Rudra, the name of the Indian deity of Destruction, conjures the scene of death and destruction. Just like the deity, Rudra, the band, was named to symbolise its music’s aggressive character.
Formed in 1992, Asia’s extreme metal legend Rudra returns with its 10th album, Eight Mahavidyas, another concept album. This time the album explores eight female characters from ancient times till the 18th century who broke stereotypes and became outstanding teachers of wisdom. Each song presents the wisdom of each woman through extreme metal textures. It will be released on December 22nd, 2022 via Awakening Records.
The best kind of concept records are the ones that don’t just tell a complete story but the ones that teach you something too. Where you get the chance to learn something, be it of historical value or cultural value.
This is something that encapsulates Rudra’s new record and across eight tracks, they deliver a fascinating concept through the intense medium of extreme metal. Blending cultural elements with frenzied blackened death metal. At times, there is groove, and at others, it’s a simple showcase of brutality. This, across eight tracks that average around seven minutes each.
There are no wasted minutes though and Rudra take us on a heavy head-banging journey that has so much gravitas running through it. From the moment Sanctum Sanctorum begins, the sense of scale is immeasurable. An epic opener that has bruising speed and brash ferocity, layered with traditional Indian chants.
An immense opener, Rudra then follows that up with mind-numbing levels of blackened heaviness on Apprehending Through Negation. Taking the tempo into darker and deeper territories but continually evolving the song so when they put their foot on the gas, it thrills.
Then, with Renunciation is Futile, Rudra push the blacker side to the forefront for a bit. Blending in those echoing chants and dropping some impressive guitar soloing in too. Before hitting an impressive high with Venerating Primordial Passion. Where touches of atmosphere, melody, and a dedication to delivering explosivity in a delightfully measured way makes this one of the album’s best tracks.
An exceptional first half and there’s still so much to come.
Awakened and Skyclad is the shortest track on the album at around five minutes long but it’s certainly not lacking in imagination. Rudra showcasing eerie melody alongside blistering heaviness. Followed then by The Sleepless Lullaby, where Rudra’s unmitigated power and unmatched musicality reaches an exhilarating crescendo. The concept and how the band express it, continuing to electrify.
Finally, it’s Marching Against the Monarch and Auspicious Widow to wrap up this vast album. The former track featuring some of Rudra’s fastest and heaviest riffs. Whereas the latter moves from traditional blackened madness to rhythmic heaviness and furiously assaults the senses. It’s one last wild and intense experience on an album that doesn’t really let up. It might labour under the term ‘extreme’ but there are so many genre-blending nuances that it’s so much more.
In fact, even if the concept doesn’t grab you (although how it couldn’t beggars belief), the music will. For a band so long into their career to be still putting out quality releases like this says a lot about Rudra.
Rudra - Eight Mahavidyas (Awakening Records)
The Final Score - 9/10