• Sat, Feb 24, 2024
Reviews

Medddler Brings Much-Needed Heart To His Metal EP 'It's To Pierce The Sky'

8.0

album Reviews Mar 20, 07:36pm

Not boring, not soulless, not bland. Therefore, good!

Once upon a time, not so long ago, everyone loved prog. You couldn’t find a region in India where bands in cities weren’t either straight-up playing atmospheric, complex, dense instrumentals or at least experimenting with the style. Every weekend, there would be multiple venues featuring four or five-piece acts that all had this heavy, intricate material and we loved it. Us fans would stand there, letting our thoughts run while the band would play and look at the ceiling (every prog band has done this). It’s a bit sad, then, that this pillar of the indie scene overplayed itself into the ground towards the end of the 2010s. The same evocative sound turned formulaic, often low-effort, almost always joyless, and always pretentious (not to mention making people absolutely hate modulation effects). Mumbai’s Angad Bhatia (under the moniker Medddler) seeks to change that with his new EP ‘It’s To Pierce The Sky’, and do you know what? He does.

The structure of the EP is pretty simple but bears mentioning: 7 tracks and a runtime of 28 minutes. You’re not going to find 13-minute behemoths that make time freeze while they build up one phrase for an eternity; this is a big plus. Angad rewards your attention with well-packaged songs instead of boring you to death. He also makes use of a punchy, clean mix with some space in it (no brick walls of suffocating sounds here). ‘Cobblestone’ is a pleasant intro with a clean guitar and a piano; there’s shades of post-rock here. ‘Drunk Taxi’ is more extreme metal or tech-death than anything else, but the difference is that it grooves. The blastbeats and aggressive riffs are paired with standard rock chords, and when the track switches into its melodic and atmospheric section, it doesn’t add unnecessary fluff. Just a simple riff and some nice guitar layering. In fact, this idea of getting to the essence of a sound instead of showing off is a common theme throughout the EP.

 

 

‘Cardamom Fences’ combines what could easily be a Karnivool B-side with some very chuggy guitars. It does have a mean quality to it, but again, it’s paired with a quiet, dreamy melodic section. These counterpoints feel like they have so much more meaning than a lot of the music they are pulling from. ‘Onward, The Metropolis Coils’ makes up for its title (just kidding) by taking a style of prog that was quite popular back in the 90s; flowing melodies, a classic guitar wail and very drawn-out, smooth transitions. ‘Elevator Mirrors’ dives into essentially late 90s grunge and rock without any hesitation, so it’s a bit of a jarring switch, but the track has a warm vibe and a hell of a lot of nostalgia tonally. It’s done right. ‘Redrang Sunset’ goes back to the kinds of ideas presented on ‘Drunk Taxi’, and the closing track ‘Royal Clock’ is perhaps the most emotive listening experience of them all.

Medddler is not doing anything remotely new on ‘It’s To Pierce The Sky’. The musical bent of this EP will be familiar to anyone who had tried listening to progressive metal or rock. In fact, it seems apparent that innovation is not even on the list of the things Angad wanted to do here. It seems like he wanted to make something with real feeling and life in it, and he succeeds there. This is not prog where you need to watch Youtube tutorials to figure out what time signature it’s in. It’s not compressed to all hell and the instruments don’t sound like they want to bash your head in. This EP lets you breathe a bit, and it is more than heavy enough for those who like that. Win-win.

 

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