Acrid Semblance - From The Oblivion
Demonstealer Records
Melodic Death / Euro-Power Metal
9 songs (46:46)
Release year: 2005
Acrid Semblance, Demonstealer Records
Reviewed by Ross
Surprise of the month
Acrid Semblance seem to have been labelled with the sub-genre of Melodic Death Metal but are rather more Melodic than Death, and sometimes even straying into Euro-Power Metal. Without a doubt you can hear their main musical influences Children Of Bodom, At The Gates, In Flames with hints of Norther, Stratovarius, Sonata Arctica and Blind Guardian shining through their debut full length album From The Oblivion. Another band that springs to mind is Dragonforce, especially during some of the shredding dual lead guitar and guitar / keyboard solos; also, drummer Ashim Manna seems to have a similar playing style as Dave Mackintosh. There are also a boatload of Neo-Classical riffs and hooks played throughout the album. To listen to From The Oblivion you could quite easily think that Acrid Semblance are from Finland or one of the other Scandinavian countries. Not even close! Acrid Semblance hail from New Delhi, India; not a country that springs to mind as a source of kick-ass Metal. Having rooted around the Indian Metal Scene since making contact with Demonstealer Records I’ve found a plethora of bands, covering a wide range of Metal genres, just waiting to make themselves known to the Metal World. And having received most of Demonstealer Records back catalogue, over the coming weeks I’ll be reviewing some of the more prominent bands from the Indian sub-continent.

Acrid Semblance formed in 2001 and are: Anubhav Misra - Vocals / Keyboards, Vikas Dharamsattu – Guitar, Kshitish Purohit – Guitar, Chiranjeev Brahma – Bass and Ashim Manna – Drums. (Point to note here is Anubhav, Kshitish and Ashim have been part of the creation process of the more brutal Death Metal band Narsil, which will be featured at a later date.)

So, From The Oblivion, chock full of guitar widdly wankery, that should please all the Malmstein, Satriani, Vai fans out there, that’s the backbone of this album. Occasional flashes of keyboard wizardry battle for dominance but only managing to do so during solos and the two instrumental tracks, Mindwarp II and Mindwarp I, which are for some obscure reason are numbered ass-backwards. However, though the album is guitar driven there aren’t many riffs that can be described as truly original and some of the hooks and fills are more ‘Look what I can do!’ than part of the song structure; same story with the solos – fast, very technical and sometimes just fucking awesome, but mostly just exhibitions of the guitarist’s fretting prowess bolted on to the track with not much commonality with the rest of the song. Though saying that, the riffs and solos in the track Acrid Arts are well structured, with umpteen tempo and rhythm changes, building up throughout to a mindblowing guitar / keyboard shredfest. Another outstanding track, and perhaps the most Deathiest is Genesis 18:05 (Can’t really say if the 18:05 refers to Genesis chapter 18, verse 5, bibles are scarce in my house so haven’t got anything to refer to). But one thing, it gives Anubhav a chance to dial-up the keyboard content.

One problem I found with the album was the production. Many of the tracks kinda just burst into life and what it sounds like is the band has ran through the opener over and over continuously, picked out the one that sounded the best, then cut and pasted it into the appropriate place. You can hear a lot of cuts and joins. And, because guitars and keys are the predominant sounds of the album, vocals aren’t as clear, sharp and out in front as they could’ve been; bass guitar is in there somewhere, sometimes and the drum sound seems confined to snare, kicks with a little cymbals. My advice to them is to cut back on the Pro-Tools (or whatever editing programme they use) trickery; overproduction tends to suck the life out of music, particularly Metal where there’s supposed to be a roughness around the edges. Perhaps if they got a good recording of themselves playing live they would hear what they really sound like and try to implant some of that live atmosphere into their studio work. Or, get a producer who really, REALLY knows what he’s doing behind the desk.

Although I might sound hyper-critical and nit-picky but the stuff I’ve whined about you kinda expect from a band’s first full length. As time goes by Acrid Semblance will discover their own sound that will inspire bands of the future. If you take a surf over to the Media page of the Band Website you can listen to a few samples of From The Oblivion and a couple of new songs - Prophecy Of War and Quest For Spirituality - where you will hear a marked shift towards their own creativity. I’d say From The Oblivion is a good solid first album from a band that will develop into a top class Metal act. They’ve said this album was three years in the making and is now almost 3 years old so, I reckon a new album should be on the cards this year and I’ll be mighty interested in what's on offer and what direction they’re headed.
Killing Songs :
From The Oblivion, Mindwarp II and I, Genesis 18:05, Burning The Ashes
Ross quoted 77 / 100
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