Age Of Calamity marks the return of one of the most clueless bands to grace India – and there are plenty – but Sceptre in a new guise is still Sceptre. I mean, one look at the album cover will have you gaping in disbelief, amusement and embarrassment. Come on now, when was the last time an album cover made you do that? But this isn’t an attack on Aakash Dwivedi’s sensibilities, for he has done enough work in the Indian underground scene to showcase his skills. This diatribe is reserved for the band. Sceptre, in all their enthusiasm of being reborn, forgot to advance their thinking. After giving their singer/rhythm-guitarist the boot, the band that was once held high as the torchbearer of Indian thrash wasted no time transforming into a hipster-pleasing metalcore act. ‘Deathcore’, they call themselves, and that’s even funnier.
As if to testify that the band is confused as ever about how to channelize their influences to create original music, Age Of Calamity is an overproduced metalcore album with forgettable songs sung by a Phil Anselmo wannabe, and he’s terrible. The riffs have potential but the songwriting doesn’t stand a chance, and the production does justice to the punchless music: the bass is barely audible, and from what can be made out, isn’t worth listening to. The programming (I’ll fuck myself sideways if somebody tells me this is a real drummer at work) is obviously not the drummer’s work, and you’ll know it if you’ve seen Sceptre perform live recently.
Getting back to the shitty album cover, the first thing Sceptre should learn is not to be pretentious. You know and I know and they know that they don’t and never have and never will give a shit about the fucked-up situations women have been facing of late. The only thing Sceptre care about is being popular and respected by metal heads, and there is nothing wrong with that, but Sceptre needs to make a good, strong metal album that will earn them the popularity and praise they so crave. Also, an album cover where the chick isn’t flashing a tit at funny creatures would be great, and listen to the artwork designer next time. Age Of Calamity is an impotent comeback that doesn’t take the band forward from their debut Now Or Never. They should have never been pretentious, and they could’ve stopped being pretentious when they kicked the old front-man out, but now is a very good time because they might not have all that long. Now or never, Sceptre, now or never.