When it comes to the Indian metal scene, there seems to be a sudden rise in the number of records coming out in these past two months. This includes one of, if not the most anticipated album of the year. Albatross’s debut full length has been a long time coming and it’s finally getting released on Transcending Obscurity India this week. ‘Fear from the Skies’ has high expectations from the fans, largely thanks to the EP and split the band had released previously. I’m particularly excited for Albatross’s full length, because I find this band to be a breathe of fresh air amongst the legions of extreme metal bands this country has produced. Another aspect about this band that I appreciate is that they’re story tellers. Each track is an experience with a horrific tale behind it.
The album begins with a intro that is creepy enough to set the mood. ‘The Raptorsville Fair’ starts like some twisted circus music and Biprorshee Das’s vocal work only makes it sound more devious. This man’s vocal work is definitely a highlight of this record and it is the main element that makes Albatross so good at telling tales of horror. The vocal delivery changes according to the theme of the song. His vocal work imparts a power metal vibe to the album. The falsettos, which the vocalist doesn’t shy away from, reminds one of the clean singing legends of the early 80’s.
Musically the band is firmly rooted in the heavy metal sub genre with strong NWOBHM overtones. The three guitarists bring a lot of melody into the mix. The guitar harmonies and solos are very impressive and they strengthen the song writing. There is an equal mix of thrashy gallops and slow power-chord sections, which gives the track an enjoyable dynamic.
The album is segregated into two halves with the first 5 tracks forming the first story together and the last three forming a separate tale. These two tales are narrated expertly in the form of these tracks and the songwriting is done with such expertise that the listener stays glued throughout the record.
‘Empire of the Albatross’ finishes the final tale in the album and it takes a little more than seven minutes in doing so. Regardless of the song’s length, it is a journey from start to finish. Starting with acoustic guitars and spoken word vocals, the song grows into this heavy metal anthem with crunchy riffs. The tracks has a steady flow which includes a beautiful solo and it is only broken by a narrative segment towards the end.
In fact, most of the songs on the record take their time to unfold completely but they never overstay their welcome. The production and mixing leave nothing to be desired. Everything sounds exactly as they should. The decipherable and audible lyrics enhance the listening experience. The album art does justice to the theme of the album.
‘Fear from the Skies’ is an experience that’s rich in melody, delectable guitar solos, engaging stories and a flawless writing from the band. It’s nice to see albums of such calibre and quality being released in the Indian scene.