I am always excited to hear albums produced in countries that are not associated firsthand with a specific Metal genre and 'War', the debut EP from Stark Denial from Mumbai (formerly Bombay) India is one of those releases, part of a newly discovered, for me, source of good Metal acts and the prospect of hearing what approach to Metal these bands have taken is always an intriguing one.
Musically Stark Denial play it safe. Their sound is a fairly traditional black Metal with the odd hint of other influences, but what they do is done very well and it has that dirty, distant quality of early black Metal.
The vocals from Kunal are stunningly good, a rasping gargle, adding a dark atmosphere that is a joy to listen to, the delivery adding a raw quality and a venomous feel to the tracks. I also particularly enjoyed the drum work from Vinit which at times is impressively good, particularly on the two tracks that have atmosphere building, drum led openers.
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The EP consists of five tracks, spanning fifteen minutes, all war themed as the title suggests and depicting the various stages of war. It opens with 'Intro' (Commencement Of War) a brief scene setting sound bite of troops marching, building the atmosphere.
'Gates Of War' (The War Gates Opening) drum patterns open the track and the intensity builds as the pace moves from a mid pace to a more frantic and intense one with the arrival of the guitars and venomous vocals, giving a nervous and intense feel as if there was an impending battle.
'Wrath' (Unleashing One's Wrath On Enemies) opens on an ominous bass intro and builds to a slow, atmospheric and deliberate pace all the way up, becoming intense and frantic, giving an impression of wrath building and then being unleashed upon the enemy.
'Conquering Thy Enemies Throne' (Defeating The Enemies And Claiming Their Throne) has another good drum opener, intense blasts that sit well alongside the opening repeat riff that heralds in the vocals; a fast and intense track.
The final track, 'Panzer Division Marduk' (Marduk Cover) a tribute to the legendary Swedish black Metal band Marduk, an excellent cover and an excellent tribute performed by a band confident in their ability to do justice to such a high profile track.
I can't fault this EP, they have kept the style classic, the production is good but not over polished so the atmosphere is maintained, making it a good listen.