Published Feb 12, 2019Pioneers of Vedic metal, Singapore's Rudra melded Hindu lyrical themes with black metal and Indian classical music. Frontman Kathir and guitarist Vinod started side-project the Wandering Ascetic as an outlet for their groovier, mid-paced thrash ideas, and their debut full-length, Crimson, begs for attention with its wicked licks, gurgling vocals, and Non Serviam-era Rotting Christ-like aesthetics.
Album opener "Eva Braun" evinces Kathir's late-career Carcass growls and Vinod's potent soloing, double-timing the pace near the end for a vicious finale. The death'n'roll of "I Sing the Body Electric" betrays the underlying moodiness of Morgoth's "Submission," while "The Gods Bleed!" marries atmospheric mantra chants to the brooding similar to Megadeth's "Dawn Patrol." With chordage seemingly lifted from Black Sabbath's "Electric Funeral," "The Exorcism of Mrs. Doe" showcases Rudra's exotic phrasing, which bleeds through in Vinod's searing guitar solo.
Like a movie soundtrack that accompanies a harrowing car chase, the simple but never simplistic riffage of Crimson could very well be a thrash primer. An astute ear will discern shades of Testament, Overkill and of course Slayer from the swirling fray. The Wandering Ascetic is particularly perfect for those whose primitive brains can't decipher Rudra's black metal incantations, though any honest thrash fan will find lots to love here. (Transcending Obscurity)