Within Ceres’ debut EP Skyless is a look into a future replete with virtual reality and escapism
IN THE MAKING for the past seven months, metal outfit Within Ceres’ new EP, Skyless is a masterclass in the art of worldbuilding. Distinctly futuristic and cyberpunk in its aesthetic, the EP gives us a glimpse into a not-so-distant future where our dependence on technology has superseded our actual day-to-day reality. The Goa-based metal band presents us with a world that, unfortunately, doesn’t seem too far from ours today.
The six-member outfit consists of Odin De Sa (guitars and production), Arnold Carvalho (vocals), Naizian Fernandes (keys), Kadesh Dsouza (guitars), Nathan Fernandes (drums), and Valiston Fernandes (bass). The band has been on the circuit since 2014 and is one of the few metals bands from the region. The members list Indian contemporaries Skyharbor, Gutslit, Inner Sanctum and Zygnema as favourites.
The five-track EP is set in a dystopia where the cities have disintegrated into a shrivelled concrete jungle where no one looks up at the sky anymore. Citizens use a VR device to enter a virtual world, called Ceres, and are free to travel within this alternative reality. The use of a headset is widespread as a means of escape. “Both our band name and the EP’s concept is based on escapism and maladaptive daydreaming,” Odin tells us, adding, “The idea is that in this future, humans rely on virtual realities as an escape mechanism to experience everything that the real world cannot provide — from living old memories to visiting new inspiring places — all within Ceres. Skyless further builds on that idea of Ceres being limitless.” The cover art, by Jishnu Chatterjee, is a neon-toned image reminiscent of Blade Runner 2049 and Ready Player One.
Some standout tracks from the album are Our Oceans, a song about the illusion of freedom, Terminal, with themes of rebirth and second chances, and Dissonance, described as having dystopian overtones. “In each song, we see what individuals are experiencing and how he or she uses Ceres to their own advantage. It’s not all positive as a continued abuse of Ceres’ abilities can result in cognitive dissonance. The real world does not align with the one they have created for themselves and this gives rise to a host of different issues,” Odin tells us.
From a genre point of view, the EP, and the band’s sound in general, is derived from heavy styles such as metal-core and djent, but with a melodic touch thanks to the ambient and orchestral elements. “I like to play with the idea of light and dark themes while keeping the adrenaline pumping,” the artiste adds. Looking ahead, the band is already planning its next release. “We are excited to share new music and until the planet recovers from this pandemic, we will do our best to keep things interesting. As of now, we are looking at live streams to fill the hole that COVID has created,” Odin sums up.
Available on online streaming platforms