India and Pakistan may have a lot of differences between them. But come to think of it, we share a lot in common. The commonality that interests me in particular, is both nations have some solid metal bands making some good music. Transcending Obscurity India has brought together two doom oriented bands from either side of the border in the form of a split titled ‘Beyond Forgotten Shores’. The bands in participation are Mumbai based Dormant Inferno with their doom death style and Lahore based Dionysus who follow a more blackened approach to the doom genre. Though stylistically different, the music from these bands comes together wonderfully in this split.
Dominating the first half of the split is Dormant Inferno. ‘Veil of Lunacy’ is the first in line and it opens up with a up tempo beat and riff before settling into a steady groove. The riffs are meaty and memorable. I especially like the fact that the keyboard works in unison with the guitar, creating this gothic atmosphere. The flow of the song is well written as it manages to balance the groovy doom parts, the up tempo parts and the clean keyboard section in the middle. The vocalist gives a varied performance incorporating growls, snarls and a bit of whispering cleans as well. He manages to execute all styles pretty nicely.
‘Deliverance’ follows suit in a similar fashion. This tracks has a relatively higher quantity of clean sections, where the keyboard works makes it sound soulful and gothic. Dormant Inferno’s side of the split showcases a good balance of funeral doom heaviness and soulful melody, with the riffs staying in the listener’s mind. Their set ends with a cover of Incantation’s ‘A Once Holy Throne’, which strays pretty close to the original.
Dionysus’s blackened sound echoes as ‘Beneath the Skies of War’ begins. The vicious snarls of the vocalist only compounds that blackened effect. The riffs are short, simple and effective. This band too does not shy away from clean segments where the guitars add a classy touch. The guitar work on this side of the split is in the form of melodic riffs that imparts emotion to the tracks. The song writing puts these riffs to good use. The different sections of the song, whether it is the melodic guitar leads or the frantic riffs accompanying blast beat sections, the execution is nailed perfectly.
‘Rain’ starts on a heavier note compared to its predecessor, but the blackened feel is all the same. Production on the Dionysus side of the split contrasts with that of Dormant Inferno. While Dormant Inferno has an unabashedly loud and raw tone, the production sounds a bit compressed on the Dionysus side. The song writing more than makes up for what lacks in the sound. A beautiful acoustic section with choir like chants and spoken word signals the end of the split and a masterfully crafted guitar solo lays the split to rest.
These two bands have their obvious differences in their styles of music. However they share good song writing and the ability to write tunes that move you. They both can write long songs and captivate the listener without difficulty. ‘Beyond Forgotten Shores’ is a split that brings about 37 minutes of passionate doom and an example of one of the few good things that these rival nations share.