Kryptos Burn up the NightWhen I think of India, a few things come to mind: curry, sacred cows, and the terrific 2001 novel Life of Pi. I certainly don’t think of heavy metal, much less fiery ’80s-inspired metal with a deliciously modern twist. Enter Kryptos. Formed in 1998, this quartet has showboated their love of classic Judas Priest and Iron Maiden through 3 prior full-lengths, in addition to opening for acts like Death Angel and becoming the first Indian metal band to tour Europe in 2010. Burn up the Night continues the fun with swirling harmonized guitars, Screaming for Vengeance riffing, and an attitude that’s pure metal to its leather-clad core. Crank it to 11 and strap on those gauntlets, it’s time to bang  your heads and thrash till your ears bleed!

Opener “Blackstar Horizon” begins things in fine form, kicking off with an empowering mid-paced riff that sounds like the backdrop for an impending intergalactic battle. With great songwriting and lyrics that blast through phrases like “dark matter!” and “infinite annihilation!,” I’m already sold and we’re not even 5 minutes in. Unlike the air-siren singing I expect from the genre, vocalist/guitarist Nolan Lewis utilizes a mid-register rasp throughout, recalling a more restrained version of Kreator’s Mille Petrozza or a gruffier version of Chuck Schuldiner on the later Death records. He’s entirely intelligible and gives the music just the kick of aggression it needs, not to mention scratching my itch as a former “core” kid with a preference for harsh vocals.

As you might expect, it’s the guitars that really shine on Burn, and boy does Lewis and fellow guitarist Rohit Chaturvedi deliver. Nearly each of these 8 tracks feature a main or opening riff that had me grinning ear to ear like I was 16 again and hearing “Aces High” for the first time. Early highlight “Full Throttle” cruises on addictive melodic couplets, over which Lewis croaks out raise-your-fists lines like “No fear – we own the night!” in a way that’s had me singing along in my Toyota for the past week. Follow-up “The Summoning” tells the tale of a midnight occult ritual via a Scorpions-style power-chord sequence, later giving way to a delightful NWoBHM-esque gallop. My personal favorite, however, is “One Shot to Kill,” which channels early Priest with its main riff before closing out with a melody that makes me want to French kiss an attractive stranger and ride my motorcycle into the sunset. And I don’t even have a motorcycle.

Kryptos 2016

As heard with the sustained, streaming-rainbow notes of the closing title track, the lead-work is no slouch either. The solos brim with city night pomp and saccharine flash, soaring through colorful harmonies and channeling Maiden at their best. While the drums favor a mid-paced tempo, the occasional beat shifts augment and re-invent the already excellent riffing, while periodically lapsing into a slower stomp like with penultimate track “Prepare to Strike.” Even the production is stellar. Other than the vocals being a tad quiet, the mix is perfect, with just enough atmospheric space and a wonderfully slick, clear guitar tone. In fact, my biggest complaint has nothing to do with the songs or the sound, but rather the album’s construction. Nearly every track here falls roughly into the category of ‘mid-paced,’ and while it’s clear that’s where Kryptos are at their strongest, a quicker track or two wouldn’t have hurt. It also doesn’t help that the two slowest tracks – aforementioned “Summoning” and the sluggish, intertwining leads of “Unto Elysium” – are the third and fourth tracks respectively, which saps some of Burn’s momentum in its first half.

Still, at 40 minutes the album is the perfect length, and the aforementioned issues do little to detract from the end product. Frankly, Burn up the Night is the type of record that’s an absolute pleasure to listen to both as a reviewer and a metal fan – classically inspired but utterly fresh, infused with skilled songwriting, and brimming with riffs you’ll both remember and come to love. As much as the ‘true metal’ attitude has become a bit eye-roll-worthy in recent years, it’s records like this that remind us that the fire can be kept alive through sheer inspiration without wallowing in obnoxious pretense or try-hard retro bullshit. In the end, Kryptos are simply here to deliver great music, and by doing so they may just put Indian metal on the map once and for all.

Rating: 4.0/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: AFM Records
Release Dates: EU: 2016.09.23 | NA: 09.30.2016

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  • The new favorite band ov Steel!

  • Dr. A.N. Grier

    Man, this came out of nowhere! And I’m glad it did.

  • Chris_Martin

    That video is impossible to dislike. Good stuff!

  • Grymm

    “Blackstar Horizon” is so hook-y, catchy, and just flat-out great.

    Someone please bring this band to the US.

    • It’s like Kreator on Valium. Awesome stuff.

  • phatmanesk

    As an Indian, it’s great to see these guys get the recognition they deserve! Great stuff!

    • Reese Burns

      It’d also be cool to hear bands from Inda incorporate sounds from their region into metal as well, but that might just be me being a World Music nerd.

      • IamDBR

        Try Rudra (Singapore), Kartikeya (Russia) & Cult of Fire (Czech Republic). Sitars, tablas, Hindu themes & chants, it’s pretty legit. Try searching for ‘Vedic Metal’, you’ll find what you are looking for.

        • Reese Burns

          Extremely grateful, thank you

          • IamDBR

            Anytime! Just one favor:
            Spread the word. The best metal imo often goes unnoticed.

        • Dainis

          Also DYING OUT FLAME (Nepal, sings in English & Sanskrit) and DHWESHA (India, sings in Kannada) comes to mind

      • phatmanesk

        Definitely! You could look up these bands. Motherjane and Avial( These guys sing in their native tongue). Still awesome though!

        • Reese Burns

          Thank you as well! Lots of listening to do.

  • DoodlyDoo

    Y’all need to listen their previous album ‘The Coils of Apollyon’. Wonderful ol’ school stuff.

  • André Snyde Lopes

    LOL @ that video. I wonder if they’d let me in with my Insomnium or Wintersun t-shirts.

    Also, that sample was boring as hell. Chug chug chug moving at a snail’s pace… Not a fan.

    • You’re crazy.

      • André Snyde Lopes

        If all you’re going to do is chug, you’d better have Rob Halford as your vocalist.

  • IamDBR

    You guys should review more Asian & Middle Eastern metal, maybe even dig into the budding African scene as well. Having said that, keep up the good work. AMG + NCS + TovH = metal thirst/hunger quenched.

    Also that track is simple and yet so effective, a nice change of pace from all the brutal/techy stuff I’ve been listening to.

    • We don’t get many promos from those places.

    • Morrowind542

      That sounds really interesting. Can you recommend some bands to check out?

      • IamDBR

        Sure, my pleasure!
        Skinflint: A more stripped down Maiden
        (Botswana | Heavy Metal)

        Wrust: Proto-death from Africa.
        (Botswana | some sort of Death Metal)

        *Narjahanam: Imagine Jihad themed metal, these guys play it.
        (Bahrain | Black/Death/Folk Metal)

        *Takatak: A more creative Lamb of God imo
        (Pakistan | Melodic Death/Groove Metal)

        Multinational Corporations: Napalm Death II
        (Pakistan | Grindcore)

        *Acrassicauda: Vice (not sure) made a doc on these dudes, really passionate about the music.
        (Iraq | Groove/Thrash Metal)

        Katingation : All of the members are amputees, fuckin’ brutal and I mean that in the best way!
        (Angola | Deathgrind)

        District Unknown: Deal with the subject of terrorism
        (Afghanistan | Progressive Metal, not sure though)

        Genocide Shrine: Asian take on war metal
        (Sri Lanka | Black/Death Metal)

        Plecto Alequim Capite: Craziest vocals I’ve heard…ever
        (Sri Lanka | Depressive Black Metal)

        * marked are personal favorites. That’s all for now, hope you guys find something good in here! Spread the word.

        • Morrowind542

          Thanks for the list; I’ll check them out when I get a chance. I think I’ll start with Takatak

        • BranMakMorn

          Amazing list thanks a lot. PAC do have some fucking deranged vocals!

    • Monsterth Goatom

      Considering that the AMG troop’s resident silverback (aka Silver Druhm) is out of Africa, you’d think he’d be more into bands from that side of the world.

      • No promos no reviews.

        • Monsterth Goatom

          I know; I know. Just bustin’ your bananas.

  • Was anyone else reminded of Danzig’s Mother when the riff started?

    • Scourge

      I don’t know Danzig’s mother. Oh, you mean the song…

  • I like that the same guy who guards the AMG office also acts as gatecreeper for underground concerts.

  • brutal_sushi

    Kick ass!

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    This guy REALLY sounds like Mille Petrozza!

  • JK_Fullmetal

    Great that the overlords at AMG really liked this album. Kryptos is imho the best old school band to come out of my country.

  • Cory Ross

    I’m sold, but question: Do I have to sit on a street corner in India to get an invite, or will any street corner do? Also what do they think of Hello Kitty shirts? Don’t want to set myself up for rejection.

  • Siege Bantayan

    The start of the video immediately made me giggle.

  • jetblindracos

    The riffing is hypnotic.

  • Treble Yell

    Embedded track gives me a strong Kill ‘Em All vibe which is very welcome. Is there anywhere I can buy a lossless copy of the album?

  • jersey devil

    That was hella fun! Never heard this band before. I’d sure love to see them live. I’ve found that metal in Asia, like everywhere else, is a small devoted subculture, but here it is a REALLY small part of the population. Just even “regular” rock music is considered pretty radical here. That said, the metal scene is relatively big in some places, like Malaysia. And international bands occasionally play in Asia. Iron Maiden played in India a few years ago. Mayhem and Kreator played Bangkok, etc. There are lots of good local bands to check out. Here are some others in addition to the ones already mentioned in this discussion:

    Chthonic. from Taiwan, they mix in indigenous instruments. Symphonic death metal with lyrics about history and indigenous peoples’ rights. (bass player is a hot babe too, when i saw them, the crowd was all bunched up at her end of the stage).

    Dictator. Thrash metal from Laos. They brought down the house when i saw them a few years ago. Super tight band, fast, really fun. Just killer live. I dont know about their recorded stuff.

    Rudra. Killer death metal from Singapore. They are veterans, been around for like 20 years. They also use local instruments, like tablas. Have songs about the Hindu epic Ramayana. Reminds me of Melechesh.

    Demonic Resurrection. Symphonic death metal from India. Has some clean singing too. Some say they are derivative but I think (don’t care) they have their own unique compositions.

    Surrender of Divinity. Black metal from Thailand. Black metal is pretty rare here. I miss this band, they were raw. Singer was murdered a few years ago by a zealous satanic fan (the night before they were to open for Mayhem–weird).

    Impiety. Black, death metal from Singapore. Another band that’s been around for many years. Seriously good.

    1833 AD. Black metal from India. They are awesome, if you like Marduk and Gorgoroth check them out!

    There are many more Asian bands out there. These are a few I know of. Enjoy.

    • Mark Z

      Awesome, thanks for the recs! Only heard of Impiety and love them, definitely will have to give those other bands a listen.

  • Stan

    It feels i’m 14 all over again. Hard to believe that a metal album of such calibre comes out from 4 guys from Bangalore, India. Formed in 1998, you have been in underground scene for quite long. This is your moment. Reach out. Conquer the world. You deserve it.

  • BenSears01730

    thank you so much for this review…would not have discovered kryptos otherwise. this is exactly why i visit AMG on a regular basis!

  • FrancoNero

    Indian metal? OMG it’s good!