Album Reviews

Solar Deity – The Darkness Of Being

  • Review by: Ankit Baraskar

This is a pre-release review, but barely. The album is out for free download/stream on bandcamp tomorrow, just like everything else by this band. And given this very short deadline, the task which I took upon myself confidently feels kinda overwhelming. This isn’t a simple album to analyze, but not in the sense I’m accustomed to.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t tech death. This isn’t avant-garde. This isn’t musically insanely complex, nor is it progressive in terms of time signatures or modes or scales. It’s honest, straightforward, dark and foreboding. The first song, ‘Circling The Moon’ has the guitar and drum assault jump straight in without any attempt at an introduction, when suddenly it gives way for the sounds of running water, which are unceremoniously interrupted by a blast beat section. And here begins the roller coaster ride of an album. The moods keep altering subtly, the soundscape stays solemn throughout. The riffs and drumming aren’t too out of the ordinary, but the way they’re cycled and paused and bought back is done with superb effect. The way the bass just walks in around the four minute mark is something else. I personally found it hard to assimilate the clean chanting in the background(as was the case in Burzum’s Belus, a definite influence for the band). The next song, ‘Towards The Horizon’ is one of the bleakest and emptiest songs I’ve heard in a long time. A dirge that conjures visions of complete desolation, the only negative from my perspective was that it seems to drag on for a little too long, and could’ve possibly been shorter for better effect as an interlude between two long songs with varied songwriting. The bass riff that reiterates it’s presence over and over, and Mehta’s clean vocals are a startling revelation; I did not know the man could throw his voice around to such effect.

The album closer, ‘Birth Of A Star’ is more of a tribute to thrash and heavy metal legends than a black metal song proper, though it has it’s moments of tremolo picked glory and some unrelenting mid-paced double bass. The refrain used around the 6 minute mark, and the way it comes to a temporary standstill bought back the feeling I had when listening to Maiden’s Fear of The Dark for the first time, but instead of stopping the same way, the song suddenly picks up tempo and energy(much like Altar of Plagues’ Neptune is Dead) and the album ends with a fade out that neatly ties in with the fade in at the start.

The production on the album is pretty good as well, though the guitars don’t seem to sound uniform as the riffing style changes from thrash palm muted sections to sharp-edged tremolo sections, but overall I’d say the Demonstealer (Sahil Makhija for those unaccustomed to that moniker) did decently well, the drums and bass don’t lose their importance in the execution as could have been the case, since they have a major role to play in the composition.

This is perhaps too elaborate a review for an album/EP not exceeding 22 minutes(falling a second short, actually), but somehow it feels right. I like the album, but I still can’t seem to pinpoint as to what extent(currently poised at fairly likeable), or for which precise reasons(I have cited some, though these are definitely not all). Deconstructing with my usual approach hasn’t seemed to help too much, but I hope it urges the reader to check it out. Because at the end of the day, for such an album, one just has to listen to find out. So do that. Keep checking at http://solar-deity.bandcamp.com/