[EDITOR’S NOTE: When we recently named a song by India’s Demonic Resurrection to our list of last year’s most infectious tunes, we observed that 2010 was the year in which we here at NCS had discovered the joys of Indian metal. In addition to DR, we heard and wrote about albums by Bhayanak Maut, Infernal Wrath, Heathen Beast, and Skrypt. And we also expressed our interest in continuing to explore Indian metal in the New Year. That led to a correspondence with Siddharth Darbha, a musician and close observer of the Indian metal scene. Today, we’re posting the first of what we hope will be regular contributions from Siddharth about Indian metal. This one is his review of a new album by New Delhi’s Artillerie.]
Artillerie’s 2008 release, New Offensive, was well received and validated the addition of a new flavor to Indian metal from a capital perspective, joined by Undying Inc.’s EP, Evilution Of A Manimal. New Offensive was exceedingly groovy and live-worthy, in-your-face material, and it invited high expectations from fans. Artillerie has been playing for about four years now and took a lot of time out, playing comparatively few gigs and concentrating on writing new material. They released a two-song EP Prelude To Chaos, featuring trailers of their new album, Eradefiled.
Artillerie tied up with Grey and Saurian Records to work on Eradefiled, later choosing to release it independently as a free internet download. (You can download it here.) It consists of 9 songs spanning 40 minutes. Artillerie spent a lot of time adding depth to the theme of this lyrically conceptual album, with their blog detailing the self-fashioned fictional background storyline for their album. (more after the jump . . .)
Creating one of the few Indian releases with a storyline in the background does get them a thumbs-up. Musically, the album bombards the listener with technically tasty riffs, though often punctuated by mediocrity. The guitar tone begins to get monotonous over an extended period, whilst a solo or two sound forced. The vocals have changed for the better, with a slightly expanded range, which ought to be expanded further. The drums are very, very tight and well-incorporated. The mixing and mastering is near about exquisite, as always expected from Grey and Saurian.
The album itself tends to improve in the second half, and stands up better as a source of occasional isolated listening rather than as a work you would want to give an extensive run-through from start to finish.
Eradefiled begins with a short track, “The Impelled”, casting light on the lyrical theme immediately, followed by a heavy track, “Phalanx of Chaos”, which is very Artillerie-esque. The riffs are immensely powerful, and the drums and bass punch you in the face. The song ends with a very powerful breakdown. One can almost begin to visualize the future identity crisis both Artillerie and Undying Inc. shall have to face to provide individuality to their music.
“Temple of Zeus” is the next offering, and is very similar to the previous. The solo interferes with the mood of this song, and the tone of the guitars ought to be looked into. “Hate Imbrued” sees the vocals becoming more brutal and the riffs tastier, and the solo works more naturally with the riff. “Tormentor” features beautiful breakdowns and effective riffs, and is probably the best track from this album.
“Uninhibited” marks the beginning of the rise of melodic elements, culminating in an eerie and beautifully structured ambient instrumental, “Lapse”. “Winter of Silence” displays better layering of the guitars and a broader sonic spectrum from the vocalist. It starts off like the remainder of the album, but flows into a catchier second half. “Life To These Bones”, though not the best of album tails, is definitely a good song.
Overall, it’s evident that Artillerie put a lot of effort into this album, though not all of that effort shines through to good effect on the listening end.
The album art is probably one of the best Indian works yet seen. It is not only very apt for the theme, but also very well executed.
Over the coming years, Artillerie will have to struggle to give more definitive character to their sound. The incorporation of brutality and time variations at the cost of groove might not work well with all the listeners. Artillerie shall enjoy playing such to-the-point songs as much as fans will enjoy them live.
The stand-outs of the album are “Hate Imbrued” and “Tormentor”, whilst “Phalanx Of Chaos” and “Winter Of Silence” fill in the B-team. Not to take away any of its charm, Eradefiled delivers a notch lower than Artillerie’s abilities and receives an above average 7.5 out of 10.
(and here’s a track from the album to give you a taste:)
EDITOR’S NOTE: Siddharth mentioned the album art. There’s a separate piece of art for each track, which comes as part of the download file on Artillerie’s web site. Here are a few more examples: