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Slain – Before Beyond EP

  • Review by: Krishna Ravi

A talented bunch of guys who can go a long way if they focus a little more on songwriting rather than on assorted flashy licks.

Few bands in India dare to step outside the trend. There’s a plethora of death metal and djent bands, but power metal? I wouldn’t call them authentic power metal just yet, but Bangalore based band Slain draw from elements of classic rock, heavy metal and jazz to create a powerful presence in the scene. You can love them, you can hate them, but you probably wouldn’t ignore them. Slain is perhaps one of the most controversial bands around. Their religious theme often finds bitter feuds among cult metalheads, but I for one have nothing against Christian lyrics. If you can sing about butchered genitals and necrophilia, surely you can sing about the Faith, as long as there’s no mass conversion at gigs heh. While I’ve had no problem with their persona, what irked me when I first saw them three or four years ago was the number of genres mashed up in one song. You’d have a clever heavy metal intro, proceed to a core riff on the verse, a power metal chorus and a delightful solo towards the end. As a listener, this made getting into a rhythm very difficult. The band released their debut EP ‘Before Beyond’ late last year, and I was looking forward to being pleasantly surprised.

The album’s start completely justifies what I’ve said in the above paragraph. ‘The Armour’ begins with a weird motorbike sounding intro and a bizarre patch fades in. The song does settle down nicely, but like I said, it’s not that the music is bad, it’s simply that there’s too much in the melting pot. A riff or two seem totally out of place, and so does the jazzy interlude towards the end. ‘Behind The Line’ has one of my favorite licks and is a well composed track. Bryden’s guitar work needs no introduction and there’s a sweet solo on this song. ‘More Than Conquerors’ is the band’s signature song, an epic one at that. Thankfully there’s no meandering on this song. There’s a catchy chorus and another great solo. You have to gape in awe at Judah’s vocal delivery. ‘You Don’t Have To Be A Star’ is a power ballad of sorts with a very moving intro. It’s a good end to the 4 track EP, but there are two more songs on the band’s myspace page that I would have loved to have had on the EP, ‘Angel In The Sky’ in particular. Perhaps one can expect more from the band’s full length album ‘Here And Beyond’, which should have been released last year but has yet to hit the market.

A talented bunch of guys who can go a long way if they focus a little more on songwriting rather than on assorted flashy licks. Go and conquer, boys.

A talented bunch of guys who can go a long way if they focus a little more on songwriting rather than on assorted flashy licks.