Album Review: The Dusk In Us by Converge


The prophets of guttural vocal assault, hammering drumbeats and torrents of dissonance, Converge” released their latest studio album “The Dusk In Us” a couple of months back. My first listen proved to be quite gratifying as I was bent upon recalling the time of my life I spent obsessing over these metalcore titans. The harrowing themes of worldly horrors, political bestiality and firearm violence are delivered with saw-toothed musical arrangements and a cutthroat aggression which is no different a ritual known to their previous releases. The only marked difference would be the cultivation of a creative ground to address more grave issues other than fist-fighting depression or personal anguish. The front-man Jacob Bannon’s newly embraced fatherhood serves as the emotional catalyst to perpetrate this heavily orchestrated protest as he acknowledges his sole reason to fight back and exist.

“As a single teardrop fell,
And was swallowed by the sea.
You outshined the best there was,
Rewrote who I could be.
When I held you for the first time,
I knew I had to survive.”

“A Single Tear” by Converge

The uncontained vitriol seeps through the lyrics for the next forty minutes representing everything it antagonizes. “Eye of the Quarrel” signifies an artist’s struggle to stay true to his own set of laws and subscribe to the DIY ethics exclusive to his personal lexicon. The resistance against the infestation of the mind by conformity is fueled by chaotic counter-rhythms and crisp blast beats as the album proceeds. The deconstructed guitar licks in “Under Duress” interplay with the anarchic composition as Bannon grinds his vocal cords with merciless growls instilling a certain intellectual value to the song. “Akhripov Calm” is about Vasili Akhripov, a Russian naval officer and his sense of maturity which pacified a Soviet nuclear strike. Bannon deep down aspires to achieve that level of mental composure and inner calm in the quest to not let his bad energies spread like an epidemic. I absolutely find it inspirational how Bannon has managed to pen down his most intimate battles and raging emotions with the least bit of wordplay on songs like “I Can Tell You About Pain” and “Thousands of Miles Between Us” which is beautiful in itself. The angst morphed into something more meaningful with bludgeoning drums & oscillating guitars only helps the intended sensitivity to flourish. The melodic desperation in “The Dusk In Us” augments the memory of “Wretched World” on 2009’s “Axe to Fall”, both having enigmatic songcrafts and decipherable verses that quiver the marrow of the soul. The “preciously violent, beautifully abhorrent” stabs of noise accelerated to warp-speed ferocity in “Wildlife”, “Murk & Marrow”, “Broken by Light” and “Cannibals” do total justice to the overflowing verbal bile enthusing about fearless confrontation and individual autonomy.


The laid-back sonic turbulence in “Trigger” saturated with an offbeat groove, symmetrical drumming and a vocal snarl dexterously fills the experimental void in the record. The last track “Reptilian” has a blackened melody most suited to the original album art which amplifies into a more corrosive tune under a veil of atonal guitars and blazing drums owing a nod to everything Converge virtually and artistically stand for.

“The Dusk In Us” lasts for thirteen straightedge hardcore anthems jarred with violent jabs of cynicism and emphatic uproars. It’s a perfect comeback after a five year hiatus as these metalcore architects storm straight out of the depths of oblivion and make a point.

“Futile wars for fruitless words,
Written by shadow kings.
Their shrapnel seeds the desert fields,
And sprouts this fear we see.
Devils do not need a hell in order to exist.”

“Reptilian” by Converge

Album Rating: 4.5/5.


Album Review: What Happens Next by Joe Satriani


The relentless gyrations of electric guitar explode into a supernova of blues rock galore every time a Joe Satriani album drops in. The guitar evangelist is simply terrific when it comes to showcasing the endless aesthetics experimenting solely with its instrumental sensibility. This time around, he has recruited powerhouse performers like Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple/ Black Country Communion) and drummer Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers) to mix an album that’s poised with Hendrixian majesty to soar high into the eclectic realms of instrumental rock.

It kicks off with pistoning drumbeats and manically sped-up guitars in “Energy” navigating it towards the bombastic stomps of bass & drums and a rave-driven electric lead masquerading as hard-hitting rock numbers “Catbot” and “Thunder High on the Mountain”. “Cherry Blossom” is evocative of a nostalgic drive through your memory lane as the soft, feminine and thunderously paced guitar counterpoints interweave the outfit of a sonic mirage with tender drum pounding reminiscent of fiery Latin music. While “Smooth Soul” might sound like a restaurant-friendly song, knee-deep in the ocean of memoirs backed by sensational guitar chords which humbly plays in the background whilst adding to the general feel-good vibe, “Headrush” and “Looper” are meticulously exacted with bass-beat dynamization and kinetic excursions of electric guitar. “What Happens Next” is a traditional blues rock tune with a modern twist as it summons the intricate balance of silky leads and stalwart drums & bassline. The hazy and devious melody of “Super Funky Badass” definitely sprints it towards the direction of funk & soul modulation. “Invisible” and “Forever & Ever” are pumped up with improvisational take on the progressive exertions and sweet symphonies hand in hand allowing the maestro’s musical decorum to thrive generously. To be fair, the guitar virtuoso knows how to respect and embrace the various ethos of rock n’ roll authoritatively without uttering a single word.

Album Rating: 4/5.

Album Review: 3218 by Isidor


An artist’s novelty is only authenticated when he intends on reviving the original sound of synthwave that has been integral to Sci-Fi movies, video games and cartoons dating back to the 80’s. “Isidor” being one of the artists hailing all the way from Serbia released their album “3218” only lately that juggles around with the extravagant 80’s synthwave, new retrowave and electronic beats. It fires off with “Star Sheriff” composed around the synth-driven angst and quirkiness reminiscent of yesteryears. The retro-styled chords and metropolitan synthesizers bounce on the trampoline of minimalism and nostalgia, incessantly. The dramatic filler “Secrets of the Universe” is a thematic interlude amidst the speedy tunes and the ongoing frenzy which puts the soaring hypnosis to rest for a while. The luxurious electronica and oddball slaps of synthesizers invested into “Touch the Sky”, “Apollo” and “Grid Surfer” forces a connection to synthwave monoliths like Electric Youth, Anoraak and Kavisnky. The buoyant melody of “Stardust” is mindlessly driven into a directionless oblivion uninhibited by the blaring synths. “Timeline” is definitely a highlight for me in this record that savors the trademark groove of the 80’s and slithering guitars. The ruthless assault of ambient synthesizers and dynamic bass condenses into a sonic aura that’s glutted with intergalactic elusiveness and luster. “The Last Geisha” swivels around booming acoustics and thick electronic conjunctures that manifests into a repetitive melody which manages to keep you hooked regardless. While the overall monotony might not reward an untrained ear as much, the record still has a cohesive arrangement and explosive soundscapes that the fans of the genre would definitely find appealing. “3128” pretty much feels like a propulsive journey through the fluorescent clouds of cosmic dust with a flashy and flamboyant soundtrack sketching the adventurous ascent into the fabric of infinity.

Album Rating: 3/5.

Album Review: Modern Addiction by Tender

London based electro-pop duo “Tender” have produced multiple EPs before their first full-length studio album “Modern Addiction” released on 1st September which gave an insight into their artistic capability as the partisans of modern electronic music interspersed with synth-driven pop swagger. Their music is highly contemporary in essence which is generously seasoned with a libidinous mood and promiscuous dance-beats. Let’s just say, there couldn’t have been a better name designated to Tender.


While all the tracks are immersed in the lukewarm substance of  volatile electronics and crooning vocals, the improvisations done in each track bring about the instrumental euphoria that’s transient yet self-sustaining. The album opener “Illuminate” is a wise choice for an introductory track and summons the relaxing elements of music that it is traditionally expected to offer. “Nadir” begins with chiming notes of percussion rendering it plain ecstatic. It later nurtures into a perky symphony laid out to embrace the contrasting lovelorn lyrics. “Hypnotized” has a bittersweet melody with repetitive jangling percussions and soft synths signifying the repletion of self-worth with a main chorus “You don’t define me” and going against the crowd in the process. “Crawl” and “Erode” sound most suggestive of all tracks and are melodically well-schemed to do justice to their aphrodisiac tendency. “Silence” serves as a meek interlude before the albums swerves to the poppy and upbeat tempo of “Machine”. The flamboyance it radiates will definitely get you on your feet to rejoice the electronic spunk of dance music which is also fairly detectable on the second last track “Powder”. “Sickness”, “Blame” and “Vow” feature spiraling synths and beats against the backdrop of chill-wave aesthetics of electro-pop. The wailing vocal tone in “Vow” dictates the oriental somberness and indecent coveting the record unabashedly spews. The last track “Trouble” is precisely warm in texture and minimalistic drumbeats provoke a sense of tranquility especially contributed by the ambient guitar licks and Tender’s signature smooth vocals.


“Modern Addiction” is an ornate mix of rhythmic blues, synth-wave and danceable electronica. Even if it’s not too far from formula-based music, it worked out splendidly. The wavering motifs of uptempo and downtempo sonic variations came forth as blissfully romantic, calm-inducing and seductive. The lightweight melodies with strokes of organic guitars and house-styled beats is tad bit in the vein of Röyksopp. While the duo intended on playing a little too safe with the overall experimentation and the abstract array of instruments, still their modern take on electro-pop reveries is fresh and unfamiliarly emotive. It’s your perfect chill-out music. However, it would be truly amazing if they explore more themes layered with the genre-induced trance and its stimulating allure in their future releases.

Album Rating: 3.5/5.

Album Review: Medusa by Paradise Lost

When you’re in for a debate about gothic metal and gothic doom in particular, Paradise Lost unquestionably stands out as the patron saint of the aforesaid genres. Their entire anthology has not a single bad record even though their electronic experimentation with gothic aesthetics labelled them as sell-outs by manic metal fans for once. The “return to their roots” banter is losing its appeal since the band already showcased their impeccable death-doom inspired prodigy on 2015’s “The Plague Within” after they got sidetracked with the “commercial glint”. This year they’re back again with their new album “Medusa” which is in sync with the prevailing melancholy of their last release.


The introductory anthem “Fearless Sky” idolizes the turbid, dark atmosphere it’s composed in resonance with. It’s somewhat exhaustive for an opener and breeds monotony being repetitive with the riffwork. “Gods of Ancient” and “From the Gallows” sound more propellant and pick up pace midway to deliver the inherently darker melodies they wholeheartedly celebrate. “The Longest Winter” is finally where I got the hang of this dreary ensemble with my generous attention. It’s crafted around a sludgy instrumental setup which for a change features Nick Holmes’ clean, crestfallen vocals alternating with the sinister growls on the other tracks. The pounding drums saturated with the oppressive marrow of doom is what I always loved about Paradise Lost and this record is also in accordance with that integral component. “Medusa” is fairly more captivating than the preceding tracks mainly because of the frosty lead guitars and the fragmentary keyboards which render it more dismal and wretched in essence.


“No Passage for the Dead” and “Until the Grave” are your traditional goth-doom oriented odes with a deliberate arrangement of heavy and downtrodden guitars, drums and nefarious roaring which fuels the overwhelming darkness. “Blood and Chaos” is my favorite song on this entire record. It’s powerful, energetic yet highly in key with the hovering antipathy. The lead melody is ritually raw and overpowering which this record somewhat lacked initially. “Frozen Illusion” strongly suggests a trail back to its cataclysmic lineage and hits a chord with the gruesome, old-school death-doom worship of their classic release “Gothic”. “Shrines” and “Symbolic Virtue” are the finishing tracks. While the former track still explores their inventiveness within the restricted constraints of metal and gothic-doom to be specific, the latter tracks is a bit dull and thrown in without delivering the intended impact.

“Medusa” is a convincing emblem of well-arranged heavy music and is in harmony with the enslaved darkside. Their progression is strategically headed in the direction it ought to. The sullen-paced musical ordeals and explosive moments plagued with agony and suffering are reciprocally orchestrated with the intention of revisiting the inbred emotional penchant and ultra-heavy, memorable tunes accustomed to the mighty Paradise Lost.

Album Rating: 3.5/5.


Album Review: Nåde by Område

Omrade cover

Område’s second studio album “Nåde” is an interesting combination of industrial rock and avant-garde metal. There’s a great deal of sonic experimentation on-going and the contemporary style is highly noticeable. The first song “Malum” opens with a vivid sound of electronic percussions which is integral to the industrial style of music, then progresses to a more layered structure featuring keyboards, tranquil guitars, violin and a trumpet which is the traditional instrumentation for blues rock. Suffice to say, it sets up a very dramatic mood already. “XII” maintains the sensitivity of the album as it splices swaying guitars, subtle piano notes, an alto saxophone acoustics and glitched distortions into the electro-industrial backbone of the song. “Enter” is a nicely-paced song. It plays around with themes of electro-rock and again, incorporates a consistent industrial rock sound. About time I comment on the vocals that basically involve clean singing with high-notes for the most part which is more emotional than aggressive. The next song “Hänelle” is also in the same vein as the first three tracks. There’s repetitive guitar riffs, trumpets blowing, synths in action and a decent song at the end of the day. Next up is “Styrking Leið” which has an artsy composition. It’s the most overwhelming song on the record. I like the electronic transitions and how it’s intensified with sped-up guitar riffs and those electronically automated critical junctures. It certainly leaves the impact it promises.

Omrade pic 1 web

“The Same For The Worst” has an intro that embodies a lounge jazz feel. In a rock song? Well, yes. This also goes on to prove how they’ve rejected the stern tactics of the generic rock/metal sound. It features alternating quality of vocals i.e. frustrated screams and female backing vocals that mute down to sirenic whispers more than once. “Baldar Jainko” evokes the cryptic side of industrial metal with appealing bits of drum sequence for a change. The last song “Falaich” is mainly orchestral and wraps up the entire album with a sentimental note.

“Nåde” (which means “Mercy” or “Grace” in English) is a good record if not extraordinary, mechanized fundamentally with industrial and avant-garde musical arrangements. The turning points are executed with electronic distortions that are both bizarre and catchy at the same time. There are certain dramatized themes performed with a hybrid sound of jazz, trip-hop, electronica and metal. The overall ambiguity renders it banal, at some point. Experimentally, it is a good venture for the band however, they could’ve accomplished the task at hand in a less complex and more artistically overpowering way. In any case, fans of industrial rock and metal in general, should definitely look out for it.

Album Rating: 3/5.

Album Review: Slowdive by Slowdive


Slowdive’s comeback after about 22 years is a proof in itself that quality shoegaze is here to stay for a long time. Being one of the unparalleled pioneers of the classic shoegaze genre and major contributors to explore the new horizons that transcend dream-pop, noise rock and various other forms of alternative rock, I was sure that the album’s going to be engineered fairly well. The opener “Slomo” has a refreshing, guitar-laden melody romancing with a lush ambient pop vibe. Neil Halstead and Rachel Goswell’s vocals heard as soft, gleeful echoes are immersed within the dreamy texture of the song as perky synthesizers add to their resonance. For me, it’s probably a perfect song you should be listening to while having an aromatic cup of coffee on days when the sun is not too abrasive and the spring breeze feels impregnated with the scent of flower kernels in bloom. Yes, precisely. Slowdive’s new record is all about those imaginative metaphors. “Star Roving” is the most shoegazy song on the album and there’s a lot of reverberance, drone guitars and hypnotic noise coalesced together to give birth to an a-okay shoegaze number. It starts off like an explosive supernova, splattering the warm luster all around and dies out with Halstead’s heartsick hums. The next song “Don’t Know Why” plays around with upbeat synths, a baroque song structure and particularly vibrant chants which makes it pretty addictive. “Sugar for the Pill” is downright sensational and melodic. The song’s more on the brit-pop side but the sentimental lyrics with a meaningful delivery by Halstead is worthy enough to set the right kind of a melancholic mood to contemplate things that might have possibly gone wrong in your life. Verses like “Lying in a bed of greed, you know I had the strangest dream..” and “This jealousy will break the whole” encapsulate myriads of bittersweet sadness. “Everyone Knows” has a dense noise-pop sound ricocheting with Goswell’s wistful swoons ringing in your ears. “No Longer Making Time” has a rather ordinary sequence of drums, synths and guitars but it’s appealing and settles the fact that simple things work out well if done right.


Next up is my personal favorite “Go Get It” and it affirms a soaring flight of fancy. The main chorus “I wanna see it, I wanna feel it..” confirms unapologetic wishful thinking and is a sonic treat for all the hopeless romantics out there. The closer “Falling Ashes” is just a space-filler, to be honest and most likely I would skip it.

There’s a chance that you will end up playing the album everyday as long as the songs resonate in your head which profess a great replay value. The record swerves more to the dream-pop side than shoegaze. The preceding albums Just For A Day, Pygmalion and Souvlaki were plain ecstatic with their pensive songwriting and volatile guitar sound and in a way, it wouldn’t be totally irrational to state that this self-titled album was conceived as a lovechild to its predecessors. There is fragmentary lightheartedness, celebratory bliss, melodrama and sanguine emotions. It renews your thought process with ethereal dreamscapes and intimate perspectives. It is a good comeback album for a band that’s been on a hiatus for 22 years. Give them some love!

Album Rating: 4/5.