Friday, 14 February 2014

Sangharsha - Bayou

The members of Sangharsha, originally from Nepal, churn out punishing, dynamic hardcore that is capable of leaving just as many spinning heads as bruises in its wake. Their new release, Bayou (Alerta Antifascista Records) showcases some truly impressive range. Sickeningly heavy percussive blasts that communicate a desperate need to reach for meaning at any cost (as in the beginning of "Muslo") become mired in slow dirges that crawl under the burden of the world's weight (especially in "Aseena").

Sincerity is high on Sangharsha's agenda. As if it isn't apparent from their music, a sweeping statement on their Bandcamp page reads, "the struggle to exist and the struggle to be alive was the sole influence to write and record this record". Sounds like an overwhelmingly expansive concept to reduce to a sole influence, but it's clear that a lot of consideration has gone into creating this music - all the moods reflected in the songs are both well placed and completely believable, including the excursions into more serene territory. For example, the heady intro to "Kachuli" is unsettling enough to welcome the song's lumbering attack, which in turn eventually retreats back to a place that might resemble the scene in the cover art.

But yes, this is predominantly an exercise in demolition of the downtuned, metallic variety (no prizes for guessing that Kurt Ballou and Brad Boatright are involved). However, in places Sangharsha add a hint of Breach or Botch to the usual Entombed/Converge influences. They very effectively meld engaging melodies into their noise-heavy approach without diluting its impact (as in the title track), and along with some clever changes, including a few unexpected u-turns between riffs, the songs are kept interesting while being given an overall sense of cohesion.

Bayou is a great example of what can happen when bands take the time to think about what they are doing and pour themselves into it.

It looks like there is no physical release until June, but Bayou is available digitally on Bandcamp. Also see Sangharsha's bio at Alerta Antifascista for more info.


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