We’ve got so damn much new music to hear, it’s ridiculous (and so much of it is ridiculously good). At the same time, we’re also trying to explore new metal horizons — and in doing that, we continue to discover that extreme metal is truly a burgeoning global phenomenon. A case in point: Metal from India.
Not so long ago we stumbled across a couple of really good bands based in Mumbai called Demonic Resurrection and Bhayanak Maut, and wrote about them here and here. In response to those posts, we received lots of comments and e-mails from NCS readers in India, not only praising those bands but also recommending others. We’re still working our way through those recommendations as time permits — and we definitely need more fucking time!
One name popped up continually in the tips we received — Infernal Wrath — and once we hit that music on the list of bands to check out, it brought us to a full stop. And we went back and listened again. And again. And again.
Their 2009 album Inside of Me is a remarkable blend of musical styles and traditions that’s a real attention-grabber. It’s a serious, meticulously planned and superbly played work that by turns is exotic, beautiful, headbangingly compulsive, and brutally heavy. Trust us on this — it’s definitely worth your time. (more after the jump, including a song to hear . . .)
Inside of Me is a concept album, and that happens to be important in this instance because it explains the sequencing and stylistic variation in the songs. The album explores the concept of a Messiah — not as a single person whose return is awaited, but as an archetype within each person waiting to emerge, as individuals work their way through an often harrowing journey toward self-realization.
The album opens with an instrumental track called “Truth,” which starts with an ominous ambience of electronica and then slips into a mournful-sounding melody of classical Indian music played with acoustic instruments and what sounds like a didgeridoo (?!). What really grabbed our attention in this song was the traditional drumming — and is it turns out, the drumming throughout Inside of Me is truly impressive.
What follows from the opening instrumental track is an alternating variation in styles, and the juxtaposition starts with the title track, which immediately follows “Truth.” It launches with a heavy chugging riff, increasingly complex drumming, and deep, gurgling death vocals. The riffing increases in speed as the drumming increases in intensity, and then the tempo changes, and changes again.
And then the song segues into the one that follows, a 53-second interlude of haunting digital samples (“Turmoil”), only to be followed again by another polyrhythmic offering of death metal that features a fiery guitar solo over thrashing drum fills (“Behold Ezekiel”).
And so it goes — back and forth. On the one hand, striking instrumental tracks that feature beautiful piano and synthesizer melodies (“This Everlasting Journey”), orchestral movements with the sounds of martial tympani and vivid horns (“The Swordbearer”), a blend of acoustic instruments layered in increasing complexity and ending in an ambient blanket of dawning revelation (“The Creation of the Lotus”), and the final track (“Siddartha”) — with what sounds like a flute playing over a shimmering synth background and a solitary drum beat, hypnotic, slow, and beautiful.
And on the other hand, woven into a braid of light and dark with the melodic instrumental tracks, are a series of aggressive, old-school, mid-tempo death metal songs, featuring frequent shifts in time signature, dense chugging riffs, occasional flash-fired guitar solos, those gurgling death vocals (and a few hair-raising shrieks), and those amazing drums — which constantly steal the show with their immaculate execution, their inventiveness, and their spot-on perfection in changing the mood and intensity of the songs as a whole.
All these dudes know what they’re doing, but we gotta give some special recognition to Pradeep‘s guitars (small world, for us, because apparently he used to play for the afore-mentioned Demonic Resurrection) and JP‘s scene-stealing work behind the kit. They can hold their own with much better-known counterparts in Europe and North America.
Listening to this album from start to finish is such a fucking cool experience precisely because of the contrasts among the songs. And so, picking just one to play would sacrifice the striking impact of that design. So we’ll let you hear two — a sample of that juxtaposition of dark and the light — while encouraging you to track down the whole album and dive in to the complete experience. (Many of the songs are also up on the band’s MySpace page.)
P.S. Infernal Wrath have recently put up a new single on their MySpace page. It’s the suggestion of a new album in the works — and we’ll be waiting for it eagerly.
P.P.S. An interesting interview with the drummer, J.P., can be found here if you want to learn more about this band and the album
Fucking good shit. Saw them live. The only bands I’ve seen who were better than them live would be Meshuggah and Amon Amarth. I had goose bumps the size of hail stones listening to their shit in a semi-dusk atmosphere. Fuck yeah.
I’m jealous man. Putting them in company with Meshuggah and Amon Amarth is high praise. I’d love to see them live. Actually, there’s lots of Indian bands I’d love to see live. I hope the day will come when there’s enough fan support in the US to justify an Indian Metal Tour, like The Finnish Metal Tour that’s been through the US the last couple of years.