When I was trying to figure out how to sum up Indian's new album, From All Purity, the usual phrases from the Metal Description Thesaurus weren't working for me. Is it a "gut punch"? An "explosion"? Is it "pummeling"? "Stomping"? "Scarring"? Well, all of those could true at different points on the album, but I think i finally figured out the best way to sum it up: From All Purity is like being smothered. With lava.
Metal fans aren't typically daunted by music that's challenging or not immediately accessible, but Indian doesn't pull any punches on this album. This is a blast of what I'll call blackened-doom-drone-sludge. The opener, "Rape," starts with a dissonant, droning mass of distortion punctuated by vicious, black metal-style rasps. The track doesn't even really bother to change chords for the first three minutes, as if the band's trying to scare off anyone who isn't hearty enough to come along on this hell-ride. The slow, three-chord main riff, when it comes, almost feels like sweet release compared to what proceeds it. The next track, "The Impetus Bleeds," doesn't offer much respite, unless the kind of respite you're looking for is being dragged into a cave against your will.
|Photo by Metal Chris|
"Directional" is probably my favorite track, and it's probably the closest thing on the album to a song with "traditional" structure. The slow, grinding riff is the soundtrack for Vikings coming ashore and destroying your village, and the bastardized version of the Golden Rule that shows up in the lyrics, "What's done to me, will be done to you!" feels less like a statement of triumphant revenge than a brutal act of retribution that offers no solace.
Make no mistake--this is a difficult album to get close to. It's disturbing and frightening, and there are very few pauses to catch your breath. "The Rhetoric of No" slowly devolves into vocals that sound like the snarling of a caged animal, and "Clarify" is a squealing horrorscape of brutality for your ears. The closing track, "Disambiguation," has a more welcoming, doomy feel, but you'll be well past your wits' end by the time you get there. I've listened to this album a lot recently in preparation for this review, and at times I felt like I was losing my mind.
|Photo by Metal Chris|
Saying something like that would be a brutal trashing of an album in most genres, but of course metal and metal fans often embrace the difficult and the ugly. Indian's last album, Guiltless, has a bit more variety and is easier to get your head around, and although the sonic elements from that album are still present here, the band has moved to a slower, more droning version of their particular band of viciousness. How fans react to the change will be more a matter of personal taste than any drop in quality on the band's part. This isn't an album you're going to play on repeat for days--it's just too ugly and bruising--but I suspect that it's one I'll come back to now and then, just to revel in the abuse.
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