Discerning and adventurous listeners know full well the ground-breaking impact of Singapore’s Rudra over the course of a career that dates back to 1992, and yet, at least in the West, their profile is not as elevated as it should be. We can only hope that the band’s eighth album, Enemy of Duality, will win the widespread attention it deserves. The striking song from the album that we’re bringing you today — “Ancient Fourth” — is certainly compelling evidence of Rudra’s remarkable talents.
Rudra claim for themselves the genre term “Vedic metal”, which is a form of blackened death metal in which the band (who are themselves of Indian lineage) have often incorporated elements of music rooted in Hindu traditions (including the use of Indian classical instruments), with lyrics often drawn from Vedic Sanskrit literature and philosophy. About a month ago, we premiered a fantastic track from the album named “Abating the Firebrand”, but this new one is, if anything, even more striking.
The song is both frenzied and majestic, exotic and mystical. It produces a hugely adrenalizing impact from the beginning, mixing rapidly jabbing riffs and pulse-pounding rhythms with a distinctively Eastern melody. But the real centerpiece of the song comes in its extended mid-section, which features compelling syncopated rhythms using traditional drums married to long, slow, somber chords and wrenching vocal ferocity. As the drumming grows faster and faster, a sublime, serpentine lead guitar comes into the frame — and with a pause, the music transforms again… into something mystical and entrancing.
At this point, pure female vocals rise in combination with a haunting flute melody. This section of the song also includes contrasting vocals that resemble throat-singing and the unusual tones of other ancient instruments (one of which sounds like a didgeridoo). And then the song’s energy builds again, reprising the driving power of the track’s beginning.
I’m not sure I’m correctly identifying the instruments in the song, limited as I am in my knowledge of them, but I hope you’ll find the music as mesmerizing as I have, and that you’ll stay alert for the album’s release on December 17. It really does promise to be one of the year’s highlights.
Enemy of Duality features artwork by Mark Riddick and will be released by Transcending Obscurity-Asia. Pre-orders can be placed now through the first link below, where you can also listen to two more songs from this new album.
1. Abating the Firebrand
2. Slay the Demons of Duality
3. Perception Apparent
4. Acosmic Self
5. Root of Misapprehension
6. Seer of All
7. Hermit in Nididhyasana
8. Ancient Fourth