Latest CD - Emperor Awaits
Release date: 13.03.2011
FROM :The Heavy Metal Saloon http://baileysmmcreamy.blogspot.com/search/label/hayagriva
Saturday, 2 April 2011
Hayagriva: Emperor Awaits
Four years after the release of Red Heaven, Hayagriva spring back into action with a brand new logo, futuristic cover art and a reunion of their 1993 demo lineup for Emperor Awaits. Despite all this, they're still playing what they call Dark Shadow Metal - very fast-paced, massively melodic black metal with plenty of keyboards and emotion. The EP is a foreboding of an eventual full-length album, featuring four versions of the title song, an instrumental and a cover.
The main attraction is the only actual full-length original song here, for which the EP is named. 'Emperor Awaits' is a seven-minute flurry of charging double-kick drums, scorching vocal lines and the intricate buzzing tremolo-picked melodies Mantheravathee laced Red Heaven with. In terms of songwriting, the track's length and complexity surpasses any previous song by the band. There's a whole bunch of riffs flying at you, twinning symbiotically with the racing drums. The motif of the song is an emotional, leaping series of harmonized guitar licks during the chorus, augmented by orchestral synths. Slower moments involve twinkling keys, familiar serrated guitar workouts and even an uncharacteristic classically-inclined guitar solo. I honestly can't get enough of this song, it picks up right where the 2007 record left off and is kicking with both more emotion and more technical, virtuosic playing. If the full-length record later this year is consistently of this quality it's going to kick serious ass.
The production is fairly similiar, except that where the guitars became a little buried last time round, here guitars, drums and keyboards are mixed nicely, without abandoning the slightly rough-around-the-edges sound that helps to set this band apart from the squishy sounding mass-produced melodic black stuff coming from Europe.
'The Deep Breath Before the Plunge' is a highly atmospheric instrumental played off the keyboards with some computerized-sounding drum tattoos. It's a lot darker, almost industrial sounding, compared to the neo-oriental instrumentals on Red Heaven. 'Intoxicated' is an unusual move, 'Emperor Awaits' remixed with drum and bass beats, guitars occasionally bursting in through a wall of soggy distortion. Interesting to listen to, and the relaxing, ambient nature of this version goes some way to emphasize the improved compositional skills of the band. There are also instrumental and 'practice' (rehearsal I guess) versions of 'Emperor Awaits' at the end of the EP.
Outside of the title song, the best thing here is 'Syurga Di Hujung...', a cover of a local rock band from Ipoh. I like this firstly because it's the sort of thing that goes on in the Japanese scene, bands covering the songs by their mates in other bands. Secondly I am totally into the passionate interpretation of the guitar riffs, with what must have been a hard rock song given full Hayagriva treatment and turned into a blast beat-driven cooker of a melodic, blackened song - but with clean vocals provided by Venkhateswehra and Mantheravathee. The two guys don't sound too bad actually, the singing has the same kind of imperfect frankness of love songs by Gorgon. Combine that with the emotional riffing and this is my favourite cover so far this year.
I am seriously glad I bought Red Heaven on impulse when I got to Singapore - I totally dig this band's sound, and I wish more people outside of Southeast Asia would even have the chance to listen to them. Considering the cheap price of this disc (although don't ask me about international postage) it's a good way to get introduced to the band.
Posted by Jon at 16:34