Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Runes of the Evening - Indra EP (2012)
Of the pair of EPs, I found Indra more to my liking than Agni, if only because I felt the dynamic range here was stronger and the tunes more emotionally resonant and better paced. Though for all I know the songs might have been recorded in conjunction with the others, this seems a measure more progressive in terms of its construction. From the great pianos that herald "The Spiral Descent" to the great warlike cadences in the bridge of "Deities of Our Deities", the compositions were more dramatic, and particular melodic strains were better able to capture my attention. The vocals are still swarthy and grimy black rasps, and the intensity of the drumming is comparable, but even though a few of the songs here are longer than anything on Agni, I found them more durable and more interesting to explore, with a few of the depths of "What Once Was" numbering among the most desperate, atmospherically effective I've yet heard. You've still got a variety of breakdowns, blast beats glazed in floods of harmony, and mid-paced, somber cruising melodies, but in the end they are simply catchier.
The production actually feels a fraction less 'together' than on Agni, but this is probably because the guitars get more room to breathe (essential, since if what I've read is correct, there are actually three of them). Much of the material doesn't feel as condensed. Interestingly, both of the EPs were mastered by death and thrash metal legend James Murphy, but overall I wouldn't sway that either of them were overly cleaned up. The best moments for me were where the mournful streams of melody played against the harsher timbre of the singer/bassist's delivery, and some of the transitions were quite well handled. Though I wouldn't dub it 'unique', Indra also feels mildly fresher than its companion. The writing is pretty close, enough that the two could have been conjoined to a single album, but with the slight differences, it also makes sense that they'd be separated. Beyond the other bands I mentioned, I feel like fans of Finland's Rapture or Katatonia's Brave Murder Day might also dig this, the floes of sad guitars often reminded me of those.
Verdict: Win [7/10]