Indian black metal gets interesting
Another one of the mushrooming crop of Indian bands, black metal band Heathen Beast is the latest entrant on the scene. The trio who go by the names Carvaka, Samkhya and Mimamsa – which, incidentally, are three school of Indian philosophy that deal with religious scepticism, anti-mysticism and denial of god – musically follow the second wave of Norwegian black metal but contextually focus on religious fallout and strife in India, a refreshing change from the church-bashing, inverted-cross philosophy of the genre. Themed around the Ayodhya issue in the wake of the recent verdict, ‘Blind Faith’ and ‘Religious Genocide’ carve out some heavily distorted, abrasive guitar work with Indian melodies while ‘Ayodhya Burns’ takes a more ambient, slower burning turn. Carvaka delivers his vocals in ear-splitting screeches that perfectly complement the fuzzy, bristling guitars and while the production is faithful to the black metal style, the EP sometimes feels tinny and scratchy to the point of pain and could really use a low-pass filter to take some of the treble off the overheads. The EP feels too short in its 15 minutes to really judge if this band is just a flash in the pan or a potential strong contender on the scene but given the depth of material available to bands who want to look at religious philosophy in the country, it should be interesting to see what a full-length album from Heathen Beast will sound like.
Key Tracks: ‘Blind Faith, ‘Ayodhya Burns’