Originally published in the Hindu Sunday Magazine on October 27, 2012:
Limit Zero – Gravestone Constellations
Guitar mastery has never seemed any more mind-boggling than when it comes to djent and technical progressive metal. Of course, that may seem like a platitude when it comes to describing an Indian metal band like Limit Zero, who started off as guitarist Shreyas Skandan’s bedroom studio project. After releasing their EP Approaching Infinity in 2009, Skandan finally got together with Arjun and Vatsa to make the band a three-piece.
Three years later, the band have released their full-length album Gravestone Constellations, with help on vocal duties from Sunneith Revankar of Mumbai metal giants Bhayanak Maut. ‘Time Bending Patterns’ is among the first tracks where Revankar’s vocals match the perfect, calculated brutality. On ‘Approaching Infinity’, one of the bands more famous songs released with the 2009 EP, there are no structural changes, just massively well-produced guitar tones and drum beats.
The album opener and closer feature the band’s guests, with track number one ‘Galaxies Bleed’ containing signate djent riffs from Delhi-based Keshav Dhar of Skyharbor. The album ends with ‘Pulsar’ featuring Goddess Gagged’s Siddharth Basrur, followed by the title track, which sees them collaborate with vocalist Trevor Marks of Dutch electronic metal band Toxic Grind Machine. It’s safe to say Limit Zero have made all the right moves here to market their album in a way that grabs everyone’s attention. But there’s only so much the metal scene’s familiar names can do for you. ‘Pulsar’ becomes a strong contender for being one of the most memorable songs on the album with its balanced mix of spaced out interludes followed by crushing riffs.
Better sound production on previously re-recorded tracks such as ‘Focus’ and ‘Arcturus’ are hit and miss, unless you give the album enough listens. It’s also because this seven other tracks that demand just as much attention. ‘Portals’ sums up the band’s sound perfectly, fusing ambient metalcore with a few technical elements thrown in to baffle the regular listener.
Limit Zero keep the length and quantity of songs on Gravestone Constellations to a desirable extent. More than nine of these, and you may as well begin to confuse one for another, and no artist with respect for original songwriting would want that. Let’s hope this Bangalore band can perform some of these, and take a new direction when they need to.
Bottomline: Indian progressive metal has another reputable name in Limit Zero after this release.