VerseS – Threshold
VerseS is a 6-piece outfit from Bangalore, playing a brand of metal that’s an amalgam of melodic death, gothic and hints of symphonic black. I’d seen them live at Mood Indigo 2010, where the tight live performance had left a decent impression, in spite of the sound being a bit fucked up. So I was mildly curious as to what their debut EP ‘Threshold’ would have to offer.
The 6 track album starts with the intro titled…well Intro. It’s a well composed keyboard piece, though slightly misleading(I expected symphonic black metal all the way through) which continues and forms the ‘intro’ of the second song. This quickly becomes a sort of a habit, as every song in the album starts off with a keyboard intro. Not that it’s a bad thing, but it does get repetitive, and songs such as ‘Threshold’ could’ve very well had less of it, considering the keyboard/clean guitar section at the start makes up for 1/4th of the song. Not that it subtracts from the musical aspects of the individual songs, but the overall flow of the album is disrupted, which is annoying. The keyboard forms a major part of most melodies on this album, and could be considered as the driving force in most of the songs, including some speedy soloing. The riffs are for the most part forgettable, ‘Threshold’ being the sole exception. The drums are tight, and are versatile enough to play blast beats, proggy rolls and bursts of double bass, though they sound very flat in the mix, almost to the extent of sounding programmed.
Coming to the vocals – the growled vocals are pretty good, and manage to pack in a bit of a punch. However, the clean vocals are too thin/weak in comparision, though the band adds a layer of growled vocals which makes it sound much more substantial than it would have on its own. Maybe a female for cleans would’ve worked better? Going on to the bass, it comes through well, which is a definite plus. The guitar solos are well crafted, though nothing that makes you feel like you haven’t heard something similar before. The songwriting is coherent for the most part, but is jarring at times, like the outro for ‘Call for Salvation’, where the song ends rather abruptly, and a bridge in ‘A Broken Tale’ where the keyboardist just plays the guitar parts note for note, which sounds outrageously simplistic.
To summarize, it’s a passable effort from these Bangalore boys, though they probably have the potential to offer more. Hopefully they’ll work more on the songwriting front and grace us with much better material in a full length release. For now, this album gets a 6.0/10.