Monday, January 22, 2024

Full Length Review: Mahavatar "Rise From Betrayal" (Rebel Sound Records) by Dave Wolff

Band: Mahavatar
Location: Manhattan, New York
Country: USA
Genre: Groove metal
Full length: Rise From Betrayal
Format: Digital
Label: Rebel Sound Records (USA)
Release date: May 8, 2020
Mahavatar was a band that I followed consistently in the 2000s, starting with a promotional CD for a song they had written called “The Time Has Come”. I came across the promo through an email from their old guitarist who was plugging it. Black metal, death metal, and underground metal in general was well on its way growing beyond its origins, and my musical tastes were also expanding at the same pace, so I was more than willing to give it a try.
The song's lyrics were somewhat prophetic in their own right since Mahavatar was one of the first bands to fuse metal, alternative, Middle Eastern rhythms, heaviness, atmosphere, and exotic flavorings. Before cultural folk metal became as widespread, diverse, and prominent as it is today in the underground, they had a vision. I therefore kept up with them through their next two demos and their full-length releases “Go With The No!” (2005) and “From the Sun, the Rain, the Wind, the Soil” (2006).
They were on a roll and gaining momentum when they stopped releasing albums for an extended period. It was a few years ago when they decided to make their presence known again with a revamped lineup and a third studio album. “Rise From Betrayal” reminds me why I was enraptured by their conceptualization of metal's capacity for expansion, and it is indicative of the same burning desire to conceptualize something new and innovative. As before, the band presents memorable arrangements and hard musicianship, delivered as if they truly believe in what they are writing.
As before, there is a fusion of post-thrash metal, alternative, groove, crunch, unconventional songwriting, a strong vocal presence, and themes that sound as though they originate from far away. They are able to evoke emotions that are as diverse as the material they use in their compositions, resulting in a much larger whole than its parts. As a result of the cleaner production, the sound is heavier and more convincing than their previous releases, as if they are unleashing all the energy they have been accumulating during their silence at once.
Lizza Hayson's vocals give new meaning to Helen Reddy's “I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar”. She embodies the spirit behind the band's creation, regardless of whether her voice is melodic or brutal. Her range often personifies the band’s exotic qualities, especially in “Epicore” and “Warrior of Light”. There is so much difference between the themes of every song that it would be difficult to place them into a single category. The following songs may be of interest to you: “Resist”, “Light Comes Out the Dark”, “Broken Wing”, “A Prayer For the Insane”, and “Fallen”.
Those of you who have never heard of Mahavatar would be well advised to give them a listen if you are looking for music that breaks the mold in a variety of ways. –Dave Wolff

Lizza Hayson: Vocals
Shahar Mintz: Guitars, vocals
Richard Almady: Guitars
Maria Rapacz: Bass
Glenn Grossman: Drums

Track list:
1. Resist
2. Hate Factory
3. Epicore
4. Light Comes Out the Dark
5. Broken Wing
6. Rise from Betrayal
7. Warrior of Light
8. A Prayer for the Insane
9. Cold Steel Welded
10. Fallen
11. Broken Wing (acoustic)

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