Band : Rudra
Release : Brahmavidya: Transcendental I
Year : 2009
Country : Singapore
Genre : Death Metal with Black Metal influences
Label : Trinity Records
Note : 16/20
02.Ravens Of Paradise
04.Hymns From The Blazing Chariot
05.Meditations At Dawn
07.Natural Born Ignorance
09.Reversing The Currents
12.Not The Seen But The Seer
Without bands like Rudra slowly gaining momentum in the global underground, Extreme Metal would be far less exciting. Besides, who ever thought of using the Hindu Vedas for lyrics on songs that combine Black, Death, and Thrash Metal? No one. Sure, South Asian culture’s otherworldly appeal has been drawn upon by Metal bands on occasions, but to actually plumb ancient texts for six albums worth of material? Quite a feat, and Rudra aren’t focused on concept alone. This quartet of killer musicians aren’t afraid to showcase their chops either. Just wait for the insane guitar dueling that finishes the songs “Amrtasyaputra” and “Hymns from the Blazing Chariot” or the catchy gallops driving the melody of “Advaitamrta”.
These aren’t the only surprises found inside “Transcendental I”; it’s a long album filled to the brim with immense bass lines, vicious snarls, huge guitar riffs and numbing blastbeats. As a musical unit, Rudra are unstoppable. However, the sheer breathtaking scale of their theme almost kills this album’s potential. While the intro “Bhagavadpada Namaskara” reinforces how exotic these Singaporeans are, no one except people of Indian descent can comprehend it, so it comes off as filler. The band peddle more of the same for the confusing interludes “Meditations At Dawn” and “Adiguru Namstubhyam” bores the listener with endless cycles of chants, prayers, and litanies. On its bright side, there’s an interesting romp of rumbling bass and drums for “Immortality Roars” and every song inside “Transcendental I” is executed to perfection, thereby redeeming its less enthusiastic stretches.
Rudra’s appeal is two-fold: they want to reach sonic extremes and educate the listener at the same time. Why else put so much philosophy in their lyrics? And in case nobody understands their English and Sanskrit pronouncements, short paragraphs inside the CD booklet explain all matters Vedic. It will take months of listening to unravel the moods, nuances, and message heard on “Not the Seen But The Seer”, “Majestic Ashtavakra”, “Venerable Opposites”, “Reversing the Currents” and “Ravens of Paradise”.
Rudra are talented and ambitious to a fault. Unfortunately, their next-to-obscure ranking in the popularity scale might cause leave them eclipsed by better-known bands like Behemoth. Nonetheless, “Brahmavidya: Transcendental I” has already established itself as 2009’s most mind-boggling album.