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Album Review: Albatross’s ‘Fear From the Skies’

The ominous theatricality in the Mumbai horror metal band’s full-length album makes it more than just traditional heavy metal

Anurag Tagat Jun 26, 2015
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Stream Albatross’ music video for “Jugglehead the Clown” below:

[easyreview cat1title = “Fear From the Skies” cat1rating = “3.5” cat1detail = “Transcending Obscurity India”]

 

Albatross' Fear From The Skies. Credit: Rahul Chacko (Scribble Bandit)

Artwork credit: Rahul Chacko (Scribble Bandit)

The first five minutes of Mumbai horror metal band Albatross’s full-length album Fear From the Skies sets the bar high for their brand of theatrical, cinematic metal that’s as much about the story as it is about the all-out heavy metal assault. Their previous releases ”“ Dinner Is You [2010] and The Kissing Flies [2012] ”“ were bound together by horror stories about cannibalism and the likes, alongwith a strong heavy metal  nod towards Judas Priest, but on Fear From the Skies, there’s a change in sound for the Mumbai six-member band.

Although they’ve added a third guitarist Varun Singh in August last year, the album isn’t all self-indulgent guitar solos and riffs littered throughout. Beyond 16 guitar solos and guitarists Vigneshkumar Venkatraman and Nishith Hegde’s sharp tones, vocalist Biprorshee Das adds all the drama and varies the mood brilliantly on the eight-track album. While the band can throw us off the radar straight off with gypsy/circus-themed riffs on “The Raptorsville Fair,” introducing the first story about a sinister circus clown called Jugglehead who turns children into murdering their parents. Das is mimicking, growling, snarling and doing spoken word parts, in between the barrage of polished music that veers between prog and death metal, while staying grounded in the heavy metal zone, courtesy of drummer Jay Thacker’s rolls.

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While songs such as “Jugglehead the Clown” and “Children of the Cloud” have been live favorites among fans, it’s the album’s second part opener “In the Lair of Dr. Hex” that scores the most points for starting out like a stoner song and progressing into great melodic guitars. The guitarists get their turn to shine again on the closing epic “The Empire of Albatross,” a tale that concludes the origin story for face of the band, bassist Dr. Hex aka Riju Dasgupta. Going from classical guitars to big-room drums over more melodic riffs from Hegde, Venkatraman and Singh, Albatross close on a high, making Fear From the Skies a horror story worth a few repeats, with a wide influence of metal fused with great story-telling.

Key tracks: “In The Lair of Dr. Hex,” “The Empire of Albatross.”

Buy Fear From the Skies here.

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