#ReviewRundown: May 2021
We give our verdict on the latest from singer-songwriter Abdon Mech, hip-hop artist Gravity, dark-synth rock band Arogya and more
Abdon Mech – From A Bamboo Room EP
Written as a way of setting a milestone for himself during the “early phase of life,” Nagaland singer-songwriter Abdon Mech keeps it simple yet strikingly soulful on his debut EP From A Bamboo Room. With warm, twinkly production from Sarthak Pawar, Mech wastes no time putting his heart on record, like on “Human.” His love duet “Dopamine” with Akhrieze is personal yet intelligent in its verse, while there’s friendlier yearning on “Come My Way” and Mech entering crooner mode on “Gonna Be.” If that didn’t convince you of Mech’s honest songwriting, he saves best for last on “Give Me My Soul Back,” with its instantly memorable hook and stirring, spacey guitar work.
6 Undercover – Angel of Refuge
Bengaluru rock band 6 Undercover have been around since 2015, regulars on the club and pub circuit. A few years of honing their sound by writing and performing comes to the front of their debut album Angel of Refuge. Their influences are loud and clear – aiming for the operatic highs of Judas Priest and Scorpions while also digging their heels into the pummeling metal of Metallica and more. The five-member band pour their heart out on the eight-track album that clocks in at nearly an hour. Songs like “Freedom To Survive” and “Eternal Bliss” mostly end up dodging cliches and there’s solid execution on the journeying eight-minute track “Shinigami (Soul Reaper)” as well as the closing 10-minute title track. A tad under-polished on the production, the raw, heavy metal/hard rock energy still carries 6 Undercover quite a long way on this album for classic rock diehards.
Arogya – Genesis
On the back of gaining a new fanbase in Europe thanks to signing with German label Out Of Line Music, Northeast dark-rock band Arogya make it count on their new album Genesis. Vocalist Rainjong Lepcha (also part of metallers Rectified Spirit) doesn’t hold back from the get-go, with arena-ready songs like “Sky Afar” proving why he’s one of the best in the country who only goes from strength to strength. Nearly each of the 10 tracks on Genesis surges forward with fluid electro-rock in the vein of Linkin Park, sometimes more ballad-like in its intent (“Lonely Night Descends”). Where songs like “Dust,” “Broken” and “Dark World” cement Arogya’s ability to dominate any big stage (“Misery’s Lair,” “Break Free” and “Throne” even heap on guitar solos), there’s dubstep breakdowns on “Charade” and heavy synthwave on “Lies,” allowing the band to switch things up for a dance party that leaves room for moshing.
Gravity – Walls of Jericho
Mumbai rapper and composer Gravity aka Akshay Jagdish Poojary accelerates from zero to pissed off real quick on his latest mixtape Walls of Jericho. In keeping with his intent to break down walls of stylistic confinement on the record, “Aakrosh” is a lethal takedown of corrupt lawmakers and their lackeys alike, goading people to think for themselves or remain complicit. Gravity’s snarl continues all through in total confidence, like on “Toss,” or the regal talk on “King$hit” and “Band Kamre.” Producers like Swak, Amtra, Fatboi Raccoon and Rhymix are providing the bedrock for Gravity and Rane’s roomy, journeying sound powers the rapper’s singing ability on “Saazish.” Fatboi Raccoon’s smooth, pensive beats allow the rapper to be upfront about insecurities on “Darr Kyu Lage,” making this one well-rounded mixtape from the Bombay Lokal member.
To the Lighthouse – Northern Lights EP
Bengaluru-based post-rock band To the Lighthouse reinforce everything that any fan of the genre enjoys – emotive, journeying sonic storytelling which doesn’t dip down into cliched crescendos or meandering ambient portions. On their debut EP Northern Lights, there’s heavier moments, tightly-wound rock excursions and more. The deepest they reach, for now at least, is heard on “Awakening,” which offers mystique and wonder, even as they get into prog spaces. Balancing trippy space-rock (“Floating on Water”) and more emotionally charged songwriting (the outstanding closing track “Ambient” with vocalist Mallika Singh), To the Lighthouse are well on their way to becoming a strong, valuable rock act in the country.