Explosively progressive with twist of Traditional Indian Classical Instruments is what defines the angst-ridden Pune based Experimental giants DARK HELM. Dark Helm as a group have always been under intense scrutiny since arriving on the metal scene in such unforgettable style by getting signed with LA based Record Label Itchy Metal Entertainment. Their recently released Debut Album Persepolis, have given DH a new lease on life and a level atop with other Indian Metal Artists. According to the band, the sound of Dark Helm is the musicalisation of the journey of an ancient warrior through the sands of Persia and his quest to defend his throne, by bending time and cheating death. Dark Helm comprises of Ravi Saleikar (Vocals), Mohanashish Deshmukh (Guitars), Clinton Moniz (Guitars), Shubhrayu Dey (Bass), Aniketh Shankar (Keyboards) & Ninad Ingulkar (Drums).
1. 539 B.C
3. Sands Within
6. Borrowed Time
9. Origins I (The Prophecy)
10. Origins II (Endings)
Its always exciting when a band writes a concept album. The songwriting, arrangements and theme just sets the path for the rest. Same is the case with the album which starts with the intro 539 B.C, sets the tone and indeed takes you to the zone where your mind is anticipating chaos. You just cannot ignore those thunderous keyboard work done by Aniketh in Warcry which is really appreciable. This song is surely going to psyche you all. That freaking breakdown is absolutely phenomenal. This track is arranged so brilliantly. Right from double bass patterns, insane vocals to fret burning work, this track has everything.
Sands Within is one of the best stuff you may have ever come across when it comes to experimentation. The way Indian Classical Instruments are utilised is fantastic. The shift from classical theme to brutalality is smooth. The way Santor and Sitar is fused with the riff, followed by Solo is phenominal. Very rarely you come across such tracks which leave you clueless and you are in a state of mind where you are not sure what’s next on DH cd. Is it another brutal track or jaw breaking experiment to look out for. Cymbeline and Persepolis on the other hand are interesting tracks where you witness clean vocals. Although the clean vocals in Cymbeline are not upto the mark, what surprised me was the voice behind the song Persepolis. Vocals on this track will give you chills. The eclectic voice is probably the best I have heard from India. The way she potrays the character related to the concept is awesome. Persepolis went immediately to the list of my daily doze.
Borrowed Time is straightforward deathcore track with twist of Dark Helm experiment. With high pitched clean vocals, this track shines again when it comes to keyboard work. His magical fingers and heavily skilled persona is what defines the sound of Dark Helm. Jaffar is a beast. The name itself takes you into the sands of Egypt. The two-some between Sitar and Tabla is one of the highlights of the album followed by fret burning work by the duo. Another track into the hit list. Cyrus starts off with typical deathcore style and again we witness the way Classical instruments are fused in. Killer riffs with Sitar Solo just left me shocking. The album ends with Origins which comprises of two tracks and each track shines as the rest. The album pretty much ends on a good note. Lyrically they are at thier best and with top notch production, their sound is way too different than the rest.
Art work is brilliant. Guitar duo have done a phenomenal work with drummer Ninad nailing each pattern flawlessly. Bass is rumbling all over and vocals are pretty good apart from certain areas which I felt they aren’t upto the mark. The phenomenal persona and the mastermind behind some of the best tunes I came across is Aniketh. He is just awe-fuckn-some \m/
Persepolis is a no-holds-barred, brutally heavy, uncompromising album, a labor of love on every single note by DH team. Apart from few vocal glitches, Its a badass product as a band that knows exactly who they are as musicians and writes confidently. This is the BEST band in India when it comes to fusing western influences with Indian Roots. Mind you I mentioned the BEST. Insane intercourse between classical sound and blastic metal oriented sound is what defines Dark Helm. This album has not only everything you expected from them but that xxxxxxxxxxxxxxtraaaaaaaaa thrill which only Dark Helm can give.
Horn’s Up, Its EVIL DARK HELM \m/
Review by Owais Nabi
Originally Posted at MetalIndia Magazine