Rectified Spirit
The Waste Land

The always reliable Transcending Obscurity label seems to dish out a never ending arsenal of extreme metal releases from all over the world with no boundary on style or genre.  I personally admire Kunal’s ethic and dedication to underground heaviness and more often than not enjoy the bands he brings to the table.  Fresh on my radar comes India-bred neothrashers Rectified Spirit and their second full-length The Waste Land.

Their shredding speedfreak riff thrash, constantly pounding double-bass ferocity, tumbling breakdowns, epic melodies and a seriously varied vocal performance (ranging from throaty shouts to soaring falsettos to Phil Anselmo-esque screams) give them an interesting spin on the genre.  Vocalist Rainjong Lepcha has a knack for a difference split between harsh vocals and gutsy croons with his clean voice thankfully avoiding the wimpy whining that plagues many bands in this style.  He’s more Dio than Howard Jones, which is a good thing…no offense to Howard or his fans, it’s just not my personal preference.  Anyway, allow me to shut the fuck up with my inner monologue and get my fingers diggin’ into this review.

Body slamming double-bass and crunching snares send opener “The Art of War” straight into a barrage of flamethrower hellfire.  I’m sensing touches of Pantera, Slayer, The Haunted, Lamb of God, Exhorder, Iron Maiden, Jonin, old school Metallica and certain Dio fronted projects throughout.  Twin guitars cut to the bone with a deadly, buzzsaw thrash chug full of churns and swerves, occasionally allowing the riffs to open up into melodic textures both clean and distorted.  Pinch harmonics pierce the ears like the splinter scene in Lucio Fulci’s Zombie as the guitars lock into dual arpeggios and densely devised, tactical grooves.  The chorus is damn catchy and establishes Lepcha as a talented vocalist with a lot of individuality…he reaches and achieves a dusky falsetto that’s not shrill but rather bluesy in its best moments which reflects the hearty tone of his normal singing voice.  As the song draws to a close he dives into some even softer, more emotional melodies that still have some weight behind ‘em.  My only gripes are the often click-y, triggered production on the drums and the fact that the bass needs a lot more presence (it sounds better in the melodic sections, but even then it’s barely making a dent).  Drummer Nishant Hagjer is actually a really fuckin’ good player; it’s just something about the recording of the kit that irks my senses a little bit.  Still, these are minor beefs and everything comes together with all of the beauty of an H-bomb test.

“Fireborn” kicks off with a throttling rhythm riff joined by a bottom heavy lead lick.  Staccato hardcore breaks will surely make a few hands clench into clammy fists ready to take aim at the pit, although the vocals pursue an opposite route by remaining clean for the stuttering breakdowns.  Dishankan Baruah and Samudragupta Dutta put on a rapid fire, fill ya full of holes guitar clinic with a lot of tasty power chord bombers reckoning of Slayer and the first couple of Lamb of God releases.  An elegant solo drapes the head-banging mayhem in shades of Eastern exoticism, though those looking for a primarily heavy affair will get everything they bargained for and more.

A noisy, discord-drenched ambience duels with a lightning fast lead in the opening moments of “Winter in Thine Eyes” yielding a distinct black metal vibe which is eventually ripped wide by a power metallic vocal bravado and palm-muted riff thrashing.  It’s got a totally classic aura filtered through some new school trick outs while avoiding the slice of Swiss that is Dragonforce.  The solos are manna powered and solar charged with some intricate chord patterns eventually descending into an almost 70s grooved blues channeled via the speed of Maiden.  It’s a unique piece where the only abrasive, rough-hewn elements are located solely within the instrumentation because the vocals are played completely clean, which is the exact opposite of the hyper-sonic, technically sound thrash fervor of the immediately following “The Green Goblin.”

The verses are punctuated with sharp, throaty screaming vocals, nerve fraying ADD diagnosed thrash riffing, ruthless percussion and a helluva lot of vitriol.  Monstrous melodies appear in the chorus with a vocal hook to die for and minor-key guitar arrangements that again summon a subzero chill right from the heart of the tundra itself….the blend and balance between modern 90s thrash, authentic 70s power metal with just the smallest touch of an icy hand really keep the music from falling into tedium.

“Afterthought” is the album’s big sweeping ballad relying on acoustic guitars, a deep audible bass tone that finger picks some slick lines that vary from the guitars (nice to hear you Himangshu Borah, you sound damn good!), alternating male/female vocals and a generally laidback, gently subdued atmosphere.  There’s still some meat on this ballad’s bones in the form of heavy, mid-tempo classic metal grooves that flex more muscle than I expected.  Overall, it’s a tender, expressive love song with enough balls and edge to make the grade.  At 2:55 a driving, forceful riff exercises authority while Rainjong’s vocals toughen up exponentially in a clever mingling of falsetto and gruff singing.  The groove that follows is one of the album’s best culling a touch of Heaven and Hell era Sabbath followed by a squealing, deliciously stripped-down solo.

Without a doubt “Once below a Time” is the most infectious, engaging piece of thrash on the album.  That intro groove has a punk-y, power chord lunge flowing into a seeping wound of low-end ooze giving way to a murderous thrash riff thereafter with gravelly vocal roars leaning towards the death metal end of the spectrum showing no mercy.  “Empire” offers up more of the same tipping the scale further in the direction of power metal, yet it’s a bastardized groovy thrasher in its own right and nearly up to the caliber of its predecessor.

The ambitious, 13+ minute title track rounds out the record; at first dwelling on an atmospheric drizzle of neoclassical clean instrumentalism before donning the spiked gloves for a hesher thrash slaughter…  Sprawling, harmonious melody-smattered riffs lift the powerhouse falsetto and vibrato vocals upward toward the skies with the insistent pummel dropping off into a chasm of sullen guitars and harmonic mid-tempo grooves that allow the bass plenty of chances to shine.  Hardcore slams, frenetic speed metal riffs topped by angry screams and every single trick in the playbook pours out of this jam and despite a dangerously drawn-out song length for its chosen style, it never gets boring.

The Waste Land was a major fuckin’ surprise.  Although I put plenty of trust in the quality of Transcending Obscurity’s releases, Internet murmurs that this band was strictly metalcore fare had me wary.  That’s not my bag baby.  As fortune would have it, Rectified Spirit is a little bit of everything with metallic hardcore only a small trapping of the band’s sound…classic thrash and power metal pulled kicking and screaming into the modern age rules the day here.  The production could use tightening next go around but overall that’s a minor gripe in regards to a very enticing, worthwhile platter of metal.  This is damn good stuff that’s worth an ear and a pick-up, while certainly inspiring yours truly to go back in time and seek out the band’s first LP.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jay S
January 4th, 2016

Comments

  1. Commented by: E. Thomas

    I just grabbed a buch of transcending obscurity stuff- i dont like power/heavy/thrash/metal, but this sis solid. vocalist has great range. “Winter in Thine Eyes” is catchy as fuck


  2. Commented by: Jay S.

    This one surprised me. Power metal leaned stuff can be too theatrical for me but this had some killer riffing and writing. I also agree that vocals were an extreme high point.


Leave a Reply

Privacy notice: When you submit a comment, your creditentials, message and IP address will be logged. A cookie will also be created on your browser with your chosen name and email, so that you do not need to type them again to post a new comment. All post and details will also go through an automatic spam check via Akismet's servers and need to be manually approved (so don't wonder about the delay). We purge our logs from your meta-data at frequent intervals.

  • Ysengrin - Initiatio
  • Cytotoxin - Nuklearth
  • Black Crown Initiate - Violent Portraits of Doomed Escape
  • Hinayana - Death of The Cosmic EP
  • Inhalement - Eternally Stoned EP
  • Ahtme - Mephitic
  • Convocation - Ashes Coalesce
  • Serment - Chante, ô flamme de la liberté
  • Enslaved - Utgard
  • Stillbirth - Revive The Throne
  • River Of Souls - Usurper
  • Ice War - Defender, Destroyer
  • Fires In The Distance - Echoes from Deep November
  • Maelstrom - Of Gods and Men
  • Kataklysm - Unconquered