Kartikeya – Mahayuga
Reviewed by Sebastian Kluth
Kartikeya’s first album The Battle Begins, was a stunning masterpiece that mixed technically appealing, progressive and epic extreme metal with Indian folklore elements. Four years later, the band came around with a follow-up entitled Mahayuga, that really pales in comparison to the first release.
My feelings boil down to the overwhelming impression that most of the initial magic is gone. Many songs here are shorter and straighter than the elaborate epics of the first release. A track like “He Who Carries The Head Of Brahma” is an aggressive death metal song, and not completely bad, but it doesn’t represent what Kartikeya stood for on its initial release. Many of these songs sound quite alike as well. Most of the instrumental tracks go nowhere and don’t manage to develop a profound atmosphere. “Mahayuga Part I: Satya Yuga” and “Mahayuga Part II: Treta Yuga” sound like uneasy and uninspired drone compositions. Many folk sections on this release sound like samples from a Senmuth album, and feel a lot less organic than on the first record. Even the few epics featured here have considerable and unnecessary lengths without shining. “Utpavana” is a good song somewhere between Celtic Frost, Dimmu Borgir, and maybe The Vision Bleak, but after five or six impressive minutes everything has been said and the band simply stretches the track out to a length of almost ten minutes. They’re really losing me here.
There are still some rather strong songs on this album. “The Path” is a consistent track with a good mixture of folk passages, impressive symphonic samples, and a duet of hypnotizing clean male vocals and powerful growls. This is maybe the best track. “Moksha” is an inspiring and short instrumental track that would have fit on the first album eaily, and “Neverborn” is a diverse epic that grows with each spin, but doesn’t go too far to bore me. The hidden track that exists on this album is actually another favorite of mine. The band added a truly enchanting version of Shakira’s “Eyes Like Yours” at the end of their record. I must admit that I already appreciate the original version, but this cover is an absolute winner, and a rather surprising choice for the band.
In the end, there are a lot of lights and shades on this album. If this was the band’s first release, I would probably tell you that it has a lot of potential and a unique style that they should expand while improving their song writing, and would probably rate it better as well. The thing is, this is the band’s second output, and that their first strike was really much better. Therefore Mahayuga must be considered as a step back, without being a complete failure. If you want to discover this band, you should maybe start with their sophomore effort and listen to their first release after, or just ignore this album and stick with the band’s debut masterpiece.
2.75 // 5