Debut death metal from Mumbai here. Always glad to be reminded that this is a global family, it also has a couple of guest slots from visiting uncles Rogga Johansson (Paganizer, The Grotesquery, all the rest.) and Nitin Rajan (Primitiv) plus lyrical contributions from Riju Dasgupta (Albatross, Primitiv), production from Greg Chandler and mastering from Dan Swano! Now that is one helluva bunch to have turn up for your party at any time but with a debut you kinda think it must mean they heard something special.
Well from the intro ‘The Becoming Alteration’ this is a skilful, bright production with a delicate touch to the ominous quiet music. ‘Dark Crypt’ further underlines this with an excellent guitar line across the pounding riff. The sound is heavy and technical, melodic death metal with that upbeat modern groove. Something about the lead breaks reminds me a little if Bloodshot Dawn, the way it sweeps and swoops. The rhythm section is in your face, tight but with a nice bit of dirt under its fingernails to leave it far from sanitised. Yeah the guys can certainly play, no question.
‘Chasm Of Death’ is a choppy monster, a little nod to old school in the slow down which makes me realise for all the sharp bright modern sound here this really is good old death metal. Yep just enough technoflash to make you very aware it is 2016 not the 1990s but a sound stepped in the roots if the genre (hell something in the vocals and the flow reminds me just a tad of Amorphis when they played death metal.)
By the time you get around the halfway mark and the nearly mid paced ‘Cryptic Illusion’ you realise a few things about this Mumbai monster. Firstly they are a truly top class band; the musicality on show is exemplary as is the feel for their chosen genre. They know this shit and they love it. Secondly they have a curious spark of originally here; something in the atmospheric sections and the way the lead breaks in particular dance along a well balanced edge between feel and technicality; nothing sounds too sanitised. Just check out instrumental ‘Folie A Deux’ for a perfect, Gothic waltz of an example. The other thing is that despite PR assurances I never would have guessed they were Indian; I personally can find no real local musical influences (honestly I would have guessed Sweden or Finland…) but in the end that it’s kinda irrelevant. It is what it is and it is all so very, very promising. Ambitious is a fitting word, but their ambition doesn’t come close to outstripping their talent. They have this covered.
Downsides? Not many and not any to be concerned about. If they are interested in bringing out any traditional Indian feel to their sound they are plainly capable. They don’t have any tendency to overlong self indulgence. They know the value of pace change, and they can make the quiet, semi acoustic second fit beautifully and there’s even a little Rush feel here and there to those. Nope, just a little more experience, a little more maturity to the songwriting if I’m mega picky but otherwise; great guns.
Old style, modern sounding, excellently played death metal. Really, any death metal fan should take a peek. Not the finished package but already with enough chops top get to the front, given a break Darkrypt have huge potential.