You are about to bear witness to the heaviest band the country of Singapore has to offer. The ‘Vedic metal’ pioneers since the early ’90s return this year with their most ambitious album to date. Having worked hard over the years to forge a unique sound that’s a sublime blend of Indian classical music rooted in ancient spirituality and extreme metal encompassing death metal, black metal and thrash metal music. Rudra have influenced various bands both within their country and abroad, they have set standard for what fans what in regards to blackened thrash and death metal. The unheralded overlords of Asia, Rudra have a cult following that remains mysteriously loyal, as they hone a sound that’s probably unparalleled. Their latest album, again founded on the principles of Vedic spirituality. Indian classical instruments such as sitar, flute, tablas (Indian percussion) and even a didgeridoo are used for this album, to create a spiritual expression. Don’t let the idea of these unfamiliar instruments scare you away, it doesn’t get in the way at all of this band dominating in the genre where they have broken barriers and still remained true to the metal way. ‘Enemy of Duality’ released December 17, 2016 and is destined to be a landmark from the Orient, one that doesn’t abandon the ancient roots and blends the traditional sounds and philosophies seamlessly into music that’s at once challenging and hypnotic.
‘Enemy of Duality’ starts things off with the track “Abating the Firebrand” with a somewhat Eastern traditional sound with a beautiful chant like singing. It’s not long before the band breaks into their unique sound which they call Vedic Metal. It is a form of blackened death metal. Rudra who are from Indian decent often include elements of music rooted in Hindu traditions, with lyrics often drawn from Vedic Sanskrit literature and philosophy. While you may not be familiar with any of those things the music still speaks to use in a language we all know, understand and love….METAL. The fierce lead guitars help the band create that thrash sound, while vocalist Kathir adds his throaty vocals which drape every song in a blackened darkness. The bands ability to meld their traditional sounds and their blackened thrash or death metal style is creative pleasant to the ear. “Slay The Demons of Duality” picks up right where the previous track left off, and is pretty much a continuation of the song. Drummer Shiva is a key component of the band and keeps the rhythm through each and every track. His machine gun double bass is superb and his all-around work on the drum kit takes the band to a whole new level. “Sear Of All” kicks off immediately with the bands bludgeoning blackened sound. These somber guitar riffs, which at times take control of the track add to the already dark song. It can’t be said enough how well guitarists Vinod and Simon work in sequence together. Both are well versed guitarists on their own but the sum of them combined is incalculable. The change in tempo creates another dimension to their sound. The guitar tone also changes going from somber to shrieking. Everything here is at a rapid pace, but that pace varies from fast to faster. “Ancient Forth” starts out slow but as we’ve learned from the band thus far we know it won’t be long before things are kicked up a notch. The track really pays homage to the bands culture and origins with an amazing Eastern flare. This particular sound is what really sets this band apart. They add these elements that most of us aren’t accustomed to, but it works and creates another layer to the already complex sound that Rudra has given birth to. Rudra doesn’t redefine anything when it comes to music, they set the curve and everyone else follows in line.