TATTVA (FRA) – Naraka, 2022 🇬🇧


Versi贸n en espa帽ol. 

It’s hard to ignore the fact that this is the third release by this band that I’m faced with for a review. What would normally be easy for my work, in the case of TATTVA becomes a challenge: among the many virtues it boasts, J.‘s one-man project stands out, especially for its commendable stylistic variety. Conceptually, the themes of the previous albums are maintained or even reinforced, judging by the song titles. Naraka is the Sanskrit term that describes what would become hell in Indian religions, and the album seems to follow a lyrical journey through this realm.

The introduction itself, 芦Anima Oppresi芦, gives us hints of this greater conceptual vocation that TATTVA has sought in this release. From the first tracks, we can already glimpse the heterogeneity to which J. has accustomed us: although 芦Hell’s Path – Naraka禄 is a little weak, mainly due to an uninspired rhythm guitar (I will come back to it later), 芦Judgement – Manu Shya禄 is a true compendium of all TATTVA‘s virtues: rhythm changes, punctuations somewhere between melodic death and the most classic black, and a good dose of atmosphere, the latter reminiscent of their 2021 album Nirjara. Naraka is a more direct and concise album than its predecessor, which keeps the avant-garde elements but integrates them in a more subtle way in the music, with moments that make me think of the style of bands like GAEREA or even GOJIRA.

As for the production, TATTVA continues its slow but relentless improvement. In this case, it can be said, at last, that the drums find their place in the mix. At times it may seem to be too loud, but maybe that’s the fault of the guitars, which don’t shine as much as they should. The bass, on the other hand, is much more present than on previous albums, with moments of special prominences, such as the final section of 芦…And…禄. Death…芦.

J. still makes use of the same interpretative resources we saw in Nirjara, something noticeable especially in the rhythm guitar, which could have benefited from an extra point of innovation. Even so, the balance between more accelerated and more atmospheric parts is very well achieved, and it is admirable to see how, album by album, TATTVA is forging a unique character and sound. The role of the vocals in this is especially noteworthy: like the rest of the elements, it seems that he finally feels comfortable in the style he practices, which is very noticeable in the final result.

Naraka is not free of ups and downs, but it is a solid and careful work, the result of a background that takes shape with each new album. Besides the purely musical aspect, TATTVA has found a thematically very specific niche with Hindu mythology, which is very attractive for all the juice that can be extracted from it, and which will surely give something for the releases to come.