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Wow, another Nepalese extreme metal release. This time it’s symphonic black metal band Antim Grahan‘s fifth studio release, I Wish You Death. The band does not waste time in dishing out their brand of symphonic black metal, with a tinge of death metal aggression right from the start with Upon the Lair of Demon God. Immediately similarities to their compatriots Kalodin are drawn, especially with their latest EP SARV which also saw the band heading towards a more aggressive direction compared to their previous full length release.
This being the fifth full length release of Antim Grahan, the music is extremely well-crafted, with the symphonic elements often working together in sync with the riffs unleashed by guitarist Pankaj to not only direct the emotions of the listener, but also in creating a constantly chilling and haunting atmosphere in the music that lasts the entirety of the album. Drummer Surya provides most of the speed and aggression here, with the relentless blasting, while vocalist Parash’s tortured shrieks tops the entire experience of the music on I Wish You Death. Furthermore, the spoken segments, along with the haunting female backup vocals on Upon the Lair of Demon God sends chills down the listener’s backs, further emphasising the band’s focus on the atmosphere in the music. The guest female vocals on title track I Wish You Death even brings in some slight Nightwish moment, and is a nice buildup to the climax.
The band even plays their Eastern/Asian card well on the album through the brilliant usage of the keyboards and female vocals at the end of I Wish You Death, and one is reminded of Taiwanese black metal bands like Anthelion or ChthoniC with the mystical atmosphere that is conjured, and at times even brings in some folkish/tribal feel into the music, making I Wish You Death all the more interesting. Despite the rather long track lengths on the album, the band ensures that not a moment goes wasted as each track brings the listener on an emotional roller-coaster ride, with each track containing numerous sections, each bringing about a different style to the table. For example, title track I Wish You Death sees the band easily going from total destructive chaos to moments of melancholy.
An extremely well-crafted release, I Wish You Death is a perfect balance of aggression, melody and emotion, and is yet another excellent record coming from the Nepalese underground.