Brahmavidya: Immortal I
Sonic Blast Media
Rudra returns this year with their latest album, Brahmavidya: Immortal I, the follow up to 2009’s Brahmavidya: Transcendental I and the final series of the Brahmavidya trilogy.
While Transcendental I featured some of Rudra‘s fastest songs, it also featured perhaps the most amount of acoustic and traditional Indian music as interludes between the heavier numbers on the album. On the other hand, the band has assured fans that Immortal I will feature nothing but the heaviest and most straightforward and in-your-face death metal that the band has ever written.
Similar to Transcendental I, Immortal I starts off with traditional instruments played, with a bell tolling and a horn marking the beginning of the end. But fret not, as Rudra keeps their promises, introducing the listener to their heaviest album. As they break into the opening riffs of the album, the style of the music is instantly familiar, from the guitar tone, down to the cymbals played on the drums by Shiva, combined with the ever-vicious vocals of Kathi. The increased intensity and heaviness in the overall music does not mean that Rudra has totally left out the traditional elements that have made their brand of death metal so unique, such as on the on songs like Illusory Enlightenment and Sinister Devotion.
On this album Kathi also plays with various vocal effects, such as the chorus effect on the chanting on Illusory Enlightenment, transporting the listener to an empty temple, meditating in peace amidst the chaos occuring all around, represented by the rest of the instruments. Songs such as Sinister Devotion also reminds listener of their classic The Pathless Path of the Knowable Unknown and instantly gets listeners to headbang to the infectious riffs. The effects on the guitars used on the guitars (or was it another traditional instrument?) on Embryonic Theologies provide a certain ethnic feel to the music, to good effect. The slowdown in tempo on Hymns of the Immortal Self brings about an almost emotional moment, with the melodic riffs and the deliberate and controlled manner that the band has chosen to execute the song.
The shift in lineup, with the departure of previous lead axeman Selvam has had vast effects on the music, as will be evident from the guitar solos unleashed by Vinod, the new guitarist of the band. There is more play on the whammy bar and tremolo effects, and while the references to traditional Indian music are still present, at times the solos are almost reminiscent of shred-happy modern melodic death metal music, bringing a union between the modern with the old-school vibe unleashed by Rudra.
The production on this album remains similar to that of Transcendental I, unlike the rawer production on other past releases such as The Aryan Crusade and Primordial I. While the raw production worked on the past releases of Rudra, the more modern production on Immortal I certainly works well and adds a certain charm to the music presented. Of course, the whole experience is well rounded up with the inclusion of a track-by-track explanation of the album in the booklet, satisfying the curious minds of non-Hindu fans.
Mastermind and frontman Kathi mentions that Immortal I “is simply using logic, purely logic and reason, to establish the fact that there is no god except myself”, and Immortal I is a beautiful end for what started with the acclaimed Primordial I. Certainly one of the highlights of the year so far.
Be sure to catch Rudra at their album launch gig, Resurrection II this coming Sunday at Home Club! For more details, click here.
Past 5 related articles:
Album Review: Rudra – Brahmavidya: Transcendental I
Drummer’s Spotlight: Shiva
Views from the Pit: Rudra @ Kalaa Utsavam
Rudra @ Baybeats 2010
Interview with Rudra (2010)