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Blood Meridian: Elements of Brutality

Mumbai, India-based death metal outfit Blood Meridian generated a fair amount of buzz in the local underground over the past year, as a young quintet playing a brutal yet dextrous form of death metal, and within barely a year from formation, made a mark on the burgeoning scene as an act to look out for, aided by a reputation as fantastic live performers. After receiving an enthusiastic response from a teaser promo online, the band is now poised to release their debut EP Elements of Brutality in February, an impressive feat considering the band finally found a stable lineup only several months ago.

Elements of Brutality presents five tracks of a hybrid of brutal and technical death metal, with a fair bit of grind influence seeping through. The four original songs on the EP feature churning, groovy yet frenetic riffing underscored by a heavy percussive barrage in the vein of Decapitated or Suffocation, albeit with a much more modern emphasis on technicality. Right from the opening track, the technical proficiency of the musicians here is apparent, with every member bringing in a tight and controlled performance. Vocalist Bhaskar Baruah displays a commendable mastery of the full spectrum of grind vocabulary, replete with pig squeals and guttural bellows . While the sheer intensity of the music is the prize on display, there's an omnipresent undercurrent of subtle melody, as in 'Coma', an uptempo thrasher featuring guitarist Aurko Mukhopadhyay's labyrinthine riffs, and a nice clean break, with a somewhat out of place melodic solo. Later down the run time, 'Shadows' shows a darker, more brooding dimension to the band's sound, with the Polish death metal influence coming through strongly, along with some Eastern flourishes. A brash and slightly choppy cover of the Decapitated classic 'Spheres of Madness' rounds off the EP, summing just below 20 minutes.

While there's a fair amount of focus and steady direction in the overall sound, Elements of Brutality still bears a few signs of a young band yet to find a firm footing in their craft. The arrangements seem a bit haphazard and undeveloped, falling short where a more thoughtful and cohesive approach would have significantly upped the effectiveness of the EP. The clean break and melodic solo section in 'Coma', while an interesting inclusion in itself, comes off as awkwardly placed, throwing off the incredible momentum the track built up to. The vocal delivery eventually grows tedious, with pig squeals and monotone bellows peppering the tracks in a seemingly arbitrary fashion, ultimately overshadowed by the stellar instrumental work. The muddy production in turn buries the details of the music, with a corpulent kick drum sample drowning out the already hazy and flat guitar tone. Fortunately, the production and arrangement flaws are forgivable considering just how enjoyable crushing the music itself is, sounding absolutely monstrous even during its slower, plodding moments.

While Blood Meridian holds its influences close to the surface, the execution on Elements of Brutality is competent, and brimming with confidence and conviction, especially considering the young age of the band. All things considered, there is definitely room for improvement and some originality, but with a few tweaks to the formula and improved production, this promising act is bound to go places.

Track list:
1. Under The Butcher's Blade
2. Coma
3. Shadows
4. Kill For the Lust of Blood
5. Spheres Of Madness (Decapitated Cover)

Added: February 8th 2011
Reviewer: Daniel Rego
Related Link: Band MySpace
Hits: 2796
Language: english

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