Sunday, October 19, 2014

Vihaan - Invicta Review

Invicta cover art
Prog metal is a sub-genre that has been brewing in the background of the metal scene but has never been given the light of day to really shine.  Bands like Dream Theater and Opeth have brought prog-infused music to the mainstream, but past that, most bands struggle to draw a big audience due to the complexity of their music.  You need to find the perfect blend between progressive elements and metal, which is exactly what Vihaan did in their debut album, Invicta.  Since their inception in 2012, nothing major happened until the announcement of their album and the band quickly grew their fanbase.  Now, after taking almost 2 years to develop their album, their sound has already developed into something completely unique, fusing elements of jazz, progressive music, and metal together to create one wicked and powerful album.

Invicta starts out on a high note that features brutal metal vocals and distorted, heavy guitars played in a strange time signature.  There are also sections throughout the album where the heavy is completely turned off and in its place are beautiful acoustic sections extremely reminiscent of Opeth.  This creates an epic masterpiece that equally combines both sides of the genre perfectly and appeals to all sorts of metal fans.  The drumming is unbelievably good.  Their patterns are complex but not so much to where it takes over the music and draws you away from the main focus.  It keeps the beat and adds a bit of spice here and there, but never overpowers.  The sound is clean and well-recorded, every hit, cymbal crash and stick click is heard clearly.  The guitars are the most diverse and beautiful instrument on the whole album.  The heavy, crunchy guitars sound absolutely amazing and drive the music with intensity.  On the other hand, the soft acoustic guitars bring the talent of the members to life and show off the extraordinary skills the guitar player has.  The bass playing is well heard and stands out on its own in every single track.  There are very few points where it is hidden in the background.  The fills are well-written and complex.   The vocals are intense and downright brutal at times, really bringing a strange intensity to music that is comparable to The Ocean's latest album.

Vihaan sounds a lot like what prog music is supposed to sound like and while I don't necessarily like prog-influenced anything, this album really has made me question that.  Appreciators of the great prog bands will be drawn in immediately and while it might take some time warming up to, I think a few death metal fans might start to find this interesting after a bit, as it does have some heavier sections.  All in all, I think Vihaan is off to an extremely good start with their music and will definitely establish themselves as one of the best underground prog bands around.

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