Trinity Records – 2009 – Singapore
Mention anything Hindi put to music and what pops inside most people’s minds is Bollywood. But Rudra are as far from Bollywood as their hometown—Singapore—is from India. Being part of the city-state’s emerging death metal scene, this quartet have managed to carve a niche for themselves with their fusion of ancient texts and the most profane death metal; consider it a bridge to their cultural roots in the subcontinent. It’s certainly music that can incinerate anything made by Bollywood.
Now while the death metal Rudra play won’t strike anyone as cutting edge, that’s not to say it packs no surprises considering the occasional segues into blackened territory found throughout their latest, “Brahmavidya: Transcendental I.” But it’s by including a whole new thematic dimension in their sound that really sets them apart from 99% of metal bands out there. Call it trend setting, campy, exotic, unique; the bottom line is, by combining their fascination for the Vedas (Hindu Philosophy) with death metal, the results are scorching tracks like “Ravens of Paradise,” “Amrtasyaputra,” “Venerable Opposites,” and a whole bunch of other songs twined among mystic incantations and ethnic sound effects.
“Brahmavidya:Transcendental I” is a weird trip, and you’re not exactly sure how one song leads to another. To understand the band’s message and then discover the little nuances put inside each track would take weeks of listening. But it’s a worthy endeavor, as Rudra have enough brains to balance their crushing gallops, grim vocals, and blazing guitar solos. As a death metal album, this stuff kills. The brutality here can hammer away like waves crashing against a sandy shore such as on “Advaitmatra,” “Immortality Roars,” Reversing the Currents,” “Avidya Nivrtti,” and the rest of this hour long ride’s hardest tracks.
Rudra’s newest (this is album number six, and their previous work is just as potent) is bound to cloud your brain with incense smoke and fill it with ancient voices. So be warned. It may indeed be the path to enlightenment…or the hottest new recommendation for your metalhead friends.