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Albums Reviews

Shades of Retribution

Xongram
Independent release
[Two stars]

Deepti Unni Jan 27, 2011

Shades of Retribution are an Assam-based old-school thrash metal band that was formed in January last year but Xongram, their debut album, could well have been written in the early Nineties. The album’s eight mid-tempo tracks channel early Kreator and Testament, laying fairly simple riffs over groove-based drumming, occasionally adding melodic and acoustic interludes. It’s in these patches of melody that the band showcase flashes of creativity. ”˜Kola Daor’ opens with the twang of a gogona, an Assamese Jew’s harp, that’s used all too briefly and you’re left wishing the band had found a way to incorporate it better into their songs. The intersting acoustic opening of ”˜Raktapat’ transitions uncomfortably into some familiar thrash riffing and shred soloing and shifting tempos that fail to engage. Ballads ”˜Tej Loga Maati’ and ”˜Xukan Borokhun’ have their moments but still feel like a misfit on the album.

Given that Xongram is the band’s first album, it’s only natural that they should have some teething troubles with their sound. But there’s also huge potential here. Shades of Retribution sing and growl in Assamese and if they could better incorporate traditional elements of the region, they would have a sound like no other band in the country. Hopefully, that’s where SoR are headed.

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Key Tracks: ”˜Bhogoban Khot,’ ”˜Tej Loga Maati’

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