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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Rudra

Enemy of Duality

Review by Mike Korn

There’s a whole world of heavy metal outside the usual West European/North American stuff that gets all the publicity. In Southeast Asia, Rudra is the undisputed master of what they call "Vedic metal"…a type of extreme metal that uses traditional Eastern sounds and which is lyrically focused upon Hindu thought.

There are now quite a few Vedic metal bands, but Rudra are arguably the first and undoubtedly one of the greatest. On Enemy of Duality, they slow down their high speed attack, which results in the music being heavier than ever. Lyrically they are heavily into Eastern philosophy and this results in a refreshing difference from the usual Western stuff devoted to devil worship and nuclear Armageddon.

This is the first Rudra record to be widely available here in the States and hopefully this will turn on a whole new audience to the power of Vedic metal!

 

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Abating The Firebrand

The beguiling drone of the tambur announces right away this will not be your typical metal album. The song is traditional Hindu music complete with mystic chants to start, but it isn’t long before the metal power creeps in. This tune rumbles on the back of a powerful drumbeat that propels it. Harsh vocals tell tales of Hindu mythology as the pace picks up to thrash levels. Make no mistake, this is death metal but mixed with the exotic feel of the East.

Slay the Demons of Duality

The same tambur drone gives way to a powerful blast of chugging thrash. Again, hats off to the drummer who really commands the tempo with brutal double bass playing. All in all, this tune is the most blatantly aggressive on the album without losing the Eastern tone. There’s a really ripping guitar solo to keep the energy high, too.

Perception Apparent

A somber flute introduces this song and makes way for a dark and bulldozing metal riff that is brilliant in its simplicity. The transition to high speed mayhem is breath-taking, but even so, there’s still time for that flute and traditional native chanting. This is an otherworldly tune, something much different than typical Western heavy metal.

Acosmic Self

This tune reminds me a lot of the Middle Eastern band Melechesh in the way it unfolds. This is one of my favorites of the album. The riffing is just so massive while still retaining an ancient Oriental feel to it. The drums are a constant precision blast, and the vocals are merciless. This is an absolute screaming classic of mystic Vedic metal!

Root of Misapprehension

A bright and breezy bit of Indian raga kicks this off, with lively sitar and native percussion. You’re waiting for the transition to metal, and when it comes, it will just about blow your head off. This is an aggressive cut that literally seems to growl at the listener. The album is now at its peak and firing on all cylinders!

Seer of All

The guitar sounds get super heavy for this deliberately paced, tank-like cut. The relentless drumming gives the illusion of speed, but the song is actually moderate in terms ofpace. There’s a lot of chunky stop-and-start guitar work here, and the number is deceptively complex.

Hermit in Nididhysanna

A sing-song accapella chant provides the intro to this surging mid-paced cut. There are actually quite a few vocal styles in evidence here…a sonorous, echoing clean vocal, that sing-song Hindu chant and the standard harsh rasps of the vocalist. This tune is constantly changing in tempo and tone and features some awesome metal grooves that will have your head banging furiously. The lyrics are a salute to all those whose spiritual life takes them down a solitary path.

Ancient Fourth

This album-ending epic is one of Rudra’s longest songs. It’s a doomy, repetitive track based on a killer chugging rifferama. Vocals again sound strange to Western ears as there is a lot of robotic mantra chanting. It’s hypnotic to listen to, and you feel like joining in even if you don’t understand what the words are. There’s even something like scat singing in there. The tune is definitely on the long side, but that was no drawback for me.

 

 
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