From All Purity
03. The Impetus Bleeds
04. Rhetoric of No
First impressions are a hell of a thing. If you acted on them alone, you begin to make judgement calls pre-determined by classifications and stereotypes we’ve encountered in the past. I went into 2014 having never heard of Chicago’s Indian, whose new fifth record From All Purity is among the first to be released this year by Relapse Records, one of my all-time favorite labels. Going in blind, it would appear that From All Purity is being marketed as doom metal with the artistic aesthetic to match. The group’s Facebook describes the band as “Whiskey Bent and Hell Bound” and lists the likes of Hank Sr., Waylon Jennings, Van Zandt, and Lynyrd Skynyrd as artists the band admires. Of course, the first thing you’re going to expect — out of a band named Indian, no less — is a band like Red Fang or one of the many bands following in the footsteps of Electric Wizard. Fatal mistake; From All Purity, as it turns out, is one of the most pissed-off black metal-influenced releases I’ve heard in some time. Oops.
From All Purity is vicious and anguishing, with enough blackened noisey grit to partially obscure massive riffs in cacophony and discord. Album opener ‘Rape‘ is essentially From All Purity in summation. The title of the track alone invokes something sinister, and the track follows through with beautifully melancholic chords that chisel away behind a wall of grinding static and feedback. The gravelly shrieks drip in misanthrope and hatred in a way that is entirely convincing, so take the word “doom” at its core and get all images of stoned hipsters in denim vests out of your mind. This is what Indian are all about.
The songs on From All Purity are all tremendously enveloping and offer a frightening take on psychedelic metal, something that few bands in doom or black metal actually manage to achieve. ‘Directional‘ is disorienting with a phasing buzz that swirls around the track’s lumbering trance, and ‘Rhetoric of No’ picks up the pace for a staggering uptempo groove. The group even leaves some room for the unexpected; ‘Clarify‘ takes a horrifying detour from the plodding doom to experiment in droning, suffocating noise for four and a half minutes. Such a transition would be jarring and out of place had Indian not cleverly set up enough foreshadowing in the preceding half-hour. The track even acts as a bit of downtime leading up to the climactic finale, ‘Disambiguation.’
There’s a sense of evil and a tentative desire to experiment across From All Purity, a trait that made last year’s Altar of Plagues album Teethed Glory and Injury such a stand-out record. The two certainly share some common ground, though Indian are more apt to flirt with repetitiveness given their doomy song structures and pacing. Should they travel deeper down the rabbit hole, Indian are capable of thoughtful innovation in avant-garde extreme metal. That isn’t to say that their current developments offer little in that arena; From All Purity is an ambitious record that sets a strong precedent for the 2014 music release year and should sit on shelves nicely alongside the final Nachtmystium record in black metal fusion records this year.
Indian – From All Purity gets…