As we enter the final month of the year, many of us writers like to gather around and talk about our favorite records of the year. This year has had an absolute plethora to fawn over from acts like YOB to Gaerea to Panopticon being names that are getting thrown around a lot, and I like doing that as much as anyone else. But I also enjoy looking forward while everyone else seems to be looking back. 2019 is just around the corner, but it’s already being represented gloriously by some choice cuts straight from members of the esteemed Rudra with the very unknown act of The Wandering Ascetic and their devilishly flavorful upcoming album.
If you’re even a little familiar with the name of Rudra, you know that renowned band has made a great name for themselves by incorporating a very thick Vedic influence, especially on the instruments, into an uncompromising black metal environment with elements of thrash peeking its head in every now and then. “Enemy of Duality” is still a massively influential album for me, and I’ve always wanted to see where the members would go next. Although Rudra released material earlier this year, it was with the name of The Wandering Ascetic on the Transcending Obscurity 2018 Label Sampler that I eagerly awaited this album. The advanced track was something that really caught my eye as it was exactly what I was needing at the time, and now the time has come to fully digest the beast that is “Crimson”. In every fucking possible way, this record is a phenomenal preview for 2019 to me as this entire record is simply tantalizing from top to bottom.
Now, should you be going into the glory of “Crimson” expecting Vedic instruments like Rudra, I apologize but you won’t find a single example of that here. The Wandering Ascetic instead brings the thrash to the foreground and combined it with the black metal to create an absolutely vicious experience that the entire band sounds right at home with every single piece of “Crimson” being something to play loud and jam out to on a daily basis. But blackened thrash isn’t new, you may be saying. What makes this one stand out? Well, the answer is twofold. The first: the incredibly distinct vocals that lend themselves amazingly well to the outright guts-on-the-floor approach that The Wandering Ascetic takes for the entirety of “Crimson”. Second: the riffage that never wavers. Blackened thrash has always been a magnificent home for riffs at what feels like every turn, but it’s with The Wandering Ascetic that we see their potential maximized in the hands of very capable masters that have already proven their skill level in their craft, but it’s incredibly impressive nonetheless.
Quite literally everything comes together in these ten tracks to give us an experience that we seldom get nowadays, but it’s The Wandering Ascetic that delivers us an album that’s more than astounding as the beginning is fierce and jumps right into the fire and the ending leaves you only wanting more! There were many things that I was looking forward to for “Crimson”, and I couldn’t be any more ecstatic that my expectations were both met and blown right out of the fucking water! This record may not be coming out until February, but it’s an insanely fantastic start to 2019 if I do say!
“Crimson” releases on February 12th via Transcending Obscurity Asia!
LISTEN to an advanced track from “Crimson” on Bandcamp here.
LIKE The Wandering Ascetic on Facebook here.