Despite being around for a very long time at this point, and despite having first heard of them an almost equally long time ago, this is my first actual encounter with Rudra and their so-called Vedic metal.
So what does Vedic metal sound like? This is essentially black metal with pinches of death and thrash metal that’s been infused with folk themes and melodies inspired by Vedic spirituality. These atypical influences are holistically embedded in the band’s extreme metal; rather than being an addition to a core sound, they form an integral part of the band’s makeup. This means that the songs are enriched from within rather than being enhanced from without.
This is an ambitious work, but one that’s delivered with confidence and clear talent. The band think big and have the skill necessary to pull it all off. As previously mentioned; the Vedic influences are part of the band’s DNA and these are necessarily woven into the fabric of the songs at a genetic level, making for music that sounds natural and unforced.
The songs are well-written and manage to strike an important balance between conventionally blackened darkness, folk-inspired texture and vibrant ideas. This prevents any one aspect of their sound from becoming dominant or overpowering, emphasising the most important part of any band like this – the pure molten metal heart that beats within.
Classical Indian instruments are used here and there to add even more richness and interest to the songs, as well as some vocal enhancements, (male and female cleans), alongside the blackened screams that constitute the bulk of the singing.
Rudra fit comfortably alongside similarly-minded peers such as Melechesh, Nile, Orphaned Land, Arallu, Countess and the like. If you’re a fan of extreme metal that incorporates wider themes and influences to give the music a distinctive flavour, then I heartily recommend Rudra.