Blood Meridian [India]
Elements of Brutality
As should be evident by now, I’m not a huge fan of technical death metal. All too often bands that play such genre focus too much on the technical aspects of the music (but of course, or else how did the name come about?) and put in too much wankery into the music, leaving out all emotional expressions of the music, providing me an extremely artificial experience. I was hence worried, thinking that this was going to be yet another round of meaningless shredding.
With Indian metal getting more exposure worldwide, there has been a large spurt of extreme metal bands, playing metal ranging from thrash to death to black metal. What we have here is Blood Meridian, a young technical death metal band with their debut studio output, Elements of Brutality EP.
As with most bands coming out of India nowadays, the band starts off the album with an Eastern-influenced riff (not the only one with Eastern influences to be found on this EP) before breaking into the full blown madness of their music. The first thing that one notices is the muddy production quality, adding a dirty touch to the music, something unique, I guess, since most tech-death bands choose the clean and polished production route while Blood Meridian has chosen to go down the well-trodden old school path.
While the opening track, Under the Butcher’s Blade does nothing much to display the “technical” side of their death metal, it is a prelude to what the band is capable off as they break into their second track, Coma, with an odd time signature coupled with the complex riffs laid down by guitarists Aurko and Anuj. Vocalist Bhaskar also constantly displays his versatility, often alternating between gurgling guttural growls and tortured pig squeal-styled vocals, not unlike grindcore vocals.
The one thing that stood out and certainly stuck well with me were the guitar solo on Coma. Unlike most shred-fests that tech-death bands like to present to listeners, the one here is carefully thought out, with the guitarist letting each note ring, leaving a deep impression. Perhaps because of the production value, the guitar tone is fat and warm, resonating deeply, providing a deceiving cover of the madness that comes before and after it.
The band has also included a cover of Decapitated‘s Spheres of Madness, and their rendition of the track certainly does not let the original song (and the band) down, as they infuse the song with their personal touch, complete with the raw production and Bhaskar’s pig squeal vocals. Call it blasphemy or whatever you want to, for I prefer Blood Meridian‘s rendition with the rawer production, compared to Decapitated‘s over-produced original.
Overall a pretty enjoyable listen. Coming from someone who hardly listens to tech-death, this certainly speaks volumes about this EP. However, note that the production quality could be a hit-or-miss affair for those who are already obsessed with “modern” bands.