Middle Eastern influenced Metal is getting quite a name for itself, especially in the Extreme Metal world. The most known, of course, is NILE, which bases most of their lyrics and imagery on ancient Egypt, using its history as a basis for lyrics, and certain middle eastern instruments to create atmosphere. Numerous other bands, like MELECHESH, BEHEMOTH, IRON MAIDEN, THE TEA PARTY (not Metal, but who cares?), SYMPHONY X, amongst others, have used inspiration drawn from that part of the world in order make their creative juices flow.
Add RUDRA to the list of bands (it seems to be ever-increasing. Not complaining!). The band, hailing from the unlikely country of Singapore, have written one of the best Metal albums of 2005, bar none. The album is one of the best crafted releases I have heard all year, with melodic thrash riffing, killer middle eastern influenced leads, incredible drumming and the vocalist that has power yet understandable. If you want a reference point, MELECHESH is the best one, and even then, RUDRA has enough elements in their music to set them apart.
The cake is the stellar Metal songwriting. The icing is all of the Indian percussion, Vedic chants and how the band can seamlessly incorporate to totally different styles of music into a well-thought out, catchy, interesting whole without sounding pretentious, nor it ever go off into the realms of pointless wankery.
A very clear yet heavy production just brings this music out more, and everything can be heard crisply, and this makes everything sound heavier and fuller.
Highly recommended. This is getting stuck in my head. (Online March 3, 2006)