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GUILLOTINE

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal • India


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Guillotine biography
GUILLOTINE is a progressive melodic death metal band from Delhi, India. They are a five-piece act consisting of Karan Nambiar (Vocals), Nabam Takar (Guitar), Rohit Bhattacharya (Bass), Manav Chauhan (Keyboards), and Kabir Mahajan (Drums). In 2010 they released their debut full-length album, The Cynic, to much critical acclaim. GUILLOTINE cites acts like PORCUPINE TREE, TOOL, DREAM THEATER, OPETH, and CHILDREN OF BODOM as influences.

--Bio by J-Man--

Guillotine official website

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GUILLOTINE discography


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GUILLOTINE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 3 ratings
The Cynic
2010

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GUILLOTINE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Cynic by GUILLOTINE album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.00 | 3 ratings

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The Cynic
Guillotine Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'The Cynic' - Guillotine (7/10)

It's something I've said before and will say again: the future of heavy metal music lies in India. Compared to the West, India has remained largely silent in the past when it's come to bands of its own. However, one thing India has never been in shortage of is enthusiasm; one needs only witness the fanfare Iron Maiden received in Mumbai on their "Flight 666" tour to see it. With that evidence of passion in mind, it's all the more exciting to see bands like New Delhi's Guillotine emerging with material of their own. Their technical, progressively- inclined brand of melodic death metal is bound to draw comparisons aplenty with some of the better-known Western prog metal bands, but it's rare that the style is executed so well. It would have been impressive enough simply to know that Guillotine recorded "The Cynic" whilst still in their teenage years and early twenties, but to hear this sort of progressive calibre hailing from the other side of the world is a reason of its own to celebrate. If Guillotine is any indicator of what the Indian metal scene has in store for us, there's good reason to be excited.

Of course- the relative novelty aside- Guillotine need not be seen as an 'Indian metal' band to be fully appreciated. Like Mumbai's Demonic Resurrection (the only other Indian death metal band I've heard thus far), Guillotine largely follow the European formula; Scandinavia, to be specific. Like so many young progressive death metal bands, Opeth is a big anchor for Guillotine, and there are many times throughout the album where their sound and style are conjured explicitly. Nary two minutes into the album's opener, "The Alchemy: Tears of Despair" the mix of dark atmosphere and clean melodic groove undeniably references the Swedes of "Blackwater Park". Fortunately, Guillotine incorporate a far larger number of influences into the musical cauldron. Some parts reflect the catchy riffs of Soilwork, and other times I am reminded of the technical flashwork of Dream Theater and other American progressive stalwarts. "The Cynic" indeed feels moreso a collaboration of Guillotine's influences, rather than a unique evolution of the progressive metal form. Guillotine may have not yet found a clear sound of their own, but it's not often where the archetypal prog- death 'Opeth' model is executed with such skill.

I distinctly remember listening through "The Cynic" for the first time, and having my eyes widen upon hearing some of the technical fills on "Upon My Return". Guillotine is one of the uncommon acts in metal where each musician is impressive. Although- for example- Takar Nabam's tight guitar work might impress me more than Karan Nambiar's low growl, there is not an aspect of Guillotine's sound that drags down the rest. Even the album's production- often a problem with many unsigned debuts- is clear and professional. The songwriting goes a long way to showcase the musicians' talents. Although the strict metal element is weighted much more heavily (pun certainly intended) in their songwriting than the proggy detours, each song makes time for a break from the death metal. Often- unexpected breaks into jazz, Porcupine Tree-like melodic prog and even funk give the bass and keyboards ample time to shine. For the most part, these experimental ventures are generally kept separate from the death metal; the prog-typical time signatures and technical wizardry are alive in the metal, but Guillotine keep their most adventurous musical experiments for the mellow sorties. Although this has a tendency to make the mellow parts more interesting than you'll hear in the work of similar bands, it would have been nice to hear Guillotine take this potential for surprise and variety and integrate it fully into the metal side of their sound.

As has been the case with many of the albums that influenced Guillotine's debut, "The Cynic" is a concept album, detailing the course of a nameless character as he tries to cope with his disillusionment with society. It's a pretty wordy topic to be certain, but the psychological theme works well with Guillotine's light/dark musical style. Although "The Cynic" makes no attempt to hide Guillotine's influences, there is evidence and potential here for something amazing. Guillotine are exceptionally skilled musicians, and they know how to write thoughtful music that reflects it. All the same, I shall be expecting more from the band for their second album. The potential here is obvious, and I can only see these guys improving with time.

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 The Cynic by GUILLOTINE album cover Studio Album, 2010
4.00 | 3 ratings

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The Cynic
Guillotine Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by J-Man
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Finding the right sound in progressive death metal can be a difficult thing. Achieving that perfect balance between light and heavy, or originality and tribute, is something that many bands can't quite capture nowadays. In a music scene filled Opeth emulators and Death sound-a-likes, Delhi's Guillotine has erupted with a distinct sound and sense of direction. Guillotine has found that "perfect balance" that so many music veterans still can't grasp. Considering that their youngest member is 15 years old, it's truly amazing how mature Guillotine already sounds. The Cynic is a great debut on all fronts, boasting amazing compositions, envious musicianship, and satisfying arrangements. If these guys already sound this professional, I can only imagine where Guillotine will be in the next few years. The Indian metal scene has been a force to be reckoned with in 2010, and The Cynic is just further proof of that statement. If you're a fan of progressive death metal, Guillotine is certainly a band to keep your eye on.

The music on The Cynic is progressive death metal, though there's plenty of room for eclecticism. Just listen to the jazzy organ solo in "Crave" or the arpeggiated piano in "To the Heavens" and you'll know what I mean. There's a distinct Opeth influence in Guillotine's sound, though they never sound like a clone band. The more instrumental portions of the album sound similar to that of Dream Theater, as well as the synth lines during the heavier sections. Picking a favorite song is difficult, but I've got to go with the opening number, "The Alchemy: Tears of Despair". That song just pulls you in and never once disappoints. From the breathtaking narrated opening to the beautiful ending section, everything about this song is absolutely perfect. It's also the most traditionally progressive song on the album, filled with some excellent melodic riffing and vocal harmonies. Every song is almost equally impressive, but it's most remarkable how excited the listener is after just the first track. After that opener, I'm captured for the entire duration of the album. The 46:57 playing time is marvelous - Guillotine has zero filler on the entire album. It's really nice to hear a prog metal band that doesn't fill up a CD with a 79:58 playing time, in which only half is worthwhile. All of The Cynic is spectacular, and that's one of the most respectable things about Guillotine. Another noteworthy asset is the great musicianship on all fronts. The guitar playing from Nabam Takar usually takes center stage, though it's really nice how much they've incorporated Manav Chauhan's fantastic keyboards into the mix. The vocals from Karan Nambiar are generally very strong - his clean vocals are great and his growls fit the music like a glove. The rhythm section of Rohit Bhattacharya (bass) and Kabir Mahajan (drums) is also great as they provide a rock solid foundation for Guillotine's music.

The production is rather raw, but it sounds pretty good for a self-released effort. The drums sound really powerful and the mix is very consistent throughout the album. I have no complaints here.

The Cynic is really an amazing debut by Guillotine. I could see this band gaining a large following with future releases - they have what it takes. Although this isn't an absolute must-have for casual fans of the genre, it would sit comfortably in any extreme prog metal collection. If you like Opeth and Dream Theater, I recommend picking up The Cynic sooner rather than later. 4 stars are well-deserved for this original, powerful, and impressive debut. It's safe to say that Guillotine is one of the most promising acts on the progressive death metal scene right now - let's hope for some more great music in the future!

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