Singaporean ‘Vedic’ metal pioneers Rudra have been blending a potent mix of traditional Indian music and savage, blackened death metal for a long long time, and are criminally overlooked as a potent and inventive force in world extremity. I first came across them on their ‘Brahmavidya: Transcendental I’ record from about 7-8 years ago, and I was truly absorbed by their spiritual, ethnic stylings. Their new record, ‘Enemy of Duality’, should be something pretty special, and it’s out on Transcending Obscurity.
Opener ‘Abating the Firebrand’ comes floating from the gloom, with spiritual chanting and melodic riffing evolving into a blasting, savage tour de force. There’s a regal grandeur about this track, where fury is coupled to some uber melodic riffing to create this majestic piece. This style continues throughout the record, mixing with carefully placed ethnic instrumentation to create a record of mature songwriting (consider the gloriously vicious ‘Perception Apparent’) and an innate rage. The traditional instrumentation isn’t as prevalent as you may expect either for a band that prides themselves on the expression of Vedic themes and traditions. But what does appear is tastefully done, and actually the music benefits from not being smothered in sitars etc. This allows the METAL to be in the forefront, and the rest to be atmospheric and enhancing.
Imagine if you took Melechesh further east, and you’ll find the spot that Rudra occupy. But it isn’t as simple as just that, because that description fails to invoke the kind of feelings that Rudra’s music does. The guitar work is stunning, dripping with melodic solos and fleet fingered riffing. The vocals are raw but comprehensible, and the underpinning battery of drums is intense at points. ‘Enemy of Duality’ is a record that twists, contorts and never fails to impress. This could be a late run in for one of my favourite records of this year, because you cannot fail to love all those riffs!