Thrash metal’s rich canon of gut-wrenching, head-crushing, and soul-stirring tunes received a new addition this month; the four song banger of a debut EP, “Deal With The Devil” by Kasck – a 3 piece group from Pune with a growing reputation following the release of two singles from the EP a year prior.
The album is truly a delight for anyone who grew up on a steady diet of the San Francisco Bay Area thrash bands from the early ’80s as it reeks of the same spirit of discontent, indignation and just the pure napalm-soaked-mania that lurks deep inside everyone and needs a steady release from time to time. It is not for the faint-hearted, and those who cannot confront their inner demons, as the band have aptly captured the inner turmoil of a disturbed individual finding it increasingly hard to place their finger on the source of their alienation in the modern world – one where we are all expected to be silent cogs in the machine. It is as if they are narrating the story of the corruption of one’s own soul, as they try to come to terms with those pieces of the puzzle that are moulded to fit the bigger picture and overwhelm us as they have no innate connection to each other. All of the above themes match perfectly with their usage of heavy, pulsating riffs and a clattering yet firm rhythm section.
With “Death to the Crooked”, they start the album with an attack on those whom they perceive to be a part of the problem as far as the political landscape of the nation is concerned, holding nothing back and calling out all the elements of a society that’s so deferential to authority and lacks critical thinking. If the musicians from Slayer teamed up with Pantera’s Phil Anselmo, this song is close to what they probably would have produced; a barrage of rapid riffs set to hardcore percussive beats, with growls to cap it off.
From that we move on to the “The Punisher”, dealing with the descent of oneself into vigilante soaked madness, similar to what we have seen in movies such as Taxi Driver. The individual finding it hard to cope with everything that surrounds them, finding a way out through violence: “I am back in the game/With more rage than I had ever/Save yourself oh but you can’t/And now you die in terror”. The music does absolute justice to these lines; listening to it shakes you up to your core. The guitar solos are the zenith of these songs, as they fully tap into the tone of these themes, with screeching high notes played with smooth technique.
You may be inclined to believe that such outbursts are the twisted fantasies of unbridled-juvenile-testosterone-filled youngsters, but the last two songs on the album viz. “A Thousand Deaths” and the title track of the album shall make you rethink that. These guys aren’t just a bunch of kids wanting to break out, but are introspective and mature about their approach to doing so. It goes from a cry of help –“I’ve got too much to say/Truth and lies to the gray/Never they understand/The pain that sticks in me” to reconciliation “No matter how hard I try, one day we all shall die/Don’t you see it’s the truth that makes us cry/Trapped in the body, I ask for freedom/This is the time I made a deal with the devil!”. They don’t glorify this “deal” that they have made – that’s completely beside the point. Rather, it paints a picture of the ones who so desperately seek a way out, no matter which direction it points to. It is a direct reflection of ourselves and the community we sustain our living in.
Listen to this whenever you feel the need to do all those things that your “rational” self would really regret doing afterwards. It shall definitely help in serving as a starting step to deal with those emotions.