Istidraj - _Metafizika_
(Independent, 1999)
by: Alvin Wee (5 out of 10)
Ah, the wonders a poor PA system can do for bad music! Straining to make sense of their black metal rumblings at a recent gig in Singapore, I was looking forward to hear a much improved rendition of these Singaporean neophytes' work on CD. Needless to say, I already had my doubts on opening the booklet: sprouting pseudo-philosophical rhetoric in abysmal English doesn't do much for first impressions. Not that the music makes up for anything. A bored schoolgirl opens up proceedings with a dully recited couplet, and if trying to rhyme two lines using the same word is anything to go by, Istidraj don't offer much lyrically either. Anyone familiar with Unpure's early work will know what I mean when I say Istidraj's music owes its depressiveness to absolute boredom rather than purposeful songwriting. It's not that the riffs are poorly written; on the contrary, opener "Odes of Aeshon" is engagingly foreboding in its own right, but the sheer monotony of the delivery results in every track sounding similar. Apart from "Wood of Eternity"'s crunchy, doomy riffage sounding remotely impressive with its Cathedral-like downtuned heaviness, everything else sounds much like an amateur mish-mash of primitive black, death, doom and thrash. And that's without mentioning the pathetic, almost comical vocals. Bands just can't seem to get the message that we'd rather do without vocal variety than be force-fed Mickey Mouse Club-type girly chants. As if that wasn't enough, the band's dark-skinned vocalist "Lord Aryan" pays sloppy homage to Immortal by adding a pinch of dryness to Abbath's parched rasping. Soooo evil! Frankly, I feel pretty bad about putting down a band's virgin outing so callously, but it just goes to show that what would be more than adequate on a demo tape fails miserably on a 34-minute CD album. Take it as a lesson learnt, boys: demos weren't invented for nothing.

Contact: Aryan Productions, Blk1, Jalan Pasar Baru,

(article published 5/3/2000)

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