Words by Ezra La Vin
Indian Stoner Rock duo Diarchy first started getting wide spread attention in 2017 when they released their first album ‘Here Lost We Lie’. This was a dry, gritty offering with Helmet style, no-nonsense, nineties era riffing and Clutch like hooks, offset by delicate, relaxing passages inspired by late sixties eastern psychedelia. In ‘Splitfire’ this unique sound has been further developed and enriched to produce their best work yet.
“Splitfire is more melodic,” explains guitarist/vocalist Parakash Rawat. “I feel our first album was a lot rawer, closer to Stoner Rock than this one. We had the songs ready and it was just a matter of getting into a studio and recording them, whereas with this album we put a lot more time into the writing process, especially with us having to split our time between different cities.”
Kamal Hossen opens with a very catchy intro riff and progresses to some moshable, early Deftones sounding sections with tight, in your face drumming by Gaurrav Tiwari. Rawat seems to excel at producing an abundance of hooky, heavy riffs that often are a blend of technical phrasing with classic hard rock sensibility.
Tirunelveli gives the listener a dreamy reprieve from the opener with a melodic, clean, eastern psychedelic interlude which builds into a satisfying, monolithic riff. This flows nicely into Gone Too Late which really showcases how far this band has come. More catchy, heavy stuff balanced perfectly by melodic, dynamic sections. Splitfire is a standout track, a true stoner rock song complete with a fuzzy melodic hooks. Brooding, restrained soaring vocals leads into a quirky, rollicking riff in the chorus.
Another break from the onslaught of catchy riffs comes with the instrumental track Home. The reverb laden, eastern sounding, clean guitar here may remind some listeners of Led Zep III or Tea Party. But this is unsurprising given that those bands were heavily influenced by eastern melodies and managed to incorporate them into their western rock music. Diarchy however, are essentially doing the opposite. They are eastern! These kind of melodies that sound slightly exotic to the western listener are part of every day life for Diarchy. They have been influenced by bands like Clutch, Karma to Burn and Kyuss and have managed to incorporate them into their eastern music.
Back to the Stoner Rock with Badger, which is probably the most accessible of the lot and certainly another highlight of the album. Heavy, groovy Morello-esque riffing with excellent drumming. Sunny Side Up is a real barnstormer, one of their best! Heavy, catchy stoner rock with a great balance of dynamics in melody and intensity. Kraanti returns to the delicate, melodic, eastern sounding clean guitar that Rawat is so adept at. This time the relaxing interlude explodes into heavy prog metal riffing with a rousing solo. It would be interesting to see how they execute some of their material in a live setting given they are a two piece band. A bit of loop-pedal tap dancing I imagine! The album closes with the almost a capella Best Way Out Is Always Through, a strangely satisfying, folk/shamanic/hippie camp fire jam that serves as the perfect ending to this very solid Stoner Rock album.
“I am fortunate to have a band-mate who holds dear the same ideologies, sensibilities and sensitivities,” says drummer/lyricist Tiwari (right). “I believe he can feel what I am trying to emote and express. For what Diarchy’s songs are trying to say, we both stand for the same reasons and causes.”
Diarchy’s new album ‘Splitfire’ will be released worldwide on 27th March 2020 and was recorded and mixed by Sridhar Varadarajan at Studio 304 in Bangalore and mastered by James Plotkin (Sunn O))), Pelican, Earth). It is the first album to be officially released on Unherd Music; a brand-new, world-beating record label from Bangalore that will seek to bring out the best in underground rock and experimental music from India. ‘Splitfire’ is a great stoner rock record that all fans of the genre should give a spin. The production is excellent and the songwriting impressive. No cliches in sight, Diarchy have created a sound that is uniquely theirs, full of creativity and explosive energy.