Hailing from Nepal, the death metal group Dying out Flame have created a highly original debut album Shiva Rudrakastam, combining the disparate elements of death metal with religious Vedic lyrics and traditional Hindi instrumental elements to great effect. It’s a fantastic release from a new forward thinking group with exception talent.
The album begins with traditional wind instruments and strings, playing exotic melodies against a fantastic bassline and pounding rhythmic drums, with female and male vocals singing in a chanting style – its a fantastically atmospheric introduction, already showcasing the band’s ability on that opener Praise of the Omnipresent One. Indeed, the use of traditional instrumentation is fantastic over the whole release, with great percussion and strings providing a trippy introduction to the title track. It’s not just the fantastic authenticity that the group brings to these elements that makes it so good however, the way they combine it with the death metal style they have is so impressively well done, providing fantastic timely interludes to the maelstrom of riffs, while also providing great additions in the way they weave through the songs.
The metal itself is superb, the harsh guttural vocals are incredibly brutal in their delivery, vocalist Aabeg’s intonation is excellent with that low roar. As far as the riffs are concerned, they go from churning intense maelstroms of speedy death metal intensity backed by furious blast beats and wirey bass, to more melodic catchier hooks, such as that great evil sounding intro riff to Eternal Mother of Great Time. While their death metal is intense, they still retain the important melodic sensibilities which really get those songs stuck in your head, and those tremolo picked riffs are brilliant.
The transitions from death metal fury to traditional instrumental parts never represent a change in atmosphere, they seamlessly weave their way into the songs, the pounding drumming not letting up while growls and guitar are seamlessly replaced by chants and sitar, the songs are so well written. And that goes for the lyrics too, with subject matter concerning the Hindu religion – a far cry from the usual blasphemous nature of most extreme metal, but with the exotic brand of death metal Dying Out Flame deliver, it works really well with the atmosphere of the music.
Although all six tracks are great, the definite highlight is the exceptional Vayuputra. Punishingly heavy the blasting drums are unrelenting while the guitar work is devastating – fast tremolo riffs are me with equally fast brutal gutturals. Varied tempo in the drumming shows creativity while never dropping the intensity, and that blisteringly fast solo is staggeringly good. Slowing down to incorporate some traditional elements, the killer slower riffs echo immolation at their best. The acoustic interlude with female vocals gives a brief respite, before kicking straight back with the most intensely fast blast beats and riffs of the album – it’s simply phenomenal.
It’s great when a new band is not only trying something new on a début release, but it’s even better when it’s as well done as this – the creativity and musicianship for a début album is really impressive. One of the more original new bands of the year, Shiva Rudrakastam is definitely worth checking out.