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Kryptos is a band that I’ve grown to adore over the past few months. These boys from Bangalore offer up an unbelievably simple, yet incredibly catchy brand of thrashy heavy metal with music in the vein of middle-era Iron Maiden and mix it with vocals that could conceivably fit right in on any thrashtastic black metal album. The result is something that’s undeniably enjoyable even if it doesn’t really bring anything new to the table. “The Coils of Apollyon” is the follow up to to 2008’s The ark of Gemini, which was fantastic. My hopes for this album were sky-high, and I can honestly say Kryptos met and surpassed all those seemingly unobtainable expectations I had for it.
With the change of labels, the band’s sound has morphed into something altogether more powerful and aggressive courtesy of their best production job to date. Those numerous simple, groovy guitar riffs rip and tear with a newly found strength. The drums that I once enjoyed as a modest rhythmic sizzle have now become a pounding backbone of the music. Even the bass sounds terrific. Listening to “Gemini” after hearing this album even makes me recognize that album’s basic audio shortcomings that I’ve always simply overlooked because of the high musical and songwriting quality. One thing is for certain, Kryptos has never sounded even remotely as good as they do on “Apollyon”.
As for the music, you get eight tracks (the last one is a short but neat little soft instrumental) of supremely catchy heavy metal that clock in at over 47 minutes. None of the riffs will come close to blowing your mind in terms of technical quality, but every single second of this album is enjoyable and fun to listen to. The riffing and song structures still remind me of “Fear of the Dark”-era Iron Maiden, only now the production makes that style of songwriting sound as if it was on steroids. Guitar solos are still neck-pickup homages to Dave Murray, which is a perfect addition to the music as well.
The most noticeable improvement since the last album (aside from the production) is the vocal performance of Nolan Lewis, who is a really cool guy and excellent musician to begin with. On their last album, the vocals were raspy, hissy, and each word in the lyrics was barely distinguishable from the others. Fast-forward to 2012, and Lewis still maintains that raspy sound, but now combines it with an element of aggression that makes the lyrics bite out of the speakers, adding a new dimension of power to the music.
On the surface, Kryptos is nothing new. They play a hybrid of thrash and heavy metal that on their own, we’ve all heard before. However, Kryptos puts their spin on that combination and creates something genuinely noteworthy here. This is an album that never lets up, never shovels you any filler material, and never gives an inch. It’s just pure metal bliss in the truest sense. Kryptos has quickly become one of my favorite bands in the world, and this is album has been playing constantly in my player for over a month now. Do yourself a favor and find this album. And play it loud.
Written for globaldomination.se
A very prominent feature of the old school metal ethos is that the third album in a band's career has very often become its landmark album. Whether it is Master of Puppets or The Number of the Beast or even Reign in Blood, third albums have reached legendary statuses in countless cases. But would equating such legendary success to a similar possibility in the case of Bangalore's Kryptos be too much of a long shot? Read on to decide for yourself.
For the uninitiated, Kryptos essentially play a very unique brand of melodic death metal, tightly encased in a steely packaging of old-school heavy metal, thrash metal and doom metal sentiments. Their latest album The Coils of Apollyonis, of course, their third offering. It had already garnered a lot of hype ever since its opening track 'The Mask of Anubis' was released to the public in February. The track deserves the hype in every bit. It has an epic arpeggiated hook, a beautifully orchestrated set of chorus harmonies and a tight percussive foundation which is reinforced by the steely bass from Jayawant Tewari. The most starkest feature of this album though are is the vocals. Vocalist/guitarist Nolan Lewis has managed this great combination of a sneer and a rasp, made even more delightful by its dual-channel presence in the mix, with a slight hint of a death growl for added flavour.
The band carries forward the same sentiment for the subsequent title track which sees slightly faster riffs but maintaining the old-school practice of essentially having the one arpeggio around which the entire song revolves. In general, The Coils of Apollyon is more on the fast side but it does have its lower tempo breathers. 'Serpent Mage' is reminiscent of the old-school doom metal style made famous by Black Sabbath, Candlemass and the like. Personally though, it seems to be the only sub-par track of the album. While it starts really fast, it ends up becoming a really boring hammer-on verse riff for the verse. However, since it has so many tempo variations, it keeps itself from becoming a song that you would altogether skip.
Now the next song is the anti-thesis of boring. 'Nexus Legions' has it all: a thrashy 2/2 intro beat, a pentatonic intro rhythm that matches the pace of the beat and probably the most epic verse riff that this band has ever written. If by this stage of the album you are already wondering as to where the tremolo riffs have gone, here they are! The riff plays not just with octaves but in extension plays with the timbre of the song as well. 'Eternal Crimson Spires' then brings in another doom metal breather, this one being a lot more exciting, dark and versatile than the previous one. The speed then resumes with 'Spellcraft', yet another dark offering from the band, reminiscent of the glorious days of thrash metal when the music still had heavy NWOBHM traces in it. However, it is the following semi-ballad 'Starfall' that will definitely grab a lot of attention. This song contains a lot of well orchestrated chordplay harmonized perfectly by one of the most catchy lead hooks an Indian band has ever written, driven on perfectly by a thundering bass/drum low end march. Finally, the album's 8-minute magnum opus 'Visions of Dis' shows up. The song exemplifies the influence that old-school melodic death metal bands like Dark Tranquillity and In Flames have on the band by essentially being a doom metal song written in that style. The verse riff has a great balance of tremolos and a singular chord to hold those tremolos in place for every bar. The surprise package of the song is its mid-section which turns into a fast arpeggio attack that plays around with the octaves really well. The album then closes with the short acoustic instrumental 'The Isle of Voices', a beautiful way to end the album.
Lyrically, the album explores mostly mythological themes, covering everything from Egyptian to Greek and even Biblical mythology. It is not, however, a concept album but just an album with an overall idea to put across. The overall verdict is that this album is easily the best one that the band has put out till date, in terms of songwriting, technique and production. The instruments have been mixed in nearly perfectly. Most heartening is the bass mix which has managed to stay a low throb without which a song would be empty, and yet the 'clang' of the strings increases the overall attack of the song as well. It is an album that should be heard by fans of both old-school metal as well as the more recent bands. And while this might run into the danger of overbilling a band, this album could very well be the 'it' third album from India, spoken about in the beginning of this article.