Sometimes I get in the way of myself when it comes to discovering new music. I’ve been burned too often by djenty, groove-metal bands that in reality just occupy the lowest circles of metalcore (which is where we hide the dungeon where we keep Vault writer Reese - don’t tell anyone) [ed. note: where else would we keep an A7X fan?]. As it turns out, the number of chugging, staccato breakdowns in your album does not directly correlate with your level of quality. That kind of music often sounds like it was programmed on a computer, and sometimes I find myself not simply preferring bands with a raw sound, but completely rejecting anything with sleek production. That’s a bummer, because I know I miss out on some real gems when I’m in these moods.
But hey, let’s stay positive here. Today is all about one of those bands that I happened not to immediately dismiss. Moscow’s Kartikeya released their third full-length a couple weeks ago entitled Samudra, and it kicks ass. Playing a progressive mix of groove and death metal while incorporating eastern, oriental folk influences isn’t a fresh concept at all, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be awesome when done right.
And done right it is. Samudra is a very diverse and dynamic release. The folk instrumentation blends in so seamlessly it becomes critical to the album’s success. The guest vocals also fit into the overall scheme like a puzzle piece, and there really isn’t a single jarring sound or idea that takes you out of the experience. Kartikeya are smooth like that, man.
Aside from their eastern influences, everything else works great too. The guitars keep you on your toes at all times, with stand-out tracks like “Durga Puja,” “The Horrors of Home,” and “We Shall Never Die” really showing off some killer grooves. Vocalist Roman “Arsafes” Iskorostenskiy has a ton of personality in the timbre of his voice that is honestly missing from a lot of other metal acts, and it really helps in building a grounded atmosphere that is both tangible and fantasy.
Samudra is an hour and 13 minutes long, which is really its only glaring flaw. As you make your way through the last few tracks, you’ll probably start to feel every minute. But honestly, 98% of this bad boy is riddled with so many rich melodies and unique, diversive songwriting that you’ll never fully lose interest at any point. This one’s a real killer, folks. Don’t get in the way of yourselves with this one. It slipped through my cynical defenses and is now a welcomed guest in my home.