(This is Vonlughlio’s review of the debut album by the Indonesian brutal death metal band Sufism, which was released on December 13th by the Brutal Mind label.)
As some of you might know, one of my favorite BDM scenes is from Indonesia, due to the everlasting passion and commitment to the music from fans, labels, and bands in that area. Someday I would love to visit the country and meet some of the musicians/projects I enjoy (one can dream).
Today I have the opportunity to review the debut album of the Indonesian band Sufism, entitled Republik Rakyat Jelata, which was just released via Brutal Mind on December 13th. The band were formed in 2014 and the following year released their first EP, Reptilia Buas, which consisted of five songs that were well-crafted and showcased impressive musicianship. I will say that it was not groundbreaking nor made waves, but overall it was a good EP that I enjoyed quite a bit.
After that they released a two-song demo in 2016 that didn’t get much attention, but for me it represented a progression from their previous release and made me look forward to what they would do next. Unfortunately, like many underground bands (especially in other countries), life happened and they went silent, with no news in the horizon.
And so it was exciting when the mighty Brutal Mind announced they would be releasing the band’s debut album, and shared the cover art and subsequently the first single (which elevated my interest even further). One thing you will notice is that the cover art is something you don’t often see in the BDM world, just a portrait of a rural village under the gaze of lush, majestic mountains. A description accompanying the album says that the lyrics focus “On the nation and national culture pride”, which aligns with the art.
The release consists of eight songs that collectively run about 28 minutes, with an organic production that allows the instruments to breathe and be equally important in the final product. The are the highlights, and you can hear old BDM influences in them. I love the bass tone too, and the way those low-frequency currents complement the riffing. The drumming is amazing — the blast beats are relentless — and the vocals are also great, creating patterns that fit with the changes in the songs (always an important aspect of music in this style).
At the beginning of the album, the sounds of water, a cow, and a flute provide an ambient setting that takes your mind into those fields on the album cover, and then the music starts and from there it never relents, giving us a strong debut album that shows great promise for enduring the test of time. Listen below….