Albatross are a traditional heavy metal band, hailing from
the lands of India. Delivering some spine-chilling horror tales with their
music, the band has previously released two EP’s (the latter was a split with
Vestal Claret) and have now released their first full length album – Fear From The Skies.
The album clocking in just under 40 minutes, consist of 8
tracks split into two different tales. The first tale is set as the doomed
Raptorsville Fair comes to town and the Children of the Cloud go about killing
the folks. While the second story deals with that of the Winged Assassin and
the rise of the Empire of Albatross.
The first segment of the album has the more variety as it
brings in many progressive and death metal influences into the songs. Fans of
the band will remember the death ridden town of ‘Raptorsville’, from the last
EP “The Kissing Flies”, and are once again reminded of it as the album kicks
off with ‘The Raptorsville Fair’. As
soon as the track starts playing, one knows that this is not the conventional
album with a heavy track after another heavy track, but one with
experimentation and flair. The triple lead guitar attack is just outstanding
throughout (with 16 solos!) with some top notch work behind the drum kit to
complement the riffs.
It’s also in this first half of the album that the heavy
influence of King Diamond on this band comes to the forefront. The progressive
guitar melodies and vocalist Biproshree Das’s mesmerizing falsetto range, keep
the listener hooked. Moreover, the crazy stop and go moments just gets one
banging their heads in appreciation.
The second segment, is where the band really manages to take
the whole experience into the clouds, as they rise higher than ever before. The
story is fantastically put to words by the bands lyricist and bassist Dr. Hex. If
the first segment showed their inspiration from King Diamond, this is where the
influence of NWOBHM bands like Iron Maiden shines through. The groovy basslines
shining through the mix, especially ‘In the Lair of Dr. Hex’ instantly brings
back the classic Maiden sound in the listeners head. The band also manages to
put some bay area thrash influences into the mix in the album closer ‘The
Empire of Albatross’.
Coming to the production and mastering, high praise must be
given to the mix and mastering by Ahwin Shriyan and Daniel Rego respectively.
It suits the music of the band perfectly, with each instrument perfectly
audible. Despite all the aforementioned influences, it’s how beautifully they
are brought together on the album that defines the sound of Albatross.
My only tiny hitch with the album was the cohesion one looks
for when listening to an album, is somewhat lost with ‘The Raptorsville Fair’.
It just stands out from the rest, as an odd point in the listening voyage. The
track despite being one of the finest on the album, just does not mix in. Its
understandable that the band did not want the same sound and vibe running through
and through, but for me the track strays a tad too far.
Nevertheless, this is one of the finest releases to come out of the
Indian Metal scene. If you consider yourself a heavy metal maniac, you need to
give this album a spin!