Mahavatar - Mind Hypnotic Vision Towards Revolution
Self released
Impossible to Categorize Mixture of Heavy Music
5 songs (18'05")
Release year: 2003
Reviewed by Alex

When I read the band’s name I just figured the music would be atmoshepric with the Indian feel to it. After all Mahabharata is an Indian epos, a book of Indian myths and legends. Mahavatar – Mahabharata, you catch the drift. The first notes didn’t shake my beliefs as an Indian-Eastern intro of the opener Deep Cobble was followed by a velvety female voice and quiet touching of the bass and tom drums. Then, this blood curdling scream hit the deck … and I remembered that we shouldn’t judge the book by its cover.

Mahavatar is a young band that hails from New York City. The band’s makeup is somewhat unusual. The band has two female members. Vocalist Lizza Hayson and drummer Itamar Ben-Zakay are Israeli and the band’s guitarist is Jamaican Karla Williams. The band has been around since 1999, and if I understand correctly this is their third demo.

Back to the music. Trying to describe the style of Mahavatar is like counting the types of species in the tropical rainforest. The band incorporates so many styles and blends so many heavy music genres, they are beyond categorization (as I am typing this review I am still scratching my head as to what I will put in our Style category). Every song on the 5-song demo comes from a totally different corner of Heavy Metal and beyond. Lizza’s voice switches between gruff gurgling and shrieky screams. If it was any gruffer I would call it hardcore. She comes up with her screams in the most unusual places (like right after a high-hat and cymbal intro to Control Fix). Sometimes you think that her vocal cords are being held and twisted by an iron grip. Yet, she surprised me tremendously with a clean spacey wailing on Raw. All of these vocal escapades proceed along the lines of guitar driven Deep Cobble, almost jazzy in its syncopated riffs Control Fix or doomy Anger.

Karla’s guitar is an attraction in a noodly dirge of Deep Cobble, or her chugging counterpoints to Eddie’s bass in Raw. Her weaving solo in Raw is definitely a treat as well. I would be very hard pressed to tell you what was being done to a guitar so it can produce sounds like on Jungle. Basswork in the aforementioned Raw and Anger is quality. Production is not brilliantly clean with nothing mixed too high or too low, all instruments coming out in the narrow safe range.

All in all, though, Mahavatar is not an easy straightforward listen. Take Raw for example. 1min of hardcorish vocals and sharp stop-and-goes is followed by a Pink Floyd inspired spacey rock acoustic guitar and clean singing. Progressive guitar-bass punch-counterpunch middle transitions into the same Pink Floyd piece which now acquires full atmosphere with keyboards and guitar solo. This is a lot for a 5 min song, isn’t it?

It is great to see that a young band is not following any of the beaten paths. I bet my house, nobody on the planet will ever say: “Mahavatar sounds as so and so”. However, fans of what styles of Metal would be interested in checking Mahavatar out? They almost would have to create their “own” followers. I am sure that a bunch of faithful fans regularly come out to local gigs, but this utter non-commercialism, non-conformism and almost an elitist attitude will be some obstacles on the way to industry recognition. I don’t think Mahavatar is afraid, they will play what they feel is right, but the road ahead of them is winding. Well, according to the promo sheet Mahavatar is “an energy that needs nothing but itself to survive”, so they should be OK.

One of my teammembers, I will keep his name a secret, saw Mahavatar live once and wasn’t tremendously pleased. He actually cautioned me against boredom. Mahavatar’s music is anything but boring. It is definitely not straightforward, and would not appeal to everybody, so proceed at your own risk. Mahavatar invites you to check them out at

Killing Songs :
Deep Cobbler, Raw
Alex quoted no quote
Other albums by Mahavatar that we have reviewed:
Mahavatar - From The Sun, The Pain, The Wind, The Soil reviewed by Ken and quoted 90 / 100
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