• Thu, Jun 13, 2024

Friends From Moon Is Excitingly Cinematic On Debut EP


album Reviews Mar 09, 04:17pm

‘The Spectator’ goes from epic to Disney to skull-crushing prog metal with incredible smoothness and a real sense of theater
 Photo Courtesy: Atyant Jain

Ritwik Shivam was in the Delhi metal band Aarlon; Friends From Moon is his solo project. Of course you wouldn’t think it listening to his wide-ranging debut EP ‘The Spectator’. He covers an absurd amount of ground over four (admittedly long) tracks and dips into more influences and sounds than a seasoned novelist. He also shows a willingness to switch up moods on a dime but retain an overall vibe. He does all this without missing a step and retaining a conceptual strength that is really impressive.

There is a lot of things you could pick out sonically in the 25-odd minutes of music presented on ‘The Spectator’. Soundtrack-style music with big strings rubs shoulders with heavy metal grooves, reverb-soaked and grungy passages, math-intensive prog and quiet, introspective piano music. It’s enough to make the very act of finding individual elements a bit redundant; this gives the EP a surreal quality that is its best asset (which isn’t surprising because the name and concept of this project came from a trip). The use of the word ‘cinematic’ is often a bit overdone while speaking about music, but the act of listening to this EP in full (please do, the songs do work individually but are so much more fun in totality) does actually have that quality of suspending disbelief. The emotional content here is also a bit wide-ranging. ‘A Hope Forever’ goes from epic and emotional to light and jumpy and then back again; it sounds like animated horror. ‘Saruman The Black’ is absolutely the most straight-ahead metal track on here but it really doesn’t hit you because of what preceded it, which gives it this heavy but ponderous vibe that is a great way to present heavier material. ‘Salton Sea’ starts very ethereal with its utter deluge of reverb, but it all cleans itself up to present… prog! It’s another switch up that surprises, and the morose but utterly epic ‘We Are The Drifters’ is that kind of powerfully sad ending that makes you look out of a window or something.

All the arguments for jumping around with respect to genre and sound and volume go out of the window with ‘The Spectator’ if you allow yourself to be drawn in by what is essentially a thematic and open-ended experience. Don’t sit and nitpick here, because you won’t find much to complain about and you’ll miss out on the involved listening experience. And that’s what you should attend the show for.

Listen to 'The Spectator' here and on all platforms.

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