Kartikeya – The Battle Begins
Reviewed by Sebastian Kluth
Kartikeya is a rather interesting band from Russia’s capital Moscow that mixes genre-bending progressive and technically appealing death metal elements with epic Indian folklore music in songs about Eastern mythology, Hinduism, and different philosophical topics. Fans of bands such as Absu, Arkan, Melechesh, Myrath, Nile, Orphaned Land, Rudra, Zindan or maybe even early Amorphis and Therion should definitely check this band out. If you hesitate to give this band a try because of its extreme metal nature, know that this is only one element among many others, and that Kartikeya’s music is extremely diversified, fluid, and inspiring.
The band convinces me most when it comes around with its cinematic and epic song writing in the incredible title tracks “The Battle Begins Part I: The War Of One Blood” and “The Battle Begins Part II: Arjuna”. These songs vary from chilling keyboard sounds over vivid drum, acoustic guitar, and percussion play to a surprisingly fluid mixture of slow-paced death metal elements and almost thrash metal inspired fast outbursts. The vocals vary from melodic clean parts over vivid growls to whispered narrative passages as well. The band sounds extremely atmospheric and diverse on here and put more ideas in these two progressive songs than other bands put in entire records.
The band also offers a few rapidly changing and surprising tracks that are somewhere between genius and insanity. You never really know what to expect, but the end result always sounds completely coherent. A choir of enchanting and melodic female and male vocals introduce us to the otherwise pretty extreme “Thunders Of Indra”. The harsh vocals, blast beats, and apocalyptic keyboard sounds in the otherwise folk metal driven “Ruins Of Belief” hit particularly hard as well. “Unleash The Spirit” features the fastest and most pitiless instrumental part of the record, but also surprises with catchy clean vocal parts that complete the song. If you pay some attention towards the end of the record, you will even find a cover of Soulfly’s “Babylon” as hidden track, which I didn’t expect at all. I’m not a Soulfly fan but this cover fits well on this record.
Kartikeya is definitely one, if not the, most exciting extreme metal band I have discovered over the last months and years. The band really has its own unique sound, and the fusion of epic folk passages and progressive extreme metal parts is absolutely incredible. Discover the band’s Bandcamp presence to give the band’s impressive debut album a fair try.
4.5 // 5