Review: Albatross – Fear from the Skies

Posted: June 22, 2015 in Reviews
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Ever read something about a band and feel almost embarassed you didn’t know that. Albatross are, according to the press release that accompanied this album, arguably India’s most well known heavy metal band. I’ve NEVER heard of them before now, and I feel that I should’ve. Maybe it’s just me…

Anyway, their debut record for Transcending Obscurity is ‘Fear from the Skies’, 38 minutes of ripping trad metal. I’ve heard a lot of black and death metal from India, but I believe this is my first foray into more traditional metal from the subcontinent. After the intro track, which has a strangely King Diamond feel about it (creepy spoken word, tolling bell etc etc), ‘The Raptorsville Fair’ lurches into a odd, fairground piece before some cool guitar leads finally kick in. It’s certainly a unique way to kick off a record, and it grabs the attention quickly.

The metal kicks into high gear on the ripping ‘Jugglehead the Clown’, with some classic licks and some piercing screams from vocalist Biprorshee Das. This is a record led very much by the storytelling concept, and to their credit, Albatross are doing something unique with that. There’s some seriously cool guitar interplay too, melodies twisting into solos and back again. Taking cues from Maiden, three guitarists linking guitar lines works so well. ‘Children of the Cloud’ showcases some of Das’ vocal range, from soaring harmonies through some slightly maniacal parts while the galloping riffs race to catch up. The musicianship is stellar, and if this is what Indian trad metal sounds like, sign me up for more!

The first part of the record closes with a cyclical outro section linking back to the strange intro. The second part opens with ‘In the Lair of Dr.Hex’, a chugging piece of eerie heavy metal with a killer solo. Albatross write some great, soulful heavy metal with some fantastic licks and a clear identity. Riffs are awesome, vocals can shatter glass at ten paces, and ‘Tale of Two Tyrants’ could be one of my top songs by the end of the year. ‘Fear from the Skies’ is very much recommended for fans of the riff!

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