From All Purity: Indian Serve Up a Scalding Helping of Sludge/Doom Curry

  • Sammy O'Hagar

Indian aren’t a band for the faint of heart. And I don’t mean that in the Wye-Oak-fan-who-likes-Mastodon way. This is some serious shit: angry, putrid, and excruciatingly slow. But for the stone of heart, Indian are worth checking out. They offer next to nothing in terms of hooks or expansive ambience, but they do have an intangible element that keeps From All Purity, their latest, from becoming a self-indulgent sludge/doom snoozefest. In fact, it’s that anger and bile that keeps things moving. The band don’t pull any punches, but if you’re inclined to like gruff, noisy, fetid doom, they’re probably right up your alley.

The thunderous three chords that swallow up the majority of opener “Rape” set a solid tone for everything after it: in a noxious gas of feedback and relentless dissonance, those three chords sound like a revelation. From All Purity has about as much in common with sludge and doom metal as it does noise rock. Accordingly, the band’s subtle MVP is drummer Bill Bumgardner (heh). A combination of former Helmet drummer John Stanier and Chris Hakius of Sleep/Om fame, he keeps Indian’s drone-doom moments from flatlining and provides a steady backbeat to propel the more focused parts forward. Nothing really slips out of place or is unintentionally messy, but Indian’s curdled racket still sounds immensely offputting all the same. Penultimate track “Clarify” is the only time they submit completely to chaos, but even that’s to tee up “Disambiguation.” There’s a fine line between making glorious noise and jerking off; Indian walk that line carefully and adeptly.

As if you can’t tell from the previous two paragraphs, From All Purity isn’t an everyday kind of metal record (and I’d be wary of those who would disagree). It’s just so fucking ugly and unpleasant that, unless you’re in the mood to go looking for diamonds in the vomit-encrusted rough, it can sound like an endless, sickly death march. It clocks in at just under 40 minutes, but it sounds like an eternity. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing: Indian know that doom’s slowness can be used to stretch out one’s concept of time to submerge whoever’s listening into something truly vicious. From All Purity does that masterfully. If you’re brave enough to venture in, you’ll find yourself knee-deep in some gnarled brilliance. It may smell like bat guano, though.

Indian’s From All Purity comes out January 21 on Relapse. Check out the track “Directional” here, and pre-order the album here.

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