Singapore blackened death/thrash quartet Rudra has long been one of the most outsized voices in East Asian metal, amplified by both the band's tenure (they've been active since 1992) and the unerring quality of their discography. Over the decades, the band—which currently features founding members Shiva and Kathir alongside more recent additions Vinod and Simon—has cultivated a truly unique sound that pays homage to its creators' heritage and spirituality without sacrificing an iota of extreme metal intensity.
The East Asian metal scene is chock full of brilliant artists, both old and new, whose successes have until recently been hamstrung by geography and hardship. Rudra has always been one of the best-known bands from that region, and their influence is readily apparent in the younger bands who keep cropping up, from Weapon and Genocide Shrines to Queen Elephantine. As one might expect given the band's history, the lyrics on Enemy of Duality are rooted in the principles of Vedic spirituality—Rudra has long referred to their sound as "Vedic metal"—and the album itself branches out far and away from traditional metal instrumentation, instead incorporating a bevy of Indian classical instruments such as sitar, flute, and tablas, as well as didgeridoo.
Rudra's sound has morphed over the years, too, deviating from stricter death/thrash origins and blossoming into something much more intriguing. This latest album (their eighth) showcases a firmly melodic approach that owes as much to Swedish death metal as it does Indian classical music. There's a solid black metal influence as well, primarily channeled through the harsh vocals and overall dark, cold atmosphere (punctuated by ritualistic chants and screaming solos).
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