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Reviews

The Down Troddence - How Are You? We Are Fine, Thank You

8.0

album Reviews Mar 24, 04:40pm

A review of How Are You? We Are Fine, Thank You by Bangalore's folk metal outfit The Down Troddence.

“Song that plundered the houses of authority, Song that set the lord’s hair on fire / The relentless source of blood inside our chest, such is the song of this land.” The renowned writer and poet, Karivellur Murali’s words greet the listener first when he presses play on, How Are You? We Are Fine, Thank You, Bangalore’s progressive/groove/folk metal band The Down Troddence’s debut album. These words sung (or rather addressed) in a traditional style with a steady paced riff lifting the song only ever so slightly on the album’s introductory track, ‘A.V.’, instantly retracts one’s mind from the music itself and instead forces it to empathize with the history of rebellion. The record is tessellated with folk and traditional elements, in music, in style, in words, sometime even in songwriting. There are subtle hints of ingenuity that are scattered around each track on the album, like at the end of ‘Nagavalli’ the song fades out into a sample of vocal harmonies sung in their true traditional Carnatic style, suddenly reminding you of the same harmony with a stretched out tone painted onto the Goliath sludge riff at the breakdown a second ago, pounding away like an ancient war cry. How much of this is a conscious effort at leaving hints and how much is genuine creation is anybody’s guess, but it is intellectually intriguing nonetheless.

Finally, a record that is doing something different, maybe not new but certainly different. With song structures that are engaging, at the least, the distortion and central metal riffs have the influence of Arabic scales to the same effect that Lamb of God does. The Arabic scales and Carnatic ragas might share little resemblance to each other in their style, but are somehow contrasted against each other in terms of progression like a mathematical equation curving beautifully on the graph, which in turn can create some very interesting blends of music; a skill that Baiju Dharmajan (formerly of Motherjane) has learnt to exploit like a maniac in creating his own brand of music and showcasing his chops here on ‘Forgotten Martyrs’.

Variety and assorted influences are undoubtedly the mood of the day; all five members seem to bring a varied palette of music and somehow find a comfortable space to co-exist in. You will hear a myriad of influences spanning from God Is An Astronaut to Avial to Lamb of God intelligently interpreted and justifying genuine inspiration. Reminiscent of the sort of guitar harmonies splashed out by Born Of Osiris; the kind of notes that sound native to that box with buttons that electronica musicians call their primary instrument, but with the elongation and tremolo effects of slides on a guitar gives you ‘Hell Within Hell’. The aesthetics of the musicianship do not end at you bearing witness to the members’ acquisition of deep knowledge in both the metal and the folk/heritage music, and only truly blossom as a realization – within the listener – when his mind meanders toward evaluating the deep emotional connect that the songs have forced your soul to synthesize. 

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