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Dark Buddha Rising: Dakhmandal

Enigmatic drone-doomsters burrow below the levels of sanity

If you want to get the full Dark Buddha Rising experience, you really need to see them live, largely due to the petrifying vision of their statuesque, shaven-headed frontman, V Ajomo, looking like some ancient, bloodthirsty priest holding up a freshly ripped heart to the gods.

Which isn’t to say that the Finns’ fifth album is anything less than a monstrous, hallucinatory journey whose 80 minutes, split into six lengthy phases and rites, feel like an eclipse-cast shadow gradually working its way across your frontal lobes. Featuring members of Hexvessel and psych wanderers Mother Susurrus after a particularly restless night, DBR’s brooding, ever-descending pulse recalls Bong’s trippier probes into the lower realms of consciousness, only Dakhmandal has clearly taken a wrong turn into some darkened, slumbering demon-populated recess.

V’s slavering invocations coil at the heart of K’s (all track titles bearing consonants of the album title) bristling, lopping judders and unfurling Eastern-tinged guitars as well as the drone-doom potholing-below-the-Mountain-Of-Madness and actual fucking madness of N. It’s all one long, insidious corruption of consciousness, zeroing in on frequencies the waking mind wasn’t made to withstand.

Having freelanced regularly for the Melody Maker and Kerrang!, and edited the extreme metal monthly, Terrorizer, for seven years, Jonathan is now the overseer of all the album and live reviews in Metal Hammer. Bemoans his obsolete superpower of being invisible to Routemaster bus conductors, finds men without sideburns slightly circumspect, and thinks songs that aren’t about Satan, swords or witches are a bit silly.