"Guiltless "

By Earthdog

Chicago quintet Indian give Cough a run for their money as the heaviest band on the Relpase label with their new album 'Guiltless.' This is the kind of album to kill parties unless all your friends are nothing by pot-smoking, drug crazed psychopaths. Extremely heavy, sick and twisted but also fairly original, this band gets more extreme with each release. This is their fourth album and I think easily their best, not that there was anything wrong with earlier releases but they have created a masterpiece of controlled anger and misery with this album. The bands blend of doom, sludge and droning noise is something unique within the framework of the doom scene. They haven't got the riffs of Electric Wizard or of a Saint Vitus in their prime but they have more anger and heart-wrenching emotion than those two bands put together.

Starting with 'No Grace', it is obvious from the get-go this is going to be one unpleasant journey of apocalyptic musical hatred. The riff that opens the proceedings is shockingly heavy, somewhat disturbed and extremely twisted but it is also incredibly original. It kicks off a faster pace than what you are expecting to hear from this band but a couple of minutes in, it slows down to a crawl and gets increasingly more psychedelic. The vocals are a pain-filled screech that fits the overwhelming crippling atmosphere of the track. It speeds up towards the end and leaves you battered and bruised with the sheer intensity of it all. Next up, 'The Fate Before Fate' pushes into a blackened metal vibe. The sheer extreme discouragement, dejection, and depression you feel through the atmospheric guitar work of Dylan O’Toole and Will Lindsay might sound too miserable for some people but hardcore doom freaks will eat this shit up.

The title track 'Guilty' doesn't exactly make this anymore of a cheerful listening experience... in fact ,you may think the album is getting even more bleak, the longer it goes on. Indian are relentless in the way they slowly grind away at your very soul through their music. Strangely though, I find most of this album to be hauntingly beautiful, ugly and menacing maybe but also hypnotic. I doubt if many people will hear anything beautiful in this and maybe decades of listening to the most depressing metal music has fried my emotions but this album presents an enchanting kind of misery to me. I can relate to it and I can feel their pain, this is music written for the way I feel right now, in other words - f**ked up. 'The End of Truth' is another relentless slogging doom-fest, nothing really changes from song to song too much which makes this such a relentless harrowing trip of an album, but wait! The next song offers up a change of pace.

'Supplicants' is a short instrumental interlude which sounds completely at odds with the rest of the album. It has a sinister vibe but it also kind of pretty in its melancholy way, Is this a different band? Nope ,it is still Indian. Some bands save the best to last and I think that is the case here too. The epic track titled 'Benality' is a majestic doom track and one of the very best tunes I have heard all year. The track features hypnotic chugging riffs and drones made by Sean Patton. Vocals scream and screech and the song gets so intensely heavy, it almost becomes too much to take, even for a hardened veteran of doom like myself. The rhythmic variations the band uses are sneaky to say the least, they creep up on you and it is all too easy not to notice the music has shifted gears. This is another reason this album is so intriguing. It might seem like nothing but sick noise at first but the more you listen, the more mind-blowing music comes out of it.

In conclusion, this album is pure genius. An overwhelming example of how potent doom-metal can be. It is hypnotic, disturbing, haunting, beautiful in parts and so heavy it will leave you head buzzing long after the 40 minutes of 'Guiltless' is over. A top 5 album for 2011....10/10