The Hindu god Shiva has often drawn the attention of many rockers in India, finding his place in lyrical references and merchandise visuals. Mumbai-based metalheads Midhaven carry on this tradition by playing around the god of destruction’s persona in a 7-track concept album called Of The Lotus & The Thunderbolt.
While it’s way more than a generic fusion album, Midhaven’s approach incorporates progressive Metal with traditional Indian influences. As mentioned earlier, there is a direct homage to Shiva while also touching upon the multi-layered notions of time. Shiva, after all, was referred to as ‘Mahakaal’ (that roughly translates to ‘the ruler of time’). Shiva as a god has been associated with anger as well as meditation. Contrasting moods and emotions such as these are present throughout the album that starts off with shouts of anger and frustration and ends with calming instrumentals.
Para Brahman offers a raging start which is built up with an even more energetic power anthem called Primal Song. The middle track The Immanent Effervescence of Sorrow starts off with extremely ambient guitar licks, offering a slight change in tone. Another standout track is the closing chapter Bhairav, a haunting melody that would perfectly sit well as the score for a thriller series or film. It is soothing, and yet stress-inducing at the same time. Further, it is bound to excite Indian Classical fans given how it is composed on the Raag Bhairav.
Overall, the sound might get repetitive for those new-age listeners who have moved over prog-rock and metal. The nuances would definitely be tougher for such mainstream audiences to nitpick. But for the niche demographic that this album might cater to, Of The Lotus & The Thunderbolt is quite an amusing experiment. Instrumental tracks like the aforementioned Bhairav and The Immanent Effervescence would also impress the general listeners.
Clocking at over 34 minutes, the songs don’t overstay their welcome and can be heard on the run too (although of course, a ‘chaotically meditative’ compilation such as this deserves more careful listening). All in all, there might be a slight monotony underlying a few tracks but Midhaven’s Shiva-themed album makes for a great concept and atmospheric music.
Verdict: An atmospheric concept album dedicated to the god Shiva.