Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Tomb Mold – Planetary Clairvoyance Review

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It has taken me a while to write this review, the primary reason being that I had high expectations for Planetary Clairvoyance, as I enjoyed Tomb Mold’s previous release Manor of Infinite Forms. I had described the album as “A slamming debut full length from the Canadian act. I was reminded of my favourite Death Metal records from the 90’s while listening to it. A must listen for Death Metal fans”

Read my review of Planetary Clairvoyance on The Metal Wanderlust

Written by trendcrusher

September 11, 2019 at 11:00 am

Noisem – Cease to Exist review

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In 2013 Agony Defined, the debut release from American extreme act Noisem impressed me with it’s mix of thrash metal and grindcore amplified by raw production. Their follow up release Blossoming decay did not grab my attention the same way. Post that the band disappeared leaving many to wonder what their status was. This changed late last year with the release of a single Sin Rash via Adult Swim.

Noisem are now a three piece lead by the Phillips brothers with a new new vocalist/bass player Ben Anft and signed to one of my favourite labels currently (20 Buck Spin). Does this have an impact on Cease to Exist?

Read my review of Cease to Exist on VM Underground

Written by trendcrusher

June 11, 2019 at 4:06 pm

Transcending Obscurity 2016 update

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In the past couple of years, Transcending Obscurity has emerged as the premier metal label from India.  In addition to the main record label, there is the sub labels – India and Classics as well as a distribution label. Last year, the label released over a dozen releases and does not plan on slowing down this year. Here are the releases that have been out this year (in chronological order)

Affliction Gate – Dying Alone

Death metal is not one of the things that come to mind when you think of France. Affliction Gate have created a lasting impression in my mind with their 4 track EP ‘Dying Alone‘. The songs have everything that I enjoy in death metal – bone crushing riffs, growled vocals and a bit of melody. I was left with a sense of melancholy as the last track ‘Manicheism Inertia’ ended. I look forward to hearing a longer release from Affliction Gate soon.

Blackhour – Sins Remain

Despite following the Pakistani metal scene for some time now, I heard about Blackhour through Kunal. Their second album ‘Sins Remain‘ improves the sound from their debut release ‘Age of War’.  The clean vocals and guitars reminded me of bands like Iron Maiden and Saxon. The album is not an easy listen as there are 2 tracks that exceed 8 minutes in length. I interviewed the band earlier this year, read it here


Third Sovereign – Perversion Swallowing Sanity

Indian death metallers Third Sovereign are back with their sophomore album after 9 years. Their debut album ‘Destined to Suffer’ is a landmark in the Indian metal scene. ‘Perversion Swallowing Sanity’ is another slab of no frills death metal. The album was self produced by the band and it sounds a step above their previous material. I hope we don’t have to wait another 9 years to hear new material from the band.


Primitiv – Immortal and Vile

Immortal and Vile’ is an album I have looking forward to after hearing the singles ‘Taurus’ and ‘Lords of Primitiv’ that Primitiv released in the past couple of years. The album is 6 tracks of groovy death metal. Set in a ‘primitive’ time, their story lines make Primitiv stand out from current death metal bands. The album sounds heavy as fuck, I had a sore neck after the first couple of listens. This is definitely going to be one of my favourite albums of the year.


Abyssus – Once Entombed

Greek death metal band Abyssus are a prolific band, they have released an EP, a full length album and 3 split in just 5 years. Once Entombed’ is a compilation containing music from 4 of them, ‘Monarch To The Kingdom Of The Dead‘ EP and splits with Nocturnal Vomit, Morbider and Slaktgrav. This release is a great introduction to the band’s sound, straight up death metal. If you like what you hear, check out the band’s their debut album ‘Into the Abyss’ released by Memento Mori last last year.


For more music from Transcending Obscurity, check out the massive label sampler below


Written by trendcrusher

March 22, 2016 at 5:54 pm

Posted in Reviews

Skyharbor – “Blinding White Noise:Illusion & Chaos” Review

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The long awaited album by progressive band  Skyharbor has finally been released. Keshav Dhar has surpassed all expectations with his debut. The last album from India that make an impression on me was “Abolishing the Obsolete System” by Amogh Symphony. Read my review of “Blinding White Noise:Illusion & Chaos below (Originally posted on Indianrockmp3) 2012 is slowly shaping up to be a great year for Indiean bands. Many of the releases that were on our lists of bands to watch out for in 2012 have released their long awaited album like Split, Kryptos, SkyRabbit, another band to add to the list is Skyaharbor. Keshav Dhar is no stranger to IRMP3 regulars. He has been featured here a few times, as “Band of the day” in 2009 and in January 2010 he was the “Chosen 1”.

For those who have been living under a rock for the past few years and are unaware of who Skyharbor is, the band was started by Keshav Dhar in 2009 as Hydrodjent. Recently he added two more members to theband Anup Sastry on Drums and Nikhil Rufus – Bass. They performed live for the first time at the Bacardi NH7 Festival in Pune in November last year.

Skyharbor has released their long-awaited debut album, “Blinding White Noise: Illusion and Chaos” through Basick Records, a progressive Metal label from UK. The album consists of 2 cds, the first cd “Illusion” has Daniel Tompkins (White Moth Black Butterfly, Piano, ex-TesseracT) on vocals and Sunneith Revankar (Bhayanak Maut/Providence) on the 2nd “Chaos”. “Dots” one of the first songs i heard by Keshav kicks off the 1st cd. I was surprised how seamlessly Dan’s vocals fit into the songs as they were initially written as instrumentals. The album hits a peak at “Catharsis”, the track which got Skyharbor a lot of attention and new listeners as it was featured on the Metal Hammer “Global Metal” compilation. Marty Friedman (ex-Megadeth) plays a guitar solo on the track. “Night” offers a brief respite in the middle of the album. “Celestial” which feature guest solos by Vishal J. Singh (Amogh Symphony) is another monstrous track. The songs on the 2nd cd “Chaos” are like name suggests the more aggressive. It’s a short listen with 3 tracks clocking in just under 14 minutes. “Aphasia”, a song about anger is the stand out track on this cd especially the bridge section “And I hate…”.

Daniel and Sunnieth have delivered a great vocal performance which reflects the production skills of Keshav. A special mention goes out to Aaquib Wani for designing a great album cover. With the recent trend of bands releasing their music online for free I have noticed that the quality of artwork has been lacking. I am sure this album will end up on the “Best album” lists of many metal writers in India and Internationally at the end of the year. Delete all those Hydrodjent demoes from your hard drive and pick up a copy of “Blinding White Noise: Illusions and Chaos” from Basick Records.

Written by trendcrusher

April 24, 2012 at 11:26 pm

Creative Waste “Slaves to Conformity” Review + Interview

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We are only in April and it has been great year so far for grindcore fans – the return of nasum, a new killer album from Napalm Death and now you can add one more thing to the list, the release of the long awaited album from the Saudi Arabia’s only grindcore band, Creative Waste.

“Slaves to Conformity” is their first album after releasing 2 promising Demos/EP, “Colonies” in 2005 and “Cruelty beyond Conception” in 2007.

The band gets down to business from the first track itself, “Divide and Conquer“. Anyone who has spent some time in Saudi Arabia or its neighbouring countries will be able to relate to songs like “Kingdom of Fear” and “Slaves to Conformity”. One of my favourite songs on the album is “Cradle to the Grave” which features Kevin Talley (Six Feet Under, Daath) on drums. The track is an example of how much the band has matured as musicians since their first release. “Novus Ordo Seclorum” is another track that features Kevin. “Defeatist“, a preview track that was released last year sounds a lot more brutal with the beefier production. “Ahfad Qabeel” or “Descendants of Cain” is the first grindcore song in Arabic (as far as I know) and it sounds great. The album clocks in at just over 30 minutes and i am sure you will hit the repeat button after listening to it for the first time.

Creative Waste have spent a couple of years recording “Slaves to Conformity” and it has been worth the wait. The production of the album is great especially the drums which has a punch to it. Talal is easily the top death metal drummer in the Arabian Gulf and Middle East region. I’ve been following Creative Waste since they released their first demo/ EP in 2002 and they have evolved as a band. This album could be one that establishes them as a great grindcore band rather than as “a grindcore band from Saudi Arabia”.

Check out my interview with Essam and Fawaz from Creative Waste below

Congrats on the release of your debut album “Slaves to Conformity”. How do you feel now that its finally out?

Essam Thanks! It feels like the weight of the world has been lifted. This has been in the making for a long time and we’re just glad it’s finally out there.

The album has been in the making for a couple years, what was the reason/s behind the delay?

Essam We wanted our debut album to sound the best it possibly can so we had to go through some unconventional means to get that done. Since Talal, our drummer, was studying in the US and we refused to use a drum machine or drumming software, we went ahead and tasked Kevin Talley to assist us in the development of the record and the overall recording of the drums. Talal flew out to DC and laid down the drum tracks. Talley was also kind enough to lend his drumwork to two tracks written by Fawaz. Other problems, including my terrible work schedule, interfered with the process.

How long was the recording process for the album?

Essam 3 years. We started preparing for this album sometime in 2009. Coming up with the budget and organizing the workflow of the recording process took the most time. Piecing the album together was a relatively quick process and we got mixing support from Chris Leamy, a producer who happened to be in Riyadh at the time and contacted us through MySpace.

Tell us a bit about the album, what was the inspiration behind it?

Essam A lot of these songs were written a very long time ago and we’ve performed them live on several occasions. It’s the culmination of all of our influences streamlined into a single vision. We didn’t want to release a by-the-numbers grindcore album and we also didn’t want to deviate too far from the genre and its influences. There’s so little room for innovation and experimentation in a genre like this that we decided that we should focus on writing an album that we, ourselves, would want to hear. Catchy riffs, powerful hooks, breakneck blast beats, all of these aspects of our style originate from one place or another but rarely do you see them incorporated into a single song so seamlessly. I believe it’s what we do best.

How does the album compare to the 2 EPs you have released earlier?

Essam I believe we’ve achieved what it was we were always looking for, finding our sound, something we’ve been talking about endlessly during the makeshift recording of Colonies and Cruelty. We were still learning as we went along and there’s always more to learn from any recording process. You can tell how much we’ve progressed since then and that has always been our goal.

A couple tracks on the album feature Kevin Talley (Six Feet Under, Daath) on drums, how did you get in contact with him?

Essam Fawaz wrote some riffs one time while listening to a Kevin Talley YouTube video where Talley was recording drums for Misery Index’s “Defector” and it clicked so well that he decided to rip the audio and record the guitar track on top of Talley’s drumming. A close friend of the band (Ahmed Al-Mustafa) encouraged him to send it to Talley but eventually took it upon himself to contact Talley through Facebook. Kevin was awesome enough to respond and was interested in pursuing the collaboration but didn’t have a workable version of “Defector” on drums so they decided to work on original material instead. One thing led to another and he ended up helping us produce the album.

Creative Waste is the only grindcore band from Saudi Arabia, how did you first come across grindcore music?

Essam It was a very interesting discovery, to say the least, and it dates back to 2001 when we were your typical teenage Korn apologists. We were always in pursuit of the most aggressive music in its rawest form and we were a bunch of dumb kids with very little experience in music. As the years passed, we started delving deeper into more extreme forms of Metal starting with Cannibal Corpse and Cryptopsy and eventually Napalm Death. Personally, it was Nasum that did me in. To this day, I attribute most of my songwriting in Creative Waste to Nasum. The unpredictable nature of the song structure is something I carry with me to this day, no matter what project it is I’m working on. The sheer energy just blew us away and we wanted to emulate that sound to the best of our abilities.

Last year, you did a mini tour of the US with gigs in New York, Texas and the Maryland Deathfest. What was the experience like?

Essam It was a surreal experience. Never have we played our music to fans who can understand the nuances of our work. They just get it, man. The crowd went nuts when we got on and that’s ultimately when I felt like our work was really cut out for us. We’ve always put playing live shows into consideration when writing music for Creative Waste and the payoff is always fun to watch. Also, I can’t really speak for Maryland Deathfest since my job interfered with my chance to play there (never again) so I’ll have Fawaz discuss that.

Fawaz: It was one of the best experiences ever! You feel like you’re where you’re supposed to be. Everyone over there was super friendly, we got to meet so many awesome people that showed nothing but love and respect for what we do. Everything about it from the audience and the atmosphere to the merch tables, probably one of the only places I can find almost any record or shirt I’m looking for. We spent almost all the money we made off our shirts and cds that we sold on the merch. Not to mention the great bands that we got to share the same stage with. It’s just hard to describe how good we felt there, it feels like we can’t experience that easily anywhere else. The best part was, knowing we’re the first band from our country to play there, and there were no other arabs over there which made us feel more important haha. Definitely one of the biggest steps that we’ve taken for our band and would be more than glad to do it again sometime.

What are your plans for 2012?

Essam Play as many shows as we possibly can and promote the shit out of “Slaves to Conformity”.

Any Final words.

Essam Thanks to everyone for supporting Saudi music and grindcore in a place where such a thing is ignorantly deemed satanic and inhumane. We just love to write music that’ll give you permanent nosebleeds. And thank you for this interview!

Stream/Download “Slaves to Conformityhere

Written by trendcrusher

April 6, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Albatross, Vestal Claret – “The Kissing Flies/Black Priest” Review

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Albatross , the horror metal band from Mumbai have just released the “The Kissing Flies” EP on a split album via Roadcrew Records.  The EP is the one I had mentioned about them recording in my earlier post about Albatross. I enjoyed “The Kissing Flies” a lot more than their previous EP “Dinner is You“.

Vestal Claret is a occult metal band from USA.  It was my first time hearing the project of Hour of 13 vocalist Phil Swanson with Simon Tuozzoli and I was really impressed with them.

Read my review of “The Kissing Flies/Black Priest“, the split album by Albatross  and Vestal Claret at  mehtakyakehta

Written by trendcrusher

April 4, 2012 at 2:44 pm

Agent Whiskers – A Perfect State of Disarray Review

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Imagine the post-apocalyptic world, death and destruction all around you. Lost and confused, away from your friends and family you are trying to figure out what happened to them and others. I am sure at least some of you have had a dream/nightmare like this or have watched the Hollywood movie, 2012. The latest album by Agent Whiskers, “A Perfect State of Disarray” is the soundtrack to it.

For those who have not read my previous post about Agent Whiskers, he is an electronic musician from Saudi Arabia. After releasing a couple of remixes, he is back with another album (the 3rd in 6 months for those keeping count). Unlike his peers in the Middle East, Agent Whiskers does not make electronic music to be played in clubs. It is for this reason I am writing about him on  my blog which mainly covers Rock/Metal artists.

This album has much darker themes than the previous two albums. With 7 tracks at 31 minutes, it is like a juicy beefburger with no fat (if i may use the analogy). My favorite tracks from the album are “New Dawn (The World Is Ours)” and “Deliverance (No Rest For the Wicked)”.  I feel this is the best release by Agent Whiskers so far. The production is a lot better especially the drums which I had an issue with in the earlier album.

If the past six months are any indication, expect at least a couple more album from Agent Whiskers this year. I hope this music reaches the ears of video game developers etc. , more attention needs to directed towards this new sound coming from Saudi Arabia.

Name your price and Download “A Perfect State of Disarrayhere 

Written by trendcrusher

February 19, 2012 at 9:25 pm

Agent Whiskers – “Abstract forms of Solace” Review

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Essam Ghamadi aka Agent Whiskers has been part of the Saudi music scene for a while now. I’ve been following his band, Creative Waste (  the only grindcore band from Saudi Arabia) for a few years. The debut album by Creative Waste has been scheduled to be released for the past year (even longer I think) hence I was surprised when Essam released a solo album a couple months ago under the moniker “Agent Whiskers”.

Agent Whiskers  is very different musically from Creative Waste. The best way I could describe it is “Ambient electronica“, the kinda music you would hear in the soundtrack of a video game and maybe even in a movie.

Abstract forms of Solace” is a short listen, clocking in at less than 30 minutes. It starts off with the “The Great Beyond (Secret Window)“, a piano driven track. My favorite tracks on the album are “Almost Home” and “Virtual Cleansing“. “Almost Home” reminds me of the how the journey home feels even longer after a exceptionally long day at work.  Essam described the album by saying,”At its core, the record evokes hope, despair, harmony and eventually solace”. I don’t I could describe it better.

Each song on the album is story in itself. The descriptive song titles make up for the lack of lyrics. The production is minimal and really suits the music, however better drum samples could have been used. Check out a couple of tracks from the album along with unreleased tracks here.  Download “Abstract of Solace” from itunes  here and from bandcamp here .

There are few similar artists in the Arabian Gulf region that I am aware of, stay tuned for more music from Agent Whiskers to be released before the end of the year.


Written by trendcrusher

September 8, 2011 at 4:53 pm


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Nh7 organized one of the best gigs I have been to this year, Nh7 weekender announcer party. What made the gigs special was that it was the first at Razzberry Rhine in 4 years.

I have great memories of attending gigs at Razz 5-6 years ago – Making friends with people I fought with on message boards/forums, hanging out in the parking lot and doing a lot of things that cannot be mentioned here.

The first day was a jam session curated by Warren mendonsa (Zero, Blackstratblues). The highlights of the set for me were Vishwesh (Scribe) covering Limp Bizkit “Break Stuff” and Sid Basrur covering Zero”Psp 12″. Prior to the start of the gig, a documentary of the Nh7 weekender 2010 was screened. I missed the screening as I was catching up with friends, one who came from Chandigarh for the gig.

The second day had a brootal line up – Godess Gagged, Demonic Resurrection, Bhayanak Maut and Scribe. I reached late and missed the set by Godess Gagged. Demonic Resurrection played a few songs from “A Darkness Descends”, the album which was released at Razz in 2005. Bhayanak Maut got the moshpits going with songs from their latest release “Metasis”. Scribe brought the night to an end with their set of “Bollywood-core”.

It was a great 2 days. I woke up the next morning with a  strained knee and bruises on my arms, its been a while since I was in the moshpit.

I heard that there might be a another gig at Razz this month, really looking forward to it.

Written by trendcrusher

August 29, 2011 at 11:33 am

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Noiseware – Wake Up And Soar Review

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Pune based Djent band Noiseware released their EP “Wake up and Soar” at the 2nd Edition of the Rolling Stone Metal Awards in June.

“Djent” is a sub genre of metal that has been creating a storm worldwide in the past couple of years with Periphery, Animals as Leaders from US and Tesseract from UK leading the charge. Recent tours to India by Meshuggah and Tesseract have spawned many “Djent” bands around the country.

Noiseware from Pune have been slowly building a name for themselves with a victory at “Mood Indigo” organised by IIT Mumbai in 2009 and performing at Great India Rock in 2010. After equipment upgrades (8 – string guitars) and a new vocalist, Aman Virdi in the past year, the band recently released their debut EP “Wake Up and Soar”.

The EP starts off with “23”, which won “Best Song” at the recently held Rolling Stone Metal Award. It continues on similar lines on the next couple of tracks “G-String” and “Maut Ki Ungli”; you cannot help but head bang along to the layers and layers of guitar riffs. “Need for Sleep” is my favourite track from the EP with the clean vocal melodies in the beginning. The last track is a Djent –style cover of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal”.

I enjoyed the EP on my initial listens as it is very different from the “old school” and “brootal” Indian bands currently releasing singles/EP at the moment. However on repeated listens, it lost its novelty value and got boring. The band needs to work on their sound especially the harsh vocals and differentiate themselves from other “Djent” bands around the world.

Stream/Download the EP @

Written by trendcrusher

August 4, 2011 at 10:52 pm