India’s Kryptos is a band that testifies to the world wide spread of the infection known as heavy metal. On their follow up to 2004’s SPIRAL ASCENT, these guys offer an interesting blend of traditional metal influences mixed with a nod to more extreme forms of metal that populate today’s metal landscape, and they prove that, if nothing else, they are at least diligent students of heavy music.
THE ARK OF GEMINI is clearly influenced by many of the major players in classic metal history. A touch of the composition style of Maiden can be immediately heard as the album kicks off with “Sphere VII,” which features tons of ultra-melodic lead guitar work throughout its sprawling journey. There are several tempo changes throughout the song, and it has several rather long instrumental sections that somehow always fall just short of taking off into the high energy mode that they suggest. Early eighties thrash influences ala Slayer and Metallica can be heard in several places as well. Just check out the main riffs in songs like “Order of the D.N.A.” and “Liquid Grave,” and the breakdown riff in “The Vulcan,” all of which feature a guitar sound reminiscent of the essential thrash albums produced in thrash’s heyday. One cannot listen to the doomy “Tower of Illusion” and not think about Sabbath with its slowed down approach and prominent ominous lead work. In fact a lot of the guitar playing on the album seems to be informed by the approach of Tony Iommi, perhaps, never more so than in the verse riff of “The Vulcan” that has the classic Iommi resonating power chords complimented by fast hammer on and pull offs. Interestingly, the album wraps up with an unusually ethereal and spacey guitar instrumental that sends the album off with whisper and reveals a side of the band not heard previously on the record.
Ultimately, the end result of the album is a rather average trip through a collage of traditional metal source material. Where the band fails is that they often fall short of getting where they are going. Interesting sections of music are frequently ruined by being allowed to go on too long, and the band never seems to give the songs enough energy. The vocals, at times, feel out of sorts with the music, always delivered with a black metal growl when a more diverse approach would be better suited to the variations found in the music. The drumming is too often lifeless and over simplistic, which is certainly one of the reasons that the songs fall flat at times. Their next effort should be interesting, though, because if they capitalize on the good bit of potential they have, they might be able to deliver a much more exciting record next time around.
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