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(41:29; My Own Shiva)
Kyrgyzstan band MY OWN SHIVA was formed back in 2016, and released their initial debut EP two years later. From their home base in Bishkek they have since maintained an active presence as a recording as well as a performing band, and they describe themselves as providers of the best metal music in Central Asia. "Holograms" is their debut album, which was released at the start of 2019. Metal can be many different things in this day and age, and a band like My Own Shiva documents this very well indeed on their debut album. Genre purists can toss a truckload of descriptions after this band, and most of them would probably stick too. For my sake I think the best general description to give the music on this album is modern metal, as the totality here is very much contemporary indeed. Going a bit deeper into the songs here, quite a few songs borrow structural elements from progressive metal. Changes and alterations of pace and intensity flourish, as does the additions and subtractions of various elements. Not that I'd describe the music overall as progressive metal, but the structural elements borrow quite a few ideas from this type of music. The actual arrangements and compositions themselves also revolve around many different elements with connection to several types of both music and metal. A common denominator throughout are what I'd typically describe as bouncing, dark toned and heavy guitar riffs and rhythms, of the kind where the word djent does come to mind. We also get our fair share of circulating, groove-oriented passages with possibly stronger ties to thrash metal, as well as some post-rock style textures applied here and there alongside tasteful guitar and keyboard combinations with possibly more of a progressive metal vibe to them. This in addition to occasionally more staccato, aggressive displays that may well have some hardcore ties in their core foundation. The vocals and the arrangements backing the vocals are probably the more defining traits however, at least in terms of style. The lead vocals range from clean, harmony singing to aggressive shouts and growls, but also from softly spoken to twisted and aggressive vocal snarls. Along the way we do get a few instances of modes of delivery with more of a hip hop feel to them as well, and even a taste or two of the backing instrumentation orienting themselves in that direction...and even a one off bass-line detail that gave me distinct dub associations. In sum this gives us an album I suspect many would categorize as alternative metal. Personally I prefer to describe this as modern metal or perhaps contemporary metal though. The amount of different and sometimes starkly contrasting elements is pretty high throughout, although I'll have to say that hard and aggressive probably are the most dominant moods, atmospheres and vibes. While I don't find all the songs to succeed in maintaining a high level of interest throughout, just about all of them contain charming and alluring parts and passages. A select few manage to balance the elements just about right, maintaining nerve and tension as well as interest and curiosity from start to finish. I'm probably not so well versed in metal today that I can perfectly define a target audience for this album, but I suspect that those who are just as passionate about alternative metal as they are about bands that explore the boundaries between hardcore and metal might well be the best suitable audience for this production.
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