RUDRA “The Vedic Thunderbolt” 

By Dr. Abner Mality

The human body is the temple of God.
One who kindles the light of awareness within
gets true light.
The sacred flame of your inner shrine
is constantly bright.
The experience of unity
is the fulfillment of human endeavors.
The mysteries of life are revealed. 

---“The Rig Veda”

Rudra is one of metal’s hidden treasures. Active since 1992, these warriors from Singapore are the originators and forefathers of a style of metal known as Vedic metal. This is a sound deeply rooted in the past of the Indo-Aryan peoples and the Hindu religion. Rudra was the Vedic god of thunder and wind…a fitting inspiration for a band that likes their metal extreme and challenging.

Their sound makes use of traditional Hindu instruments and musical scales while staying true to extreme metal influences such as Morbid Angel, Bolt Thrower and Immolation. On their newest album “Enemy of Duality”, the band dial back their sometimes chaotic speed to create a crushingly epic sound that has influenced many other bands from Asia.

The philosophy of Rudra is also something they take very seriously. We in the West seem to be focused on Christianity and Islam, ignoring the billion and more followers of the Hindu religion Despite their sometimes savage metal, the message of Rudra is deeply contemplative and focused on obtaining enlightenment.

I took the time to speak to guitarist Simon about the history of Rudra, their deeply held beliefs and their plans for the future. Bang your head and open your mind…

WORMWOOD CHRONICLES: Many hails to you! Rudra has been playing Vedic metal for decades now. Does it seem to be a long time since you started or only like yesterday?

SIMON: Hails to You! from Rudra. It feels like it was only the day before that we started, can’t believe it has been decades.

WC: You have influenced many other bands from your part of the world. Did you have the original intention for others to follow in your footsteps or did it just happen that way?

S: When we started, we didn’t have that intention. We love Metal Music and we incorporated Indian instruments and scales with Vedic Philosophical Lyrics. We guess it just happened that way.

WC: Does the same philosophy motivate you now as it did in the beginning or has it evolved over the years?

S: I must say that it has evolved over the years. The early albums like “The Aryan Crusade” and” Kurukshetra” were very potent. The angst has evolved into a more philosophical approach in the subsequent albums. Rta definitely took a different direction from all the albums we have written. It is more of a journey into interpretation of literature. The new one ‘Enemy of Duality’ is definitely back to the era of the Brahmavidya trilogy.

WC: On the new album “Enemy of Duality”, the speed seems to not be as important as in the past. Early Rudra seemed very fast and chaotic. Is it just musical maturity that led to this or is it something deeper?

S: To be honest, the initial composition was faster and more chaotic than what you hear on the record. We changed some parts and slowed down to capture the elements we felt right for the lyrical content. Maybe it is musical maturity. Who knows, the next might be full chaos.

WC: Have you had fans with no background in Vedic thought and mysticism come up to you and say that you inspired them to investigate the Vedic way of life?

S: Oh Yes. We do receive emails and messages that our music did inspire them to find out more about Vedanta and we are honored by it.

WC: The title “Enemy of Duality” seems to suggest that people should not just put things in simple categories like “good” or “bad”. Is this the idea behind the music?

S: Yes. That’s the idea behind the theme of the album. But we aren’t telling anyone or suggesting anything. It is a presentation of our personal vision of non-duality.

WC: How would you describe the idea behind Rudra to a Westerner?

S: Take a pizza and add masala to it. Ha ha. 

WC: You’ve always included traditional Eastern sounds and instruments in your music.Do you get any inspiration from NON-Eastern traditional music, like maybe primitive European and South American sounds?

S: We have not explored that for not wanting to dilute the Vedic themes or South Asian sounds. The closest we came to this idea was to introduce the didgeridoo in the new album. But we had a reason for that due to a supposed link between the Northern Australian natives and the ancient South Asian peoples. 

WC: Our natural and political world seems to be collapsing due to crass materialism. Do you have hope that we can escape this fate?

S: If you chase for a materialistic world, it will consume you. If you are uninvolved, it will not matter. The fate of each is of their own.

WC:  Your home of Singapore is a pretty strict place. Have you ever gotten any pressure from authorities there? Or anywhere else, for that matter?

S: Yes, it is a pretty strict country but so far there has been no pressure from authorities. 

WC: Does Rudra play live much or restrict itself mostly to recording music?

S: We love playing live and being on the road but the recent time we got held back due to our recording of this album and our day jobs. Now we are ready to be back on the road again.

WC: Any interest in playing or touring the US?

S: For sure! Back in the 2007, we toured the USA and we will be thrilled to be back again.

WC: Will “Enemy of Duality” be easier to get in the West now that you’re aligned with Transcending Obscurity?

S: We had a worldwide release deal with Transcending Obscurity and those guys are working really hard to make it available everywhere. I guess it would be a lot easier for our album to be reached.

WC: Just out of curiosity, who is “The Hermit In Nididhyasana”?

S: It does not refer to any particular person. But rather in reference to any hermit in deep contemplation. Nididhyasana is a technical term for a specific type of meditation in the Upanishad. 

WC: What western metal band most influenced your path to extreme metal?

S: There are a lot of bands which influenced us are from the western region. Too many to be named and each members have their own personal favorites.

WC:  If you could ask any three people from history to dinner, who would they be?

S: Shankara, Gaudapada and Badarayana. 

WC: What was the last release you got just because you wanted to check out the band?

S: Got the album “Dark Substance of Dharma”by Raventale and they got me glued from the start to the end.

WC:  Are there any “Spinal Tap” stories from Rudra when things went wrong?

S: According to Kathir, there was one thing that’s regretted by the band. Which was to attempt a cover of Chage and Aska’s Say Yes in 2007. I am glad that the band did not do it. 

WC: Any last words for the U.S. fans?

S: We would like to take this opportunity to thank each of you for giving the support and strength that kept us going for all these years and we can’t wait to see You there! Hails!\m/

Transcending Obscurity Asia –