Review: Dirge ‘Dirge’
Formed in 2014, Dirge bring their unique blend of doom rock, metal and psychedelic sludge from the Indian underground. The band is currently made up of Harshad Bhagwat on bass, Ashish Dharkar and Varun Patil on guitars, Tabish Khidir on vocals, and Aryaman Chatterji on drums. This Self-Titled album was produced by the band and long-time associate Apurv Agrawal, who also added synths, with a mix by Sanford Parker and mastered by Brad Boatright. The album cover is a beautiful illustration that seems to speak of the layers to be found within Dirge’s music.
The first track, Condemned, is a solid opener. The first sounds heard are flames, and foreboding synths. Then the guitar comes in sounding like a sharp and precise blade. The drums are introduced setting a tone, or rather several tones, pretty quickly. The voice cuts in like a beast turned loose, grabbing us in as it continues to take us on a journey. The break mid-song is really only a breather before the riffs turn more emotional, and the solo is a testament of beauty and restraint.
The second track, Malignant, cuts in with more ambiance, moody guitar and synth work. As the drums come in, they bring cadence, creativity and crescendo, before the band kicks in with huge power as the production of this album is fantastic, everything sounds great, and the delivery is strong. Malignant breaks mid-song with a meditative section at which the whole band gives it their all as it turns into a lovely spacey piece. The distortion returns however, retaining the harmony but layering the bands’ rich emotion on top.
They push back the heaviness but when it comes, it crushes…
Grief starts with raw and moody guitars, which seem like a familiar formula, except this time the whole band joins in, particularly the vocals which seem to be whispering enchantments. They push back the heaviness but when it comes, it crushes. The song shifts between delicate and brutal, which gives the drums and synth a chance to shine, and they have quite a lot to say. The synths are doing the work here, and throughout the album for that matter, as they emphasise and enhance the sentiments that have been laid thick across each track. This whole song really seems to center on allowing an emotional expression ample room to be heard.
The closing track Hollow has a springy guitar intro that is deeply romantic with a profound hint of sadness and loss. Pretty close to the more depressive styles and sounds of doom and metal. Every song on this album has a strong common thread of melancholy and madness, and each is a testament of commitment and passion captured in the sound. Even if not ground breaking, at every step, each track is a carving in stone of this band’s musical power. Definitely a great listen that can trigger insights, awakening something in the listener by sheer musical strength.
Label: Immersive Sounds
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram
Scribed by: Goro Riffs