Album Reviews

Escher’s Knot- Tessellations

  • Review by: Vilasini Muralidhar

It takes a band a minimum of a few years to get themselves noticed in India. But let me introduce you to an act that was formed only in mid 2009, and right now, in May 2010, have already carved a nice little comfortable spot for themselves on the list of best metal acts in our country at the moment. From the city of Chennai, here’s presenting to you- Escher’s Knot.

You could call them a supergroup of sorts, because each band member is, or was previously associated with another metal act. But trust me on this one- Escher’s Knot is nothing like what you’ve heard before. There are no traces of Blood and Iron or Third Sovereign in their music, which is, very bluntly put, original, hard hitting metal.

The band released their debut EP ‘Tessellations’ on the 14th of May. If you were at the release gig or at Summer Storm, you might have caught a sneak preview of the album there.  But here’s what I suggest you do. Buy the album, insert it in your CD player and turn up the volume. And I’m sure after the thirty odd minutes of ‘Tessellations’, you’ll be sitting there with a crick in the neck, and looking like a disheveled metalhead who’s just gotten thrown out of a violent mosh pit, though you’ve been sitting at your desk all the while. And you’d know quite well that it’s just the first sign of a killer album.

‘Tessellations’ opens with “Hyperspace”- a three-minute instrumental. It starts off with a feeling of floating underwater, when the echoing strings come to keep you company. And the build-up leads to a curtain opener with an orchestral conglomeration of all the instruments. Surprisingly, you’ll hear some keyboards as well, that run as a parallel melody with the intense riffing in the background.

This leads you to “Anonymous origins”. The evil guitar paves the way for the vocals, which switch from the deep-throated growls to the screeches. The song’s got a crazy (for lack of a better word) riff, and goes into a breather in the middle, and then leads you into the latter half, chunkier and crazier than the beginning. “Up for nothing” is another mix of odd-timings and slow, melodic interludes. Double bass takes off in full form in this track, and the screeches are longer too. (Don’t try this at home, or anywhere else. It’s guaranteed vocal-cord damage).

To hell with 2012. That’s the motto of “Mayan Calendar”. It’s a really strangely patterned song, and I think that’s what I love most about it! Nice varying rhythms throughout, with drums going on a little blast beat trip midway as well. Post 03:40, the song takes off on a completely different direction before it winds up. And finally, my favourite- “Break the cypher”. This song describes all that’s typical of Escher’s Knot- weird time signatures, insane dexterity, and hellish heaviness. “Saidapet score”, another instrumental piece, wraps up ‘Tessellations’. This serves as buffer time for you to get back into reality, and try to recollect what just hit you.

If you’ve come so far in reading my review, it’s not hard to guess how much I’d rate the album. Brilliant music, kickass production and 100% originality deserves a big thumbs up. Escher’s Knot scores, and how! This is Indian metal, taken to a whole new level. Congratulations fellows, for ‘Tessellations’. The album proves you all to be not just superb sound engineers (which your institute should be proud of) but uber-talented musicians as well. Here’s one solid “\m/” to you, and with that, I’ll wrap up the review, and hit the ‘Replay’ button on my CD player.

Rating: 4 / 5