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Escher’s Knot Plot New Album

Progressive post-thrash
outfit Escher’s Knot about
their return from a period of
inactivity with a new single

Paul Dharamraj Jul 11, 2014
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Escher's Knot - Madhav Ayachit, Siddhartha Ramanathan, Abijith Rao, Manu Krishnan, Anshuman Mishra (from left). Photo: courtesy of the band

Escher’s Knot – Madhav Ayachit, Siddhartha Ramanathan, Abijith Rao, Manu Krishnan, Anshuman
Mishra (from left). Photo: courtesy of the band

It’s hard to pin prog-metallers Escher’s Knot down to any particular city these days; they’ve been spread across the country over the last two years. Formed in Chennai in 2009, the band put out their first release, Tessellations, in May 2010 and gigged heavily in support of it. Shortly after, vocalist Abijith Rao and bassist Madhav Ayachit (who you’d recog­nize as the frontman of Bengaluru thrash outfit Theorized), moved back to Bengalu­ru. Guitarist Anshuman Mishra, former­ly of New Delhi death metal act Third Sov­ereign, moved to pursue sound engineering in the capital, while drummer Manu Krish­nan was the only remaining member left in Chennai. Over the last year though, they’ve managed to revive Escher’s Knot, adding prog metal band Trojan Horse’s guitarist Siddhartha Ramanathan from Chennai to the lineup.

With the release of a new single, “The Grand Design,” the band sees itself on the threshold of a new chapter, coping with the hurdles that this long distance band rela­tionship presents. Admits bassist Ayachit, “There wasn’t much song writing done in the last two years because we’re all split up in different cities. But more recently, since Siddhartha and Manu are in the same place, they jam every week and share songs online. We occasionally bring Anshuman down to play shows as a five-piece act.”

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Rao mentions that they’ve tried to keep the band dynamic going, even if things got a little slow, adding, “It’s not like we get gigs every week or month, anyway.” However, they have found their feet again with the new single, “The Grand Design,” inspired by physicists Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow’s 2010 popular science bestsell­er by the same name. The track is a three-minute-and-forty-second riff fest anchored by Krishnan’s busy beats, with Rao’s growls working like a percussive groove in tandem with the rhythm section.

For ardent followers of the band though, “The Grand Design” isn’t entirely new, with several iterations of the song having featured in their live set over the last two years. In fact, the groundwork for putting the song together began in 2012, says Rao. He adds, “Two years ago, I was working at Clemen­tine Studios in Chennai and that’s when Manu came in and tracked drums for the song, just as we were putting it together.” However, with each member of the band caught up with other commitments, the scratch track for the song was relegated to the backburner. Says Rao, “We finally tracked the guitars here in Bangalore with [Theorized guitarist Ankit Suryakanth] and all that was left was the vo­cals which were pending for a year because I’ve been a lazy ass!”

The single also marks a new phase for the band’s songwriting, marking an evolu­tion since the time they released Tessella­tions four years ago. Says Ayachit, “With the first release, it was just spontaneous writing and a very stage-friendly bunch of songs. We used to each play our own thing, but now it’s a bit more serious with the song writing.” Rao agrees that there has definitely been a change in sound and the release of “The Grand De­sign” is a watershed moment for the band, set­ting the tone for the rest of their new album. “We have new songs ready and hopefully, we’ll start pre-production for a full-length release to be out later this year,” Rao says.

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Toiling away on getting the right mixes has become second nature for Escher’s Knot, given that almost all the members have a strong background in sound engineering. But if there’s one thing they’re particular about, it’s bring­ing the album alive on stage ”“ not something that many of the newer crop of local metal acts seem to take into consideration, Rao mentions. “I’m not just saying this as a sound engineer but from an audience per­spective as well,” he says. “Bands here have been playing with bad sound for ages now. And then, if you put them on a big festival stage, they’re not likely to be able to handle those gigs.”

This article appeared in the June 2014 issue of ROLLING STONE India.

Escher’s Knot performs at Outrage Festival at Blue Frog, Delhi on July 13th, 2014. Entry: Rs 600.

Stream “The Grand Design”

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