Mumbai-based groove/thrash band Zygnema was one of the first Indian
groups to play at the prestigious Wacken
Open Air, back in 2012. Playing at Wacken, the mecca for metalheads, led
people to hail the four-piece band as a promising prospect for Indian heavy
metal in the future. Now, a full five years after their 2010 debut album ‘Born of Unity’, Zygnema is back with a
crushing new record titled ‘What Makes
Us Human is Obsolete’.
riff-driven groove metal and three filler songs. ‘Born of Unity’ was clearly influenced by Lamb of God and Pantera
(bands which were, to some extent, originally inspired by Testament’s formula of open-stringed groovy riffs) and while the
new album does sound different in terms of sheer technicality, Zygnema have
definitely not lost out on any breakdowns. More importantly, in an era of “Does
it Djent?”, the group have managed to steady their boat and not go overboard
Phoenix Effect” are good examples of technical interplay between the
guitars and drums, with lots of ghost-note/guitar-chug syncopation going on.
Drummer Mayank Sharma’s and
guitarist Sidharth Kadadi’s playing complement each other, with each
note mirroring the other while throwing in some off-beat licks as well. The
double bass and guitar-work play out nicely when some variation is thrown over
something as simple as a basic down-beat. “Reform
Rebirth” is one instance of a track where this happens.
Quadros on bass duty sinks into the mix and does
not resurface, but an extremely keen observer might hear him following the
patterns made by the bass drum and guitar riffs on each of the songs. This
isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but sometimes, an adventure up the fret-board,
especially on a bass guitar, adds an extra dimension to the sound of a band.
Vocalist Jimmy Bhore’s growls can be
mixed into any Djent band and not many would know the difference, but after a
while (around 3-4 songs into the album), they get monotonous.
but not for a lack for trying, because there is quite a bit of emphasis given
to slight variation. However, this isn’t enough when the nature of a band’s
sound itself limits the creativity of its members: there are only a few tricks
a groove/thrash band can pull off to surprise a listener. Lamb of God is a
worthy candidate to explain this notion, having lost the plot after 2006’s ‘Sacrament’, but this idea is open for
debate and subjective interpretation.
the Indian heavy metal scene, especially for Zygnema in a live setting, because
the songs on the album are filled with energy and intensity, and the record will go a long way in establishing the band as one
of India’s modern metal acts.