You can buy the album here.
The sounds of thunder and showers provide a perfect start to the rain-themed Refuge, just before the brilliant guitar intro kicks in. The melodic base that Rainburn chooses for this one actually seems to carry shades of raag megh, a raaga associated with the monsoons. Or maybe it’s just me getting swayed by the song’s theme. Either way, the soothing tone of the melody is what draws me to the song, amidst all the heavy rock sounds. Vats Iyengar’s (who is also the lyricist) vocals work intermittently, the employment of harmonies being particularly noteworthy. The title song is stronger on the raga aspect, carrying an unmistakable flavour of kalavati (valachi in Carnatic), kudos to the guitarists for a clean rendition. Some particularly exceptional work here on the bass (Shishir Gupta) and percussion (Praveen Kumar), former highlighted by the slapping and the latter for the deft handling of the changing time signatures.
It is a proven fact that dark/sombre ragas lend well to rock adaptations, I had recently observed that in another review too. In Veil the band picks up kamavardhini (not sure what it is called in Hindustani) and produces an ominous composition that sees some blazing solos from Toshimoa Jamir, even as Vats plays the perfect anchor role with his mellower guitaring. In sharp contrast is the next track Time Turns Around, a pleasant melody that is treated with fitting gentleness for most part. This is also the one song where I loved the vocals from start to finish. Lasting over seven and half minutes, Fragments is the longest track of the album. And as the name indicates, the song is comprised of multiple segments, united by their pensive mood. Longer track obviously means more scope for improvisation, and the artists make excellent use of that, Jamir in particular produces some of his best riffs in this song. The backing vocals are once again splendidly employed alongside Vats’s lead voice. Despite being fragmented, the multiple shifts from slow to fast to frenetic are most skilfully handled, making them almost seamless.
After three years of existence, this is a very promising debut album from Bangalore based prog rock (fusion?) band Rainburn. And it is a matter of additional happiness for me that two of the band members (Praveen and Shishir) happen to be my juniors from IIML!
Oh, and a tip of the hat for the album cover.
Top Recos: Canvas of Silence, Fragments, Refuge