Review: Cheel Ghar – S/T

Cheel Ghar - S/TCheel Ghar translates from Hindi as “tower of silence”, referring to gigantic circular structures used to dispose of the dead back in the 9th Century by subscribers to the Zoroastrian religion. Bodies would be left in the tower to decay and be scavenged by birds. Gigantic, resilient towers welling with the mush and stench of mortal disintegration.

These structures aren’t without parallel to Cheel Ghar’s debut cassette. Hidden within this monolithic music – which lumbers forth upon legs of doom and tectonic rock ‘n’ roll – is the evidence of rot and mortal unease. The guitar riffs stack toward the sky with a calculated sense of menace, wrought with crumbling dissonances and crooked edges. Yet the rhythmic syncopations create little staggers and jerks within the upward momentum, while the screams feel flecked with a sense of panic. The most unsettling aspect of Cheel Ghar isn’t the sheer weight of the musical structures, but rather the stink of humanity that resides within them: the tempo fluctuations that feel like momentary regrets before a sudden burst of violence, or the way the vowels of each lyric quiver under faltered breath. As the 20-minute “Helix Monolith” slows down during its closing quarter, so increases the risk that Cheel Ghar will be crushed by the collapse of their own music.

This is partly due to the imbalance having one guitar instead of two, meaning that the riffs always feel slightly askew of upright. Opening track “Raven And Kites” builds upon the foundations of a lethargic, fiercely distorted riff; drums and bass apply additional weight until the full shape starts to emerge. It crumbles during the track’s second half, which alternates between monotonous battering ram and free-flying pinch harmonic debris. Even though the two shorter pieces assemble themselves much more quickly, they stagger into riffs with the untempered attack of a bar brawler, frothing at the mouth and ill-judged in movement. The feral energy of Cheel Ghar never sits comfortably inside the box they build for it.