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Heathen Beast - Trident

Heathen Beast
by Danny Sanderson at 17 August 2015, 2:36 AM

As someone who is a fairly staunch Atheist myself, I've often wondered why the genre of music I love the most, Black Metal, has never really embraced Atheism. With the exception of the brilliant WOODS OF YPRES, even I am very hard pressed to name even a handful of bands of a Blackened bent who are willing to stray away from the tried and tested "Hail Satan, Fuck God" formula and tackle the equally controversial subject of Atheism. But, of course, there are dozens out their who do cover this issue in their music; Calcutta based Black Metallers HEATHEN BEAST are one of the rising stars who have touched upon Metals greatest untapped lyrical theme. Their latest release, the compilation "Trident", is perhaps the best place to start when you want to get a crash course in this bands music.

This does differ from other compilation releases, namely because it includes literally every single song that the band have ever recorded, rather than act as a serving of their most loved and popular material. This is great for new fans, because it means you only have to go to one place in order to get a taste of the bands evolution and stylistic change. So this is not only a celebration of the bands recorded output, in a way its also a history lesson in their music.

The first three songs on here all feature on the bands debut EP, "Ayodhya Burns", and right off the bat you can hear that the band has a lot of strong, definable ideas in terms of their sound. All three of the first tracks, "Blind Faith", "Religious Genocide" and "Ayodhya Burns", are ferocious, razor sharp slabs of Black Metal, with just enough rawness to draw in the old school fans, whilst at the same time sounding just polished enough to cater to fans that might not have been into this style of music long enough to become accustomed to the harshness of the core sound. "Blind Faith" is a very strong opening track, and practically jumps out of the speakers at you, as does "Religious Genocide", a powerful, speed-driven cacophony of noise with some really vicious drum work and gnarly riffs. The high point, however, is the vocals; they are coarse, and the acidic rasp Carvaka utilises in his delivery is perfect for the music. "Ayodhya Burns" is a much more mid-paced affair, but it is nonetheless heavy and unrelenting in its approach.

The following three songs were all featured on the EP "Drowning the Elephant God", and show a noticeable and interesting shift in sound. The song-writing has clearly developed, with many more technical flourishes available, especially on "Drowning the Elephant God". This is a far cry from the blistering, speed-driven rage of the first three tracks on here. "Contaminating the Ganges" further illustrates just how much this band has improved in terms of song writing. The song slowly builds from a layered, interesting opening piece through to a much more aggressive, mid-paced Black Metal tune. The tempo steadily increases, as does the level of ferocity throughout, and it definitely feels like this song is building to something. What it does build to is the final track on that particular EP, "Bakras to the Slaughter" a song that fuses Black Metal with Folk music to great effect. fusing these two kinds of music can result in a muddled sound and combinations that don't blend well, but this manages to get the mix between the two just right.

The final three tracks that are left on here all featured on "The Carnage of Godhra", a release that took their art to its (current) zenith and saw them achieve wide critical acclaim and wider attention. These three songs, arguably, constitute a "break through" record, whereas as the first six songs clearly were more geared towards formulating the sound of the band and making their presence known to the wider Metal community. Lyrically, it is essentially a concept, based around the Godhra Train Burning in 2002 and the aftermath of these horrific events. "The Carnage of Godhra", a vicious song with a palpable anger and vitriol to it lyrically, which is also captured in the music, with juggernaut drumming, some more of those excellent, harrowing vocals and some thick, groovy guitar lines interlaced with some truly violent sounding Black Metal guitar lines. "Ab Ki Baar, Atychaar" continues in much the same vein, with much more ferocious music on all fronts, resulting in one of the best tracks that the band have on  this whole record. The final track on here, Gaurav Yatra (The Aftermath)", is nothing like any of the ones that have come before it; it's noticeably more melodic, nowhere near as overly violent in its sound or approach, and as a result of this, it's a very powerful change in direction which leaves the listener with some level of expectation as this compilation comes to a close.

This is more than just another compilation. It showcases the work of a band from start to finish, showing, in depth, how they have progressed and developed in their five years together. It's an interesting piece of Black Metal that will definitely get you interested for whatever this band have coming next. And, above all, it shows that although, as the saying goes, the devil has the best tunes, some of the greatest atheistic minds in the world as just as capable of inspiring some really great, catchy and memorable music as well.

4 Star Rating

1. Blind Faith
2. Religious Genocide
3. Ayodhya Burns
4. Drowning the Elephant God
5. Contaminating the Ganges
6. Bakras to the Slaughter
7. The Carnage of Godhra
8. Ab Ki Baar Atyachaar
9. Gaurav Yatra (The Aftermath)
Samkhya - Bass
Mimamsa - Drums
Carvaka - Vocals, Guitars
Record Label: Independent


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Edited 05 December 2022

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