Review Summary: Doom gets especially frightening on Indian's latest set of tracks
While many of doom metal’s purists go the more melodic route, many disciples of doom have chosen to strip their style of anything catchy and head-bob inducing and opt to go for the “melt your frontal lobe” route. Chicago’s Indian sound as if they’ve been walking this path exclusively since their inception and that path has only been getting more gnarled and tougher to traverse as time goes on, resulting in heavier and more abrasive music from the band in response. From All Purity is the latest fruit of the band’s labors and it is surely the most repulsing and disgusting collection of tracks they have released thus far, using the words “repulsing” and “disgusting” in a complimentary way. Even some seasoned metal veterans may find this album a little unsettling, and it’s proof that true visceral menace is not extinct in the metal world.
Indian (which features ex-Wolves in the Throne Room and Nachtmystium guitarist/bassist Will Lindsay) drones even heavier and experiments with even more noise than on their previous album Guiltless, boiling their approach down to something that relies more on a terrifying atmosphere rather than on riffs. The opening track “Rape” is a perfect example of this with its massive wall of deliciously overdriven guitar drone and wretched black metal-style vocals. With a style that’s typified by very slow progressions and lack of discernable riffs, one would imagine that this music could be a tad boring and drag for way too long. Thankfully, that isn’t the case here. The songs on From All Purity are relatively concise compared to many drone/doom/sludge bands whose songs can plod for ten minutes or more. The majority of this album’s tracks are in the six minute range with only two in the seven minute range, and furthermore, there are only six songs present. This results in a perfectly concentrated blast of doom that doesn’t overstay its welcome with behemoth-sized dirges that don’t do much of anything. While this is by no means an accessible listen for a new doom/sludge metal fan, it’s somewhat shorter song lengths can make it the gateway for anyone looking to enter the truly extreme side of doom metal.
Taking influence from everything from Eyehategod to Sleep to Evoken, Indian incorporates a conglomerate of styles that are actually hidden beneath their own unique style very well. Along with a heavy noise music influence this time around, they have successfully carved out a niche for themselves that’s as unique as it is heavy. But more than anything, these guys write some seriously great tunes, abrasive as all hell, but great nonetheless, and it’s the subtleties they inject into their compositions that make them so great. They incorporate a subtle melody into the mix on “The Impetus Bleeds” that might be the only nod to more traditional doom metal here, and a little black metal influence on “Disambiguation” (possibly coming from Lindsay) keeps things fresh and interesting. “Directional” is an especially burly beast even among these tracks, and “Rhetoric of No” experiments with faster tempos at the song’s start. In the album’s latter half, the band’s noise influences shine through most brightly on “Clarify” which features ear-piercing squeals and screeches that are absolutely hellish. In fact, “hellish” is probably the best word to describe the entirety of this album’s material.
Speaking for myself, I was not originally smitten with this band when I first heard Guiltless a couple years ago for whatever reason, but this album has completely changed my mind. While they aren’t melodic like old-schoolers Candlemass or as dramatic as Evoken or similar “funeral doom” bands, Indian pulls off a convincingly ominous and threatening aura that I can’t help but raise my horns to. It simply rocks. It’s a little scary, but it rocks regardless, and doom fans should seek this album out as soon as possible to test their tolerance to noise, abrasion, and face-ripping heaviness.