Indukti - S.U.S.A.R.
Year of Release: 2005
Label: The Laser's Edge
Catalog Number: LE1042
Total Time: 47:41:00
This is another case of expecting one thing, but getting another. Nevermind that the label this band is signed to is Laser's Edge; that only tells you that Ken Golden's heard something he likes? and in this case, one wonders if lightning will strike twice. I'll explain all in good time. Firstly, what I was expecting was something very ethnic, something like? Paranoise, say, or Azizga. And, in some ways, Indukti are; perhaps that thought is due, in part, to the presence of violin and harp and the earthy warmth these instruments bring to the music. But, upon first listen, I knew none of that. I hadn't looked at the credits or anything, I just played the CD. And the thought that struck me most immediately was - this sounds like Riverside. There're two very good reasons for that. One, the moody mix of heavier, darker rhythms and tones is quite like that of Riverside. Two, Riverside vocalist Mariusz Duda lends his pipes to a few tracks, which explains my second thought, which was, "and even the vocalist sounds like?" So? secondly, that's why I said what I said about lightning? Riverside's debut was on Laser's Edge and then they were booked for NEARfest 2005 (circumstances meant they rescheduled that appearance for the following year). Indukti are on TLE, as noted, and are scheduled for NEARFest 2007. Oh yes, both Riverside and Indukti are Polish.
I'd classify Indukti as art metal, and primarily instrumental at that. Bruising bass and drums, the slicing and slashing guitars and violin are a fixture in every track. There may be moments of quiet repose or reflection, but for the most part, this quintet (plus guests) muscle their way through 7 tracks of sheer artful brutality. One doesn't need howling death vocals to get across a sense of menace, of danger, of something dark and evil being let loose. But tracks such as the opener "Freder," "No. 11812," "Uluru," etc., aren't just a flurry of sound for the sake of brutality, but rather these elements make each piece seems alive, bristling with energy. It draws just as much from rock and metal as it does from classical, however, using lighter elements to offset these darker elements. Those lighter elements can be found in the moody but equally intense "Cold Inside?I" - a piece that most strongly reminds of Riverside. Here guitars shimmer and chime, while violin sings sweetly and sadly. All this beneath sometimes plaintive vocals of Duda. And let's not forget to mention the harp interlude, a lovely solo that is like an eddying oasis inside what is otherwise a deceptively calm turbulent desert.
In fact, the calmest track is the comparatively mid-tempo "Shade," which adds a middle-eastern motif to the palette with wailing guitars, crying violin, and rhythmic, ritualistic, crisp percussion. It's the only other vocal track (though there are some vocals on "Freder") and also one that reminds strongly of Riverside. But, truly, whereas Riverside seemed moody, Indukti seem angry? at least in their music. Which makes this music cathartic.
"No. 11812" is a sonic battle between guitars and drums, building tension and apprehension? the heavens have opened up and all hell has broken loose. It stomps and storms its way along, truly a thing of beautiful brutality (yup, that word again) that holds you in thrall and takes no prisoners. And yet for all its angular fury, it does not sound at all chaotic. Its companion piece is "No. 11811," which is a brighter piece, beginning with plucked guitar, but really kicks in when the violin - sad, sweet, warm? everything one loves about a violin -- takes over lead duties. This piece has a slight middle-eastern feel to it, as well, though it's far less present than "Shade."
And "Uluru" is a beast of a track, not least of which because the track includes snarling, growls and throaty roars of some ? well, beast (perhaps made by dijeridoo, though none is mentioned; you'll see why it could be shortly). Like "No. 11812" it's an instrumental of such white-hot intensity and violence that one can verily see some hell-spawn beast tearing to ribbons some unfortunate victim. Though perhaps that isn't exactly the image being summoned forth here. Uluru is also known as Ayers Rock and is located in central Australia - the country with which one associates the dijeridoo. The Wikipedia states: "A variety of Aborigine legends account for the existence of Uluru and its many cracks and fissures. One tells of serpent beings who waged many wars around Uluru, scarring the rock. Another myth recounts that two tribes of ancestral spirits were invited to a feast, but were distracted by the beautiful Sleepy Lizard Women and did not show up. In response, the angry hosts sang evil into a mud sculpture that came to life as the dingo. There followed a great battle, which ended in the deaths of the leaders of both tribes. The earth itself rose up in grief at the bloodshed -- this is Uluru" (their source: Norbert C. Brockman, Encyclopedia of Sacred Places (Oxford University Press, 1998), 292-93)). Might have the band been thinking of any one of these legends when it came time to name the piece? After a brief pause, we get a very brief bit of harp?
The album closes with "?And Weak II"? which is, despite all the angry energy, a sad piece. I don't know how to explain it, but I just sensed some sadness in the arrangement, in the placement of notes. Like tears coming out through the anger. This ends with a lot of guitar effects and feedback, only adding to their hints of avant-garde falling off to reveal the lovely harp? which, as sweet and sonorous as it is, serving as a moment's peace, it also takes on a sinister feel. There's the danger you know, and the danger that lurks, and this suggests the danger that lurks.
This album was slow to grow on me, and that was because I didn't truly, deeply, listen to it the first few times. That initial "sounds like Riverside" impression stuck with me; but after listening more closely, separating out each track? well, not really like Riverside at all, but for a few tracks and even then, is it just because of Duda? No, this is a band with a musical voice of its own and it's a voice that needs must be heard. Go!
Freder (7:30) / Cold Inside ... I (4:06) / No. 11812 (8:00) / Shade (4:29) / Uluru (6:34) / No. 11811 (7:25) / ... And Weak II (9:37)
Ewa Jablonska - Violin
Piotr Kocimski - guitar
Maciej Jaskiewicz - guitar
Maciek Adamczyk - bass
Wawrzyniec Dramowicz - drums
Mariusz Duda - vocals
Anna Faber - harp
Genre: Progressive-Power Metal
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