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Kryptos – The Ark Of Gemini

  • Review by: Vilasini Muralidhar

March Metal Mania, 2007. I remember getting a little visiting card with ‘The Ark of Gemini’ on it, which sparked off a buzz of excitement about the band’s new album, and new songs which they would be playing at the show. These songs have been played at most of their gigs since then, and time, a lot of it actually, has also passed. But the excitement hasn’t died, though fans, including me, did get a little impatient in the interim.

And it won’t be cliché if I say the wait was worth it. Because it is.

Kryptos is a Bangalore-based heavy metal band that came together back in 1998. If you’re looking for a classification, their sound can be called a combination of thrash and melodic metal. The old school has had a major influence on the music of Kryptos, with the heaviness and melody of Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and Dark Tranquillity serving as the band’s muse. But mind you, they are no rip-off band, and through the years have established a sound of their own, and in turn, served as an influence for the multitude of mushrooming metalheads in the country.

Four years back, we saw the release of their grand debut, ‘Spiral Ascent.’ The success of the album must not be measured by its sales. Attend the band’s live performances, and watch fans bang to the beat, growl the lyrics, and scream out song names, and you’ll know that the album did well in its circuit.

2008 sees its follow-up with ‘The Ark of Gemini’- 45 minutes and nine tracks of some classic crafted metal, a joint effort of Nolan Lewis on guitars and vocals, Ryan Colaco on the drums, Jayawant Tewari on the bass and Rohit Chaturvedi on guitars.

The familiarity of certain songs adds to the excitement of listening to them on your stereo. The album opens with the echo of an anonymous voice, leading into “Sphere VII”. What will instantly catch your attention will be the riff in accompaniment with the middle-eastern-ish lead guitar.

Track two, “Order of the DNA” carries the typical Kryptos riff and song format. This doesn’t come in an entirely negative sense, considering that they’ve already reached a level where one can call a type of sound ‘Kryptos-ish’. “Order of the DNA” is fast paced, and is the kind of song you will involuntarily find yourself nodding to. The sharp percussion steals the show on this one.

The anonymous, preachy voice makes an entry again here, very reminiscent of Iron Maiden’s song beginnings. This is “Heretic Supreme”, the first single of the album. The track is kept on its toes with the extended growls and even longer solo act by the lead guitar.

“Tower of illusions” is my personal favourite from ‘The Ark of Gemini’. It sounds very evil, is slow and powerful, and very metal. It’s the kind of song that would conjure up pictures of knights in black, battling it out on a stormy night. No, I’m not suggesting a video. I’m describing the feel of the song. Simply put, the ‘Descension’ of this collection.

Just when you think the band is moving towards monotony towards the latter half of the CD, “Vulcan” jolts your attention back to life. It’s the longest song on the album, but keeps up with the time, in a non-literal sense, playing around with tempo.

Other tracks, such as “The Revenant”, “Trident” and “Liquid Grave”, have their own strengths, but feel like fillers, failing to stand up on their own. But “The Presence of Eternity” makes up for its counterparts, serving as proof to the band’s skill of cross-genre melodies, becoming the short and sweet requiem before the CD comes to a stop.

All in all, the album thrives on catchy riffs, but suffers the drawback of similarity. There hasn’t been much experimentation with style and even the guitar patch seems to beg for a change after continuous listening. But the album does have the look and feel of an internationally acclaimed one, with impressive artwork and inlays by Prasad and Diwakar and also good quality recording.

But overall, ‘The Ark of Gemini’ earns itself three and a half stars out of five. The hard work has paid off, and I’d recommend that every hard rock and heavy metal lover should pick it up, and this time, not just to support the scene, but for a true appreciation of world class local talent.

‘The Ark Of Gemini’ released worldwide on the 13th of June 2008 through OSM Records. You can also log on to www.kryptos.tv or www.myspace.com/kryptosindia for more details about the band. And to quote the guys themselves, make sure you keep real metal alive, rock hard and ride free!