Rudra aren't new to Dangerdog Music Reviews and their last album from 2009 received a solid recommendation. Here they are again with a fresh platter of material and boy oh boy, it's utterly smoking. A bit of history for those unfamiliar with the band: Rudra are a quartet hailing from Singapore known for combining Vedic philosophical themes with death metal. Death metal itself is a many splendored musical genre and the particular branch Rudra fall under is somewhere between Morbid Angel and the old school heroes from Florida.
For the third installment of their immense Brahmavidya cycle the band ditched their previous label and forged ahead on their own. While going down the indie route is no surprise for a metal band, it's actually quite an exotic choice in Asia, where non-mainstream artists have zero options to get their music out except good old fashioned boot strapping determination. Thankfully none of the strain involved with launching your own label together with writing a new album has affected Brahmavidya Immortal I, which continues the quasi-metaphysical journey of its predecessor.
The marked difference of Brahmavidya Immortal I is a subtle one: gone is the usual South Asian atmosphere that permeated previous Rudra efforts. Immortal I swirls in the grim confluence of death and thrash metal with lots of progressive touches thrown in for good measure. Even if the band claims they aren’t keen on writing overly complex material, the songs on Brahmavidya Immortal I aren’t easy to appreciate. Take it from this writer, boys and girls: for Immortal I to work its magic more than a few listens are necessary.
The album launches without the benefit of an intro, which are usually boring anyway, so the quartet—who have welcomed a new guitarist named Shiva into the fold—get on with the extreme business. While the ambient stuff and ethnic instrumentation has been done away with, the esoteric themes are ever present in the Rudra repertoire. Rather than just indulge the usual nihilism and br00tality natural to death metal, Rudra contemplate matters far beyond the temporal. The songs are based on the ancient Vedic texts of India and to actually own a physical CD would aid the listening experience since the booklet usually carries explanations for each track.
More than simply fodder for your ears, Rudra's Brahmavidya Immortal I is sustenance for the mind.