Review by Ellen Eldridge
Enticed by the promise of a twist on the same old metal, I opened up Resolution 15’s Svaha with low expectations, but an open mind. Unsure whether or not the description of violins replacing guitars in blistering thrash, punk and hardcore-influenced music could be accurate, I waded through the first three tracks reserving judgment.
The vocals forcefully demand attention, placing the band squarely in a hard-core if not death metal genre. Typically, bands with vocals more blistering than Vulgar Display of Power-era Pantera lose me. Perhaps I’m just not personally that angry anymore about anything, but I need a certain amount of melody to temper anger, make clear the lyrics and win my intense passion. When I feel I’m being screamed at, and I’m not sure why, I lose interest quickly.
But, by the fourth track, a cover of “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” the familiarity pulled me in. Such is the reason for any band—especially a newer band—to add a cover song to an EP. Resolution 15 instantly earned respect for digging in and pulling out the intense guts of U2’s hit. Any band that can pulse through ripping vocals while retaining the melody in a scream deserves a closer listen. And these guys do it with an added crunch that lasts throughout the EP.
Resolution 15 released its debut in 2007, sticking its leather boot into the New York metal scene. After playing countless shows drawing fans, the band released its last EP in 2010 and now follows up with Svaha, which means “So be it” in Sanskrit. The steely attitude implied in the title shows that Resolution 15 will do what it takes to wedge that boot farther up the metal scene’s backside without faltering.
Taking some of the band’s musical inspiration from Classical, tempers the sharp edge of Svaha so that its songs stand to entertain the heaviest metal fan alongside the fan who needs more melody. Deeper within, the song’s lyrics spread an egalitarian message of global change that echoes with allusions to Hinduism and Sanskrit.
The closing track, “Kali,” pays homage to the fearful face of the Hindu mother goddess, who became so carried away during a battle against evil forces that she began destroying everything in her sight. Her four arms and head of a demon create a perfect metaphor for 7-string electric violinist Earl Maneein, bassist Mike Bendykowski and vocalist Nick Serr. This song capitalizes on solos and driving drums by Kenny Grohowski with more melody in the vocals than on some of the earlier tracks. “Kali” rounds out the EP and showcases a versatile and deserving band.
The impactful analogies encased Sanskrit words, powerful music and purposeful allusions makes Svaha far more than another EP from another New York metal band; Resolution 15 deserves a closer listen by fans of all metal genres.
Recording of Svaha took place at Spin Studios and Nova Studios with Ryan Kelly and Stacy O’Dell as producers; the EP was released January 15.