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(46:18; The Multitude)
House of Prog were contacted earlier this year by Rajeev Ethiraj of London-based band The Multitude to see if it were possible to gain any airplay for their 2018 album, ‘Passing Into Time’. Apparently, the band were originally known as Infinite Dreams and were based in Bangalore and given their background Olav thought I might be interested in hearing it, and he was right. Although the album has been out for a couple of years I hadn’t come across it previous to this, and the band are currently giving it another push as they have also just released a 3-track EP called ‘The Globalisation Trilogy’ which features songs taken from the album itself. I was somewhat surprised to find that for the most part this is a very Western sounding band, not what I expected at all. On their site and Bandcamp pages they also make it very clear that they are a prog band, but they function as a standard 5-person hard rock act. The line-up is Ashvin Devasundaram (guitars, backing vocals), Rajeev Ethiraj (drums), Jess Furneaux (guitars) and Manel Shakya (bass) while vocals on the recordings are by Sukhbir Kalsi and live it is Marco Minoia. The Multitude are also one of those very rare beasts indeed, namely a group that has a mission statement. In their case they describe the band as a pluralistic concept of many ordinary people acting in networked concert, harnessing music and the arts to script alternative worldviews and to freely challenge oppressive, orthodox, unjust, and dominating systems. Drawing from this conceptual wellspring, The Multitude aim to fuse an unforgettable musical experience with thought-provoking stimuli and a view to creating a synergy with diverse audiences. The band believes in making meaningful music, breaking conventions and lyrical barriers and addressing diverse globally relevant themes and issues. The vocals are very strong, and the music is straddling the genres of hard rock and prog. The guitars are often picked as opposed to riffed, and there are complex interactions between them, while the rhythm section is very strong indeed. I have been trying to rack my brains as to how best compare them to someone else, and the closest I can come to is Jump, as The Multitude also place a very strong emphasis on songs as opposed to long drawn-out extended pieces. The music is also incredibly melodic and easy to listen to, without ever becoming heavy listening. They also cover different styles within the album, and a great example is “On High Seas” which is somewhat slower with less intensity and loads of harmony vocals and the bass playing an incredibly important melodic part. That particular song is also the one where they are closest to their Indian roots as it features as a guest musician renowned Indian classical maestro Pandit Naviin Gandharv, playing a one-of-its-kind instrument called a Belaharr which the principles of the violin, the sarangi and Indian classical vocals. It is used sparingly, and it is certainly interesting to hear that placed against what are Western rock/prog rhythms. Overall, this is a very enjoyable album indeed, and one that a listener can get deep inside from the first playing. Elements of djent, hard rock, prog, melodic rock and so much more combine to make this a songs-based release which is well worth discovering.
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