I literally feel conflicted when I am asked to review music that has been put out by people I have known and worked with, for obvious reasons. The only exception to the curve would be when my buddy Karan Mehta who plays guitars in the outfit, proceeded to send me a copy of “Clockwork Dilation” by New Delhi based Proggy Metalcore newcomers, Colossal Figures. If the old singles and demos are anything to be judged by then this band is one big break away from being a prominent name in the Modern Metal community. Now, Colossal Figures have been around for a good time, but as is with everything else that is good with the universe, the outfit have been delayed from releasing a concrete record, owing to line up issues and more. “Clockwork Dilation” comes as the full length debut from the 5-piece hailing from the subcontinent’s capital city.
Colossal Figures have a penchant for orchestrating musical pieces that speak volumes about who their influences are. However the band is far removed from blindly aping trends as the record speaks originality and freshness in spades. The album’s production seems to be top notch given how the Indian Metal community has somehow acquired a taste for producing albums which have been mixed and mastered flawlessly for the kind of sound they portray. Hard hitting drum grooves, bone chilling ambient fills, alternating clean and mid-range vocal fries, melancholic synth passages and jarring riff-work might sound like something of a template for every Modern Metal act out there, but there is a difference between knowing where there used and how to used them: Delhi’s Colossal Figures seem to have the perfect ratio worked out among all these elements and a keen knack for concocting catchy verses and hooks. Marodia impresses in alternating deftly between his sharp mid-range fries and admirably tight clean vocal parts. The guitars however steal the show for the most part with the duo of Mehta and Gupta expressing dexterity in tracks like “Relapse” and “Suffuse” the most. Colossal Figures’ brand of Chaotic Metalcore meets Progressive Metal is further branded highbrow, Metal section top-shelf material thanks to the impressive dual role that Rijul Victor has played off by handling drum duties and mixing, mastering and producing the album by himself. The band’s bassist Chaudhary brings the rumble from down under in the form of some catchy off-kilter guitar-bass locks that shine and stand out. Executed with tremendous professionalism- which is not that surprising even for the short-changed Indian Metal scene given how seriously the bands here treat everything they put out nowadays- “Clockwork Dilations” offers layers after newly discovered layers of groovy, melodic goodness, which are revealed after successive spins of the record.
The compositions are not overly technically verbose, which is a pro in my books. Simple only in the sense that Colossal’s contemporaries seem to all up the ante when it comes to writing technically beautiful guitar parts, etc.; however, CF sets the bottom line with “Clockwork Dilation” that compositions need not be over the top when it comes to technicality- Sometimes the most simplest of grooves are the hardest hitting ones, sometimes the simplest of lead works are the ones that open up the beauty of a track. (Sample “Brand New Sun” for this).
Clearly manifested to be a concept album in all manners, “Clockwork Dilation” boasts of structural maturity in its comprising numbers, losing the thread of the album’s flow if only for a few moments here and there: This nuance is illustrated further when the band dwindles into lengthy filler ambient segments for an entire track and more. Admitted, the ambient passages are the glue that hold together the compositions and lend a cinematic musical score like feel to it, but this time it spills over into impatience for those of us who keep waiting for the band to enter the fray guns blazing, only to realize that the spacey soundscape stretches on a bit more. I suppose a case can be made for selectively teasing your audiences with lengthy spacey pieces till the anticipation culminates into a gem of a heavy bridge/verse: This way you have them all by the jugular for that culmination, in which case, smart move, Colossal Figures. (Sample the tracks “Scry” and “Relapse” for this)
Comprising of Karan Mehta and Saksham Gupta on Guitars, Rijul Victor on Drums, Bassist Karsan Chaudhary and vocalist Govind Marodia, Colossal Figures have successfully generated quite the hype in India after they featured in last year’s prestigious Hornbill International Rock Contest. Following the release and promo of “Clockwork Dilation” the band is sure to be on the international radar given the simply grandiose sound of their debut effort.
With generous dollops of Groove Metal and sparingly used electronica effects thrown in the mix too, “Clockwork Dilations” might just be the Prog Metalcore album that stops the AftertheOsirisVeilphery-core induced monotony of Modern Metalcore and restores your faith in the burgeoning sub-genre.