Indian – From All Purity (Relapse Records, 21 January 2014)
Hello out there, and happy Monday to you all. Back to work today, back to all the same old crap, back to the still-ridiculous workload. I’ve been meaning to get around to writing about a bunch of stuff lately, and it just hasn’t worked out that way. There was actually one day last week I could have had a little extra time to get something done (I think it was Thursday?), but coincidentally that was the same day there was an all-day seminar that involved many of the people who work near me (but not in the same department as me) — which included the lady whose desk is directly behind mine, the one who has really loud phone conversations all day long in a sickeningly cheerful voice, and who always seems to include way-too-personal information about her health or her family (regardless of whether it’s a business-related conversation or not). It was such a pleasant reprieve from the normal torturous conditions I endure every other day, I actually didn’t listen to any music at all that day. Just sat at my desk and basked in the near-silence. But now everything’s back to normal, and it’s in the best interests of my sanity to stick my headphones on and do whatever I can to block out the world around me.
Something loud and utterly miserable should fit nicely with the mood I’m in today, and the latest release from Chicago’s doom/noise band Indian will definitely do the trick. Released back in January through Relapse, From All Purity has found its way into my ears on numerous occasions throughout this year so far, and there’s no doubt it’ll also find its way onto my list of this year’s best releases.
Indian have long been a band that I felt like I should be into more than I actually have been. Based on what I’ve heard in the past (that is, the band’s first three releases via Seventh Rule — somehow their most recent, 2011’s Relapse debut Guiltless had escaped my attention), all the ingredients have been there — loud, angry, misanthropic noise combined with cool riffs and torturous vocals — for me to absolutely fall in love. And I always enjoyed what I heard, don’t get me wrong — somewhere along the line I picked up the aforementioned early releases from that label’s Bandcamp page — but for some reason I never felt like the material really grabbed me and pulled me in as much as it should’ve.
Well, all of that has changed with this new album. From the very beginning of the painfully crushing song “Rape,” it becomes quite clear that this recording is going to be slower, deeper, heavier, and way fuller-sounding than some of the band’s previous output. It feels like there are so many additional layers of distortion and noise that the whole listening experience becomes almost overwhelming. Musically, these songs seem less oriented around doom metal riffing than about sludgey churning and grinding, which is often fairly repetitive over the course of these seven- or eight-minute-long songs, but repetitive in a hypnotic way, rather than ever coming across as boring. With the slow tempos here, the vocal phrasing tends to lend itself to drawn-out howls and screams that evoke images of the most hellish pain imaginable (often reminiscent of Relapse alumnus Today is the Day). Many words or phrases tend to be repeated for emphasis, giving the opportunity to crank up the intensity as each song progresses — even where the lyrics sound like they may be devolving into gibberish, approaching the end of “Rhetoric of No.”
The shortest track out of the six included here is the penultimate “Clarify” (at 4:37, the only song to not exceed at least six minutes), which eschews traditional instruments and song structure altogether, in favor of an assortment of digital distortion, feedback, and various other unpleasant sound artifacts. Coupled with a very slight stereo delay effect, this composition almost seems like it was designed as an endurance test for headphone listeners. I can’t complain, though — considering what I’m listening to this album to block out, any amount of screeching feedback and static would be preferable to the alternative! The album comes to a close with “Disambiguation,” a sullen, plodding deathmarch of a song — punctuated by the occasional burst of double-kick drum, and partially smothered with an incessant buzzing noise. As this song crawls along, it feels as though it might gradually become more and more engulfed by the layers of noise until ultimately it’s completely overwhelmed — but instead it simply concludes unexpectedly and seemingly prematurely, robbing the listener of even this cathartic sensation that such a resolution may have brought.
Give into the misery by hitting PLAY on the Bandcamp widget below, or grab your own copy of this hellish opus right here.
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