Dying Out Flame

Album Title: 
Shiva Rudrastakam
Release Date: 
Friday, August 15, 2014
Review Type: 

How many bands do you know that come out from Nepal? I didn’t know any at all, until now. Dying Out Flame are a young quartet from the capital of Kathmandu, and apparently there is quite an active scene out there. I hope to ‘meet’ more from that era, but let’s focus on this band and album right now.

Shiva Rudrastakam was recorded at the Silence Studio, mixed by Davin Shakya (guitar player of Black Metal act Kalodin, and known for doing engineering stuff for other bands from Kathmandu, such as thrash-outfit Bidroha and Death Metal formation Broken Hymen), and mastered at the Sound Fusion Studio. And following the biography, they play so-called Vedic Death Metal, a definition I knew from Rudra, an Extreme Metal act from Singapore.

First this, just for your innocent knowledge: Rudrastakam is a Sanskrit / Hindu composition, inspired by the godly entity Rudra (God of Storm), some kind of ancestor to Shiva. For more info there is the net, of course…

With this album, Dying Out Flame bring six pieces that combine traditional music from the Himalayan area (the North of India, Nepal, Bhutan and even Tibet) and modern yet traditional Death Metal. every track combines both, though the opener, Praise Of The Omnipresent One, isn’t quite ‘Death’ Metal yet. It is a combination of ethnic melodies, executed by traditional and electric instruments, with female and male voices. It’s quite unusual, yet believe me if I say that it’s both intriguing and eclectic. Then comes the title track, which starts very traditional too, but after almost one minute, the tone changes into fast, fierce, rhythmic, powerful and technical Death Metal with a very ‘Western’ approach. And then I am referring to the scenes of both North and South America, as well as the European one. But I’ll come back to that later. The songs bring harsh, heavy, massive Death Metal with a very technical approach (not of the progressive kind!). The drums are very striking, for sounding like a sub-melody itself throughout each single piece. As a matter of fact, this goes as well for the bass lines. It’s been quite some time that we could enjoy such a focused play of both these instruments. But in Dying Out Flame’s case both drum patterns and bass lines are an identity on their own, though being very cohesive. The guitar leads have a specific melody, combining tradition with modernism, and infiltrating with hi-melo structures. And then, the grunts, well, they are so deep and gurgling; it’s almost scarifying to notice the intense filthiness of such vocal chords. And sometimes these vocals turn towards a bleaker, blackened level (like in Vayuputra), which isn’t but fabulous. Above all, but I mentioned it before, the injections of traditional excerpts is truly refreshing, and certainly not of the exaggerated or stupid kind. It does sound so natural, this equilibrated symbiosis, but I think it goes further than that. It isn’t just original; it is authentic creativity from another level, courtesy of this band only. it not includes the instrumentation or the melodies only, but the few female voices too are remarkable, and a surplus on this band’s own vision of Brutal Death Metal.

I think this material, which lasts for thirty five minutes, can be compared to the likes of Nile / Hate Eternal, Nocturnus (without the keyboards), Fleshgod Apocalypse, Behemoth / Vader, Suffocation, Lykathea Aflame, Krisiun / Rebaelliun etc., and of course with hints of Rudra.