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RAINBURN

Progressive Metal • India


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Rainburn biography
RAINBURN was founded in the fall of 2011 in Bangalore, India, by classically-trained pianist Avik CHAKRAVARTY and singer/guitar player Vats IYENGAR adding drummer Praveen KUMAR (BLOOD & IRON) and bassist Jayaram KASI soon after. RAINBURN's brand of technical-yet-accessible music allied to impassioned covers of bands like RUSH, ALICE IN CHAINS and PORCUPINE TREE found immediate takers in the Bangalore music scene, leading to gigs throughout the southern Indian circuit. In the middle of 2012, KASI left and after a protracted search, was replaced by Shishir GUPTA on the bass; meanwhile, the band recorded and released two demo songs - 'End of Sleep' and 'Listen Through the Noise'.

After searching for new ideas and fresh inspiration for much of 2013 and continuing to play shows in and around Bangalore with new keyboard player Ashwin ETHIRAJ, the band finally found their calling in the juxtaposition of their progressive roots with a strong pop sensibility and melodies and motifs that subtly reference Indian music. This led not only to a change in sound but also to a significant change in instrumentation - a second guitarist in the form of Abhishek PRAKASH (ex-GROOVE CHUTNEY) was added to the lineup to replace ETHIRAJ. After opening for the mighty AVIAL, to an audience of several thousand people at Eurotech Maritime Academy, Cochin, the band hit the studio to record their debut EP. PRAKASH left not long after commencement of recording and after a brief search, was replaced by shredmeister Toshimoa JAMIR.

In early November 2014, the band released its debut EP ''Canvas of Silence'' to rapturous acclaim from fans as well as from publications such as Prog Magazine and sites such as Prog Metal Zone, Prog Sphere and Music Aloud. They were also featured on Radio One 94.3 FM, Bangalore.

Their sound will also appeal to fans of traditional melodic progressive metal, such as DREAM THEATER and FATES WARNING.

Biography adopted from the band's website - edited by aapatsos

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

5.00 | 1 ratings
Insignify
2018

RAINBURN Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

RAINBURN Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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RAINBURN Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.34 | 4 ratings
Canvas of Silence
2014

RAINBURN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Insignify by RAINBURN album cover Studio Album, 2018
5.00 | 1 ratings

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Insignify
Rainburn Progressive Metal

Review by rogerthat
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
5 stars "Personally, I am more curious about the direction in which their Indo-Western synthesis proceeds: does it get deeper from hereon or will they write more full Western material?" - I had concluded my review of Rainburn's debut offering, their EP Canvas of Silence, with the above line. Four long years after that short and sweet collection of tracks, we have some answers with the first full length album of Rainburn, called Insignify.

And the answer is: a bit of both. The music is generally very much in the vein of the tracks on Canvas of Silence - kinda soft prog metal with hints of jazz swing here and there and clean guitar parts woven into the music rather than left to stick out in an in your face manner. BUT there are certainly more hints of Indian music, mainly in the guitar leads but also in some - simply gorgeous - Indian flute playing in School of Atlantis.

The emphasis on actual guitar solos (the way there used to be in rock music up to the 90s) is also a subtle change from the EP. These solos are still pretty short in length - no Hackett/Latimer like expansive leads here - but they clearly serve the function of solos rather than just guitar leads that take the song from point A to point B. There is even some scorching shredding by Toshimoa Jamir in the final solo of Elusive Light. Songwriter, vocalist and main guitarist Vats Iyengar is no slouch either (check out the solos on School of Atlantis and Suicide Note). Perhaps, an argument could be made that solos are outdated and ought to be done away with but I feel in the absence of much textural variation (we are basically looking at heavy distortion and clean electric guitar, with a few variations like on Someone New), the solos add more character and drama to the tracks. Especially because the typically busy nature of prog rock/metal doesn't leave much scope for the vocalist to build drama through his lines. Vats runs into the same constraint...except one track.

Mirrors is set to good old 4/4 with no time signature changes en route to the finish, has audible and catchy basslines underpinning the song and revolves around Indian sounding (but not REALLY Indian) guitar chord progressions rather than riffs. It also has a memorable chorus and a very effective bridge. In short, it's topnotch pop songwriting without resembling pop in the commercial, derogatory sense of the word that progheads are fond of resorting to. It's pop in the way a Stevie Wonder or Beatles would have crafted it (or maybe Radiohead today). Suddenly, without busy instrumentation and changes to take care of, the music starts to really breathe and is rich in mood and atmosphere. Vats also sings almost all of it low in his chest voice (except for a high chorus towards the end) and it feels like the words resonate more at least with me in this zone. High up in the stratosphere, he is like many other metal vocalists out there, commanding, proficient and powerful, but it is down below that I hear a more distinct character in the vocals to set them apart, an unique individual as opposed to yet another voice.

If all this is not exactly welcome news to your ears (!), fret not as there is enough variety on offer to satisfy different palates. If Mirrors is the song people who don't like prog as such would dig (and I know some who fit that exact description and who liked this song), there's Someone New and Suicide Note to satisfy more technical and muscular considerations. Especially Suicide Note is a headbanger's paradise but still accommodates clean guitar here and there (but it has no room for Indian elements). By making room for clean guitar even in their heaviest and most aggressive track, Rainburn are able to make a seamless transition to a VERY clean/non metal track like Within. Elusive Light and Merchant of Dreams are similarly lush and relaxed while remaining in a prog zone (unlike Mirrors). As said above, Mirrors is very different from the rest of the bunch but the melodic and harmonic patterns at work do not to my untrained ears sound too far removed from the other tracks. So nobody is going to ask what's a pop song doing in a prog album because it fits and only serves artistic rather than commercial considerations (of which there are practically none in this day and age for prog music). The other (very short) track that's completely different from everything else is the fugue Purpose. I will leave it to you to listen and see what you get out of it as it has received very diverse reactions so far.

In summary, this is prog metal/heavy prog with a hint of Indo-Western fusion and with some tracks like Suicide Note remaining in a 100% Western zone. Melodically, it is very original and memorable and has a freshness that isn't found in much of prog rock today. I have slight concerns about the textural limitation I mentioned earlier and do feel say keyboards would have filled out the sound more. But on the other hand, the introduction of Indian flute also introduces timbre that you just never hear in prog rock. So...having thought about what I should do, I am going to give the album all five stars. Not because I am truly convinced it's an overwhelming masterpiece but because it does chart its own course and has a voice of its own without resort to gimmicks that are meant to titillate rather than express.

 Canvas of Silence by RAINBURN album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2014
4.34 | 4 ratings

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Canvas of Silence
Rainburn Progressive Metal

Review by PlanetRodentia2

5 stars One of my favorites.

This little gem comforted me as I prepared for surgery in 2014. Like the band's name, this music abounds in contrasts. The tug of war between aggressive metal and soothing folk/pop sounds creates a tidal rhythm that rocks me into a relaxed state. Despite the subject matter - loss - I found the music to be uplifting and hopeful. Although I continue to listen to new music, I still return to this time and again.

"Refuge" contains some evocative lyrics and interesting wordplay: "Washed up, eroded souls are/in solitude reborn/sing to me of rain/for tomorrow shall be/washed free of the reins/holding you and me". The jangling guitars and chorus have a '60s sound that reminds me of The Byrds, The Doors, The Mamas and The Papas...something that I can't quite pin down but brings a warm sense of nostalgia.

"Canvas of Silence" explores mysteries of life and death and boasts a stronger progressive metal sound. I like the mood changes in this one.

"Veil" is a fever dream awash in Indian-inflected melodies, nice bass work, and evocative vocals simmering in quiet desperation.

"Time Turns Around" is a beautiful little song. The guitar carries a pretty Indian-inflected melody. The vocal is achingly lovely. Struggle yields to resignation and peace here. This is the tidal pool of the album and my favorite track.

The waves roar back with"Fragments," a return to aggressive metal. The loss of a dear loved one is raw here, and the singer questions if the gains of moving beyond this life outweigh the losses experienced by those left behind.

Despite some minor quibbles - e.g. unnessary (to me) fade-out endings on some songs, the rough middle section in "Time Turns Around" - I believe this is one of the best EPs I've heard. I like how the band assimilates metal, pop, folk, and even a little jazz to create a wonderfully balanced sound. The lyrics are generally thoughtful, picturesque, and sometimes poignant; they hold up very well in the personal songs (e.g. "Time Turns Around" and "Fragments"), but they sometimes seem a bit forced elsewhere. Although not a true masterpiece, it's close - maybe a 4.5/5. I'll round up to 5, because this EP is a balm to me, more so than many "masterpieces" I've heard.

Rainburn has replaced its bassist, Shishir Gupta, and the guitarist Toshimoa Jamir with Allan Julius Fernandes and Vineet Gogoi, respectively, and I wonder how this change will affect the band's sound. I can only hope that Rainburn continues to explore life's weighty mysteries while marrying metal, Indian folk music, and pop as successfully as they did here.

 Canvas of Silence by RAINBURN album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2014
4.34 | 4 ratings

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Canvas of Silence
Rainburn Progressive Metal

Review by rogerthat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Disclaimer: I know the band's chief songwriter, lead vocalist and guitarist Vats Iyengar personally and have heard the rough versions of some of the tracks on this EP, Canvas of Silence, long before their release. I don't think this makes me too partial to be able to review, though, and my rating probably affirms to that.

With that, let's get started with the review. Rainburn is one of the very few Indian bands - and I personally don't know any other - that approaches Indo-Western music synthesis from a predominantly Western perspective. Usually, Indian artists either approach this kind of fusion by infusing a lot of Western instrumentation in a mostly Indian composition (in terms of melody). If they do try to make it more Westernised, then this usually consists of sticking on a Carnatic/Hindustani tinged guitar lead to a rock song. Check out the 2012 Bollywood chartbuster Sun Raha Hai Na for Exhibit A....er, no, on second thoughts, better don't! With very few exceptions like the extremely prolific composer Ilayaraja, Indo-Western fusion, with the greatest respect, tends to lack depth and substance. It is perhaps no coincidence that the members of Rainburn consider Ilayaraja to be a source of inspiration.

Rainburn do not wear the Indian side of their music on their sleeve. It is coaxed into the music gently and subtly so that it never sounds forced or gimmicky. What their music essentially is then is extremely accessible prog metal. Again, this is prog metal with a strong emphasis on songwriting rather than shred. There is not much flab or noodling in any of the five tracks that make up the EP. Leads, wherever they appear, tend to be brief and concise. Rainburn also emphasise contrast very effectively. They make room for generous portions of soft guitar textures to balance out the heavy metal riffage. The contrast between the soft and the hard is more of an organic blend here than jarring juxtaposition.

Thus, while Rainburn evoke Pain of Salvation in terms of their hard-soft contrast, they avoid the latter's more dramatic and drastic changes. As already alluded to, their songs are concise and in this respect, they distinguish themselves from one of their most prominent influences....you guessed it, Dream Theater. There's also some Rush and a bit of Steely Dan as well. I shall not point out instances of these lest I spoil the fun for listeners reading this review. At times, their source of influence is quite evident, obvious even, but mostly it's subtle and, in totality, presents a sound that is quite unlike anything you may have heard before. And let's not forget the aforementioned Indian elements while we're at it.

All five tracks offer something distinct for the listener and each is well crafted and satisfying though Time Turns Around is perhaps just a bit too short to be sumptuous. But I mean that in a good way; it ends just as one is hoping it goes on for a lot longer. I don't think I would be doing justice to the rating system if I gave this a five. It would have to be utterly, undeniably seminal at the very least to justify the highest rating and as original as it may be, Canvas of Silence isn't quite that.

So what will the next Rainburn release bring? Will Rainburn write longer prog epics or will they get even more concise, to ask the cliched proghead question? Will they widen their instrumental palate or stick to the double guitar set up? Personally, I am more curious about the direction in which their Indo-Western synthesis proceeds: does it get deeper from hereon or will they write more full Western material? Here's hoping the next Rainburn album materialises pretty soon and we get the answer to some of these questions.

Thanks to aapatsos for the artist addition.

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