Released: 2006, Old School Metal Records
The debut album, SPIRAL ASCENT, from the Indian band Kryptos was originally released by the band more than 2 years ago now but only this year has the album been released worldwide via Old School Metal Records. Forming in 1998 but not getting a steady line-up until the turn of the century the band took, what could be considered in this day and age, a rather long time to write and record a debut album. SPIRAL ASCENT was the fruits of a few years labour and when it was released there was absolutely no hoopla, or even word of it in North America, at least in the circles I travel in. The band and label are hoping to change that with this re-release of the album that comes with the promise of a new follow-up release in 2007.
So where do Kryptos sit in the metal spectrum? Seeing as the album is being issued by Old School Metal records I was expecting thrash or traditional metal. What I got was nearly what I expected, though with a few twists. Kryptos’ music revolves around a traditional metal base, one heavily influenced by NWOBHM pioneer bands like Iron Maiden and Angel Witch, though there are some slightly updated elements to the band’s style, most specifically the vocals. One thing that definitely would make me liken the band to NWOBHM bands is the diversity of material that appears, songs range from upbeat heavy numbers to slow jamming and everything in between. Vocalist and bassist, Ganesh K. uses a pretty rough, Gothenburg-esque style, though a little more hollow and not quite as raspy as most vocalists.
The music officially gets going in track 2, “Altered Destinies” and if you paid attention to the prior paragraph, you know what’s coming. A somewhat upbeat melodic rocking riff greets the listener and a smile will more than likely cross many lips when the pace picks up before the chorus, the song bouncing into, what can only be described as, a proto-thrash riff. The melodic riffing continues through the song and creates a very pleasurable experience that harkens back to many old school metal bands, especially the, rather short, dual guitar section. Songs slowly start to flow together on the disc, “Forgotten Land of Ice” building like an epic. While the guitar sound certainly not over distorted, nor digitized and downtuned like most modern bands, the riffing through some of the song (chorus especially) reminds me of an even more melodic Dark Tranquility though the guitar sound readily disguises this. It becomes instantly noticeable here that Kryptos are at least attempting to give their music a different feel and take than most bands.
“In Twilights Grace” is a slow grinding track with its opening mid-paced riff that develops some additional notes here and there. The pace and style almost reminds me of something off of Angel Witch’s classic debut release, though the accompanying lead guitar that comes overtop shortly (at 2:44 for short duration) takes some of that feeling away, in a good way. The song does get rather jammy later on, creating a nice contrast to prior songs and the rest of the song as well, though it does serve a purpose for the song, building itself up to a somewhat frenzied climax.
Kryptos’ debut album works well to contrast their old school and modern influences into something at least mildly original, not to mention the songs are rather convincing. This is definitely a debut that shows a lot of promise, even if it won’t completely rip your face off it’s worth a listen. I’m almost sure a classic is to come in the near future from these guys.