’s agenda.

With just a mood to accompany the name I Feel The Dark for the first half of it’s six and a half minutes duration, the song is seen going nowhere towards the end. The album speaks up on Slither, and defends the allegations made till now by displaying a lot of twisted energy. Progressive ray of light, finally. Nepenthe did not make any sense, nor did Haxprocess. Next track Famine was devoid of music for a longtime but picks up somewhere along the way. Not enjoyable, and this is not a mindset, this is exactly how the album is.

In a general view of the situation right now The Lines in My Hand sure would sound relieving but Folklore comes across as a song by some amateur band that definitely does not have nine albums to it’s credit. Opeth brings down the shutter with Marrow of the Earth and I could not wait for the album to get over. You know what I mean.

In the recent times we have seen bands of the likes of Amorphis and Anathema change the definition of their music and I still haven’t stopped hearing their new stuff, but Opeth has missed the target by a huge margin. This wasn’t a progressive album, there are no traces of death metal and we would not have minded some bits of both. Heritage is all set to release on the 19th of September, and now that I have already been put to sleep by this new offering by Opeth I’d suggest the band wakes me up only when September ends.

Rating : 2.5/5

Compilation review : Indiean Volume II (2011)

Three years of associations with the people from the music fraternity, selflessly writing and promoting all that is underground and more than two years of friendship with me. This is all it took Santhosh Lobo (owner, IndianRockMp3) to make a family away from his own. When the site completed two years there came Indiean Volume one, so on account of his website turning three we have part two of the compilation.

The compilation contains nine tracks, touches upon as much as seven genres and sub-genres combined together. Not something that happens all the time. Well, I think it’s a wonderful idea to join acts from across the country and merge them on a single playlist. And, then give it out for free download just to make sure everyone listens to it. You can get it here.

1. As Soon As it is Over by Barefaced Liar – This varied band from Delhi is taking giant steps towards acceptance on an altogether different level. This track As Soon As It Is Over is kind enough to touch you, but there are slippages which go unnoticed.

2. Jihad by Motherjane – This track somehow makes me go, ‘dude, I really love old-Motherjane man‘. Those first two albums by this above par band traveled through my senses, very slowly. Jihad, for that matter, did not live up to my expectations.

3. Polymorphic Infection by Amogh Symphony – Bands make music, but Amogh Symphony adds several dimensions to their songs. State of the art production with the most intricate musical values imbibed together make up tracks from this band. Polymorphic Infection is from their second album, The Quantum Hack Code.

4. Visionary by Goddess Gagged – Progressive Post-Hardcore is what Bombay-based Goddess Gagged has been committed to. But, before they got to this genre there was something else they played which too was welcomed with arms wide open. A band to watch out for with a debut album and a music video scheduled.

Goddess Gagged, Bombay

5. Need for Sleep by Noiseware – Holy mother of all! Noiseware is loud and they have every reason to feel proud. Their jam laboratory would be equipped with every complexity there is and they aren’t wrong when they call their music experimental metal. This is what avant garde stuff is made of!

6. De Engineer by Eccentric Pendulum – I have always maintained that if a band can write a track like Cut Through the Light, they are capable of everything. Well almost. De Engineer is not one of the best ones by the band but it has its signature Pendulum moments.

7. Dear <Name> by Bhayanak MautMetastasis was a dangerous Ep that was give out by Bhayanak Maut for free, because it was so brutal, so metal that it’ll chase you till you accept your defeat. They are established, they know what they are doing, so only good things coming our way now. I had fun penning down my thoughts about Metastasis.

8. All That Is by Exhumation – Whether it is writing riffs that nobody else around can, or playing death metal with vigor, Exhumation has been doing the right things for eight years. Consider This was a laid back effort, yet had death metal content with accuracy and speed.

Barefaced Liar, Delhi

9. Xenophobe by Undying Inc – Delhi-based metallers have their own story to tell, are merciless when it comes to making the speakers feel attacked and the listeners feel harassed. All for a good cause, and Undying Inc bless you with a lot of metal. If you think this is exactly what you look for in your metal then they have a full-length that was out this year, go get it.

The compilation even has an album art for the front and back cover, and I think I have a thing for this art. It is apt, and if you look closely, it is detailed too. Done by Akhila Shankar who handles most of the things at IRMP3 now.

Here’s wishing the entire crew of IRMP3 (which includes me, but I have no hand in this compilation) the very best of everything. After all, trolling got a new meaning through this website. Jests aside, even I write and doing this apart from the normal shit you do is tough. Balancing is one of the things we humans are definitely bad at, and if IRMP3 has been doing this for three years and still continues doing it then there is a better tomorrow for the ‘scene’.

Rating : 4/5

I’ve said what I had to, now you vote for your favorite tracks –

album review : After (2010) – Ihsahn

When Emperor disbanded I had not even started listening to the band. And only after I heard them in around 2004 did I realise the weight of the matter. Coming across umpteen black metal bands after Emperor it was pretty much clear to me that Ihsahn is and will remain the best black metal vocalist. For me ofcourse. But then after repeatedly hearing Emperor and drooling over their music, I realised even my wait will not see another Emperor release.

And Ihsahn did a favor to me and countless others by finding a way to stay connected through his work. 2006 saw the icon take the other extreme side of himself ahead. Progressive influences were seen in Emperor‘s last release and the band Ihsahn picked up from where Emperor left.

With 2 years between each of their albums, Ihsahn has shown a variation in music that only a few can possibly demonstrate in their career. If The Adversary and angL were just glimpses of the same, After comes as a release you need to have in your archives. This time Ihsahn has incorporated jazz influences making it tougher for me to group the album under a genre.

After has a rather mellow start compared to their previous two albums. Opening track The Barren Lands has a melancholic touch to it, and conveying this feeling through music is something I always welcome. It is one of my favorite tracks from the album. Listening to Ihsahn sing lyrics that go this scenery, so beautiful, in thirst for more made me forget his roots. But only for a while.

Before I proceed, at the end of song one Ihsahn is still the harsh vocalist I respect and now he has mastered clean parts too. His clean vocals express the mood appropriately. The band uses a not-so-metal saxophone in most parts of the album and infact the sax plays an integral part on some tracks. This comes alive on A Grave Immersed, Undercurrent and Heaven’s Black Sea. Specially in A Grave Immersed where the sax has been played really fast without shifting from the metal focus.

To see progression at its best the tracks are After, Undercurrent and On The Shores. After starts off with completely clean vocals. Its a soothing track and has various pattern changes making it a strong title track.

Frozen Lakes On Mars has some good riffs and repetitive ones at that. It got my head banging more than any other track. Solos have been included all over. Metal comes alive on this one.

Initial few seconds of the next song Undercurrent somehow reminded me of Bon Jovi‘s It’s My Life. But thats that. At ten minutes this one is the second longest song. Yes, there is an even longer one. Undercurrent is a rather slow track with an acoustic part thrown in for good. The song builds up slowly and the sax has been put to some great use here.

Austere is what I call a beautiful song. Another slow track, it remains slow throughout. Something makes me feel that After was intended to have less harsh vocals, leaving me asking for more of what Ihsahn does best. Its an otherwise ordinary track but speaks volumes musically.

Heaven’s Black Sea is a trippy song. Its like a tale being told. A change from the previous couple of slower tracks, this one has an unexpected start. An elaborate solo is present before the sax takes over for another solo. The song ends where it began, making

On The Shores is the last track and is the longest. But presence of so many progressive layers within a single song does not make it seem like its over ten minutes. Its the only track where I felt the sax does not fit in the way it does on others. By now we are familiar with the amalgamation of saxophone with extreme music and so I sense the uneasiness on this one. But its all good, as it seems this way only at certain points.

The drums and bass have been played by Asgeir Mickelson and Lars Norberg (both from technical/progressive metal band Spiral Architect) respectively. The captivating saxophone player is Jorgen Monekby (from Norwegian blackjazz band Shining). Production-wise I cannot possibly have any complaints. The album has been mixed by Jens Bogren (Opeth, Katatonia). Gone are the days when you have a perfect album releasing, and After is very close to being a complete near-perfect one.

You will have to hear After atleast twice before judging as it grows on you. Thats the beauty of progressive stuff. Ihsahn‘s next will be awaited by me and I hardly await albums anyways thanks to certain disastrous comebacks last year slay(er)ing the wait. I would highly recommend After. Its not just for the average metal heads but for anyone who respects music. After is another fantabulous effort and a new direction in the musical journey of Ihsahn, who is a legend in his own right.

Rating : 4/5

key tracks : The Barren Lands, After, Frozen Lakes On Mars, On The Shores

also read :

album review : Burzum – Belus

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