Rudra – Enemy of Duality
Label: Transcending Obscurity Asia
Because they call themselves a “vedic metal” band, the Singaporean band Fudra caught my attention immediately. That actually speaks volumes about how savvy they are when it comes to marketing themselves since, to be frank, if it wasn’t for that label I might have actually missed them altogether.
“Vedic metal,” according to Fudra, comes from the inclusion of themes coming from Vedic Sanskrit literature in the lyrics, and the mixture of metal with vedic mantras. Although, with a description like that, I really expected the music to have a clear Eastern sound, that is not exactly what I encountered.
Although in their sound Fudra do pay homage to Vedic culture, it is done in a very subtle way. While this might be a disappointment for those who might want to encounter something really unique, it works really well in making the music sound different, while still maintaining itself firmly in the realm of heavy metal. I was constantly reminded of Rotting Christ who have also inserted their own Hellenic culture into their music (particularly in AEALO and Rituals) but in a way that does not take your attention away from the fact that this is a death/black metal album.
A good example of what Fudra did with this album comes from the excellent “Root of Misapprehension,” which goes from a relaxing veena melody into a full blown metal onslaught, which melodically reminds me quite a bit of Dissection and the aforementioned Rotting Christ. Not only does this represent an interesting switch, but also creates a new interest in the listener, and which is then piqued further by the mixture of the veena with the guitar and the drums.
For the great quality of this album, it does fall way short of the mark when it comes to the production. Everything seems very far away, and it’s a real shame that it was not produced and mixed in a way that can really highlight the ability and skills of the performers.
While Enemy of Duality is a good album if you’re looking for just a good dose of melodic black metal of the likes of Rotting Christ and Dissection, it also offers an interesting look at a culture that, until this writing, was completely alien to me. It was a great learning experience and, also, a fucking great metal album.
Furia – Ksi??yc milczy luty
Label: Pagan Records
Ksi??yc milczy luty, the latest effort by Poland’s Furia, is an excellent case study on how a black metal band can successfully experiment with different tones. The opening chords on “Za ?m?, w dym” let you know that you’re in for a very different ride than your standard black metal record, thanks to the industrial-esque bass tone and jazzy avant-garde chord progressions. There’s a palpable darkness throughout this record, though the music doesn’t always fall neatly into the black metal category, as the vocals range from shrieks and growls, to a deep, rumbly talking voice similar to Rammstein. The music is often melancholy, even when it’s in full on metal mode, sounding a bit like Mg?a, who have a similarly atmospheric approach to black metal.
The jarring, shimmery guitar chords on “Tam jest tu” have more in common with neofolk band Wovenhand than they do with Mayhem, which is a fairly prevalent theme throughout Ksi??yc milczy luty. Though there are plenty of furious black metal moments, this record comes across as more of a dark, apocalyptic folk album than anything else, and is truly a breath of fresh air. If you were to take Mg?a, Wovenhand, and Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and mix them in a blender, you’d get something like what Furia has to offer on this latest record. I highly recommend you check this one out, it’s a unique, and thoroughly rewarding listen for fans of extreme music in general.