The promoter that sent me this album called Albatross “arguably India’s most well-known heavy metal band”. Apparently I’ve had little to no exposure to Indian metal, because this was the first time I’d ever heard of them. With visions of Bollywood and curry in my mind, I began listening to Fear From The Skies not knowing what to expect.
Fear From The Skies is divided into two parts, “Story 1: Children of the Cloud” (comprising tracks 1–5) and “Story 2: The Assassin’s Flight” (comprising tracks 6–8).
While I expected Intro – Advance to be atmosphere-setting and potentially pointless, I wasn’t expecting the four-minute song that followed, The Raptorsville Fair, to be the same way. There’s about a minute of actual metal in the middle of the song, but otherwise it’s just again trying to set a mood with a lilting folk beat.
Finally, we get the first actual metal song on track three, Jugglehead the Clown. Vocalist Biprorshee Das stays mainly on the clean side (occasionally reaching for notes he shouldn’t), but the times he drops into a snarling growl, the song definitely takes a creepy turn. It could be a good song, but it’s at least a minute or two too long.
Much the same can be said of the next song, Children of the Cloud. It contains some skilled musicianship and mostly good vocals, but it has no business being almost seven minutes long. After Outro – Fold finally rolls, “Story 1: Children of the Cloud” is mercifully over.
“Story 2: The Assassin’s Flight” starts out much better, with only a fifteen-second spoken-word bit before In the Lair of Dr. Hex kicks in proper. Biprorshee is doing his best King Diamond on this track, but he isn’t Kim Bendix Petersen and doesn’t always succeed.
The remaining two tracks, A Tale of Two Tyrants and The Empire of Albatross, follow the same general template of Dr. Hex. There are moments of greatness here and some excellent riffage, but the songs outstay their welcome, and Biprorshee’s attempt at a falsetto on the former is grating at best.
Ultimately, I’m of two minds on this album. There is some serious skill on the instrument side and the vocals sound great when he stays within a comfortable range. On the other hand, the songwriting leaves a lot to be desired. Every song on here could have had two minutes cut out for a tighter, more powerful feel, and I felt the intro/outro pieces did nothing more than pad out the runtime of Fear From The Skies, ultimately to its detriment. I’m not writing off Indian metal at this point, but Albatross was the wrong place to start for me.
Available at Bandcamp.
Special thanks to Transcending Obscurity PR for the complementary review copy.