Chuck Schuldiner Project

Friday, August 10, 2012


Vajra is an interesting band that combines elements of symphonic metal with more rock related elements. This is a band that is fun to listen to, but difficult to give a genre too. So I will describe as best I can. The guitar playing is an interesting mix of metal, rock, shoegaze, and more psychedelic sounds. The bass playing is very solid and there is a lot of heaviness to be found in the lower end of the sound. The drumming is often very psychedelic and laid back. There is a really interesting element in the rhythm section of this band. Finally, the vocals are at once in your face and powerful and laid back and calm. The combination is potent and adds a lot of flavor to the songs. Vajra is a band that will draw you in and interest you, leaving you pondering the bands true goal for days on end.

The guitar work on this album is interesting as the overall rock and metal feel is often put through a layer of psychedelia which makes everything seem a lot more abstract. The complicated and bizarre lines in songs like Blind show a truly bizarre sound to be the norm here. I really like the overall power though, every time it seems that a song might be losing its force the guitars show up and get things going again. It shows some truly excellent songwriting to say the least. The mix of flavors and of timbres really makes you start to get deeper into the music. The guitar work is bery absorbing, the way it pulls me into the soundscape reminds me very much of the playing of the legendary Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia. Overall the guitar playing on this album is stellar and will captivate you, showing off new sounds and ideas that are very interesting.

The bass playing on this album is cool for multiple reasons. When the guitar departs on a psychedelic trip with very little power the bass player takes over and drives the songs on. He often can be treated as a lead instrument and he gives the songs a lot more power. His playing is solid and sweet. On the melodic bits he proves himself to be a true virtuoso. On the more rhythmic bits his thudding rhythms just make me smile. They have a lot of power and bring everything forward. Meanwhile the drumming is extremely steady and rarely breaks off into aggressive attacks. Typically the playing is laid back and swirling. There are a lot of cool fills here that add flavor to some more standard rock drum parts. He shows off some very interesting lines, and when he gets to take the lead he truly shines. All in all the rhythm section of this band is very interesting, with a lot of bizarre breakdowns these guys will keep you interested for a long time.

The singing on this album could only be described as Tarja Turjunen singing for a psychedelic band. With a lot of passion and power the singer of this band will not disappoint. She quite clearly has quite a bit of classical training enabling her to create some beautiful vocal melodies. Meanwhile the lyrics are powerful and really thought provokin and get you to think a little bit more about the nature of life as we know it. Song titles like “Inside the Flame” and “See Through You” give you an idea of what the lyrics are about. This bands vocalist is quite the force and manages to keep things intact even at their dreamiest. Somehow her operatic voice can bring everything back to earth and keep it there. She provides the one solid element in a very hard to comprehend band.

In conclusion, Varja is an extremely interesting band. With an album that takes multiple listens to full comprehend and lyrics that are beautiful and epic. The guitar playing is at once heavy and psychedelic. There are entire arrangements based on loose and bizarre guitar solos. The bass playing often takes the lead here and really can dominate the sound. He adds a lot of flavor to the band. I also really like the drum work with its' relaxed and simple playing that adds a lot to the songs. Finally, the singer has an excellent voice that shows some major symphonic metal influences, yet she always manages to deliver. So go check out Vajras' album Pleroma, it is truly excellent.

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