Kalodin – SARV, EP, 2012
Review by: Samyam Shrestha
SARV is Kalodin’s second offering after their debut “The Bestial Ritualism of Harlotry” two years ago, and as Davin Shakya, the band’s guitarist has put it, the band’s first real debut after their experimental full-length. And it sounds. Kalodin have been more straightforward this time, stretching their affiliations with the assigned black metal moniker, while experimenting with Hindu themes in superficial levels. Their sound has turned pretty darker and colder now, consequently.
There are plenty of black metal standard tremolo riffs that are neatly crafted, alongside the groovy interruptions, which in alliance have created decent transitions providing a flow. While Kalodin’s past compositions had rather centered on symphonic components than brutality, the two facets are in harmony here. Moreover, guitars have the ability to stand on their own creating an ambience without the aid of the keys. Davin’s Alexi Laiho influenced lead solos add additional flavors to it. And while the DimmuBorgir orchestral influences are still imminent, the keyboard has also been utilized to penetrate the style of Emperor in brutal segments. The significance of keys seems to be lesser than in their last record though. In general, Kalodin have dealt with a more straightforward black metal sound with these formulae, demonstrating an amalgam of old-school and modern ingredients, while the production has helped it incline towards a primitive black metal approach.
I was expecting the EP to embrace Hinduism theme exclusively, because of the album title, the cover art and the pre-release news of addition of sitar in the EP. But contrary to what I was anticipating, Hinduism marks its entrance in the latter half of the final track “Trishula” alone, with the inclusion of the harmonious sitar and a ritualistic hymn. This is where the eastern scales are introduced, with the ending part sounding as a symphonic black metal equivalent of Singaporean Rudra. And since I took it as just experimentation on what the band’s newer sound could be like, I welcome this step in their upcoming releases as well.
There are three vocalists in the record. The lead vocals is done by the man Davin himself, displaying his chaotic and hateful high-pitched screams, which sound akin to that of Shagrath of Dimmu Borgir. Similarly, Sanjay Maharjan and Pranav Panthi have provided additional punches and growls. The drumming by Gobinda Sen is quite solid as well. I like how the drums sound in the mix.
All in all, this is a commendable record – fast, furious, melodic and dark. The tracks seem to have been ordered in accordance to increasing splendor, the opener track “Fallen Empire” being quite weaker compared to what it is followed by, while the ending track “Trishula” being the one standing out, perhaps because of its differing theme and songwriting method. The EP runs nearly 20 minutes, and if Kalodin persist on what they’ve done in “Trishula”, they got plenty of new and interesting sounds to bestow the listeners.
I, for one, am pleased for now.