Posts Tagged ‘review

25
Oct
12

Review: Tiamat’s ‘The Scarred People’ is an absolutely splendid album

Of all the extreme metal bands which drastically changed their style, fans of music have benefited most from Tiamat‘s transformation from ancient death metal to gothic rock. The metamorphosis resulted in fabulous albums of atmospheric metal – one of them being A Deeper Kind Of Slumber, the best psychedelic music my ears have ever heard, and an album that ranks very high on my list of music to listen to just before dying.

Roger Öjersson, the guitarist of the absolutely amazing Tiamat, is a man I’m guilty of not giving enough respect to, because I’ve been extremely busy praising Johan Edlund, the dude who writes the trippiest lyrics on the planet and sings songs that will make your girlfriend leave you and run to him.

Tiamat have always had their formula perfect, and they’ve always known how to create something new with it every time, something brilliant each time. Which is why I won’t waste your time talking about songs and all that, because your precious time should be spent loving Tiamat, as you listen to their latest album The Scarred People, and as you go back in time and discover priceless gems in their discography.

Johan Edlund has a voice anybody can hopelessly fall in love with, whether he’s singing about a woman or being possessed by drugs or is simply ranting about religion. For your information, Johan Edlund is the genius I daydream about impressing when I sing clean vocals, and Tiamat is one of the two bands (the other being Burzum) directly responsible for anything ‘atmospheric’ I create. Do I even need to say anything else? Yeah, I do. Tiamat have made yet another album for you to lose yourself in, so do yourself a very big favour and treat your ears to The Scarred People.

RATING: 4/5

FREE DOWNLOADS:

Solar Deity’s In The Name Of Satan (Raw Satanic Black Metal from India)

Solar Deity’s Snowless (Depressive Suicidal Black Metal from India)

Solar Deity’s The Darkness Of Being (Atmospheric Black Metal from India)

CONCERT REVIEW: Slayer in India | REVIEW: My Dying Bride’s A Map Of All Our Failures is quite boring

15
Oct
12

Review: My Dying Bride’s ‘A Map Of All Our Failures’

A track-by-track review of the latest offering from the doom metal kings

Aaron Stainthorpe said in an interview that his lyrical themes revolve around sex, death and religion, and My Dying Bride‘s magnificent discography is proof that it those three topics have been enough for the rest of the band to wrap their powerful music around. On A Map Of All Our Failures, the singer begins his whining much before you expect him to, sorrowful as ever on ‘Kneel Till Doomsday’, a song unmistakably MDB. The mournful riffs plod on till the band moves unexpectedly into death-doom territory with harsh growling, showing they are as at home with extreme metal as they were on As The Flower Withers.

If there ever can be a doom-metal version of Metallica‘s musical style, it is ‘The Poorest Waltz’. My Dying Bride have since their debut held their place in my life as the masters of melancholy, and most of the sections on this track are what could be passages the ‘Tallica couldn’t come up with on Load or Reload. ‘The Poorest Waltz’ could well be the sequel to ‘Low Man’s Lyric’, and that’s as soul-stirring as music gets.

At no point does A Map Of All Our Failures attempt to create new anthems; My Dying Bride have enough of those. It becomes clear as the album progresses that the band is helplessly occupied thought, either dragging the listener deeper into sorrow or very engrossed in telling stories. ‘A Tapestry Scorned’ is storytelling with music and Aaron singing, growling and talking, and the song is nicely done filler. The doyens of doom get back to their bereavement with ‘Like A Perpetual Funeral’, a beautiful track which has only the guitars coating Aaron’s crooning for more than three minutes, till the slow drum beats and bass get the song moving, only to stop soon again. ‘Like A Perpetual Funeral’ does sound nice, but the most fitting music to play at a loved one’s death is ‘For My Fallen Angel’, that heartrending song from MDB‘s Like Gods Of The Sun.

From here the album goes fully into storytelling mode, and it gets very boring unless you’re getting drunk, except the parts without any vocals, because from ‘Hail Odysseus’ onwards it is the music that is the highlight of My Dying Bride‘s latest work. This song should have been instrumental, because the vocals aren’t doing anything they haven’t done before and are instead being a distraction. ‘Abandoned As Christ’ could have been enjoyable if it didn’t have Aaron – I love his voice and singing style, but it gets too much at times – because this way it’s as boring as Jesus. The song drags on and on and I’m wondering how I’ll survive the last two songs. ‘A Map Of All Our Failures’ and ‘Within The Presence Of Absence’ are more interesting though, and the vocals belong with the music to the songs the way they should. No band has sounded as great with violins and keys the way My Dying Bride has; they use both to maximum effect even when they’re using very little of them. Craving as I was for doom metal/death-doom/funeral doom, the 2012 offering from these greats has left me exhausted.

A Map Of All Our Failures doesn’t surpass or even come close to My Dying Bride‘s previous works, but it is an album the band of this stature can take the liberty of making to release creative energy. Evinta seemed pointless to me even though I’m a big fan of MDB, and The Barghest O’ Whitby was quite interesting, but a few listens of this and I’m done. A Map Of All Our Failures isn’t an album I want to give my attention to again except for that one song ‘The Poorest Waltz’, unless I get back to drinking, but then there’s so much other music that’ll go so much better with that state.

RATING: 2.5/5

Black Metal 2012: Solar Deity’s In The Name Of Satan | Solar Deity’s Snowless | Solar Deity’s The Darkness Of Being

17
Sep
12

Is India having an international-band overdose?

Slayer is finally coming to India, but even Megadeth is returning for its second concert in the country, and both the shows – Megadeth In Delhi and Slayer in Bangalore – have a gap of a week.  The Indian thrash fan is luckier than the open-minded Indian rock music buff who will have a lot more shows to attend. It’s a great thing to have these legendary bands come to the country and blow us away, no doubt, but it really looks like the average Indian metalhead  goes to school or college or has work and family responsibilities to handle and may not be able to run to Bangalore or Delhi every other month.

MEGADETH IS INEVITABLE: Back for a second helping!

It’s a fair excuse for an outstation holiday, too, for some of us overworked people who find it taxing to even think about getting out of the city for a weekend. But the thrash fan who missed Megadeth when they hit Bengaluru in 2008 is going to have to pay through his nose to attend both the shows, or will slap his forehead after picking one extraordinary band over another he loves equally.

Having already seen Metallica and Megadeth when they performed in Bangalore, I personally won’t give a fuck about seeing those super bands live now unless they hold a concert in Mumbai, and I’m going to feel the exact same way about my all-time favourite band Slayer after this October. And Iron Maiden – I love them to death and have attended their concerts in Bangalore and Mumbai but have no desire to see them ever again. Hell bless them, because heaven can wait. But not everybody is satisfied as easily as I am.

SLAYER AWAITS: Welcome back… for the first time!

The younger lot has it much worse. They have all these old greats to catch up with and newer bands like Gojira and Periphery, who are playing on consecutive days over a weekend in Bangalore. Children Of Bodom and Testament and Behemoth are coming to Bangalore as well. Of course, all the shows will suffer to a small extent, but that’s what the organizers already know.

And don’t we all know what happened to Korn? It wasn’t heavy rains, but dismal sales of the very expensive tickets that didn’t allow the band to perform in Mumbai. An out-of-shape nu-metal band struggling to keep up with the times by playing dubstep wasn’t able to fool this nation (we’ve had far greater scams here), and ran back after admiring the Taj Mahal and eating chicken tikka masala.

India has been ready for international acts for a long time now, and the live scene is bubbling because of world-famous bands looking at India as the big country with hungry audiences waiting for the main course.

IN CONCERT: Metallica in Bangalore | SLIDESHOW: Megadeth in Bangalore

CONCERT REVIEW: SLAYER IN BENGALURU, INDIA | Bevar Sea Album Review

02
Aug
12

Music Review: Harsha Iyer – When It’s Time (Part One)

Harsha Iyer has already set himself up as one of the most unique artists around. With a nearly perfect debut behind him, the 19-year-old from Chennai has major expectations to live up to, and he is taking on them the only way he knows: with a multitude of instruments and a versatile voice, Harsha Iyer tirelessly weaves seamless songs that take unexpected turns throughout the course of the album. This part of When It’s Time could be one big piece of music separated by song titles, as everything goes with everything else. It’s seriously likable psychedelic pop-rock, with the only downside being that no song really grabs you, except No Easy Answer (easily my pick from the album). It may be no trouble at all to get tunes from Curious Toys playing in your head, but most of the ditties here just don’t stay with you even though the whole affair is grand and elaborate, but unlike the previous album, the fine detailing here works only as a whole, which isn’t a bad thing at all because you’re supposed to listen to it from start to end. It would be fair to expect catchier songwriting from Harsha Iyer on the second part of When It’s Time though, considering the young man has proved more than once that he can rustle up an atmosphere for a dream.

LISTEN/DOWLOAD: Harsha Iyer’s When It’s Time (Part One) | Harsha Iyer’s Curious Toys

 

01
Aug
12

Music Review: Steven Wilson – Grace For Drowning

By Karan Patel (Simple Complex Continuity)

Steven Wilson, the primary creative force behind progressive rock’s most iconic band, Porcupine Tree, recently came out with a solo effort called Grace For Drowning. To be more precise, it was out in September, 2011. I only heard it in April, 2012. I had heard about such a solo album to be out by one of favorite musicians and he had a show in LA in the House of Blues, Sunset Strip. I decided not to hear a single song and just go for the show. Here’s the reason: I went for a Porcupine Tree show some time ago when they were touring for “The Incident”. The band literally played each and every song that was on the album. It was the best concert I had ever been too. Yes, I am super biased because you just possibly cannot find flaws with the music they have made.

The live performance was better than expected. Like every progressive band, they utilized a lot of arts/visuals which were more than mesmerizing and perfectly synchronized with the songs in a way that there indeed was another band member playing an instrument to go along with the songs. The solo effort is more than incredible. Steven Wilson already has a reputation of contributing his talents in many a pool. Whether its Opeth/Storm Corrosion or Blackfield, he has only written good music. Period.

Grace For Drowning is definitely a masterpiece and well, bonus points for solo. A very big applause to all his band members. They all did more than a brilliant job. My favorite one being Raider II, an epic 23 minute song which takes me back to days when I was and still obsessed with Dream Theater‘s “Change Of Seasons”. As a writer myself, I am totally obsessed with his style of writing lyrics. It never ceases to amaze me. Be it Porcupine Tree, or his solo, he has a phenomenal talent with words and there is just no escape from it.

I am not sure if he was always a multi instrumentalist, but in the concert he was mostly on the keyboards and of course the guitar. It was definitely fun to see him on the keyboards. The album has all the Porcupine Tree elements embedded with electronica, ambient, psychedelic rock. Most interestingly, it has a lot of jazz elements (something I do not understand, and probably don’t want to, at least at this stage of my life). However, it was very interesting to hear a mix of all these sounds under the general progressive sound which I am completely nuts about.

The album is such a trip. The production is way beyond spectacular. The writing is incredible and the music is just so evolved in today’s times with the whole mix of genres, old and new, that it has had me listening to it since I went for the show. A must listen, especially if you have a taste for the progressive sound.

MORE POSTS BY KARAN PATEL: The Best Guitarist in the World | Film Review: Road, Movie | The Adventures of Tintin | Music Review: The Rosewood Thieves – From The Decker House

14
Jul
12

Movie Review: The Dark Knight Rises

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Christopher Nolan gives his fantastic trilogy an exhilarating end

It’s fitting, really, that a comic superhero this revered has movies made on him by a filmmaker whose vision penetrates deep into what seems impossible to think up. Christopher Nolan has taken a tired franchise (fuck you, Joel Schumacher) and recharged it for eternity. The Batman has been elevated to a place so high that it will make us laugh if anybody as much as talks about attempting to revive him in cinema after Chris Nolan’s trilogy.

The reluctant crusader with inner demons to fight must battle Bane, a monster of a man with a goal to terrorize and blow Gotham to smithereens.  Tom Hardy plays the bald beast in a mask Hannibal Lecter might like to try, and imposes with physical presence and an absurdly gruff voice. Here’s where you can forget about the Joker and understand that different villains can do things differently as long as they’re menacing enough.

The Dark Knight Rises has Bruce Wayne struggling to make his comeback as the Batman, a role Christian Bale is very familiar with. While we already know what he’s like as the billionaire with little to look forward to and the vigilante who hammers the hell out of bad guys while making sure he doesn’t kill them, it is Michael Caine and Anne Hathaway who have your attention. Caine, as the caring, witty and lovably shrewd Alfred, keeps the chuckles coming, dry as they are. Hathaway, not once called ‘Catwoman’ to her face, is slender and agile and looks irresistible in her suit.

What’s really going to stay with me is Joseph’s Gordon-Levitt’s John Blake – there’s no way you can’t love the last thing you learn about him.

Christopher Nolan succeeds once again in telling a superhero story the way it needs to be told. The Dark Knight Rises is a motivational and inspiring tale of a man as human as us you all, and teaches us that heroes are men of action; the ones who see something wrong and fix it with their hands. The Dark Knight Rises is a gratifying watch that will thrill the hell out of you, and this reviewer’s claps and whistles weren’t for the Batman as they were for Christopher Nolan as he ended his fantastic trilogy with an exhilarating ride. Now if only we could get one of those machines.

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Rolling Stone India Metal Awards 2012

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26
Jun
12

Music Review: Gojira – L’Enfant Sauvage

By Himanshu Singh Rathor

Gojira! It’s a Herculean name in itself, and this review is coming from a guy who has been listening to Gojira for four years now. They have their own territory in this ginormous metal scene. It’s a major and well-known stop for any metalhead. They sound fanfuckintastic in both forms i.e live and on record. The Flesh Alive DVD is an immense evidence of how fucking tight they are and can be! They sound awfully insane in the Flesh Alive CD. That was my first impulse before album could come out (leak). But then I got my hands on L’Enfant Sauvage where they sound like gods of their scene. They have their own sound, and it makes the progressive metal world go crazy. The Way Of All Flesh was a fucking win for every Gojira fan. They have what it takes to stand apart from any other mainstream band. Back then, I got blown away from their versatility. Now, this album is an extension of the Gojira sound, but not an expansion. I was hoping for the same amount of change which took place between Terra Incognita and The Way Of All Flesh. Nevertheless, I’m still saying L’Enfant Sauvage has what it takes to unquestionably be the album of the year.

On the current album, one would easily discover the use of two or more pitches turning out to be ‘reciting tones’, the use of which is perfect. I mean, it’s just flawless. The first song to notice this in is ‘The Axe’ – a mixture of death and black metal which only Gojira is capable of doing. The reason I call it “black metal” is because of its dark journey with the chanting in the background. It makes you close your eyes and feel the ambience through your head (on-a-loop kind of material). It’s one of my duckie picks from the album. ‘Liquid Fire’ is like a prolongation of the ‘The Axe’. That doesn’t mean anything bad – its a jaw-smashing beauty with one tempo carried throughout. ‘Mouth Of Kala’ has the pace that only Gojira can carry… such a groove throughout the song, with the gloomy pitch running in the background, and bassline is world-class. Such uniqueness, oh boy!

And here comes my favorite track for this year: Gojira takes it away with ‘The Gift Of Guilt’. A great idea of what Gojira can do to a song. Diversity!? Check. Groove!? Check. Heaviness!? Check. Perfection!? Check. It passes the entire test. I like the way it ends but if a solo could have been written for the end, ‘The Gift Of Guilt’ would have crossed all the limits to be Gojirasmic. Other tracks such as ‘Pain Is A Master’ is a deluding track as it starts with a slow ambient part and bashes away into the technicality of “death metal”.

I’m thoroughly impressed with what Gojira are offering here. This album is a huge transformation, more twisted towards the unique ‘progressive’ sound, which in itself is a massive thing to achieve, but it is not, as I stated earlier, an ‘expansion’. Buy or download L’Enfant Sauvage or do whatever you want. But listen to it!

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