Jono Moulds checks out the new album from Girish And The Chronicles for The Rock & Roll Circus. Girish And The Chronicles released the re-record of their debut album, "Back On Earth" on January 27, 2023.
Originally released in 2014, "Back on Earth" was the first album to introduce GATC to a larger global hard rock audience and kicked off their still ongoing rock n' roll journey.
When asked why the band decided to re-record the album as opposed to simply remastering and reissuing it, frontman Girish Pradhan says, "We wanted the whole thing to have a fresh new start. Although we wanted to keep most of the vocal takes, we have been introducing a lot of musical changes to these songs in live performances. So, we thought, “Why not do the same in the new recordings?" We always felt that we had technical challenges back in the day and couldn’t deliver the hard-hitting sound that we had originally intended, so we introduced some new breakdowns, chord sequences, solos, and bass and drum parts to these songs that make them feel closer to where we are now. We didn’t want to mess around too much with the vocals though, which is why I only re-recorded the vocals for 'Angel' and 'Loaded'. The whole thing sounds quite different from the 2014 version, but all in all, it stays true to the spirit of the songs, however, we feel that it is closer to the vision we had back in the day."
Thinking back on the making of their debut album, Girish says, "each song has its own story. Most of them were singles, released during the 2009-2013 era of the band. We had a lot of struggles, but we were living our lives to the fullest. More than anything, we were a group of four guys, without a care in the world, who just wanted to get on stage and rock. 'Angel' was the first song ever released. I wrote that tune around 2008. It was supposed to be a solo song at that time, but by the time we all assembled, we officially called it the band’s first ever single. 'Golden Crown' might sound funny to a lot of our new listeners, but it was a song by two teenagers (me and my brother, Yogesh), meant as a jingle for a local football championship named the Gold Cup, organised by the Sikkim Football Association. I wrote 'Loaded'’s riff and some of its lyrics in 2010, when we were in the process of applying for our first passports. Two of our band members lacked some documents and were told to go back to Sikkim and reapply all over again. We were quite frustrated, thinking of the long journey and the amount of running around we had been doing, for something so simple, plus we were broken as hell. Anyway, the circumstances did help me write the song, and the lines:
“There’s no point in complaining
And shedding tears while it’s raining
There is nothing to lose,
‘Cause I was the one to choose”
I guess this will be very long to read if I start writing about each song, so we'll leave some of it to our fans to interpret!"
Originally from Sikkim, but now based in the city of Bangalore/Bengaluru in Karnataka, India, GATC are known for their soaring, powerful vocals, biting guitars, thunderous bass, and pounding drums, staying true to the authentic ‘80s heavy metal/hard rock sound which they grew up with. In their 12-year existence, GATC have been credited by many fans for bringing the classic hard rock culture back to India and are an inspiration to many new and upcoming bands in the scene. The group has gained a cult following globally with '80's and '90s hair metal and hard rock aficionados in addition to being well known in the Indian rock scene for electrifying live shows and have toured across the nation and beyond. The group has supported bands ranging in variety from American alt rockers Hoobastank to Finnish rockers Poets of the Fall to German thrashers Destruction.
The band has also performed at the Zurbaran Rock Burgos Fest in Spain, sharing the stage with German hard rock legends Bonfire. GATC has also performed at the UrRock Fest in Switzerland in 2021, sharing the stage with Nazareth, Orden Ogan, Firewind, and again in 2022 with headliners Skid Row, amongst others. Additionally, the band consistently has been part of various leading music festivals in India. Vocalist Girish Pradhan is also part of the international metal group, Firstborne, which is led by Chris Adler, James Lomenzo, and Hugh B. Myrone. He has also toured the UK, France, Spain, Portugal, and other territories with his other side projects in the past.
GATC has released three acclaimed albums, their debut “Back on Earth” (2014), “Rock The Highway” (2020), and their most recent release, and Frontiers Music Srl debut, "Hail To The Heroes" (2022).
Review by Jono Moulds.
Now, not all opening tracks are made up of super furious, metal mayhem, but in the case of ‘Ride to Hell’ that’s exactly what we get and then some, as fiercely played, super high gain guitar riffs crackle with the power of ‘Rock ‘Roll. After such a relentless start, there is the briefest of respites, before the band kick back into gear and motor on with another tirade of riffage. ‘Pradhan’s’ vocal possesses all the attributes required to more than support the fervent musical madness taking place, as his raw, commanding singing style tears through the verses and straight into the chorus, destroying all in its wake. The emergence of the first guitar solo only adds to what’s been laid to waste before, as ‘Sun’ plays a quite scintillating and speedy 6-string part that matches the tunes overall wildness. This is no-holds barred stuff – scorcher!!
A slightly less frenetic beginning to ‘Loaded’, as a heavily induced phased, slightly off kilter guitar riff launches the track into a mid-paced tempo. This riff continues throughout the track’s conception, but with some great licks added that really give the section a lift. There’s a touch of ‘Coverdale’ in ‘Pradhan’s’ voice (but with a bit more grit) as he sings the opening line ‘I’m loaded, I’m broken like an old stray dog’. Heading into the pre-chorus and beyond into the chorus, the initial ‘off-kilter’ guitar riff is given a break, as it’s back to R ‘n R basics with a steady, throbbing rhythm taking full control, which has some great support vocal for melodious company. The bridge seems to contain itself (for a period at least) on the same minor chord, before setting up the tunes classic sounding guitar solo. Another hot slice of great sounding Rock – No complaints so far.
Hefty sounding drums and a firm, distorted bass riff bring forth ‘Born with a Big Attitude’, which from the off demonstrates an edge and defiance that categorically states that there’ll be absolutely no prisoners taken. A simplistic riff is energised enough to ensure that this song starts as it means to go on, as ‘Pradhan’s’ takes his vocal range right down, to a point where he almost sounds/morphs into ‘Axl Rose’, especially as he combines that forward mix of the lower range, with the slightly subdued higher range part – nice. As things develop, you can certainly hear more of that Guns N' Roses influence weaving its way through the tune. An unusual twist lies afoot as we crash into the bridge, as a clever change of riff and a new singing section awaits. Just to add to this, an almost ‘Blur – Song2’ crunch guitar part kicks in straight after, giving the song a medley of flavour – love this.
Yet another sizzling and electrifying guitar lick introduces the intriguingly titled ‘Shot by the Cupid, Touched by the Devil’ whilst the rest of the band crash with finite timing and interspersed accuracy. After this sparkling of introductions, the song takes some serious metallic shape, with its hard-hitting sonics and pile driving rhythms – relentless. Not that he must force the point any further, but ‘Pradhan’ produces some top-level vocal all the way through this molten offering, excelling with his ability to obliterate each lyric at ease. There is a real old school feel about this tune, which, I for one, gravitate toward like a cold beer on a sunny day. Great licks, awesome bass lines from ‘‘Pradhan’ and some bestial drumming, all come together as one.
‘Angel’ glides into action as a softly played piano piece and lone vocal, as we have all the hallmarks of the band producing their first ballad of the album. A bass note slide enhances the song a little further, but without taking away any of the arrangements tender feel, as a sparkling piano run and shimmering guitar add to the tune’s overall vibe. ‘Pradhan’s’ vocal occasionally escapes from the shackles of the tunes soft caress, as it soars with a rawness that is difficult to cage, no matter what the construct of the song is. The introduction of the drums certainly signals another power move, but not with quite as much intensity as I imagined, as the band, in general, keep things under a modicum of control, just allowing ‘Sun’ to have his moment in the sun, ensuring that this tune will be his ‘tour de force’. Another exquisite piano run precedes the guitar piece, as the tone of the guitar seems to switch mid solo from bridge to neck pick-up, and we have a subtle, yet clever tonal feel pouring out. If ballads are your thing, this emotional tune will satisfy you in a heartbeat.
As if we haven’t already been bombarded within enough guitar riffage to sink a battleship, here comes another blistering attack as ‘Prahdan/Sun’ launches into ‘I wanna get that lovin again’. Suffice to say, that as soon as the band consider it time enough to join in, the foundations have already been given the necessary metal planning permission and the footings have been well and truly laid. Although the verses start off with a dominant bass and rock-solid drumbeat, its ‘Pradhan’s’ vocal that retains that raucous vibe, as some ‘light’ sounding guitar skips in and out to add some frills. However, that strong guitar returns with a vengeance, as we roll on through the tune, which is when it really cranks up. The chorus has a nice commercial/AOR edge to it, made so in no small measure to the great harmony vocal. As for the bridge, well, this is made up by some interesting guitar shenanigans (both bass and lead), that ‘chop and change’, but add an interesting and diverse element into the mix. The solo is carefully constructed and is really drawn to the front of the song, as the guitar support is clean and allows for that great sound/tone to shine through. Power and strength for most part, but some subtle touches added in – Yes!!
A quick triad of ‘sweeps’ on the hi-hat and we are launched straight into ‘Hey You’. This starts off more in a conventional, full on, power chord riff style than the excellent ‘licks and tricks’ that have come to pass. The tune has a superb pace to it, which fundamentally has its roots laid in blues, that is masked ingeniously by both ‘Prahdan/Sun’ where it certainly feels that the shackles have been taken off them, so they can explore riffs and licks to sit atop this classic structure. This is most certainly evident after the chorus, as a pre-solo section is put together that feels very ‘off the cuff’, almost liberating and something that wasn’t expected, certainly not at this point in the tune. And before you know it, it’s done. Short, sharp and to the point, but a bloody good rock track.
With a title ‘Yesteryears’ you’d be led to believe that we have another ballad type tune on our hands, and after the crisp, clean and heavily reverbed beginning to this, then our suspicions would be well and truly founded. Adding to this, piano is the focal point as the song opens its doors, with ’Pradhan’s’ voice sounding restrained, yet this restrain could erupt at any given moment, which it does before the verse completes itself – wow!!! What we have here, is another fine example AOR. Indeed, moving into the second act of the track, ‘Pradhan’ takes things to a new level, with some outstanding examples of his undoubted range, hitting notes that shake the speakers (I’m sure that he hits some notes that only dogs could hear!!). The song’s pace never drifts throughout, remaining steadfast, yet building beautifully, allowing the solo to flourish in front of it. A great slice of AOR/Ballad writing and performing – ‘Pradhan’ at his very best here – check it out!!
‘Smile Little Child’ starts off in a similar fashion to the last tune, that is, soft keyboard layers, followed by a run of piano chords, allowing a soulful and laid-back vocal to sit above it. The introduction of some set-back strings only fuels the fire that we have back-to-back ballads on our hands (unusual having them placed in this order, but let’s see what develops). Drifting through the track, it becomes apparent that out of these two ballads, this appears to remain true to its core, as the band, musically, keep things at a level where we have no big, heavy crescendo, as sweet backing vocal add to this feeling. The solo is played with very little support to begin with, but does get a power rise, but overall, the song is subtle, with a tremendous amount of AOR feel, far more than the last.
After two ballads (as I’ve said, unusual to place them back-to-back) ‘The Revolving Barrel’ gets takes straight back to ‘Metal Avenue’ as a lone ‘Zeppelin’ style guitar lick opens the tune, which is closely followed by the introduction of a dynamic and technically astute drum pattern; and a bass line that throws the tune out far enough to give it much more interest and flavour. This extended opening certainly showcases the ability of ‘Pradhan’, ‘Sun’ and ‘Nags’, and as it comes to its end, a power chord is hit and let to ring out just in time for ‘Pradhan’ to step out of the shadows and begin his vocal demolition. And of course, he does this with the same amount of gut-wrenching vigour which he’s shown all the way through this album. In between the lyrics, that ‘tasty’ guitar lick is re-introduced along with some ‘scorching’ guitar flurries, if only to remind us how much this tunes rocks!! For the first half of the track, it remains true to its initial riff, only deviating slightly, by the band taking it musically up a step, where even more guitar lines are offered up. The first real change of direction comes towards the songs final third, where there is a guitar led bridge that breaks the hold of that incredibly catchy guitar riff. Inevitably, it comes back out to play soon enough, that has some seriously infectious bass lines to battle against. Well, that was Riffmungus with a capital R!!!
A bass sliding, guitar harmonic opening to ‘The Golden Crown’ and we are up and running, fleet of foot, as guitar riffage galore takes the tune by the scruff of the neck from its outset. The song is driven by some intense guitar ‘chuggage’ made all the ‘meatier’ by some excellent drumming by ‘Nags’ as he fills with speed and pummels away as if his very existence depended on it. Passing through the pre-chorus and into the chorus (once again, this may be back to front, but it’s just me view) the track does not yield an inch, where melody (derived from those harmonic notes from the beginning) meets the continuous, ongoing influence of the band delivering on a vast scale. A solo that isn’t ‘muddied or lengthy’ leads into a rapid keyboard run, that adds just a modicum of shimmering glitz to proceedings as the band end the track in the same fashion as it began.
The end of the album brings us ‘End of Civilisation’ that begins with a sobering drone, a fateful warning siren. before it culminates with the sound of bomb exploding – end of days stuff indeed. At the intro’s conclusion a single, distorted note cuts through, with enough distortion that the harmonically played string fizzes into life. As ‘Pradhan’ ‘growls’ the opening lyrics, the song has a fascinating signature timing to it, made even more intriguing by ‘Nags’ drum pattern, as he makes sure that the thunderous rhythm is kept active throughout, leaving both the verse and the irregularity of its rhythmic appeal, the next phase has a far more standard drive, which only goes to accentuate the initial section, especially when it re-emerges immediately after. The guitar solo has a ‘spikiness’ about it and is played atop of a continuous, transcending guitar part/rhythm, which marries it to great effect. As we pass the halfway mark, there comes a point where we seem to get a song within a song, as a bridge develops, which is replaced/leads into a section that sounds (to me at least) completely new. There is so much going on in this track, that it is extremely difficult to keep this review under any form of control – End of Civilisation, the title sums everything up nicely.
Although this album is a re-recording of older material, in some respects this has no bearing on this review as I had never been exposed to their music until now, so to that end, I have no pre-determined benchmark in which to ‘muddy’ any of my humble thoughts.
In a nutshell, this is a great example of various elements of Rock/Metal, from scintillating guitar riffs and hooks all the way through to strong ballads, the songs will ‘touch base’ with all who gravitate to this wonderful World of Rock that we love so much.
Production values are top level, and the bands performance is for all to see within the detail that I’ve reviewed each track. If you’ve already heard the original offering, it’s time to reacquaint yourselves with it, but if, like me, this is your first time around, then don’t dismiss this gem, you will not be dissatisfied as this will undoubtedly rock your proverbial socks off!!
Girish Pradhan - Vocals / Rhythm Guitars
Yogesh Pradhan - Bass / Keyboards
Suraz Sun - Lead Guitars
Nagen Nags - Drums
Watch GATC videos on YouTube: https://bit.ly/3B9nfkm