Tag Archives: Keshav Kumar

The Invasion(EP) by Devoid

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Devoid, one of the heavyweights of Bombay’s ever growing thrash metal scene are out with a new concept EP for their sophomore release – The Invasion. Post the release of their first album A God’s Lie in 2010 with Demonstealer Records, the band saw a couple of line-up changes with Sanju Aguiar and Abhishek Kamdar replacing Keshav Kumar and Frank Pawar on lead guitar and bass respectively. Shubham Kumar continues to handle his drum duties, while vocalist and rhythm guitarist Arun Iyer doubles up as the bands producer and engineer for this EP making The Invasion their first DIY release in its 7 years of existence.

With only 5 tracks clocking in at a little over 20 minutes this release definitely packs a punch above its weight, with the prime concept of the album revolving around an alien invasion on planet earth. The story unfolds with a two and a half minutes long instrumental ‘The Prelude’ followed by ‘The Invasion’ – which characters the arrival of the extra-terrestrial into this world with some heavy thrash metal. ‘Pandemonium is Now’ outlines the anarchy and the chaos that grips a society in the face of extinction. The 4th track ‘Brahma Weapon’, easily my most favourite song from the EP, is the final fury of the gods upon civilization, chronicling the obliteration of this planet, with mentions of mass extinction, burning of the righteous and drowning of the sun. This mini epic of sorts ends with ‘The Grand Design’, which as the title itself suggests is about the grand plan that spells out the bigger picture, talking about how ‘everything that’s destroyed is rebuilt with the gift of time’ and the ‘design being the matter of all creation’.

Musically, The Invasion is heavy, fast and an unadulterated ode to thrash metal that’ll make you head bang irrespective of whether you’re in your car, at your workplace, or worse, in college.  The EP sounds massive in its entirety with some really vicious guitar riffs, along with rock-solid drumming and pitch-perfect vocals. The acoustic guitar track in ‘The Prelude’ is a fine way of easing the listener into the skull crushing heavy metal that follows in the remaining tracks. Personally, ‘The Invasion’ is one of the best EPs I’ve heard in a long time, partly because of my affinity towards thrash metal but greatly because of this band’s ability to blow you off your mind. In my view, this EP by Devoid is one of the best releases we’ve had from Bombay in quite some time and it’ll honestly be really unfair to critique the album based on any one of its shortcomings (not like there are any blatant ones). The storytelling is impeccable, the concept is questionably innovative, the song writing is stellar, artwork is literally out of this world and the production quality is good, if not excellent.  Any metal head who manages to get his/her hands on this monster of an EP will be in for an absolute treat, which unfortunately lasts just a little over 20 minutes (40 minutes on loop). It’s been just a little over 36 hours since I got the EP and I am already yearning for their sophomore release, which will again be a concept album.

Final Verdict:  Very highly recommended by the reviewer.

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Thrash Revival: A God’s Lie by Devoid

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Is thrash metal dead? The genre that was most easily the ‘face’ of metal throughout the 80s and the 90s seemed like a lost art in the new century. With the most bankable names in thrash dishing out duds after duds, any metalhead worth his/her salt would say thrash is almost dead. A God’s Lie will change this perception.

The album marks the debut of six-year old Mumbai based thrash/ death metal outfit Devoid and talks about the violence of religion and the futility of it all. The album cover by Shakti Dash sums up the entire mood with illustrations that are startlingly smoky and blue with Goddess Kali in war mode. It’s dark, it’s heavy and it’s definitely not for the weak hearted.

A Silent Death’ makes for a brilliant opening for the album. The acoustic track sounds depressing, even suicidal and will leave you in a complete state of unpreparedness for the skull crushing riffs on the tracks that follow. ‘Battle Cry,’ right from its start of sirens wailing and gunshots to its riffs is reminiscent of the dying moments of Metallica’s ‘One.’

One of the most brilliant tracks on the album with its structuring is ‘New World Order.’ The track has parts of the goose bump inducing speech the character Howard Beale makes in the 1976 movie ‘Network’ about why people should get mad about everything wrong in the world. The title track, that comes in at the very end of the album stands out with its lyrics that slap you in your conformist faces. The other track that carves a niche for itself is ‘Black Fortress,’ a track that incidentally put Devoid into the spotlight in the Indian metal scene. ‘Possessed’ is a pure delight to hear for Shubham Kumar’s drumming. With lightning fast double bass beats, Shubham owns the track.

The bonus track, ‘Beer Song’ is an out-and-out old school thrash track that has ‘fun’ written all over it in capital letters. It’s the kind of track that would set the adrenaline pumping and lead to fractured limbs in moshpits at gigs.  Sanju Aguiar, who did a short stint as the lead guitarist for the band when their original man Keshav Kumar took a hiatus, returns to play on the bonus track, and boy is he fast!

Arun Iyer, with his raspy vocals, completely entices through the 38-odd-minute running duration of the album. Iyer’s crisp riffing provides Keshav ample opportunity to showcase why he is one of the best thrash metal lead guitarists in India. Frank Pawar, Devoid’s bassist, having played in several other bands is very seasoned to say the least, bringing his distinct touch to each track.

A God’s Lie isn’t about atheism; it’s about the flaw in religion that fails to save us from the monster that is politics. The idea is something that connects to Indians instantly and this works for Devoid. Both the band and the album are brutally honest and make no bones about it. The only issue with A God’s Lie is that the tracks lack this certain variation that would make them stand apart from each other.

A God’s Lie is that rare piece of a thrash debut whose copy you would want to preserve. Devoid is an extremely powerful band that shows promise like a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. Thrashers around the world will agree that the album stands out not only because it’s from a Bollywood obsessed nation but because it’s genuinely world class. I’d rather listen to A God’s Lie than Slayer’s latest World Painted Blood, any day. Enough said!

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