At roughly this same time one year ago the ground-breaking Singaporean band Rudra released their eighth album, Enemy of Duality, through by Transcending Obscurity-Asia. In advance of its release we had the pleasure of premiering two songs — “Abating the Firebrand” and then “Ancient Fourth”. And now, on this final day of 2017, in which Rudra have celebrated 25 years as a band, we bring you a reminder of that wonderful album as we join other sites around the world in premiering a music video for “Ancient Fourth“, the song that close the record.
Discerning and adventurous listeners will be familiar with Rudra, but even in a career that dates back to 1992, they remain to be discovered by more people. They 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.
“Ancient Fourth” is a prime example of Rudra’s skill in crafting music where East meets West. As we wrote when we first premiered “Ancient Fourth” a little more than a year ago, 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 drums not usually found in metal (performed by the renowned percussion group Damaru Singapore, who played an important role in shaping the album), 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 the music becomes a whirling dance.
With a pause, the music then transforms again… into something mystical and entrancing. Here, you will sense the rise of pure female vocals in combination with a haunting flute melody, as well as contrasting vocals that resemble throat-singing and other unusual tones that resemble the sounds of ancient instruments. And then the song’s energy builds again, reprising the driving power of the track’s beginning.
The video is as entrancing to watch as the music is to hear. For most of us, it may be as close as we’ll come to seeing Rudra perform live, and it also includes traditional dancers as well as Damaru Singapore. The video was directed and produced in Singapore by Arvind Thevaraju and Simon Mariadoss.