DESI ROCK / Heathen Beast

Ayodhya Burns EP – HEATHEN BEAST – 2010

Ok, I have a couple of confessions to make. Firstly, I’m not a huge listener of Black/Death/Extreme metal music. Sure, I do the occasional CoB, AxCx or Cannibal Corpse song, but Muse and the Chili Peppers are more my speed.

Secondly, I’ve never really understood the proliferation of Christian imagery/wording in Indian bands. I find it funny that little Hindu and Muslim boys go around screaming about angels and demons and upside down crosses and what not. Of course, there are a lot of Christians out there rocking out as well, but even then, it does amuse me a little.

I thought the same of Heathen Beast (baap re!). But thankfully, once you get past the name, you come to a refreshingly Indo-centric take on black metal. It’s been released to coincide with the second anniversary of 26/11, and is a tribute to its victims. Points for relevance there. There is also the interesting thing this band does of the members remaining faceless with given identities of Carvaka, Mimamsa and Samkhya (what? Not Judas, Demon and Succubus!?). 

Nice cover, except the guy seems to be holding a lightsaber!!

So, these guys have the right image, the right idea and don’t seem to be pretentious. Now it all comes down to three songs to make or break all this layering of intent.

“Blind Faith” starts with a huge, powerful groove, which I quite like. What is clear in the first song is the incredible drumming, with double bass drumming which can only be described as – ahem – br00tal. The vocal treatment on this album is a bit like the vox is singing through a megaphone into the mic. Kinda radio-ey. That said, the guy is a genuine screamer, with an ear-splitting metallic tinge to his screeches. Good shit. And the song? Well, I’ve already said I’m not much of a black metal listener. But I do like a few melodic breaks. “Blind Faith” is great, but I wish they had reprised that melodic part in the beginning a couple of times.

The vocalist is a genuine screamer, with an ear-splitting metallic tinge to his screeches

The weak link here is “Religious Genocide” for me. Not much by way to melody, and it’s frankly a little one-dimensional for my tastes.

Things quickly improve with the third and final track. There is this fantastic bass intro, which is somewhat like “Wherever I May Roam” by Metallica, but still great. It’s the most listenable song on the EP, and is the shortest as well, I think. Or maybe I just perceive it that way. Whatever the true length is, I do believe this is a good yardstick for the best elements of this band (when they choose to use them). Good melodies when they try, insane tremolo picking, the aforementioned br00tal drumming and that vocal treatment I talked about earlier. It’s a compelling dish when they get it right.

Flaws? Well, the riffing can get a bit slab-sided at times, like on “Religious Genocide” and the bass should be more audible to give the songs more drive and balls. Apart from that, I can’t really point out many flaws. Here’s to the rise of Indian Black Metal! This sounds right.

– El Bajista

More DESI ROCK reviews HERE.


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