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Albums Reviews


‘Mark of Teja’
Grey and Saurian
[Three and a half stars]

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May 10, 2010

After 2008’s unpredictable but delectable Confect, where Mumbai metallers Scribe would go with their next album was anybody’s guess. What was not expected of them, however, is the restraint that they’re showing on Mark of Teja. This time around Scribe seems intent on letting people know that they’re serious about the music. Ambient and bludgeoningly heavy in turns, the album combines their trademark down-tuned seven string madness with some intelligently thought out arrangements and fantastic vocal work. Case in point: ”˜RSVP’ and ”˜Street Archana’ throws bottom-heavy sub-bass riffs against Vishwesh Krishnamoorthy’s hardcore vocals soaring into clean vocals lines that you won’t be able to get out of your head. The ambience is left to intro ”˜The Seed,’ a strummy, instrumental piece ”˜Heidi,’ and the almost submarine ”˜U Feel’ that gives the album’s punishing pieces some room to breathe. And therein also lies the problem.

Towards the second half of the CD the songs begin segueing into each other as the vocals stylings and downtuned riffs begin to become a little indistinguishable. ”˜Kamla’s Back,’ ”˜1234 Dracula’ and ”˜M-Pyre’ disappear in a blur and you’re not sure when one ended and another began. Overall the band slips more into metalcore territory than hardcore proper on this record and they’re wearing their influences on their sleeve (sometimes the Textures influence can be prominent to the point of distraction.) But that’s not to say the album is not exceptional. Krishnamoorthy’s manic vocal machinations cover everything from rap to gorgeous soaring clean choruses, grunts to gremlin voices (hark the ”˜I love you pav bhaji refrain’) in range that far surpasses anything done by vocalists in the country before. But the one dampening factor on this album is the production. The band’s sound has been over produced to an extent where all the jagged edges and visceral rawness that made you want to ball your fists and jump into the moshpit is gone, to be replaced by a polish that doesn’t quite become them. But it’s still a fantastic record with a few finishing problems, something the band will iron out on their next effort for sure.

Key Tracks: ”˜RSVP,’ ”˜Street Archana,’ ”˜Dum Hai to Aage Aah!’

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