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Guillotine: The cynic

10/05/12  ||  BamaHammer

Yes, I know there is a Swedish thrash band called Guillotine, but no, this isn’t their album. And I’ll go ahead and get this out of the way too. These kids really, really like Opeth. If that kills your metal erection, you may leave now. Otherwise, stick around. You’re in for a treat. Guillotine is an unsigned young five-piece from New Dehli who apparently have a deep appreciation for musical concepts (as well as the work of Opeth). “The cynic” is actually the first of a three-part concept of the hollowness of religion. Whatever. The album slays.

The aspect of “The cynic” that really turned me onto these guys was obviously their otherworldly ability to write a complex yet enjoyable song. Much like Opeth, each song is a very emotional adventure. Song textures are widely varied and feature quiet interludes, majestic and cleanly sung choruses, and bluesy solos interspersed among the mid-paced, galloping riffs in that same vein as Opeth’s early albums. They also even find intriguing ways to sprinkle a few well-timed blast beats here and there for good measure.

This album’s heart and soul clearly rests in the guitar of the prodigal Takar Nabam (which is a fantastic name, by the way). This young buck (I believe he was actually in his mid-to-late teens during the recording of this album) packs so much emotion in his playing that you would swear he’s a weathered veteran of the guitar world. The riffs are not what you’d call overly technical, but every note is picked with an uncanny clean precision and unrivaled sense of pure emotion. The solos and lead parts are where Nabam really shines. Many of the licks that are used are from typical standard blues scales, but the way he plays those parts makes them sound utterly amazing.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that this is a guitar project. The keyboard and bass players also find plenty of moments to demonstrate their abilities as well. There are tons of moments that are enhanced atmospherically by the subtle touches of Manav Chauhan (who’s sadly no longer with Guillotine), and the bass, while not extremely prominent in the mix, is always doing incredibly interesting things. Many of today’s bands use the bass as a means of laying a bottom-heavy foundation to the riffs and that’s it. However, Rohit Bhattacharya takes the prevailing theme that is created by the guitar riffs and noodles and dances around it, creating a fun and enjoyable experience during every listen.

Karan Nambiar’s vocal work is equally as impressive. He obviously studied for a while at the Åkerfeldt Institute for Varied Death Metal Vocals, and that’s fine. He borrows plenty from Åkerfeldt’s style, and it sounds terrific. When needed, he can roar with an aggressive growl that would find itself right at home on any Opeth record, and at other times, he can bring you to your knees with his emotional clean voice. The bottom line is that this band is oozing talent.

I love Opeth as much as anyone, or at least I used to. They lost me somewhat right around the time “Watershed” hit the shelves for some reason. With “The cynic”, Guillotine offers their take on the ever-growing sub-genre of what the world seems to call progressive death metal. This young band’s future is brighter than a thousand suns, and I can’t wait to hear more from them.


  • Information
  • Released: 2010
  • Label: Self-released
  • Website: Guillotine MySpace
  • Band
  • Karan Nambiar: vocals
  • Takar Nabam: guitars, vocals
  • Rohit Bhattacharya: bass
  • Manav Chauhan: keyboards
  • Kabir Mahajan: drums
  • Tracklist
  • 01. The Alchemy (Tears of Despair)
  • 02. Upon My Return
  • 03. To the Heavens
  • 04. Revisting Faith
  • 05. Dystopia
  • 06.The Final Siege
  • 07. Crave