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Midhaven: Of the Lotus and the Thunderbolt

Midhaven formed back in 2012 and released their first album in 2014. The band quickly developed a strong reputation for their live shows, for their lyrical themes, and for their musical intensity. Based in Mumbai, the band was also one of the first Indian metal bands signed to a major label (Universal). On this album, the band continues to weave elements of progressive metal, modern rock, and traditional metal in ways that are exciting and interesting. They also develop some heady themes here: the album focuses on the ways souls unfold, develop, or become. Each track should be understood as building toward a larger meaning, much like chapters in a book culminate in a single story. The cover art, created by Gaurav Basu, also captures the album’s dominant themes.

I enjoyed this album, but it took me a couple of tries before I was able to settle into it and appreciate what it was doing. Part of the problem was that things really get exciting about halfway through the album. The first few tracks are good, but never struck me as taking any big risks or stretching things out beyond what was expected. I suppose that’s part of the thematic point: things take time to develop, to become something. Still, I wanted to know what else these guys were going to do.

Things completely took off with “Zhitro,” a powerhouse of a song that combines elements of doom metal with Indian musical elements. The song builds up slowly and then explodes, but not in the ways that you typically hear. If anything, the explosion frustrates the pulse of what came before and pushes it all into something new. I liked that moment so much that I went back over and over to figure out just when things slipped from expected to unexpected. This song makes the album and I will be returning to this track often in my listening.

“Mahakaal” is another energetic and essential track. Thematically, it has to do with how the world might be consumed. It also pays homage to Shiva, the god of destruction. Musically, the guitars play up the heaviness while clean vocals delve into the major themes. I wasn’t sure the clean vocals would work, but they do a great job of carrying out the intensity of the lyrics without smothering them.

I also enjoyed the closing track, “Bhairav,” an instrumental that ties everything together with a soft, meditative, sound.

Overall, this was a very strong album. It started out a bit slowly for me, but the intensity of the second half was more than enough to make up for that. I hope you’ll enjoy “Zhitro” and “Mahakaal” as much as I did.

Track Listing:
1. Para Brahman
2. Primal Song
3. Codeman
4. The Immanent Effervescence of Sorrow
5. Zhitro
6. Mahakaal
7. Bhairav

Added: September 30th 2021
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Bandcamp Page
Hits: 523
Language: english

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