Thursday, January 9, 2014

Sceptre - Age Of Calamity - Album Review

Year: 2013

Every once in a while, there comes a metal band that reminds me of the reasons why I got into this genre, in the first place. For me, metal was a way to rebel and say a big “F*ck you!” to everything that is wrong in today’s mainstream society. It is a way to vent out all the anger and rage I have for all the terrible events that shape the life of a common man today. Recently I came across a band from my own country that embodied all this in their music. That band is none other than the mighty Sceptre from Mumbai.

This band has been around since the late 90’s (1998 to be exact) and in comparison with many of the bands that were formed around that time, these guys have been criminally underrated. After staying dormant for a while, this band became active in recent years and 2013 saw the release of their second full length titled ‘Age Of Calamity’, which was a follow up to their 2008’s 'Now or Never'.

The music that defines this band is a brand of angry and rage filled thrash metal, infused with a big helping of groove elements as well. The album kicks off with an intro track that features news clippings about the various atrocities faced by the women in India. The title track follows up with heavy riffs that give way to some rage filled vocals. The riffs are the usual thrash metal affair, devoid of melodic elements. The apt way to describe the music on this record, would be to call it hate filled.

Guitarist Gilroy Fernandes sets loose some very harsh, yet catchy riffs that form the heart and soul of the songs. Adding more fury to the music is the abrasive shouts, screams and growls of vocalist Samron Jude. Together, they unleash hell in the form songs that alternate between mid tempo and fast timings. Tracks like 'Age Of Calamity', 'Wrath of God', 'Fatal Delay' and 'Parasite (of the state)' do a very fine job in representing all the resentment that these guys hold towards modern society. Drummer Aniket Waghmode and bassist Janus Sayal do a fine job in handling the rhythm section and provide a very solid base for the guitars and the vocals to build upon.

The reason for their anger is justified, in the form of both lyrics and the album artwork. They talk (or rather scream) about all the injustice that are faced by women, especially in India. Their hatred for the attitude of society towards the sad plight of vulnerable women is truly personified in the music they create.

Unlike many thrash bands in the country, Sceptre has gone for a not so old school style of production. Mixing ensures that a certain degree of harshness is maintained in the sound, while ensuring the audibility of every element of the music.

Though all the tracks may not hit the bull's eye with the listeners on the very first listen, they show a tendency of growing on them, upon repeated listens. However, the number of stand-out tracks on the record far outweighs the ones that take time to grow on you. 'Age of Calamity' is a collection of hate filled thrash metal tracks that scream out the issues that everyone in society should be concerned about.

Rating: 85%

Sceptre is a part of the line up at Thrashfest sponsored by Transcending Obscurity, which is set to happen on 9th February, 2014 at Hotel United 21, Mumbai.


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