Kryptos – The Coils of Apollyon (Iron Fist)
Release Date: February 18, 2012
With over a decade under their belts and considered by many to be one of the pioneers of the burgeoning metal underground in India, Kryptos have spearheaded the steady rise of Indian heavy metal over the years and have been the flag-bearers of Old School Heavy Metal in the country.
Formed in late 1998, Kryptos have strived to create original, melodic metal, which combines the aesthetics of 80s thrash and pure melodic metal. Influenced by the likes of Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden along with heavy hitters like Coroner, Kreator, Candlemass, Dark Tranquillity and Nevermore, Kryptos manage to channel these influences into a sound that is all their own.
With a three albums and successive international tours, Kryptos are continually setting new standards and raising the bar for Indian heavy metal.
Come 2012 and Kryptos presents Heavy Metal fans with their third studio album, The Coils of Apollyon. The lyrics are quite heavy and deep. Music-wise, Kryptos still retains the thrashy tone, with hard-hitting riffs, but this time, combining several elements of thrash metal and melodic lead lines, kickass guitar solos and daring experiments with different time signatures. Also, the bass lines are crisp and strong and boom clearly above the drums and the rhythm guitar. More importantly, the riffs are stronger and the dynamics of the songs are better than ever. One of the most important elements Kryptos has clearly retained is their “OLD SCHOOL” approach to every song. The songs feature lead vocals and guitars by Nolan Lewis, Rohit Chaturvdi on guitars, Ryan Colaco holding the entire band together with the drums, and Jayawant Tewari forming the sonic bridge between the guitars and the drums with his rumbling bass-lines. However, beyond all the technical aspects, their most important feature happens to be the feeling they infuse into each song.
The album kicks off with “The Mask of Anubis”. You hit the play button and from the very first second, the song absolutely catches on to you. Listening to the intro riff, chances are, you will find yourself air-guitaring and as the drums kick in, I am sure one can’t help but headbang with the raw energy that surrounds you. Think a grittier Di’Anno era IronMaiden. The spirit of heavy metal! The galloping riff is indeed infectious and more so in the interludes. The vocals are better than ever and with a combo of growls and snarls, this song sure takes you back to the era when Heavy Metal reigned supreme. You’ll actually feel like pumping your fists in the air, during the chorus lines! And just as you thought you were getting used to the groove, the solo comes in as another piece of sonic bliss. Sitting perfectly on the galloping riff, it adds that extra feel to the song. Trust me folks, this song is going a long way!
With the mood set for some old school Heavy Metal madness, Kryptos hits you with “The Coils of Apollyon”. The song starts off beautifully with a powerful lead line over power-chords and soon moves onto a powerful fast paced riff and soon settles down to a groovier riff. The vocals kick in at 0:58 and brings with a rather powerful feeling and makes you want to sing along. One cannot help but appreciate the dynamics of the song. It’s got so many variations, but they seem to play along like a breeze. The fret burning riffs on the bridge are hard-hitting but soon the song progresses to a very melodic solo and then into a beautiful harmony section. After another section of verses, the song ends with another brilliantly crafted solo.
Third on line, we’ve got “Serpent Mage”. The intro riff is absolutely blistering. It simply gets you headbanging without you even being aware of it. The track is filled with groovy parts which make the vocals sound even more powerful. The intro riff is thrown in very skilfully again, after the first verse as the song progresses into the chorus lines. The chorus is crafted very beautifully with guitar leads over it, a style that will certainly remind you of In Flames. The guitar solo starts off as a very melodic one, accentuated with bends soon turns fast paced with shreds and melody lines.
And as we chug along, the songs just keep getting faster and better. “Nexus Legion”, which also happens to be my personal favorite, is all about might and power. From the towering lead line in the intro to the thumping sound of the toms and that awesome riff that you headbang to, in the verse lines, there’s an aura of greatness I find in this song. Lines like “We’re legion/Never surrender, we’ll stand against the odds”, certainly fill you with a sense of invincibility and pride, the long lost spirit of Heavy Metal of the ’80s. It sure reminds you of Manowar! The main riff is absolutely insane, but what make this song even more awesome are the melody lines and the booming bass-lines. With the perfect mix of melody, groove and thrashy riffs, I see this song is destined to become an anthem.
Track five is called “Eternal Crimson Spires“. The song starts off with a thrashy riff, typical of the late ’80s, and passes through several groovy sections before the vocals come exploding, over the kickass verse riff and fills you with a sense of conviction and vengeance. The lead lines over the verses make the song sound ultra catchy and make you hum it all day long. The bass lines are clear and crisp and boom over the rhythm guitar perfectly. The solo at the end is again fast-paced with beautiful shreds just adding to the flavor.
“Spellcraft” is a powerhouse right from the intro till the end. Starting off with an adrenaline-pumping Megadeth style riff, the song gets you to headbang even harder! While the first half is all about the raw energy, the song turns more melodic after the 2nd verse. The guitar solo is rather soothing and melodic, while the thrashy riff plays in the background, adding a mixed feel to the song. It’s the sheer adrenaline rush that sets this song apart from the rest!
The next song, “Starfall”, slows the tempo with a clean guitar intro, as the distorted guitar just crashes onto it, suddenly reminding you of the early Kryptos sound. Needless to say, the vocals and the riffs just ooze power and is a complete treat for your ears. The hook line is extremely catchy, making this another song you can hum for days!
The insane bass tone, the hard-hitting drums-lines and the heavy riffs, come together and blend in magnificently for what is undoubtedly the heaviest song on the album: “Visions of dis”. The intro riff sounds enigmatic and it returns to haunt you throughout the song. The vocal lines start off crisp and heavy, adding a sense of conviction to the song. What makes the song even heavier is the bass booming over the rhythm guitar, having a presence of its own. You can literally feel the boom if you are standing before the speakers. The song takes a drastic turn at 4:40 with an interlude solo, taking the song to noticeably heavier grounds and from here on, what you experience is pure, unadulterated metal!
The album finally comes to a close with “The Isle of Voices”. Kryptos actually surprises you with this uber-melodic acoustic instrumental track, that you ask yourself, “Am I still listening to the same band??” All in all, this song with a slight Celtic touch serves as the perfect outro to an album which is indeed an epitome of the awesomeness called OLD SCHOOL HEAVY METAL. \m/
In metal, the RIFF is the holy spire from which all else bows and pays tribute. With The Coils of Apollyon, Kryptos has built an album that has not forgotten the God-like majesty of the almighty riff!