#ReviewRundown: November 2019
Our verdict on the past month’s new indie albums, including Shillong metallers Dymbur, Bengaluru alternative band Black Letters, industrial band Nivid and more
Dymbur – The Legend of Thraat
Taking a page from the book of djent, Shillong metallers Dymbur first created their own onomatopoeic word “thraat” and now they’ve crafted it into their own concept story collection for their debut album. Sonically, Dymbur love keeping listeners on their toes with tricky, roller-coaster time signatures and overpowering growls on songs like “All Seeing Eye,” “Capital Vices” and “Diablo Illumination.” Courtesy of guitarist Cornelius Kharsyntiew, there’s chunky, chaotic eight-string riffs on songs like “Valor” and “When Anger Dwells” which make The Legend of Thraat a must-hear for any fan of modern metal. As an added bonus, even their interludes “Rule of Fifth” and “Quintus” are classic djent.
Fellow Swimmers – Morning Deathstar
On their debut EP, Bengaluru/Guwahati band Fellow Swimmers present dreamy rock, shoegaze and post-rock in a way you may not have necessarily heard before. Their method involves a slowly unraveling layered sound, on top of guitar lines seemingly inspired by the likes of math rock/emo band American Football, best heard on songs like “24×5,” “Frances McDormand” and “Alex Emery.” The lo-fi production lends to its tenderness, while a folksy guitar line leads on the vulnerable “Late Blue.” Fellow Swimmers experiment with silence and a sample from 1996 movie Fargo, but their allure lies in crafting atmospheric music.
Black Letters – Still As You
In their evolution from peppier indie rock (Shapes on the Wall, 2014) to dream pop (Petrichor, 2015), Bengaluru alternative act Black Letters present an even more diverse sound on their new record Still As You. As signaled by singles like “Falter” and “Landscaper,” Black Letters seem to take a bit from mellow electronic music, keeping to robotic drum beats and a good dose of synth work. “In My Senses” is otherworldly, while “Break Into” features surprising percussive action. Songs like “Some Do Some Don’t” and “Noon” are melancholic mood setters, but they do bring buoyant energy on “Other Side,” but completely turn things around with the menacing closer “Dripping.”
Nivid – Mernā
Once part of rock band Pinocchio’s Moment of Clarity, guitarist-vocalist and producer Aditya Virmani’s new project Nivid offers gritty, abrasive industrial rock on Merna. Based out of Gurugram, Nivid weave a timely critique of Hindutva and right-wing politics in with a dystopian future on the 23-minute Merna. “The Hindu Awakens| Hai Yeh Hindusitaan” is rightly ominous and the violent sonics build up on songs like “The Never Ending Desire To Be Validated | Prakara” and “There’s More Of Us” on which you can hear classic Nine Inch Nails riffs. Using irony in a scary and real way lyrically, it feels like the message of Merna prefers the action over the eventual reaction and moral that Nivid arrive at on songs like “The World Around Me” and “Mazhab,” but it’s still a ride worth taking.
Adbhutam – Spirit Of Fusion
On their second record Spirit of Fusion, Kolkata fusion band Adbhutam keep Indian classical music as a launchpad for proggy, high-energy rock. Songs like “Aigiri Nandini” are safe bets but “Died In Dreams” seems a bit meandering. Guitarist Somak Sinha’s fretplay on “Bhairavi Ectasy” is worthy, with its tinge of EDM, while the band – completed by bassist Suman Mitra and drummer Sapta Rishi – gels best on the serpentine melodies of “Somewhere in Clouds” and the string-led “Morphine,” but even these sometimes feel like they become more indulgent than they should. Quick-paced fusion tracks like “Ravana” are more likely where Adbhutam’s strengths lie.
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