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Shades of Retribution (February 2011)

  • Interview by: Kaushik Barua
  • Date: February 9, 2011

Assam Based five piece Shades of Retribution have arrived and they’re here to re-establish your faith in old school metal for good. Headbangers India in conversation with the Metal- biggies from Duliajan, about their latest album ‘Xongram’ that goes back to the drawing board and hints the Indian metal Cosmo about the sound of a new revolution. Shades of Retribution: The hottest act of the year talk about the method behind their madness.

HB: Greetings from Headbangers India. How has the year been treating the band?

SOR: Hi everyone! Thank you for taking interest in our music. As far as the year is concerned- So far,so good….

HB: Can you tell us, in detail, about what Shades of Retribution is- where you guys come from, the music, the image etc.? How would you describe the band and its concept best to someone who has not heard of the band?

SOR: We are based in Duliajan,Assam. The lyrics are in Assamese, the sound is Old School and “Xongram” is the first ever Vernacular metal album in North-East and one of its kind in India.

We think we have made it pretty much clear about what the sound is all about…As far as the concept goes….Shades Of Retribution aims at viewing the mask of society which when unveiled reveals the parallel existence of diplomacy and hypocrisy among the humans. Beyond its realms of moral values, society continues to deteriorate under the laws of jurisdiction and the vigil eyes of the lawmaker. Underneath the vermin of terrorism, extortion, mass killings, illegal immigrants, unemployment, deforestation, polluted environment, false, hopeless and illogical propagandas and agendas, territorial disputes of so called majorities and minorities is decaying mankind which without an identity waits for the final call.

HB: What would you say best describes your music in terms of a genre?

SOR: To put it short and simple: It would probably be Old School metal.

HB: Do you think that there is a market for the brand of metal that you play, internationally?

SOR: Frankly, we did not come out with this album keeping in mind the pros and cons of a marketing trend. Our lyrics and concept, both are very strong and unlike everyone else, we wanted to create something which might have been thought of before, but was never being executed perfectly and that way, we think that we have made our mark and very clearly proved our point.

HB: Tell us about your composition process and songwriting. What inspires you and how you get things together?

SOR: Lyrics comes first as we believe that the content of a song has to be very strong.This is followed by  instrumentation and the song structure, after which comes vocal phrasing, followed by melody and solo structures and finally  overall layering.

We’re inspired by the  kind of environment we grew up in. Amidst Assamese history, territorial disputes, poaching, illegal immigrants, hypocrisy of some parts of the Assamese society ,blind religious beliefs and we can go on actually…..We rehearse on the materials individually and rehearsals are mostly during weekends and we guess that keeps us going and things automatically fall in place.

HB: Give us an insight into the making of your debut album and its concept, Xongram.

SOR: We entered the studio on 23rd of June and we were done with by 8th of July. The live drums were recorded by Amitabh Barooa (Lucid Recess) and the entire album has been  mixed, mastered and produced by Siddharth Barooa (of Lucid Recess fame).The whole experience was amazing as the whole vibe of the album was just right and the mood was very upbeat. We were constantly pushing each other to come out with the best and even Siddharth and Amitabh carried on from where we left ,having done a marvelous job with recording and producing the album.

The concept of “Xongram” in short is the’ Quest for Survival’. This is how we like to explain it: “Exhausted by generations of war and dark races, the world and the entire human ancient alliance together struggle to hold their stand. While we are soaked with the blood of the dead and the fallen, Mankind waits on the brink of extinction and the quest for survival continues.”

HB: Is there a certain track on the album that defines your music?

SOR: No. In fact, all the tracks provide the backdrop which defines our sound and each track has got its own unique sound and all the tracks are special to us in one way or the other.  So it wouldn’t be justified to mention any one track as a favorite.

HB: Tell us how the SOR’ sound evolved to what it is today?

SOR: The sound has never changed- it’ always been the same, for us- it’s the song structure and the instrumentation alone that single-handedly brings out the flavors in our songs. But there is of course, always a constant scope and need to improve. We’re looking at adding more folk elements as of now.

HB: What’s next for SOR as a band?

SOR: We have already started working on new materials for the 2nd album and guess we would be releasing 2 new singles sometime during mid 2011.

HB: Famous last words?

SOR: Joi Aai Axom.