Abhiruk Patoway is a young Indian multi-instrumentalist, who is going beyond the usual trends of modern metal with his project Gaia and their recent release ’Aerial’. Patoway collaborates with guitarist Ro Han (I Built The Sky), drummer Nathan Bulla (Intervals), and vocalists Siddharth Hair, David Chunn and Sahil Khurana, to bring us something new and fresh from a range of different influences. Upon my first listen to ‘Aerials’ I would label the sound of Gaia as a blend of Tesseract, Scar Symmetry and The Helix Nebula.
Aerial is the first track off ‘Aerial’ and is an instrumental track, that sets the mood for the glorious music that is about to unfold. Ambient sounds that echo and ring from the effects on the clean guitar melody starts the album, before the groove of the rhythm section kicks in and the joining of melodic guitar leads and solos. Aerial is one of those tracks that has you grinning from ear to ear, while moving your head to the epic grooves that have been created by this power house of a collaboration. Similar to Aerial, Prism starts with guitars and a groove riff by the rhythm section, before angelic sounding vocals enter that complement the guitar work. Prism features a cool rhythmic drum and bass section, with vocals and some really interesting guitar work that sits low in the mix. New Reality features more of those sweet riffs, drawn out vocal melodies that create a great ambiance to the track. New Reality begins the use of harsh vocals on ‘Aerial’, and with great placement throughout the track the harsh vocals work gorgeously alongside the clean vocals to create a dramatic edge. The calm before the storm, Jehovah. The opening riff in Jehovah slowly builds itself before exploding into a full-on assault with the addition of harsh vocals that continue throughout the track. Jehovah has the addition of some clean vocals that come together to make an explosive track. Atlantis continues the onslaught of Jehovah, with a great blend of both clean and harsh vocals, and the creatively melodic guitar leads. Daisy World is a little different in sound to the rest of ‘Aerial’, with its more up paced riffs and the drums being more on the heavier side in the use of cymbals.
Reclamation and how this track begins, reminds me of tracks off Between The Buried and Me’s album ‘Colors’. Reclamation features purely mesmerising vocal work, before evolving into heavier style riffs with harsh vocals and continuing the creativity trend that we have heard in the previous tracks on ‘Aerial’. Cipher is a great blend of styles and influences that are present in the tracks Aerial and Prism, with its Tesseract like vocal melodies and deliveries, and ambient sounding guitar work. My favourite track on ‘Aerial’ is the track Element and how could you not. Element starts with an Indian-esq guitar melody that features throughout the track, you have interesting vocal work and delivery on both the clean and harsh vocals, and great riffs. The final track Nebulous has an awesome intro that builds with dissonant sounding chords, before exploding to an intense fast paced riff that melts into an epic groove riff with harsh vocals. Nebulous also features a chaotic guitar solo, and has depth created with the use of ambient sounding clean sections amongst all the chaos that is going on in Nebulous.
‘Aerial’ is a fresh addition to the modern metal world and it does clearly stand out on its own amongst all the other metal bands out there. Each track works perfectly together and the different influential elements from the collaborators is complimented in each track. ‘Aerial’ features a range of great vocal delivery and melodies by Hair, Chunn and Khurana on the tracks, however, to me some of the vocals lack at times, like in Daisy World, where the clean vocals seem to clash with one when they have been doubled at times and some of the harsh vocal styles in Jehovah to me don’t suit the sound of the track. The guitar work on Gaia’s album ‘Aerial’ is phenomenal and the drum work by Bulla helps the album excel and makes it a must for metal fans.