Album Reviews

Guillotine – The Cynic

  • Review by: Ankit Baraskar

I’ve followed Guillotine as closely as possible ever since I heard “Crave” on the flaming skull podcast. So a full length effort aroused much curiousity. And these prog metallers from Delhi have not let me down. The album is a concept album that brings to life the story of a man struggling to decipher the reason behind religion’s iron grip on the society. The Cynic, as the protagonist(and the album) is called, is pretty nicely depicted on the cover – an angry philosophizing bugger on what looks like a  seat of power (personal interpretation).

From the first song itself, you can notice Opeth as a major influence, not to mention influences from blues, jazz, reggae and whatnot. The start also has a touch of Indian classical. Each song has wonderful guitar-keyboard duets, and the drumming complements the other instruments perfectly. The bass is what one might call subtle, coming into the foreground only when the need arises, hats off to the mixing – Anupam Roy and Keshav Dhar. All the transitions from clean to distorted and back are brilliantly done, as seen on songs like “crave”, “revisiting faith” etc. The vocals have managed to sustain the intensity created by the guitar-keyboard duet, very Akerfeldt-esque in both the clean and growling sections. The guitar and keyboard solos are a perfect blend of virtuosity and feel – Takar manages to bring songs back to life when the listener is prone to lose interest in a few sections that get slightly repetitive, like some parts on Dystopia.

Shortcomings? Quite a few of the riffs make you go, “Wait, which Opeth song is this?”. ‘To The Heavens’ keyboards, intentionally or unintentionally, manage to rip off Evanescence’s vocal melody line (song – Imaginary) more or less perfectly (Shame on me for listening to Evanescence, but hey, I was a kid back then). But these factors aren’t enough for the listener to turn a blind eye to the band’s extremely well structured songs, where each band member displays his musical proficiency to the fullest. Technical without being a wank fest, and progressive without being a pseudo-jam band like Dream Theater, with the death metal influences in place, Guillotine is a must have for any metalhead, Indian or otherwise. Let’s just hope that they further refine their sound to give us and the rest of the world something shockingly original, and thus give Opeth a run for their money. Listening to the album, you’ll be as convinced as I am that they have it in them.