• Wed, Aug 12, 2020
Reviews

Within Ceres From Goa Finds Space In Chaos

6.5

album Reviews Jul 09, 04:40pm

Their debut EP ‘Skyless’ is an uncommon example of a modern metal sound with room for the imagination
 Photo Courtesy: Within Ceres

The boom and subsequent slowdown of the modern progressive metal landscape (both in India and internationally) has been interesting and a bit sad to see. Even though there have definitely been the expected cases of innovation, they are few and far between. Once the sound of the genre crystallized into what we know as a ‘modern’ sound, it seems like the die was cast. More layers than a chocolate cake, a little orchestration, skull-crushing drums and you had a typical release. Goan band Within Ceres fit well within these ‘normal’ parameters, but they get it right on their debut EP ‘Skyless’ by not overcrowding their music with a billion flourishes and sounds.

This is more of a musical and conceptual space, of course; the mix is predictably full and the sound is definitely heavy. Arnold Carvalho switches between growls and very poppy cleans throughout the EP’s five tracks. Nathan Fernandes shows a lot of talent on drums and makes a good combination with Valiston Fernandes’ basslines. Odin Desa is responsible for the thick production and the guitars here; there is a lot of tasty djent-ation for anyone who likes that. He is supported by Kadesh D’ Souza on guitar and Naizian Fernandes on keys, giving a lot of the body to the songs. But even though Within Ceres is a six-piece and are making progressive metal on ‘Skyless’, they don’t fill every section of every song with a truckload of different elements. Sure, their sound is progressive and all that, but this EP is actually deceptively simple. That is its strength.

 

 

One can tell that the band is a big fan of riffs right from the opener. ‘Terminal’ relies on no bells and whistles, instead living completely off its killer main groove. When the song switches to clean, the band’s refreshingly accessibility comes to the fore. There’s no serving of the mathematicians that make up a large section of prog fanbases here; it’s just a catchy-ass hook. ‘Dissonance’ has something of a 2000s symphonic metal band in it; it’s actually a cool sound to return to even though it reminds you of a funnier time. Again, the band really nails it with the chorus of this track; they know how to write a tune that will get stuck in your head. This track has the most ADHD-flavoured skipping around between sections on the EP, but it always keeps you on your toes. There’s orchestral stuff, blastbeats, breakdowns, and pretty much anything you could ask for. The title track is a highlight for sure with its djent-y tones, tons of shredding that doesn’t hog all the attention, a slow and space-y chorus with some more excellent clean vocals and a switch-up into a slightly darker space in the middle of the track. There’s some great drumming on this song too. The EP’s last two tracks flag a bit but provide enough entertainment for the listener; ‘Weightless’ has a jerky breakdown, more strings (but not used for anything more than embellishments) and probably the heaviest grooves on ‘Skyless’. ‘Our Oceans’ basically rehashes all those elements into a shorter, punchier song with some RATM-inspired vocals to round things off.

All in all, Within Ceres doesn’t put many feet wrong on their debut. They’re still relatively standard in their songwriting but their real strength lies in writing great individual sections and strong riffs. They are also excellent musicians, and that shows. ‘Skyless’ is a great example of a small first step how things could go as far as prog in concerned to avoid being stuck in a marsh of numbers.

 

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