Here & Beyond
In just about three years, Bengaluru progressive metallers Slain have emerged as one of the most promising young bands in the country today. Their two EPs ”“ Slain (2008) and Before Beyond (2009) ”“ made a lot of people sit up and take notice, as did a series of wins at college rock competitions. So does their debut live up to all that hype? For the most part, yes.
While Here & Beyond is a solid collection of tunes that impress, five of the ten songs on this album have been heard on their earlier EPs. And that is where it might disappoint at least some of the fans. And perhaps to give this sense of fatigue the boot, Slain ”“ to their credit – have re-arranged these older songs differently. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work. ”˜Star’ (earlier called ”˜You Don’t Have to Be a Star’) has lost some of its bite for me. Version 1 had the vocalist showing off his impressive set of pipes and that seems to have mellowed down in the version on the album. And that breakdown sounds too boybandish.
On the other hand, the newer version of ”˜Angel in the Sky’ is now served with some generous portions of heavy. The title track itself, one of my favourites on this album, is one of the best showcases for the impressive individual talents of the band members. ”˜Superhero,’ another new track, is a beautiful mid-paced ballad with chiming guitars and sweeping keys. And that’s what makes Here & Beyond a brilliant album: A wide range of sounds, all delivered with technical precision. Classic rock and progressive metal. Overdriven riffs and arpeggiated chords. Crashing drums and soaring vocals. It’s all here on this album. If you are already a Nineties progressive/power metal fan, this is right up your alley. And even if you are not, a few rounds of patient listening to Here & Beyond could very well convert you.
Key tracks: ”˜Here & Beyond,’ ”˜Angel in the Sky’