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Slain – Here & Beyond

  • Review by: Krishna Ravi

I had been eagerly waiting to listen to Slain’s full length album ever since I reviewed their Before Beyond EP early in the year on this site. The band recently released a promo on Youtube, one that promised an album that slayed. In the promo, the band talks about finally coagulating into the Slain sound – the sound that would be their identity. Having previously complained about their music being a mishmash of too many sounds, I was hoping that the boys from Bangalore had indeed produced music that was both heavy and memorable at the same time. While the album Here & Beyond releases on November 19th, I got my hands on the exclusive pre-release review copy of the album a week ago, and it’s been on my playlist ever since.

‘The Dreamer’ is an intro – a spacey filler of sorts that I couldn’t understand, but the album explodes into life with the intro to ‘Soldier’. A lot of Michael Angelo Batio-esque neoclassical shredding is thrown about in this track by Bryden – no doubt the musical focal point of the band. ‘Superhero’ is the song that really put the lasso around me, thanks to an intro that can tug on your tendons. What I’ve always liked about Slain is their ability to pull off power ballads, and Superhero is an example of that. The same could be said about ‘Angel In The Sky’ and ‘You Don’t Have To Be A Star’, the latter being a slightly modified version of the song on the EP. Watch out for that pleasant surprise on ‘Prodigal’, something I won’t reveal now and spoil for you. Jonathan Wesley on keyboards has a lot of work on this album – melodies, strings, strains, all of which contribute to plenty of atmosphere.

To be honest, it took me four or five listens to completely get into the album, but once there, it is quite an enjoyable experience. I simply keep coming back to Superhero’s intro and this song has had numerous plays.  There’s just a hint of ‘too much sound’ – sudden unnecessary changes in pace and depth, but for the most part the album has consistently good music – music that flows somewhere between rock and metal. It’s easy to recognize the effort that was put into the songs. The album was mixed and mastered by the band themselves and this deserves mention, except for Judah’s vocals, which in my opinion could have come out a lot stronger. I’m a huge fan of his vocal abilities and I have heard him pack a heavier punch in his vocals. I dug the artwork as well, a bright angel on the cover as opposed to the dark things I usually see, courtesy guitarist Manek D’Silva.

Final words – a strong album after it grows on you, but could have been even more powerful. I’m sure their next album will give us that, and more.