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Dying Out Flame - "Shiva Rudrastakam" (CD)

Dying Out Flame - "Shiva Rudrastakam" CD cover image

"Shiva Rudrastakam" track listing:

1. Praise Of The Omnipresent One
2. Shiva Rudrastakam
3. Eternal Mother Of Great Time
4. Vaya Putra
5. Maisasura
6. Trinetra Dhari (Three Eyed One)

Reviewed by on November 13, 2014

"Dying Out Flame stands at the modern forefront of underground metal from the East."

A lesser-discussed strong point - or “secret weapon,” if you will - of one of 2014’s underground death metal gems is its very brevity. “Shiva Rudrastakam” is only 36 minutes long, and not for a lack of ideas, either. The endlessly creative Dying Out Flame has shown remarkable restraint on the debut full-length, and a mature understanding of the fluid dynamics between quality and quantity. The band knows how to get in and get out while you’re still exhilarated.

Having something unique to offer in between certainly helps, or something unique at least to Western ears. Based in Kathmandu, Nepal, the band draws much inspiration from Singapore’s Rudra, forefathers of “Vedic metal.” Traditional instruments, hypnotic male and female chants, riffs infused with Eastern scales, and a heightened air of ancient spirituality are all part of the package - introduced up front in the three-minute overture “Praise Of The Omnipresent One,” a full music movement in itself - twisting the genre in a refreshing ethnic direction.

Speaking of riffs, axemen Saujanya Pahadi and Bikalpa Chaudhary are a veritable factory. On the metallic side of things, Dying Out Flame is very much a guitar-driven outfit, and never fails to dazzle and thrill with a consistent fretwork onslaught that rides the narrow knife’s edge between brutal aggression and catchiness. Whether it’s the mid-paced “Eternal Mother Of Great Time,” the frenetic, blasting “Vaya Putra,” or the technical “Trinetra Dhari (Three Eyed One),” the death metal bursts forth in crystal-clear coherence, making the interwoven blend with the traditional arrangements all the smoother. The offsetting of bassist/vocalist Aabeg Gautam’s throaty growls with the ethereal, melodic, and rhythmic backing chants only adds to the exotic flavor.

At the end of the day, however, “Shiva Rudrastakam” is indeed brutal death metal, and is thus unlikely to attract decided non-fans of the subgenre, the band’s unusual and inspired take notwithstanding. But fans of Nile, Melechesh, and the like should be more than pleased, along with anyone who simply loves metal extreme, dark, and interesting. Dying Out Flame stands at the modern forefront of underground metal from the East, and represent its tiny country with admirable energy and passion.

Highs: The traditional Eastern influences, and their clever incorporation into the death metal format, are a big draw - along with some excellent riffage.

Lows: Death metal is still death metal, and Dying Out Flame is unlikely to convert unbelievers, regardless of the originality.

Bottom line: A unique (to Western ears) take on brutal death metal that should earn Nepal some closer attention from the global scene.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)