Sunday 3 September 2017

Maharaja - Kali Yuga (Album Review)

Release date: September 22nd 2017. Label: Self Released. Format: DD

KALI YUGA – Tracklisting

1. Blood Moon
2. Slave to Senses
3. Free Choice
4. Ethisfidi
5. Ourboros
6. Black Magic Carpet Ride
7. I, Undying


Zack Mangold - Drums, Vocals
Eric Bluebaum - Vocals, Bass
Angus Burkhart - Guitar, Vocals


Sometimes in life you need an excuse to lose yourself in a barrage of heavy riffs. Mainly to just get away from the troubles of the modern world. That's why I'm thankful for being sent to Maharaja's debut album - Kali Yuga to review. Though I was expecting a different kind of album based on the name of the band and the album title itself.

I was pleasantly surprised to hear the opening riffs of the first track - Blood Moon, as Maharaja play music that feels inspired by High On Fire at times. Though with a more bombastic punk/doom style approach. Blood Moon is quite progressive and psychedelic in parts but it allows Maharaja to set the scene and tone of the whole album very early on. The album doesn't change direction from the opening track. As the album follows a very simple path and that is fine with me. The album does veer into Red Fang style Stoner Metal territory at times but at a much louder and ferocious pace.

Second track - Slave To Senses - has a very sinister and distorted approach with the sludge/punk growls adding a more hardcore punk style delivery with the vocals. The song has elements of early-era High On Fire riffs running throughout. Maharaja add a more subtle and psychedelic effect that allows the album to flow and play naturally.

The next three songs on the album - Free Choice, Ethisfidi and Ourobros - sees the band explore their distorted heavy sludge/stoner sound by adding heavier elements of hardcore punk and doomier riffs. The lyrics have quite a deranged and playful feel to them as well. The vocals are a mixture of hardcore clean vocals that soon move onto the more "cookie-cutter" aka death style growls. Ouroboros is definitely the standout song on the whole album. As it contains the heaviest moments on the album.

The final two songs on the album - Black Magic Carpet Ride and I, Undying - carries on the bleak tone and atmospherics from Ouroboros with the band playing a more exciting style of progressive sludge/stoner metal. Musically speaking, Kali Yuga is quite a complex and progressive album to listen to. It may take you a few listens to fully realise this but Maharaja do add elements of eastern based sounds to their music with intriguing lyrics to match. Kali Yuga sounds fantastic from the start and that's perhaps down to the excellent production held within the album.

My final thoughts are that Kali Yuga is a brilliantly entertaining and brutally heavy slice of Progressive Sludge/Stoner Metal.

Words by Steve Howe
Thanks to Dewar PR for the promo. Kali Yuga will be available to buy from September 22nd 2017.