The Multitude is a five-piece prog rock/metal band, based in London, UK. The band planted its roots in Bangalore, India, where they were known as “Infinite Realms” as a college outfit in 1998. The band states that their name is a “pluralistic concept of many ordinary people acting in networked concert, harnessing music and the arts to script alternative world views and to freely challenge oppressive, orthodox, unjust and dominating systems.” Drawing from this, they aim to “fuse an unforgettable musical experience with thought-provoking stimuli and a view to creating a synergy with diverse audiences.”
The band believes in making meaningful music, breaking conventions and lyrical barriers. Their debut album Passing Into Time was recorded, mixed and mastered by Richard Campbell at Orpheus Studio in London. Their songs come from a great deal of introspection and personal experience. The band members say that they’ve always sought to address inequalities in societies, social norms and present-day political issues affecting the lives of common people. Let’s dive in.
First up is “Kyrie Eleison” (no not the Mr. Mister cover) but a reference to the biblical Greek prayer which translates to ‘Lord, have mercy’ only without the religious connotations. The band points out here that in the grand scheme of our existence, we’re all pretty insignificant. Musically it’s a fantastic beginning, very classic, very prog metal, very – guitar. The song bleeds into the album’s title track “Passing Into Time” with jagged edged guitar riffs – chug, chuggin’ along. After this track, I’d have to say that if Metallica took an even more socially conscious approach and with perhaps less heavy guitar action and less rage singing, you might think you’re listening to The Multitude. The song is a personal reflection on the futility of a meaningless existence.
Next is “Song of the Whimsical Dreamer” a bit lighter in tone and guitar action, but with the exception of a very well done and fluid solo. Another reflective song about pointless materialism and non-existential gains.
“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” makes no reference to Shakespeare’s writing or play as far as I can tell, but this has quite a dynamic mix of lighter styles in the beginning and then crazy double bass action. I mean, it’s pretty insane and the band as a whole is so well in synch. I like the vocal layering on this one a lot. This one happens to be one of the band’s first songs which was written back in their early days in India. Oh, did I mention the guitar solo? Well, it’s completely nuts! – Satriani and Malmsteen, it may be time for you guys to retire. Moving on to “Embrace the Lost Horizon” comes more effortless and melodious guitar riffing and a “rat-a-tat-tat” bass drum rhythm. Thematically, the song is about embracing the horizon of lost and fallen dreams – “I’ll face the lost horizons / I’ll tame the endless sea / Embrace the storm that’s brewing / No need to rescue me.”
“Be the Change” mixes in clean sounding acoustic guitars and moves at a slower pace. With an introspective take, the song encourages the listener to turn away from the negative impacts that religion can sometime have between nations and races and which often stifles free speech, thought and action.
Next is “On High Seas” which features Navlin Gandharv on the belabaharr. This particular instrument as the band points out has a “melancholy” quality which adds to the “rock odyssey” theme of the song, paying homage to the “millions of refugees who undertake perilous, often doomed voyages, across the blue desert of the Mediterranean.” Another great tune which in my opinion was the band’s most beautiful and heartfelt number. “A Clarion Call to Revolution” was the first track the band recorded for the album and it reflects on the state of politics globally, the injustices and the evil system that exploits lives in modern day society.
The last tune is “Friends of Mine” which ends things with mellower acoustic tones, a slower beat and a somewhat stripped-down sound, except when the band ramps up their heavy metal style. Sort of an Alice in Chains meets, I don’t know, Gwar? The band sings about the hurt and pain that comes when separations between friends happen as we grow older and distant. Depressing stuff – but yeah, dead on right.
All things considered, this is one hell of a polished and talented band – tight, on the ball and quite entertaining. If you’re into progressive metal and hard rock with songwriting that addresses very relatable political and social themes, then give The Multitude a try.
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