Friday, March 20, 2009

CD Review: Sceptre/Now or Never

Now or Never
Counter Culture Records

Sceptre is a Mumbai thrash metal outfit that has, in the ten years since inception, built a formidable reputation as a band that largely delivers tights and precise Metallica/Sepultura/Pantera covers. Which is why this debut full-length album has been long overdue. On the remarkably well-produced Now or Never, the quartet of Teemeer Chimulkar (vocals and guitars), Aniket Waghmode (drums), Gilroy Fernandes (rhythm guitars) and Janus Sayal (bass) put together an impressive collection of thrash tracks.

The lyrics are of the standard-issue metal variety and really nothing to write home about: “A revolution’s what we’ll bring/Armed with our metal strings” on the otherwise bonecrushing ‘Revolution,’ or “They want us to follow/They want us to bend/We’re scared of nothing/We’ll fight till the end” on ‘Now or Never.’ But when you pick up a thrash record, it’s rarely for the lyrical quality; you pick it up because you want to headbang. And Now or Never more than delivers on that front. It’s easily one of the more noteworthy debuts by any Indian band that I can think of. The ten years of playing to crazy moshpits certainly shows through – the band is tight as could be.

Standouts on Now or Never include the title track with that insistent riff, the insanely heavy ‘Enemy’ and the chugging ‘Revolution.’ The acoustic ‘Circles of Silence’ is nice and pretty and all that, but at 3:24, it gets a wee bit lengthy for an instrumental on a thrash record. But then again, perhaps, that’s good – our whiplashed necks will get some relief.

© Bobin James/Rolling Stone India, 2008

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