Fear from the Skies
I’ve been following Indian heavy metal band Albatross since their very first release back in 2010, the Dinner is You EP, and right from the start, the band has established their love for story-telling through their music, often sending chills down the listener’s spine. The highlight of the band’s career up to last year though was the 2012 split with Vestal Claret, which became one of my favourite releases of the year. The band finally releases their debut full length album 7 years into their career this year, Fear from the Skies.
To be honest, the thing that has always kinda put me off from Albatross‘ music were the artworks. But on Fear from the Skies, this was exactly what drew me towards the release, a far cry from the rather amateur-looking (though convincing enough and related to the band’s material at the point in time) works on the band’s previous two albums. However, what really matters is the music, rather than focusing solely on the visual aspects of the album.
Intro: Advance sends chills down the listener’s back with Biprorshee’s high-pitched, almost witch-like spoken segment, before the band kicking things off with The Raptorsville Fair. The Raptorsville Fair is unlike anything that fans of Albatross has heard before, and instead of the straightforward heavy metal that one has been accustomed to, the band instead brings one to the midst of a carnival for most of the first half of the track. I wasn’t sure what to make of it upon my first listen, yet numerous listens later, the track certainly fits well to the overall context, providing the basis for the rest of the story that was to be told. Some semblance of sanity and familiarity come back as soon as Jugglehead the Clown comes in after The Raptorsville Fair.
The band is on their top form on Fear from the Skies, as Vignesh, Nishith and Varun throw out some of their heaviest riffing works to date. At the same time, they also show their maturity as musicians, and instead of focusing solely on the speed and aggression for the whole record, they often engage in melodic, harmonised lead segments. They are backed by the relentless battery of Jay and the rumbling growl of Dr. Hex. Throughout the record, Biprorshee pushes his vocals to the limits, and his high pitched shrieks and screams leaves one extremely impressed.
In some aspects, Fear from the Skies contains some of the most progressive and daring material of Albatross to date, with tracks like that somewhat psychedelic The Raptorsvile Fair. It also displays the growth of the band as a unit and as individual musicians, making Fear from the Skies truly the best material that the band has put out thus far in their career.
1. Intro: Advance
2. The Raptorsville Fair
3. Jugglehead the Clown
4. Children of the Cloud
5. Outro: Fold
6. In the Lair of Dr. Hex
7. A Tale of Two Tyrants
8. The Empire of Albatross
Favourite picks: Children of the Cloud, In the Lair of Dr. Hex