• Sat, Jul 20, 2024

Single review: Alive by Yatin Srivastava Project


album Reviews Apr 11, 05:20pm

Prog-rock musician Yatin Srivastava dropped 'Alive', a single off his upcoming album 'Chaos//Despair'. 

Prog-metal has, for a long time, been Indian audiences’ favourite non-mainstream genre, probably because the entire 90s generation grew up on a steady diet of Porcupine Tree, Dream Theater, Tesseract and the likes. These three bands (and many, many more) have come to India since, making it quite a viable career choice to buy high-quality gear and make precise, extremely well-engineered prog. In this context, Yatin Srivastava’s New Delhi-via-London project is a pretty big deal, and their new single from upcoming album 'Chaos//Despair' is solid.


The project has everything fans of the genre would want; big guest musicians like Craig Blundell (!!) and Bruce Soord (!!!) among others, big instrumentation, big everything. At this point it would be a borderline sin to experiment sonically with the genre; there is a formula that works and the recently released single 'Alive' follows it to the letter, from the soaring vocals right down to the massive amounts of compression on every single thing. Not that it is a bad thing; it sounds huge. The drums, monstrous bass, and heavy guitars create a wall of sound that will hurt you if played it too loud. In that sense, it suffers the same way all other songs in the genre do; it gets quite difficult to pick out particular elements after a while. The guitars and the rhythm section are just that bit too homogenous, but everyone used to the sound will not mind at all.


The song itself has nothing to complain about. Kunal Singh’s vocals, barring a spot or two, complement the prog-rock arrangements and the riff is distorted chugging. All the hallmarks of a modern prog song are present: rhythmic displacements in the verse, an absolutely huge riff after the chorus (which is highly melodic, of course) to get you spraining your neck for close to a minute, and big, big chords for those emotional moments. The solo is a short shred-fest that goes straight into the breakdown, which is suitably heavy. You can see it all coming from a mile away; every part is even introduced by a big sustained high vocal line. Unpredictability is not this song’s (or genre’s) strong suit, and Alive is perfectly all right with embracing a tried-and-tested method and being good at it instead of trying to innovate. In that regard it does exactly what it sets out to do, and very well. The song’s ending is probably the only unorthodox thing about it; it cuts off during the breakdown to go back to the heard-through-a-phone effect that starts the song.



The only criticism that can be given of Alive is one that has much more to do with its influences than the song itself. Recent prog-metal is not something that wants to challenge its listeners, most of whom are already very familiar with the musical complexity and limited sonic palate that it offers. It all sounds similar and unmemorable, and while that is perfectly fine, it creates a very insular community that greatly enjoys its output and alienates the rest of the listening community that absolutely loathes it. For the former, Alive is a great song that has everything one would want. For the latter, however, it offers nothing particularly new that will change your mind unless you are unfamiliar with the genre itself. If so, turn up the volume and headbang.


The real challenge begins now for Srivastava and it ends on 25th May with the release of the album. Will he continue to stick to the prog-rock formula or would the fans of the genre be exposed to a unique attempt on stretching beyond the box?




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