Heathen Beast – Ayodhya Burns
No offense intended, but there is a serious dearth of even mediocre black metal bands in India. I’m not talking about artists finding their own sound. There is a serious lack of competence in this sub-genre that potentially has a lot to offer. Now, compare that with Bombay’s Heathen Beast. Not only do they offer well-composed music, but present an interesting Indian element with it.In my view, finding the right sound and atmosphere is the most important aspect of black metal. Outside of Norway, Blut Aus Nord and Drudkh have managed to find theirs, with elements of industrial post-black and droning folk overtones respectively. Diversity is the key and Heathen Beast has found its own sound. Some purists might get annoyed with the Indian  overtones, but I disagree. It isn’t overtly flamboyant. In fact, I think that it is tastefully done, with a small measure of death metal thrown in between. Of the actual work itself, Carvaka is very impressive on the guitars. I admit that his vocals took a while to get adjusted to (due to its seemingly processed nature, perhaps?), but if you can digest that, it actually is quite enjoyable. Ayodhya Burns has some top-notch production befitting a good black metal record. The rhythm section is no slacker either, complimented with a steady bass. The drums never stay static and are quite interesting as a result.
As far as I’m concerned, inherently, black metal has always been a cultural phenomenon. Ideology is as important as the music. At first sight, Heathen Beast gave me the impression that they have their artistic integrity and are well-read. Since I was reading up on the atheistic schools of Hindu Philosophy around the time I first heard Ayodhya Burns, I was excited with the pseudonyms adopted by the band; Carvaka, Samkhya and Mimamsa. In colloquial terms, they know their shit.
Heathen Beast has put India on the Black Metal map with this effort. This trio has the potential to be one of the best metal artists from the country. This is probably the most elaborate review for an E.P. on Headbangers, but this band justifies it. They most definitely are one of the acts to watch out for.