Divided by Faith, Torn by Violence
The Indian metal scene is definitely one to keep your eye on in the future years. Although the country isn't exactly known for its metal bands in the past, I've noticed an increasing number of high-quality metal acts erupting from India each year. One of these new bands is Mumbai's Heathen Beast. Playing a blend of black metal and technical death metal, this trio shows a lot of promise on their debut EP, Ayodhya Burns. The EP will be released as a free download and limited to 200 physical copies worldwide. Thus, if you really like the download, you'd better snatch up your copy quickly! Although black metal isn't usually my favorite type of music to listen to, I must confess that I truly enjoyed listening to Heathen Beast's EP. These guys have a lot of talent, and I really hope they have a label backing them up for their next release.
Heathen Beast plays black metal infused with some death metal and technical twists. Not the most revolutionary blend out there, but they play the style in a confident and enjoyable fashion. Ayodhya Burns is a 3 song EP, clocking in at around 15 minutes. It's a short EP that always leaves me wanting more, which is a pretty good thing. If the EP were just slightly longer, in the 20-25 minute range, I may have been a bit more pleased, but I'll still take the three solid songs. All three of the tracks on Ayodhya Burns are highly enjoyable, so maybe it's a good thing that there's no potential for filler. The lyrics are actually one of the most interesting things about this release. The lyrics are entirely focused on atheism and society in India, which actually turns out to be quite intriguing. Ayodhya Burns is, in fact, a tribute to all Indians who lost their lives in the name of their religion. Whether you agree with the messages the lyrics portray or not, they are well-written and concise.
The three musicians in Heathen Beast are very talented. I especially have to mention the terrific guitar playing from Carvaka. He's a great guitarist with amazing soloing and riffing abilities. The bass playing from Samkhya is also great, and provides a strong foundation for the music. The drumming from Mimamsa is outstanding, to say the least. He's an absolute monster that manages to incorporate many different styles into his playing. I hear a bit of a Pete Sandoval influence in his playing, which is, obviously, a great thing. The vocals are raw, angry, and often in-between a black metal shriek and a genuinely possessed demon. Though this isn't my preferred vocal style to listen to, it's well done and I have to applaud Carvaka.
The production is very raw, but still clear enough to hear everything well. There are a couple points where a bit more polish would've been nice, but it still works pretty well.
Heathen Beast really impressed me with their debut EP, Ayodhya Burns. If you like black metal, you really have no excuse not to check this out. The band has it generously provided as a free download from their ReverbNation page, and I definitely encourage all extreme metal fans to head in that direction. This is a great little EP that I really enjoyed hearing over the last week. 3.5 stars are warranted for this promising and well-done debut. Let's hope Heathen Beast has a label behind them by the time of their next release.
1. Blind Faith
2. Religious Genocide
3. Ayodhya Burns