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List: From Pune To Pennsylvania – Six Metal Releases You Should Listen To

This week’s top metal you should listen to include Pune doom metallers Dirge, prog metallers Between the Buried and Me, metal band Veil of Maya and more

Anurag Tagat Apr 15, 2015
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“Swamp” by Dirge

(from left) Varun Patil, Harshad Bhagwat, Prathamesh Lele,Tabish Khidir and Ashish Dharkar. Photo: Aabhishek Mikael Gunaratnam/Ping

(from left) Varun Patil, Harshad Bhagwat, Prathamesh Lele,Tabish Khidir and Ashish Dharkar. Photo: Aabhishek Mikael Gunaratnam/Ping

What’s a good way to troll followers of history? Create an alternative fictional history where the Mayans battle the Spaniards in god only knows what century. That’s the plan that Pune doom band Dirge have in mind for their as yet untitled upcoming concept album. Says vocalist Tabish Khidir about their first single “Swamp” off the concept album, “We’re hoping it does piss off a few historians.”

Formed in January 2014, Dirge is also influenced by sludge, stoner and groove metal. Khidir joined the band in September last year to fill in for Pushkar Nalawade, who left to pursue further studies in Shillong. While doom metal is more popular in Bengaluru, with bands such as Djinn & Miskatonic and Witchdoctor taking up the way to play slow and heavy music, influenced by the likes of Black Sabbath, Trouble and Candlemass, Dirge has the distinction of being the only doom metal band in Pune.

The honor comes with its own set of problems – doom songs usually clock in at seven minutes at least [“Swamp” trudges on for 11 minutes], and Dirge often ended up playing just one song when they started out at college competitions. Says guitarist Ashish Dharkar, “We played quite a few college shows and that’s where gig organizers found us.” The band has performed in Pune and in Bengaluru last year, and headed to Mumbai to record with Sahil Makhija aka The Demonstealer [from extreme metallers Demonic Resurrection] earlier this year. Says Dharkar about their decision to record with Makhija, who is primarily into thrash, death and black metal as a record engineer at his Demonic Studios, “Sahil is a very experienced guy. Plus, we wanted to record live drums and it was a great learning experience for all of us.”

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“Swamp” is the third track on Dirge’s album, with two other songs – “Evoking the Demigod” and “Oblivion” – which are already on their gig setlist. Khidir adds that writing for the album is underway, with an upcoming, untitled fourth track set to be groovier. Says Khidir, “The jams have already started.” While there’s no gig yet to launch the single, Dirge are working on merchandize plans and hope to become more than just the only doom band in Pune. Adds Khidir, “We’re trying to spread the genre and reach out to more people.”

“Memory Palace” by Between the Buried and Me

Between the Buried and Me. Photo: Justin Reich

Between the Buried and Me. Photo: Justin Reich

Looks like American prog metallers Between the Buried and Me are becoming even more unpredictable with their sound. The first taste off their seventh full-length album, Coma Ecliptic, is the heavily starry-eyed keyboard-led “Memory Palace,” which draws a bit from Rush, but also brings the heavy, with vocalist Tommy Rogers throwing in a growl when you least expect it. Like most BTBAM songs, “Memory Palace” clocks in at nearly 10 minutes, with a lot of passages, from slow light-headed stuff that emerges into groove metal and then into straight-on prog, with keyboardist Dan Briggs taking the lead.

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“Teleute” by Veil of Maya

Veil of Maya. Photo: Courtesy of Sumerian Records

Veil of Maya. Photo: Courtesy of Sumerian Records

Chicago metallers Veil of Maya are often considered among the forerunners of the djent and later deathcore scene as they evolved since 2006, but it seems like their upcoming album, Matriarch, includes their full range. Their new vocalist Lukas Magyar provides the right growls, but also goes clean on “Teleute,” with deathcore friends Chelsea Grin’s guitarist Jason Richardson coming in for a guest solo.

“The Wake” by August Burns Red

August Burns Red. Photo: Courtesy of Fearless Records

August Burns Red. Photo: Courtesy of Fearless Records

Pennsylvania metallers August Burns Red have been at the forefront of melodic metalcore for a good part of the decade now, and just like Between the Buried and Me, they’re making sure the first taste of their new album, Found In Far Away Places, will get fans all nostalgic. “The Wake,” the first single off their seventh album, packs in thunderous bass grooves, along with nods to hardcore and melodic death metal, all in classic August Burns Red fashion.

Instant Gratification by Dance Gavin Dance

Dance Gavin Dance. Photo: Kevin Cortipassi

Time passes by pretty quick when you’re a fan of California post-hardcore band Dance Gavin Dance, who have just released their sixth full-length album, Instant Gratification. Their second album with vocalist Tilian Pearson, who replaced the on-off founding member Jonny Craig in 2012, is going a step further to win over fans who preferred Craig’s R&B-style croon set to some chaotic, melodic riffs. Check out songs like “Stroke God, Millionaire,” “The Cuddler” and “Something New,” which feature their signature dance-metal sound, while they get heavier on songs like “Shark Dad” and “Awkward.”

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