GIG REVIEW | Fistful Of Steel | Planet Caravan

So Fistful of Steel, the debut gig organized by Earth One Productions, took place last Saturday at Kolkata. It was a usual day in July with slight hints of rain and a group of metalheads gathered at the venue situated at Salt Lake for a day dedicated to metal.

The first band to take the stage was Vulgustrike and they kickstarted the gig with lots of energy. They did great covers like Sepultura’s “Screams Behind The Shadows” and an Exumer number that the crowd enjoyed a lot. Rest of their songs were originals. Although the band was tight as a whole, the drummer Sayak Bagchi stole the show with his killer rolls and blastbeats. Overall, I found the band giving a lot of Pantera vibes.

Up next were the death metallers Divide Torture who are already quite well-known in the scene. Denzil Davidson managed the guitar duties remarkably well in place of their old guitarist and the drummer Bob played with unbelievable speed and precision. Like in their previous gig just a few months back, this time also they covered Cancer’s “Hung, Drawn And Quartered” that sent the crowd into a headbanging spree. The band also played a few of their OCs including the new one “SNAFU”, and added a touch of humor by giving a tribute to their new guitarist in the form of playing Napalm Death’s “You Suffer.”

The next band Xplikator delivered a heavy dose of in your face old school thrash metal. Like I did for the first two bands, I have to give the drummer Chirantan a special mention here as well. Their OCs were appreciated a lot and so we’re their covers of iconic tracks like “Raining Blood”. Personally, I liked the performance of this act the most.  The death/thrash veterans Deadbolt were next in line. I have been watching Deadbolt performing since 2013 and they have indeed gotten better with time. Nilabja had been the usual great frontman that he is, and Denzil showed his mastery with the guitars here as well. They also did a splendid Sepultura cover (“Inner Self”).

Strangulate was insane as well. They were the only band who didn’t do any covers and just concentrated on their originals. They played most of the songs from their album ‘Catacombs Of Decay‘ released last year. The overall sound of the band was of very high standards. Finally the gig ended on a high note with the old timers Evil Conscience. There is performance doesn’t need much talking about. They have been putting up electrifying performances everywhere for quite a long time now. But, in this gig, their Necrophagist cover was the best among all of the songs they performed.

Overall the gig was a nice experience and the organizers did a great job with their first venture. However I did find the attendance a bit low but I guess things will be better with time.
Cheers to Earth One Productions for pulling off their debut gig so well!

– Spirit Crusher and The Scene Kid

The images used here have been provided by Arkadeep Deb and he reserves all the rights.

Steven Wilson – To The Bone Review | Planet Caravan

Steven Wilson’s solo albums are something which I have been following since ‘Insurgentes’, 2008’s masterpiece. Well, this man can do anything starting from producing and mastering iconic metal/progressive albums to composing brilliant rock/pop albums that will haunt your soul and play with your emotions. If one digs deeper, the foundation of his albums lies within his eccentric musical ideas, mind-baffling harmonies, production skills, melodies and that too delivered with an impeccable English accent-which alone can leave quite an impression on listeners.

Cutting to the chase, ‘To the Bone’ (2017) marks the departure of Guthrie Govan (Aristocrats, Hans Zimmer) and Marco Minnemann (Joe Satriani, Aristocrats), whose absence could be felt in this album. The overall feel of this album is more pop like than his previous solo records; people familiar with ‘Stupid Dreams’ would catch the drift easily. By the way, here pop does not refer to what you hear on the radio nowadays but the pop which progressive fans will embrace; To be honest, I like to call it “art-pop” and as SW says: the balance which it has maintained can only be perceived by your ears in line with the works of Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush.
This album consists of 11 tracks, out of which 4 songs have been released as singles. The first track is the title track, which is catchy as well as intelligent from a production point of view, surrounding the subject of human perspective. The percussion in this song is kind of surprising though; it’s simple and provides the pop feel. It features Mark Feltham (long term band member of blues rock legend Rory Gallagher).
The second track, ‘Nowhere Now” at first seems like it’s out of Blackfield’s catalogue, then slowly builds up into a Prince like ambience with some distortions that oozes out the melody. This song gets better with every listen.
This is followed by “Pariah, which is one of the most beautiful duets I have heard in lately with Ninet hitting the notes with all glory. I do not know how to describe her voice, I think smoky is an apt description. Previously she played a huge part in songs like “Routine”, “Ancestral” in SW’s previous albums and this composition shows that she’s the perfect artist for the job.

“The Same Asylum As Before” is the 4th track and starts off with SW’s falsetto which I am not a big fan of. But soon it builds up into a heavily distorted section, which I love and it removes all the notion of being a pop record.
The next song “Refuge” follows a bit of conventional art-pop arrangement like the vocal tone and the drums but the song writing is spectacular here aided by a haunting harmonica and guitar solo featuring Mark Feltham. This basically describes the life of a refugee in the chaos ridden city.
“Permanenting” is my least favourite track off the album. Though it is an unconventional pop song, it sounds too happy and uplifting for this album.
The seventh song, “Blank Tapes” is a beautiful and short ballad in the line of songs like “Routine” (HCE), “Lullaby” (Blackfield) featuring Ninet again. The bass line gives me an 80’s vibe, which does not cut out the current relevance of the song but rather harmonizes with it to portray a picture of hopelessness. “People Who Eat Darkness” is the next track. It starts off with a rock n’ roll vibe and gives sort of an  Arctic Monkeys and Cage the Elephant feel, but then fades into SW’s sound which is good but nothing surprising. I’m not a big fan of this track too. “Song Of I” is like a trip hop wet dream, blissfully arranged with the right amount of electronic elements. It is one of the most ambient songs off the album; it shows how SW is capable of creating a crazy soundscape with anything. It feels like a movie soundtrack when the string section kicks in; I closed my eyes and imagined a scene of Blade Runner, and the way it synched gave me goose bumps.
The tenth track is the longest and most probably the most “progressive” track in this album, considering the surprises in this track and a long instrumental section. Despite having alot of Prince Influences, it is a fun track that will keep the listeners glued. I would rather not speak a lot about this song; trust me you will be surprised to hear this after listening to the other tracks.

The ending track is perfect-a signature Wilson ballad with a memorable melody. The song is an anti-thesis of current human ambitions. It provides a perfect ending to the album by saying,” It’s not the years you pass, it’s about the moments that last” signifying the importance of the later.
In conclusion, this is a very well-balanced album which will attract more audience to explore SW as well as it’s a homage to some of the idols that SW’s has grown up listening. To prog fans, you need to be patient with the album as it will grow on you slowly; songs like “Detonation” will be a part of your prog playlist soon. I loved the album slightly less than Raven. To the Bone is a bit more accessible than SW’s previous works but it is not a bad thing; The way he blends all elements is something to experience from this album.

Overall Rating8/10

Sayandip Pahari (Guest Writer)

 

Loathfinder – The Great Tired Ones Review | Planet Caravan

Godz Ov War Productions are about to release the debut EP of a band called Loathfinder in April. They are a blackened doom act from Poland, and we just received an advanced promotional copy of ‘The Great Tired Ones’ from the label to review.

Before I go into the tracks of this EP, the first thing that I liked about this album is the fascinating cover art which has been done by Robert A. von Ritter (Outre, Diabolizer, Witchmaster) with the design and colours being the creations of Maciej Kamuda (Nekrofilth, Kingdom, Ectovoid). The mixing and mastering on this has been done by Haldor Grunberg of Satanic Audio (Azarath, Thaw, Blaze Of Perdition).
The very first track itself establishes the slow morbid death/doom metal sound of the EP. The gainy riff has a bit of stoner doom influences of the likes of Sleep and Electric Wizard and the vocals sound along the lines of Obituary’s Tardy. The melodies and the melancholy guitar interludes add a different flavor to the song. The next track “Feast On My Entrails” goes a bit more aggressive and the tempo changes are really good.

“Scents Of Regression” begins with a pounding bass intro and has a oppressive atmoshphere throughtout the riffs. The vocals are also tighter in this one and needless to say this one’s my favourite track from this record. The EP ends with the title track which has a very eerie intro and has melodic guitar interludes like the first song. The guitar works reach a new level here and the melodies have been perfectly placed alongside the riffs.


Overall this is a typical blackened doom sound with the band not going into any ‘experiments’ at all. But they have done a very decent job with the music and the mixing. This is likely to appeal a lot to the old school crowd.

Written by – Spirit Crusher

Sinner – Tequila Suicide Review

Even though front-man Mat Sinner must surely have his hands full with his many projects (Primal Fear, Voodoo Circle, Silent Force, the Rock Meets Classic project), he evidently still finds plenty of time for his band, Sinner, who have been part of the German heavy/ power metal scene in various forms since 1982, selling over a million albums worldwide.
Due on March 31 via AFM Records, ‘Tequila Suicide’ is the German heavy metal band’s eighteenth studio album, being co-produced by Mat Sinner and Dennis Ward (Pink Cream 69), and features Matt on vocals and bass, Tom Naumann and Alex Scholpp on guitars and Francesco Jovino on drums, plus special guest artists such as Gus G (Ozzy Osbourne, Firewind), Ricky Warwick (The Almighty, Thin Lizzy), Pete Lincoln (The Sweet) and Magnus Karlsson (Primal Fear).

The record kicks off with a bang, opening with fast and hard rockers such as “Go Down Fighting”, a fast number with a punkish feel and the title song “Tequila Suicide”, one of the highlights of the album with its energetic licks and catchy hook. The record transitions to a strong midsection, straddling various genres such as the power metal rocker “Dragons”, “Battle Hill” a hard and impactful metal number with a slight Celtic feel, and then going mellow in the fine ballad “Sinner Blues”. The latter part of the album continues delivering hard rock/ metal songs that, while fun to listen to, ultimately fail to stand out much, with the exceptions of “Gypsy Rebels” and the closing track, “Dying On A Broken Heart”, another soft number that gives the album a memorable ending.


Ultimately, while there is nothing on ‘Tequila Suicide‘ that hasn’t been done before, it still makes a worthy addition to the collection of any diehard metalhead, delivering a power packed mix of catchy vocals over frantic guitars and chugging bass, along with some really awesome album art – one hopes that Sinner release their next album soon.

Written by: Akshit Bajaj

In Human – Voices Review

Usually at the review section, we write about upcoming albums or albums that have been released recently. For the first time, we decided to go back in time and review an album which was released way back in 2010. In Human is among one of the finest death metal acts to have emerged out of Kokata, India. They were notorious for not performing live that much and were often thought of to be a tribute/cover band as the few shows they performed in were flooded by covers of Death numbers. They released their debut album ‘Voices’ in 2010 which sold quite a number of copies in the local scene. However, they have been in a long hiatus in the recent years and are aiming to make a comeback with a new album along with a new line-up.

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The album starts with a piano-like intro based on the theme of “Voice Of The Soul” from Death’s album Sound of Perseverance which has been re-arranged by Ankit, the vocalist/guitarist. The heavy riffs and fast beats start at once from the second song titled “In Human Morality”. Heavy influences of Chuck Schuldiner on both the riffs and vocals can be noticed in this track and I personally liked the solo at the middle very much.  The third track “Power Struggle” begins with a slow melodious section that suddenly breaks off into the main riff. The prolonged guitar solo has a very Marty Friedman feel attached to it and adds a different flavor to the album; the song ends with the melodic section of the beginning playing once again along with the riff.

“Vicious Cycle” has a very thrashy feel and the harsh vocals get replaced by a voiceover that goes on throughout the song. The bass has been handled brilliantly in this song. “Residual Emotions” makes the sound return to the style of early death metal acts like Obituary and Death. The changes of tempo are precise and just at the right places. “Rigor Mortis” is also another very technically sound track of this album and the voiceovers, occasional solos and the riffs make the song very progressive in nature, unlike the traditional death metal bands. The final track “I Am Legion” was the very first original composed by the band and according to the members is an in-joke within the band. All elements of extreme metal has been exaggerated intentionally in this song along with a riff that sounds almost like an iconic Cannibal Corpse riff.
The lyrical themes of the album deal mainly with violence, death, terrorism among other thing. All lyrics have been written by Ankit except “Residual Emotions”. Overall, this is no doubt a very decent album and should appeal to all old school metal  enthusiasts along with the lovers of technically sound music.  However the only negative aspect of the album is the quality of production but that somehow makes the sound like the 90s’ death metal acts.

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And, as I have mentioned before, these guys are planning to make a return with a new line-up with Ankit remaining the only constant member. Stay tuned!!

Lineup:

Ankit Mitra – Guitars/Vocals
Anirudh Goswami – Bass
Shiladitya Sengupta – Guitars
Korak Sarkar – Drums

Tracklist:

1. Soul
2. In Human Morality
3. Power Struggle
4. Vicious Cycle
5. Residual Emotions
6. Rigor Mortis
7. I Am Legion

Written By – Spirit Crusher

Sorceress – A Track By Track Review

Opeth have always been a group associated with the word “innovation”. Formed in Stockholm, 1990 the band has been known for their unique sound incorporating extreme metal and elements of prog rock, jazz, fusion while constantly reinventing themselves with each passing record. Starting with the now classic, Orchid. Released in 1995, Opeth have managed to stay relevant for over 25 years, maturing as a band and belting out 10 more phenomenal albums that adorn the shelves of ardent vinyl collectors and the average music consumer alike. Back in 2011, the band caused quite a stir following the release of their 10th Studio album, Heritage. Opinions regarding the record were largely polarized, as die hard Opeth fans distanced themselves from the new sound that the band was pursuing primarily due to the absolute lack of growled vocals and extreme metal elements, while others embraced the new sound, calling it a bold step forward. 2014’s follow up, Pale Communion also garnered somewhat polarized reviews, but was generally much more well received than Heritage. Mikael Akerfeldt, the front man and creative nucleus of the band has always been focused on creating music that speaks to the soul, rather than focusing on technicalities, a tradition he has maintained for 11 albums. Sorceress, is no exception.

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Persephone – The album kicks off with a soothing acoustic intro, dual finger picked guitars gradually build up and sustain a melody while in the later part of the track we get to hear a recital which serves as a form of prelude to the lyrical content in the later part of the album.

 
Sorceress – Starting off with an unusual synth riff and transcending into drop tuned guitar chugs, the track marks Opeth’s first venture into down tuning and is arguably the heaviest track of the album. Akerfeldt’s baritone vocal range seems perfect and in line with the flow of the song, complementing the riffs beautifully until the track eases down for a proggy midsection, which followed by a verse breaks into the outro. A solid track with a lot of ambitious elements.

 

The Wilde Flowers – Reminding one of some of the riffage used in 2014’s Pale Communion, a more conventional track, the third number off the album feels like a relatively straightforward song until a few minutes in. A strong synth melody carries the main riff into the midsection. Fredrik Akesson really shines as a guitar player on this track ripping out flashy solos with some of his trademark bends and stretches. The track is concluded by another soft section building on vocal harmonies which suddenly becomes engulfed by a wall of riffs in a classic Opeth fashion.

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Picture Courtesy: Stuart Wood

 
Will O’ The Wisp – The second single released off the album and the most well received by far. Will O the Wisp is a dreamy Opeth track oddly reminiscent Blackwater Park Era’s Harvest while also containing some classic Jethro Tull influences, which clearly show throughout the track. A relatively simple song which is thoroughly carried by a beautiful melody complemented by Akerfeldt’s brilliant vocals.

 
Chrysalis – Another powerful track, this track marks Opeth’s complete departure from their Original sound. Bludgeoning guitar riffs and powerful drums kick off the number while moving on to showcase Akesson’s superb solo and new Keyboardist Joakim Svalberg’s synth work, which was prominently featured in the very first teaser of the album. Blending in well with the new sound of the album, Chrysalis feels like yet another reinvention of Opeth while sounding completely new.

Checkout The Title Track ‘Sorceress’ Below:

 

 

Sorceress 2 – The sixth track off the album is a clean, calm number yet again sounding very fresh compared to Opeth’s past catalogue while being oddly reminiscent of all things Opeth. An articulated acoustic guitar melody carries the song while we hear Akerfeldt’s tranquilizing vocals which create an incredibly pleasant atmosphere. It is the shortest song on the album barring the Intro and Outro tracks.

 

The Seventh Sojourn – The freshest track on the entire album. The Seventh Sojourn is largely instrumental piece crafted amidst oriental melodies and tasty Afro-Cuban percussion, some might recall the use of such percussion back in Heritage, courtesy of Peruvian percussionist Alex Acuña. This track feels unlike anything Opeth has done before, a completely new approach for the band. Although whether it fits the overall aesthetics of the record might be debatable for some.

 

Strange Brew – By this point, all the previous tracks of the album already grow in on the listening experience as a whole, and then this track kicks in. This is Opeth at their absolute progressive peak, starting off softly in an acoustic section and then breaking into a proggy barrage of riffs and drum fills, then cooling down a bit while Akesson lends some guitar licks to the song giving it an even more odd structure and feel, additionally the soft outro feels out of place with the rest of the song, however it leads one to conclude that the track has been quite aptly titled. “A strange brew” indeed.

 

A fleeting Glance – Giving off a very lightweight vibe the track starts off with yet another acoustic intro breaking into a very peppy synth jig with Akerfeldt noodling vocals over them, almost in a playful and childlike fashion. The drumming that follows also fits in really well with the context of the track, giving it an overall folk-rock feel. The mid-section is neatly broken up into some riffage reminiscent of earlier tracks such as “River” and “Haxprocess” but then in an element of surprise turns into a completely different direction. Overall, an upbeat song.

 

Era – The last full length song on the record, the track starts off very softly once again breaking into some heavy riffage but in a manner quite unlike conventional Opeth, it concludes that they have strayed far off from their original sound and this element shines throughout the track, the tonality, the overall structure of the song feels quite unlike Opeth. This track is outshined by the presence of other phenomenal tracks on the album, by comparison it is blunt. Although in an album context it does serve a purpose.

 

Persephone (Slight Return) – The final track of the record starts off from where Track 1 had started off. Although not meant to be interpreted as an individual track it serves as a form of closure, effectively sealing the deal on this rollercoaster of a record.

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Picture Courtesy: Stuart Wood

 

Overall impression:

Opeth started to sound different following the release of Heritage which was mixed by Steven Wilson, notably opting for a warmer, more organic sound. This pinnacle was reached in 2014’s Pale Communion which was a pleasantly well produced album. However, Sorceress fails to deliver in that regard. Although it sports an incredibly bass heavy mix, quenching the thirst for heaviness desired by long time Opeth fans, it doesn’t sound as good compared to Opeth’s recent work, almost bordering on being muddy at times. The drums are loud and compressed, and added to the bass tracks produces an incredible low end presence, often at the expense of other instruments, after listening to the album through a setup that has a relatively flat response, the low end simply comes out as being MASSIVE. Although this might not be such a deterrent factor for a lot of listeners out there, added to the fact that the band had originally intended it to sound this way.

Sorceress, is an amazingly well done record. It is heavy, progressive, fresh and has some great moments and nuances throughout the course of the entire record. Arguably Opeth’s best output in recent years, compared to records like Heritage and Pale Communion, Sorceress effectively concludes the birth of the new Opeth. A complete reinvention of their sound while still retaining classic Opeth elements. Yet another stellar record added to their impressive catalogue spanning 26 years.

 

The album quite deservingly gets an 8.5 out of 10.

 

Written By: Nilanjan Mukherjee (Guest Writer)

Kryptos – Burn Up The Night Review

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There’s no need in introducing Kryptos as they are one of the greatest heavy metal acts to have come out of the Indian subcontinent. Formed way back in the September of 1998 by Nolan Lewis (vocals/guitars) and Ganesh Krishnaswamy (bass) in Bangalore, they have released three albums till date. Their fourth album is about to be released via AFM Records of Germany and Planet Caravan is lucky enough to receive a promotional copy of the album before the scheduled release.

The album cover instantly reminds one of the artworks of Accept’s albums. Coming to the songs, the album doesn’t waste any time before going into heavy riffs right from the beginning track “Blackstar Horizon” Like the previous album, here also the sound is categorized by a bridge between traditional heavy metal like Priest, Accept and German thrash like Kreator and Sodom. Nolan’s vocals are indeed very much like the Teutonic thrash acts. The next song is the previously released and well-received single “Full Throttle”, where the raspy vocals have been very well supported by the twin guitar attacks by Nolan himself and Rohit. In all of the tracks, the guitar duels sound spectacular. The next two songs somewhat drab, but the outro of “The Summoning” and the main riff of “Unto Elysium” are impressive. The heaviness again makes a comeback on the heavy metal energy loaded “One Shot to Kill” which is easily the strongest contender for the best song of the album. This is clearly up to the mark of any international metal bands.“Waverider” also has a catchy riff and the same intense rough vocals and the solo has been brilliantly put in at the middle. The concluding two songs also carry the same energy and vibrance, with the title track having a marvelous guitar duel.

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Photo Courtesy: AFM Records Germany

It looks like Kryptos are getting better with each album and this will probably be the best Kryptos release till date, though that may not be the opinion of everyone. But people looking for an old school heavy metal rush will definitely dig this album.

And finally, this is what the guys of Kryptos have to say about the album: “It’s been 18 years of absolute pedal to the metal and here we are on the cusp of our most pounding release yet. Grab a beer, put on your denim and leather and rock the fuck out to this with your closest mates.”

Band Members:

Nolan Lewis – Guitars/Vocals
Rohit Chaturvedi – Lead Guitars
Ganesh K. – Bass
Anthony Hoover – Drums

Tracklist:

01. Blackstar Horizon
02. Full Throttle
03. The Summoning
04. Unto Elysium
05. One Shot To Kill
06. Waverider
07. Prepare To Strike
08. Burn Up The Night

 

Written By: Spirit Crusher