'Age Of Calamity'
Sceptre, from Mumbai, formed in December 1998 and fifteen years as a band is a noteworthy achievement in a country like India where it's even harder to make an impact on the Metal scene, particularly globally, than for a band from Europe or the US and as any Metal band will tell you its hard enough anyway.
Sceptre also deserve respect for this release; they certainly have mine, because unlike the usual lyrical themes chosen by Metal bands, their latest album is unusually about female empowerment.
'Age Of Calamity' is their second full length and follow up to 2008s 'Now Or Never' and their self titled EP in 1999. It's a concept album and addresses issues regarding the attitude towards women as well as society in general. This message is conveyed not only through its lyrics but also the cover artwork, making it a highly thought provoking release.
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Musically it's pretty hard-hitting, a blend of old school and contemporary, rage filled thrash with an infusion of groove that makes it exciting and in your face but at the same time highly listenable. The vocals are a typical thrash scream; they are good and do the job required.
Beginning with 'Solitude', a brief, female vocal led intro, setting the conceptual scene before the thrash onslaught that is to follow and although it is a very up tempo album it's not full tilt mayhem end to end, which I think is a good aspect. There is a lot of tempo and direction change across all the tracks which keep it interesting, particularly on 'Prophesy Deceit' and 'Fatal Delay'.
'Lake Of The Traitor' is a particularly interesting listen, it has an evocative opener that builds in pace and depth of sound before switching tempo and direction and a regular repeat of this switch keeps your focus on the track.
The fastest and most exciting listen is the hyper speed 'Parasites (Of The State)' and although it drops away midway, the attitude from the vocals builds in the place of speed. A great track and probably my favourite of the album.
This is an album that certainly leaves you with a lot to think about as well as being a pretty good listen.
Sceptre's fifteen year anniversary edition of 'Age Of Calamity', with the all new artwork (the original version was released in February 2013) was released officially at the Thrashfest in Thane, India on February 9th and all proceeds from the sales go to a girl's orphanage. The album is also available as a digital download from http://sceptreindia.bandcamp.com/.