Antim Grahan: In Thy Ambience Ov Malevolence
It’s hard not to chuckle when a band names itself Antim Grahan. On hearing the name, you get the impression of a nerdy prog-rock band inspired by sci-fi movies, who probably take themselves too seriously. That may not be the case here, as Antim Grahan from Kathmandu, Nepal, is a symphonic black metal band. Returning from a hiatus imposed due to line-up changes, the band has just released their second album ‘In Thy Ambience Ov Malevolence’.
The album opens with a ghoulish voice on “Into the Forest of Bereavement” that prophesizes ‘Once upon the darkness / Through the antagonistic grounds / Enter the world of belial / Atrocity thus walks along’. Again, it’s hard not to chuckle, making them an easy target for ridicule. But thankfully, these gimmicks are just a sideshow, like the comedy track in most Bollywood movies. For the most part, the album has powerful unhinged black metal interspersed with melodic keyboards and haunting female vocals. Admittedly, it’s a sound that has been done to death by the likes of Cradle of Filth and Nightwish. It’s not breaking new ground, but at the same time this loud-soft dynamic really enhances their sound, and is best incorporated on “Infected II” and “Serenade For the Gracious Death”. There are sweeping guitar riffs with epic overtones as on “Angels and Eternal Dismay” and more brutally on “Winter Blossom Ov Ceremonial Grief”.
The most profoundly dense track on the album is “With Vengeance I Bleed”, with inventive use of classical piano motifs, all the while raging with blast beats and journeying through a full-on classic metal passage; it’s a song of utter brilliance. The final track “300″ is total black metal mayhem and is, of course, inspired by film adaptation of the graphic novel 300 that came out last year. The song samples Gerard Butler’s famous “Tonight, we die in hell!” quote from the film and fittingly, the vocalist also yells “This is Sparta” after the midway build-up.
Crafting harsh black metal with intelligent use of keyboards and melodic female vocals, Antim Grahan has found a formula that works. For fans of Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir, this album should be an absolute treat.