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In the Studio: Kryptos Channel Eighties Traditional Metal

The Bengaluru old school metal band finish recording their fourth album which is themed around spirit of classic heavy metal, including individualism

Anurag Tagat Mar 23, 2016
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Members of Kryptos with sound engineers (left) Sukruth Mallesh and (right) Nikhil Pai at Adarsh Recording Studios in Bengaluru. Photo: Courtesy of Adarsh Recording Studios

Members of Kryptos with sound engineers (left) Sukruth Mallesh and (right) Nikhil Pai at Adarsh Recording Studios in Bengaluru. Photo: Courtesy of Adarsh Recording Studios

On one evening at Bengaluru’s Adarsh Recording Studio, old school metal band Kryptos were tracking guitars for their upcoming fourth album. Guitarist Rohit Chaturvedi says they had the best amplifiers at their disposal and had even zeroed in on a “massive sound.” But midway through the process, the band changed their mind. He says, “We realized it’s not about how massive the sound is. We thought, ”˜What sounds more real?’”

As a result, Chaturvedi ended up tracking demos for the eight-track album on his 10-watt Marshal amplifier, gear that is more likely to be part of a guitar starter pack than the country’s best metal exports’ rig. He adds, “I had bought the amp out of necessity when I had no money. For this recording, we shoved some mics in there and it sounded brilliant.” Working with their sound engineers Nikhil Pai and Varun Taneja, the band says they wanted to be as DIY as possible. Vocalist-guitarist Nolan Lewis says, “We actually started working on the album as soon as we got back from Europe last year. We usually tend to slack unless there’s a deadline or something. Our label [Germany’s AFM Records] gave us a deadline to get this done.”

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Kryptos have been visiting this studio since January, between their day jobs and gig weekends. The space has previously hosted some of the city’s best metal bands including thrash/death metallers Inner Sanctum and stoner/doom band Bevar Sea for sessions.

The upcoming album is the band’s first record with drummer Anthony Hoover, who joined in 2013 to replace Kryptos’ earliest members, Ryan Colaco. It also happens to be bassist Ganesh Krishnaswamy’s second album since his vocal stint on 2004’s Spiral Ascent. Krishnaswamy left the band in 2005, but reunited in 2013. The shake-up didn’t really affect songwriting, something that Chaturvedi and Lewis share, with Krishnaswamy co-writing lyrics. Lewis says the new album is stripped down compared to their 2012 offering The Coils of Apollyon. He adds, “It’s definitely not as heavy as the last album which was a mix of traditional and thrash metal. On this album, there’s barely any thrash elements. Most of the album is very traditional Eighties metal-influenced. The only thrash element comes from the vocals, because I can’t sing anything else. I’m stuck with that voice.”

(from left) Drummer Anthony Hoover, bassist Ganesh Krishnaswamy and sound engineer Varun Taneja go over the mixes. Photo: Courtesy of Adarsh Recording Studios

(from left) Drummer Anthony Hoover, bassist Ganesh Krishnaswamy and sound engineer Varun Taneja go over the mixes. Photo: Courtesy of Adarsh Recording Studios

Both guitarists cite Irish heavy metal/hard rock legends Thin Lizzy as a major influence on the new album, with twin harmonies leading the way.  The lyrics on the album were inspired by British heavy metallers Judas Priest, who have been a constant influence on the band. Chaturvedi says the album is about street justice and “having questions answered.” Lewis adds, “A good portion of the album is very traditional metal. It’s the whole Eighties’ ethos of freedom and having a good time. It’s all about individualism ”“ it’s my life and I’ll do what I want.” He describes a few offbeat tracks, calling one of the songs “Event Horizon meets 2001: A Space Odyssey,” while describing another track to have a “dystopian” setting. 

With tracking out of the way, there’s room for final edits before the band sends the eight tracks off for mixing and mastering. The release, however, isn’t particularly scheduled to coincide with their [now] annual Europe tour in July. Lewis says everything depends on when the label chooses to slot it.  “It could happen in the summer, it could happen towards the end of the year, depending on them,” he says. Nevertheless, Chaturvedi adds that the songs are sounding exactly how they wanted. He says with a laugh, “It’s just brewing right now, like good beer.”

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