Released: 2016, Transcending Obscurity Asia
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
RUDRA are true legends and leaders of the Singapore extreme metal scene. Having established in 1992, they are now releasing their eighth album. It’s easy to feel that this band stand apart from every other group of metallers you will listen to most of time. They choose their own genre tag, ‘Vedic Metal’, referring to an early movement of Indian and Hindu history, and add Eastern classical music to their already defined blackened death sound.
Most tracks on this album begin with an Asian styled intro, setting an uneasy atmosphere with wails and instrumental swells. It’s truly original and authentic, and enables the band the burst into their grinding riffs and industrially heavy drumming with pride.
The basis of this band’s songs is their terrific riffs. Axe men Vinod and Simon are versatile players, using sinister scales to create some evil guitar hooks or channelling punk aggression with simple power chords. Their methods may vary throughout these eight tracks but one thing is proven, you can still create exciting and crushing extreme metal riffs in 2016!
Vocalist Kathir’s style is equally refreshing. Despite his gruff growl, you can understand the lyrics he shouts, and I always find it adds another dimension when the words are audible. His performance is particularly convicted and confident during the repetitive chorus of ‘Abating the Firebrand’. This kind of passion is something I like to see, although it would be even more interesting if he switched around the pitch of his vocals sometimes rather than staying on one tone.
When clean vocals are utilised, this adds an exciting new dimension. On ‘Perception Apparent’, the low, controlled chanting is hypnotic and bewitching, and with ‘Hermit in Nididhyasana’, the use of female vocals makes for a sedate and eerie atmosphere. It’s disappointing the band don’t use cleans more- it could press down the four piece’s already strong stamp of identity even harder.
It would have also been more interesting to hear the Eastern classical music and the metal riffs blend together. They are kept as separate elements entirely, with the exception of a little background wailing and some relatively unadventurous ethnic drumming on closer ‘Ancient Forth’. This band has a great concept, and personally I would encourage them to experiment even further.
If you like destructively heavy riffs and fiery drum beats, then RUDRA and this album are both certainly worth checking out. This is also equally true if you like bands who try to do something different and are not afraid of having their own identity. I applaud RUDRA for managing both, and I wait in anticipating to see where they will take their ideas and their sound next!
Review by Jarod Lawley