AlbatrossI enjoyed this Indian heavy metal bands outing on the split with Vestal Claret (‘The Kissing Flies’) back in 2012, and I did hear some sound samples prior to receiving this album, but I wasn’t totally convinced if I am honest. The vocals really put me off. Although I knew what to expect based on previous material, the vocal delivery to this album is a little off the wall and you have to appreciate such concept albums for what they are and not try to compare them to your personal favourites from days gone by.

The album contains two stories.  The first, ‘Children of the Cloud’, is set in Raptorsville (the town that features in ‘The Kissing Flies’ split with Vestal Claret) and involves a carnival and the evil Jugglehead the Clown, although I keep on thinking of Pennywise from Stephen King’s “It”! The second story, or the last three tracks, is called The Assassin’s Flight’ and is about an assassination plot featuring a winged assassin. For me, it is two very much different themes and musically there is a difference too.

The first section adds zany circus music to the madcap vocals that try to feature like a King Diamond story, but without the metal to back it up, it’s simply weird. There’s a touch of standard 90’s metal, here but its more progressive by nature and proven to result in experimentation, maybe a one for fans of Devin Townshend’s work. ‘Jugglehead the Clown’ is the heaviest, with more power metal influence possessing a strong rhythm and a good few riffs. ‘Children of the Cloud’ has the spookiest of the chorus lines, if you discount the intro and outro tracks and is a touch more progressive in style more so of other material.

The second story is a somewhat stronger with more baseline metal references in the music. ‘In the Lair of Dr. Hex’ stands out the most. It sounds like what a lot of the EU bands were doing through the 90’s and 00’s. A touch of light and shade, atmosphere that is clearly oozing from some of the guitar leads, that on their own provide a level of enjoyment. I suppose an overall style could be like Nevermore, Biomechanical and One Machine (who have some of the same song writers in the latter two mentioned), this is certainly the stronger part of the album and what you can expect by comparison.

‘Fear from the Skies’ is probably better suited in pure narrative or instrumental form, or as two separate EP’s. The music is good but doesn’t really hold any ground in terms of consistency when gelled together as one package. Whilst I can appreciate the vocals are different and have a unique style, they simply don’t gel and actually detract your concentration away from the music which is a lot better in its own.

This is certainly one of those marmite love or hate albums. I’m firmly on the fence as I get a different impression each time I play the files. Over to you the listeners for possible bonus points…

(5.5/10 Paul Maddison)