Archive for April, 2012


Music Review: Paradise Lost – Tragic Idol (2012)

It will take you at least three listens to start enjoying Tragic Idol. Doom Metal monsters Paradise Lost are back with an album that showcases a fantastic blend of what made the band great and the turn they took later in their career. Solitary One opens the album on an ominous note, before Paradise Lost move into Gothic Rock territory with Crucify, after which it becomes impossible to tell if the rest of the material is from the classic doom act or the new shape they took. A great situation, if you ask me. Fear Of Impending Hell, Honesty In Death and could easily be confused with the band’s vintage stuff and please those who enjoyed the band’s pop-music phase as well. But then Paradise Lost‘s music has always been easier listening as compared to, say, a sinister-as-fuck doom act like My Dying Bride. I didn’t think much of PL‘s early works (unless we’re talking seriously addictive tracks like As I Die) and fell for their catchy pop-rock hits like One Second and Shine – how can anyone not like that stuff? – and then went back to the band’s dark beginnings. The album gets thrashy with Theories From Another World and In This We Dwell, and philosophical with To The Darkness. Yeah, it’s easy to make out what Nick Holmes is singing; his clean tone suits the songs, and his doom growl is… well, a shout. The title track brings some of the gothic/pop elements back; Tragic Idol sounds like Type O Negative on a few pots of coffee. The album is really good. Paradise Lost have never been lazy in the songwriting department, and this sudden realization should lead me to download their entire discography and dedicate a few evenings to this highly listenable legendary band. It’s Worth Fighting For, the band says, before closing Tragic Idol with The Glorious End. It’s scary when albums end with songs titled like that; it makes you wonder if the work is the band’s swan song. Paradise Lost‘s Tragic Idol is a strong mix of melody and gloom – not catchy at all, but intriguing and worth every listen you give it.


Music Review: Burzum – Umskiptar (2012)

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Neither language nor sound has ever posed a hindrance to understanding Burzum‘s music. Varg Vikernes’ in-depth narration of tales you might have never even have heard of, in a language Greek (it’s Norwegian, actually) to us makes the listening even more interesting. His guitar tone on Umskiptar is rounded, at least compared to all his previous works, but there’s absolutely nothing that can take away from the honesty of his music. The distorted vocals have not only clean singing but also soft whispers for company this time. The riffs are even simpler on this album; Varg Vikernes mesmerizes yet again, and this time without repetitive guitar noise. I’m not complaining; I love everything Varg does, and in fact, after a few listens, I wondered how Umskiptar would sound with his typical fuzzy droning. But as all Burzum fans come to realize in good time: Varg knows best. There isn’t one weak moment on the man’s glittering discography. Even Daudi Baldrs, which I earlier thought was a pointless exercise and a joke Varg released during his prison sentence, gets repeated listens and numerous bows from me, so you can imagine how I’m going to gush if we get into the other Burzum albums. Chapters in Black Metal is what the man writes, even if he calls it Skaldic Metal. It’s time for us to accept that there will be a Burzum release every year, to realize that this music doesn’t need reviews or discussions, and to look forward to the annual blessings this man will be sending our way.

Solar Deity‘s In The Name Of Satan

Solar Deity goes DSBM with Snowless

Burzum gets raw and crunchy on Fallen

Belus is the greatest black metal album ever made


Music Review: Paradigm Shift – Coalescence

By Prayag Arora-Desai

With the advent of every new album, there are certain preconceptions and expectations surrounding it that tend to blind my objectivity when judging the music. Don’t pretend it doesn’t happen to you, too. But in my case, there’s nothing of the sort with Paradigm Shift. I never heard nor heard of these guys until Mehta linked me to their album stream. I guess this is the first record I’m reviewing on an entirely clean slate of opinion. Maybe I’m growing up. Hi mom.

After listening to Coalescence, it’s easy to see where Paradigm Shift are coming from, and it’s easy to see where they want to go. They’re the kind of guys that push themselves to not simply make music they like, but also straddle the urge to create something different and experimental; to truly be pioneers of something new, and they attempt to do so in the stale realm of ‘prog rock’. Stale, because ‘prog’ and ‘rock’ are only generic stumps. Anymore, they don’t say much and neither does Paradigm Shift’s music. Like so many Indian metal/ rock acts, Paradigm Shift’s aspirations go way beyond their skills, resulting in a record that reflects the redundancy of the genre they’ve slapped it with.

In a nutshell, Paradigm Shift have a vision, and I get it. I even admire it, because pushing Indian classical music and Hindi vocals to metal/ rock audiences in our country (which mainly consist of complete fucking noobs) is a brave thing to do. What I don’t get is the execution of aforesaid vision. In spite of Indian classical influences, plausibly melodic violin tunes, and little niblets of post-rock in between the meaty guitars, Coalescence is still a half baked dish that turned cold even before it got to my table.

At this point in a review I begin to think of redeeming factors, but I haven’t ripped Paradigm Shift enough yet and there isn’t much that they need to be redeemed from except a pretty obvious lack of originality. Vishal J. Singh and Vinay Venkatesh both feature on a track each, but their talents don’t exactly buffer against the general mediocrity of Coalescence. Vishal J. Singh – also the producer of the record – is one heck of a musician, and I’m a little disappointed to say that he missed the mark with this one.

This album’s been a buzzkill. And I’m not impressed.

Rating: Fuck it. I don’t believe in ratings anymore.


Mastodon‘s The Hunter

Goddess Gagged‘s Resurfaces

Skyharbor‘s Blinding White Noise: Illusion & Chaos



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Film Review: Vicky Donor

Director: Shoojit Sircar

Writer: Juhi Chaturvedi

Actors: Ayushmann Khurrana, Yami Gautam, Annu Kapoor

Once in several years comes a movie that makes you feel that it was meant to be made. A story you haven’t heard before that unfolds like it was waiting to be told. With its actors playing their role not for the money or the fame, but for a camera ready to capture every expression of theirs and for the audience that will be amazed by what they see and hear. With all of its abundant humour untouched by crassness, and with a convincing seriousness that makes you empathize with the people on the screen. A mixture of Punjabi, Bengali and English so potent that it shouldn’t be called a Hindi movie, or worse, Bollywood.

When you’re done forcing yourself to laugh along with garish films laden with slapstick ‘humour’ just because they were made on a budget that could see you through a few lifetimes, and when you’re ready to accept that cinematic excellence doesn’t always have to be measured by a filmmaker’s use of mind-boggling effects or his way of telling a tale so complex that you need to get drained watching the movie a few times just so you can get it and feel good about finally having understood that it was a dream within a dream, or a movie within a movie, or that you’re an ass within an ass, you should take everybody you know for Shoojit Sircar’s Vicky Donor.

Take a deep breath, some time off, and treat yourself to this middle-of-the-road gem.




Movie Review: Hate Story

Ram Gopal Varma should take one of the guns from his soon-to-be-released film Department’s set and shoot himself in the left foot for not calling his last film “Hate Story”, which is so much more direct a name than the RGV-ish “Not A Love Story“.

The story of a journalist who carries out a sting operation on a fraud company, gets fucked by the owner’s son, only to threaten to take away half his fortune by informing him of her pregnancy, and get kidnapped and forced to undergo an abortion, Hate Story has the female protagonist Kavya Krishna (Paoli Dam) doing everything possible to destroy the young crorepati’s cement company “brick by brick”. She goes about her mission by taking a crash course in sex from a high-class hooker and sleeping with people to either steal information or get a favour from them. The young man, in turn, leaves no stone unturned to ruin the lady’s life.

Paoli Dam doesn’t have the face, but she uses her body to get through the film, and it is obviously her body that got her the film. The story isn’t bad at all, but it isn’t very interesting either; Hate Story isn’t a movie that will bore you, because it does attempt to tell a story, and because it’s always entertaining to watch a shapely woman have her way with powerful, horny men.

“I fuck with the people who fuck with me,” is the line that is exchanged quite a few times between Delhi’s top prostitute Paoli and the man she wants to ruin – Gulshan Devaiah. And it is he who acts really well; Gulshan Devaiah stammers before his father in fear, and the rest of the time he’s busy getting even with the whore. Devaiah gets a good shot at acting – a chance he didn’t get in the glossy mess that Shaitan was – and he gives a great performance.

Written and produced by Vikram Bhat, and directed by Vivek Agnihotri, Hate Story isn’t going to make any difference to Hindi cinema, but this is what the combination of revenge and naked flesh tells men: that Vicky Donor can be watched later in the day.




Janak’s Movie Recco: Deool (Marathi)

By Janak Samtani

On a day in the village of Mangrul, Keshav is going around searching for a cow which was out grazing. This could be a regular village activity, but on this hot day, while resting under a tree on the mound, Lord Dattatrey (Datta) makes a visit in his dreams. Keshav is woken from his sleep and makes a dash to announce this revelation to his village folk. He announces this to everyone he crosses on his way till he visits Bhau, a local politician and his mother’s home.

Later in the night Keshav goes to see Anna, a respectable person from the village, to share this same revelation. Anna, unlike the others is not surprised by the news, but is happy for Keshav and very calmly advises him not to discuss this news with others as this was a matter of faith. But it was already too late. Bhau & Anna, who had been working on a plan to build a hospital in the village had no idea on what the people of Mangrul were inviting their way.

The regional journalist, who had not been getting any news has made a stop in the village and gets briefed by his friends, a bunch of lazy local men who work for Bhau, about Keshav seeing Datta. The news gets published in the newspaper without the permission of Bhau and from there began cheap politics and aspirations of these boys to grow bigger than their leader. Overnight, the revelation of the innocent Keshav had been turned into a demand to have a temple at the spot of the tree on the mound. Then began fund-raising, committe formations and aspirations to setup shops around the temple. In all this two people were merely left as observers, Anna watching the village hospital project getting side-lined and Keshav, who started seeing how superficial faith could mean to his people.

From the start of the film with the opening credits till the very end, you are treated to a craftly made film. Mangrul and its landscape is very well shot and the background score with the hymns just complete it. The film has a huge star-cast – Girish Kulkarni, Nana Patekar, Sonali Kulkarni, Dilip Prabhawalkar, Mohan Agashe and many more, and everyone equally contributes to the film and does justice to their roles.

Though development was the need of the village, in terms of water, roads and a hospital; it got its economy running through faith. The story has several sub-plots covering blind faith, potency of mass mentality, people manipulation, consumerism; all beautifully woven together into a light-hearted, humourous & believable film.

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