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This is the first solo offering from Waleed Ahmed of Lahore based death Metal band Dionysus (of which more in a later column), and is available on iTunes here and on CD form via Moontone Records.
This album can best be described as 'Ambient Doom' with its acoustic guitar led tracks, leading to mournful electric riffs, with often whispered vocals; parts raise goosebumps on the skin as the haunting melodies swirl around you.
In places, reminiscent of bands such as Agalloch, however, do not dismiss Lohikarma as mere copyists.
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The piano based intro track 'Death Of The Laminath' (1.06) (played by Umar Ahmed who is also responsible for the cover) leads in to the acoustic guitars of the first instrumental track, 'Echoes Of The Lost' (3.43) building to a crescendo with the drums before fading out.
The third track, 'Elysium' (5.56) kicks off with backtracked acoustic guitars, leading into the main doom-laden riff, with atmospheric whispered vocals and melodic lead breaks. Nothing seems out of place.
Fourth up is 'Lemniscate' (6.48) which begins with picked chords over the tuneful bass line, duelling with sonorous crunch riffs, until 3.35 in when the low growl of the vocal line takes over. This short verse is succeeded by staccato riffing, dying away as the main melodies take over and continue their due, again losing you in the music until the end of the track.
Fifth track, 'Take This life' (6.50) is a ballad. Beginning as an acoustic lament, the various instrumental and vocal lines blend seamlessly, and when Waleed's characteristic growl takes over (3.35) and the crunch guitars come out to play (4.05) it doesn't feel forced, as the song crescendos to a furious conclusion. This track, for me, wins the 'best track award'.
Finally, the title track 'Dreaming Skies' (5.23) and the main riff central to this track is reprised throughout in a number of different forms, (a characteristic of all the tracks), the falsetto vocals mixed with Waleed's growl seem to work well here, as again does the characteristic switching from heavy to light riffing.
For a self produced album, the quality is very high, and Waleed appears a very capable composer, arranger and performer. The one criticism I suppose is the use of sequenced drums, but even these work well with the songs overall. If bands like Agalloch are your bag, then this is a must here.
Gonna give this one 5 beers.
Produced by Waleed Ahmed.
All guitars, vocals and drum sequencing, Waleed Ahmed.
Piano on 'Death Of The Lamiath', Umair Ahmed.