“Enemy of Duality”

By Dr. Abner Mality

It’s no secret that the Good Doctor is partial to the sounds of the East. The droning twang of the tambur, the nimble picking of the gamelan and the chanted mantras of Buddhist priests are all enchanting to me. When those sounds are merged with the majestic power of crushing metal, I am really in my element.

Rudra are the long-running masters of Vedic metal. Despite having many strong releases over the last 15 years or so, the Singapore natives are still unjustly obscure in the US. I am hoping “Enemy of Duality” will help to change that because this is one powerful piece of Eastern metal mastery. Long-time fans of Rudra will notice immediately that the pace of the band has slowed down some here and is no longer the raging cyclone of death it was on earlier albums. I’m sure this will start cries of “sellout” from feeble minded elitists, but the thoughtful metal connoisseur will find a lot to enjoy here. And believe me, Rudra’s sound is still extreme.

The riffs are more coherent and easier to get into here. The songs breathe a lot more, but the breakneck drumming still gives a relentless feel to the songs. These guys are experts at integrating traditional instruments and vocals into a metal framework. You will hear that droning tambur on “Abating the Firebrand”, playful twanging sitar on “Roots of Misapprehension” and extensive use of flute on “Ancient Fourth” Don’t be afraid, it all fits into neck-breaking metal. The transition between the classical sitar and killer growling death riff on “Roots of Misapprehension” is breath-taking. Harsh but understandable vocals are present, too,and the band’s lyrics offer deep Vedic philosophy instead of the usual Satanic and nuclear warfare garbage. Other highlights on the album are “Perception Apparent” and “Seer of All”. Screaming metal guitar solos come at you from every angle here, the record is a shredder’s delight.

To give a broad comparison, Rudra have made the same transition here that Immortal made on “At the Heart of Winter”. The sound is totally different, but both bands eased off the gas and increased the epic feel of their music.

This band is one of the leaders of the worldwide metal scene. It’s about time we treated them as such around here.