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
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.
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…
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…
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…
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? ]