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WE’RE FINE. THANK YOU!

The first time we heard the simplicity in the naming of the debut album of The Down Troddence, we were aghast. It just did not make any sense. Now that we have heard the album, it kinda does.

TDT does one thing for us through the album – it tells us that metal can still be infused with melody. Frankly, in spite of having played and witnessed some top notch metal musicians in India, we haven’t managed to fall into the trap of “technical” metal that is as good to listen to as a dissertation in quantum mechanics is to a layman.

The first thing that hits you in the album is that it is amazingly global for a band that has its roots in a small town in Kerala. The music is immensely emotional with “in your face” guitar riffs that rip you apart in minute one and then transforms into an insanely weird, soft yet cruel clean tone that adds so much substance to the music. It makes listening a substantially elevated experience – akin to playing games on motion sensor controls.

Injustice would be meted out to the guitarists if nothing was mentioned about those awesome riffs. Holding the spine of the song, Varun, Nezer and Rinoy dole out some amazing patches to the avid guitar player listening. Kudos to the always awesome Keshav for having captured and improvised on those sounds. What I loved the most of the riffs was the ease with which it flowed from one to another without overwhelming the listener too much. “Simplicity in riff design is the hallmark of a good guitarist”. You don’t need to over complicate when you can get a message across fine with a simple and effective rhyme and meter.

We have been  big fans of Sushin ever since we first got a sneak listen of “ORTNIAVIS”. While we do not have a clue of how to play and judge keyboards, we do have a lot of respect for Sushin’s judgement of sound. Sometimes, there is no point in being able to play Beethoven, if you cannot judge what tonal aesthetics you need for your composition. While Sushin seems amply capable of doing a Beethoven himself, he adds more value to the band as a tonal expert. Careful listens of the albums brings glimmers of this brilliance – especially in ORTNIAVIS and SHIVA.

Another great element of the music is Mr Munz on vocals. Often forgotten, within the myriad of the riffs and the drums, is the vocalists. Munz refuses to let a listener do that. Subtle stresses on words redeems him from being a normal growler to an actual vocalist. A great example is in “Death Vanity” when the chorus “Dream Dreamer down/Devil Doth Dither” is sung. The slight scrowl on the word “Down” in that line adds so much substance to the chorus. This for me has been the stamp that Munz has placed on the vocal orchestration ever since TDT released “Shiva”.

And finally the drums – I will pass no judgement over here since I’ve known Ganesh long enough to know what he is capable of. Id rather point you to “Nagavalli” and ask you to take a call yourself on this guy who literally lays an explosive foundation to TDT’s music.

“So it all sounds rosy – it cant be all that good”. This review has to biased. Well I hate to not be frank and so let me put them out my pain points as well.

Though big fans  of the music of TDT, We are a little comfortable holding back on the lyrical elements of the music.Its something like what I feel about DreamTheater – mind blowing music with vocalist who does not seem to fit.

Granted that the ideas are from a potpourri of sources. Location, gender and experiences play a huge role in the lyrics that are written but what the band need is consistency. When you listen to Shiva, ORTNIAVIS, A.V and Forgotten Martyrs, you see a mature band that has something to say – an opinion which quickly crumbles when you try and understand songs like “CHAAPILLA” where it seems like words were put to intentionally make a reader shake his head in muted disgust. If this was indeed intentional, we are flabbegasted at the choice.

On the whole, the album is a tremendously satisfying listen. We look forward to more from this amazing band that surely is on a road to put Indian metal on the world map. We do have a vested interest in being big fans of TDT since they are family to us. However, beyond that, their music does stand on its own. If you haven’t listened to them yet, you can reach out to buy their music at the following links.

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