(TheMadIsraeli reviews the new album, released earlier this month, by the Russian band Kartikeya.)
I’ve been out for awhile and I apologize for that. I had a personal tragedy occur and it caused me to have to pull back for awhile. I had originally asked Islander to review this album since I didn’t think I could, but I decided to pick myself up and do it since I’ve got a lot of history with this band.
Kartikeya’s brand of ethnic-influenced melodic death metal with modern groove and progressive influences has been a beloved sound here at NCS, among both the staff and the site’s readers. Samudra is an album that’s been waylaid by a lot of delays and suffered a lot of difficulties in coming to fruition. It’s now been SIX YEARS since Mahayuga, and for people who love this band I think there was a lot of speculation as to whether all the delays would spell doom and whether Samudra would be up to par.
We got a taste of Samudra with the 2011 Durga Puja EP (which I reviewed here) — the EP’s title track is included on the album — as well as what were originally three stand-alone singles, “The Horrors Of Home” (2012), “Tunnels of Naraka” (2013), and “The Golden Blades” (2016), which are also on this record (and each of which we’ve reviewed). “Durga Puja” was an exercise in Kartikeya pushing their Vedic elements to the absolute forefront, a borderline danceable snake dance that really served to emphasize Arsafes’s love of the culture he was raised in, while the first of those singles was more of a traditional Kartikeya-style death metal song, gnarly mangled riffs, fast as fuck, with a juxtaposed melodic chorus to keep a bit of hookiness in there.
I was surprised to find out when I finally got the promo of Samudra that those four songs were only the tip of an expansive soundscape that is like being hit by a sandstorm filled with flesh-gnawing insects and majestic wonder.