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Album Review: Midhaven ”“ Spellbound

The Mumbai progressive rock/metal band put their sloppy debut EP behind them with a louder, heavier full-length debut album

Anurag Tagat Apr 09, 2014
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Midhaven. Photo: Akhila Shankar

Midhaven. Photo: Akhila Shankar

[easyreview cat1title = Spellbound cat1rating = 3.5 cat1detail = “Universal Music India”]

'Spellbound' album art

‘Spellbound’ album art

It was in May last year that Mumbai progressive rock/metal band Midhaven made their mark, rather unremarkably, when they launched their debut EP Tales From The Tide. The four-piece band’s performance was far from flawless.

Their debut full-length album, Spellbound follows the story of Shiva as he battles gods from Greek and Norse mythology, a concept inspired by video games such as God of War. Straight from the second track “Seeking The Divine,” Midhaven don’t disappoint. Reworked versions of songs from their 2013 EP ”“ “Tales From the Tide,” “Whitewash” and the meditative metal track “The Third Eye” ”“ sound much more polished. The band’s nine-track debut definitely leans more toward progressive rock with hints of sludge and death metal, with vocalist-guitarist Karan Kaul alternating his clean vocals with vocalist-bassist Abhishek Sawant’s growls.

New compositions such as “Fall Of Olympus” sound like a heavy mash-up of progressive death metal and alternative metal, minus the done-to-death [pun not intended] clean, delay-laden bridges. Midhaven cut straight through all that to bring heavy riffs. With help from hardcore band Reverrse Polarity’s bassist and producer Jordan Veigas and sound engineers Jason D’Souza [from alt rock band The Koniac Net] and Viraj Saxena [who also doubles up as the band’s sessions drummer on Spellbound], Midhaven sound as diverse as ever. The closing track “Death Row,” on which Midhaven bid goodbye to prog, recalls American alt metal band Deftones with chugging riffs courtesy guitarist Shreyas Rane over Kaul’s melancholic vocals. But “Death Row” moves into a somewhat post-grunge space, which would disappoint metal fans waiting on a breakdown.

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Midhaven are yet to pass the litmus test on stage, though, with a tour of North East India in the works to promote their album.

Key tracks: “The Third Eye,” “Fall Of Olympus.”

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