JANUARY 12th 2017

Review by Darin Wall

Varaha is a newly formed atmospheric doom metal band out of Chicago who are now set to release their set titled debut EP via Earsplit records.  This EP consists of 3 songs, and showcases the bands diverse taste in music, with parts ranging from mellow, melodic and atmospheric…to big heavy somber riffs…all the way to some screaming droning sections.  All the while the band manages to keep everything sounding dark and doomy. 

The production is clean sounding, with good separation of all the instruments so they can all be heard easily, yet still sounding big and thick as you want to have on a recording of this nature.  The rhythm section was a big hi light for me.  The drumming on this EP is exceptional, and the bass while never straying too far from the groove of the song, manages to have some cool bass lines that add his own voice and manage to nicely link together the rhythm of the drums and the melody of the guitars, strings and vocals.

Cubicle is the first song on this EP, and it starts things off with a punchy yet atmospheric intro.  The bass and drums here are really on point underneath the layers of guitar chords, and there’s some really catchy guitar melodies going on as well.  The vocals start out very clean, melodic and haunting, transitioning to anguished screams when the chorus hits.  There’s a really nicely placed string section that comes in around the 4:18 mark, which lends even more depth to this song.  It’s a very nice touch, which then builds back up to a reprisal of what was happening during the first verse of the song to tie everything together nicely.  La Mela follows, which is a short 1:23 string arrangement.  It’s very melancholy sounding, with lots of layers and is very nicely recorded and mixed.  It sets the tone nicely for the next track which is called Ghost.  This one opens with some big punches and some nice chord progressions, and then takes things down to a very mellow verse.  Chorus is more intense, with more of those droning guitars and screams of despair.  The rhythms on this track range from complex and busy, to simple and mellow. 

Overall this is a very strong debut EP from these guys.  If I had one concern it’s that the two main tracks on here, Cubicle and Ghost follow and very similar formula.  It works well on this EP but on a full length could get a bit tiresome, and I’d hope to see a bit more variety in the songs in that case.  But we are talking about the album at hand, and it’s not a concern on a 3 track EP.  Fans of atmospheric doom metal would do well to check this EP out!