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Apart from the symphonic/melodic black metal band Kalodin, metal from Nepal has been rather unheard of for me. Dubbing themselves “fun death metal”, Binaash is the second band that I will encounter from the country, and Binaashkaari is the band’s debut full length release.
The intro to the album is rather melancholic, with the acoustic guitars sounding like it could easily be an introductory track to an atmospheric black metal album, but as the intro gives way to Swagat proper, the listener would certainly be thrown off-guard. The music that Binaash plays is not exactly what one would associate with what the band has called themselves – “fun death metal”. The music on Binaashkaari is brutal as fuck, with influences ranging from Devourment to Suffocation all present, as the band happily blasts their way through the 52 minutes of the album. The riffs that are unleashed are crushing, with the heavy, low-end chugging creating a heavy impact on the listener, with drummer Jay’s beats often being in sync with the picking patterns. Bassist Bijent also has a rather high presence on the album, often littering the album with equally complex riffs as the rest of the band. The intensity and energy that the band emanates reeks of grindcore influence, and is definitely infectious as hell, as the listener goes into a one-man frenzy moshing fit easily. The themes of gore and violence also make the entire listening experience of Binaashkaari all the more exciting.
Perhaps the “fun” side of the band comes in the numerous interludes that are present on the album, all of them being placed as the intro to each of the tracks on the album, ranging from what sounds like random plucking of notes on the acoustic guitar to haunting sound samples like the creaking door on the intro of The Wests. It is also in these interludes where the rather traditional or eastern side of the band’s music shines, with the melodies and the clean or spoken vocals that are contained within. Yet while the inclusion of these large numbers of intros could have been to provide some relief in between suffocating tracks, these tend to be overly abundant, and at times break the flow of the progression of the album. So as the album drags on, these interludes get rather irritating, and one would soon find himself heading for the skip button to cut out the bullshit.
In all honesty, finding such an extreme metal band out of Nepal has been rather interesting, and the death metal that is on Binaashkaari is pretty good, and the influences in the band’s songwriting certainly shines through. However, the album would have been a much better one if not for the over-indulgence of interludes.
I am a sucker for brutal music that's catchy and that’s not a mere technical wankery, and this album agreeably fulfills and defines that block of my taste. In outright drought of brutality of this sort from the local geographical sphere, I had been religiously waiting for this record to come out. After a series of failed attempts of the band trying to record their material, Binaash could finally do it in the beginning of 2012, and here we have - death metal full-length no. 3 from the Himalayan nation.
Having seen the band live and having been dehumanized by their wicked sets, I could only have anticipated more from this album. First listen and I had mixed feelings about this, especially due to the sloppy sound production values. It moved on, and the music was growing on me; and I was eventually picking up on 'how' to listen to this one.
I used to take Binaash's music to have been concentrated with more percussive emphasis, with the drummer offering his wicked versatility and jazz fills and fusions, and it providing a distinct part of a listener's focus. But here, after listening to "Binaashkaari", I conclude it's all riff-driven death metal that's been forwarded. One could accuse the mixing that has done quite an injustice to the vile drumming, which has drowned under the heaviness of other instruments. But nonetheless, apart from that is above par, with the thick buzzing of guitars implementing the aural molestation. It is also evident that there is a distinguished difference in the sound quality in acoustic intros and metal tracks, the acoustic intros having a very neat touch.
As said, music is catchy as fuck, where the rudimentary formulae in brutal death metal have been twisted with synchronized atypical grooves, and most of the tracks have the distinct distinguishing sound that could discern it apart from others, e.g. "Swaagat" has this Gorguts tech-death meets thrash appearance, "The Wests" more or less reminds of Cryptopsy with a grind edge, "Eerie Sentiments" appears as a more groove-orientated manifestation, etc. The band's key riffmeister, Prateek Neupane, although coming from old school death metal background seeks to experiment with newer ideas extending to putting breakdowns, ranging from Cryptopsy-like ("The Wests") to Dying Fetus/hardcore breakdowns ("Eerie Sentiments") and slam passages ("Waak"). So it's all jumbled within and in display through the fifty-one minutes record. The Macabre/Gorerotted/Birdflesh styled humor that is put in has been a refreshing facet as well. Intros precede all tracks, which are mostly in forms of acoustic guitar presentations that don't particularly go with the themes of the songs that follow, but add as chilling breaks amid the unrelenting brutality. The 'fun' element could be observed in these parts mostly, but lyrics of "Binaash Momo Pasal", "Bancharo", etc. also do emit that spark. For example, "Bancharo" is actually a conversation between a bird and a hunter (sick, amusing vocals for the bird's part there). Lyrical themes of tracks vary from real-world serial killer stories to nihilism and from personal experiences to a tribute to the fans (the title track, "Binaashkaari", meaning 'destructor' or 'destructive' is actually a reference to the band's fan-base, where Binaash means 'destruction' in Nepali).
The immediate bands that come in mind to explain the musical style are early-day Cannibal Corpse, Dying Fetus and even Aborted with some grind on it, but the references are far more, with regular aforementioned breakdowns and old school tremolo-picked spices been used up. "Gravitational Imbalance" has a robust Deeds of Flesh glow with its technically played mosh-driving riffs. This track demonstrates the actual technical proficiency of the band.
Again about the drums, it is quite superbly done, yet it falls weak with the existing production. Rishav's beats, since he's come from jazz background, are pretty versatile and full of ideas, but it doesn't save from its weak output. It’s hard to follow them at moments, and the sounds of cymbals are just blunt. The bass drums are nearly non-existent at times. What's impressive though, about the production here is the furious bass of Bijent, the thick existence of which marks an impression, and is clearly and distinctly audible. The vocals range from grunts to growls (backing vocals). I have more preference over those sadistic low growls here, but the lead vocal is pretty interesting as well, that also contain screams to occasional squeals. Prabin has notably changed his style quite a bit compared to his days with Arachnids, which I take as a positive note.
In nutshell, this is some creative brutality, with lots of ideas being put up within. One may notice a slight shift of the songwriting style that varies between songs in the first half and the relatively newer songs in the second - the newer songs being shorter and more... 'fun'! "Binaashkaari" doesn't attempt to do anything new but they've fairly put forward a warm demonstration of their style of death metal with the groove, the fun particles and unrelenting brutality and catchiness, still pertaining to the members' raw influences. Regardless of its cliched (yet raw) album art, some vicious music is in display, but it would have been more striking and have added much crisp if it was wrapped and presented with a bit better sound. Although a generic contender in the global death metal circle, it's still quite a remarkable album of this style from the subcontinent, and which doesn't apply programmed drums.
Nepal! Not a place I hear from often, and not a place with an enormous metal scene; of the few groups I've seen listed, Binaash members have probably been involved with half of them. As a student of metal culture the world over, always learning new sounds and new places, I was immediately interested by what I'd find. The gruesome, primitive art work and the shocking iconography of the band's Devanagari scripted logo warned me that I was not in for the most pleasant of experiences, but as it turns out, Binaash ('destruction') have a pretty good sense of humor, and this translates into their hybrid of caustic grind, splatter thrash and gory death metal aesthetics.
By looking at the album, and acknowledging the group's independent status, I wasn't expecting it to have high production standards, and this is probably the one area in which the album is most lacking. The guitars have a loud, crunch tone to them which almost blew my ears out, and also tends to drown out or overpower the cleaner precision of the drums. The guttural vocals are delivered with a very percussive inflection that benefits from the layered grunts and barks, and the bass is nearly as boxy as the guitar, especially when you hear it on its own (the beginning of "The Wests", for instance). Overall, it's pretty chunky to the point that it sounds like it could've been far better mixed, more atmosphere might have better serve the lethality of the brutal songwriting. There were also lot of intros to the various tunes, many of which involve fucking around and making wild animal noises, but occasionally you get a surprise like the acoustic intro to "Nihilist" or the spectral screams that initiate "Eerie Sentiments"; still, I'd have preferred if a few of the tunes just outright launched into one another for continued chaos.
These gripes aside though, Binaash can play their instruments, and they can also beat your head in with those same implements time and time again. Loads of slamming, chugging grooves reminded me of everything from Suffocation to Pestilence to Morbid Angel, and these things are simply loaded with riffs, even if most don't feel highly original or memorable. You'll get some clinical, evil thrash passage threaded through the beatdowns. Where many bands that cross over death and grind elements subsist off shorter tracks, Binaash can write them at 4-5 minute lengths and consistently be changing up the muted ballast. In particular tunes like "Eerie Sentiments" and the hyperactive, blasting matrix of "Gravitational Imbalance" were quite fun, and they hurl in crazier, higher pitched guitars, madman howling (as in "Bancharo"), whacky chord progressions ("Waak"), and other measures to keep somewhat varied, even if the limited production hinders them from sounding as brash and visceral, as, say, Wormrot or Napalm Death.
Did I love Binaashkaari? Probably not, due to the relatively fugly tones that kept me distracted from more closely following the rhythmic charges and churns. In addition, though they've no shortage of ideas for the riffs, most of them roll right off you. However, the album's blunt edge cannot be denied, nor can the abrupt, acrobatic talent of these Nepalese musicians. Get these guys centered into a better studio setup, and the East is going to have yet another rising force fueled on thuggish, unbridled mayhem.