One thing you can be sure of is that wherever Heavy Metal propagates, individuality flourishes. In a country like India where traditional religious and cultural values are firmly to the fore, it is surely a bold statement for a band to openly reject religious constraint and promote the following of one’s own personal destiny. Heathen Beast, on their Carnage of Godhra three-track EP, do just that. These lads peddle Black Metal with Death Metal elements, all shaken up with a hefty dose of traditional Indian instrumentation.
Vocally, Heathen Beast take their cues from first generation Norwegian Black Metal, so be prepared for a harsh ride. The vocals sit high in the mix and are pushed to the point of overdrive, remaining resolutely blackened in spite of the melodic sensibility in much of what underpins them.
First track, “Carnage Of Godhra”, is the most concise and for that reason, the strongest on show here. It wastes no time deploying a tumbaknaer groove (we think!) behind a riff that rocks like a three-legged table. But Heathen Beast don’t stay in that mode for long. Second track, “Ab Ki Baar Atyachar” blasts… and then some! Weighty palm muting, mournful guitar refrains, tight drumming; it’s solid stuff, even if it does eventually dissolve into a guitar break that sounds like the very fruit of Kirk Hammett’s curly-haired, mid-eighties noggin! The EP concludes with “Gaurav Yatr (The Aftermath)”, which is more ponderous, underscored by a harmonic-minor feel that calls to mind Nile’s slower eastern sojourns!
Ironically, Heathen Beast sound best when they are mixing pounding riffs with traditional musical elements. Black metal they may be, but first and foremost they are Indian Black Metal. And why not? After all, there is also no point in trying to sound like you come from Bergen when you actually hail from Mumbai! The Carnage of Godhra EP, even at a svelte nineteen minutes, does meander a little in places but it is an interesting, well played piece of work for anyone who digs Black, Blackened Death or who fancies some metal with an authentically Asian flavour. 6/10