March 19, 2022

Sometimes an album really makes you sit up and take notice or affects you totally in a way that is unexpected. That is the case with Sanatana which is a metal/new age crossover band and whilst these differing styles may make uneasy bed fellows it is not the combination that has raised concerns but what has shaken me is that the band is from the city of Kharkiv, the second largest in the Ukraine. A city that I was rather blissfully unaware of until recently with the invasion by Russian forces suddenly changing the face of the world. It’s very difficult to think about reviewing something that has been recorded for pleasure when lives are being lost and I hope that the band and their families are OK and that there will be relief soon enough from the tyranny they are currently experiencing. Our thoughts and prayers remain with them.

Onto the music which is a self released double album from the unsigned band and it is available through Bandcamp either as a physical release or as a download. I’m a little out of my comfort zone with this album and so can only be guided by the publicity which states that the music should appeal to fans of Gojira, Mgla, Dead Can Dance and Cult Of Fire, some bands I know and others not so but at least these are pointers for you to judge and compare. The work is really split into 2 distinct albums with CD 1 called Brahma which is a heavier work being what they call Vedic metal while CD 2 (Vidya) is based more around mantras and is new age themed. I guess the work is geared around the Heart of Hinduism so you get a rather moving and spiritual affair with ethereal vocals and extensive use of traditional instruments alongside more conventional electric guitars etc.

It’s probably best to think in terms of a harder edged folk rock or ambient new age musings with a definite leaning to all things Indian in terms of music and culture The band is Roman Kucherenko on bass, Jurgis on vocals, guitars and percussion, Maha Shakti on vocals and keyboards and Viktor Vrajendra on vocals with guest Bairoth on drums. The work is suffused with mantras and prayers in what I understand is Sanskrit from Upanishads plus themes based on many other Vedic writings too. The new age themes are the dominant force throughout and it does sometimes sound a little strange competing with heavier guitar particularly on the first part of the work with the second being much more laid back and ambient.

The only real way to appreciate this work is to sit down and listen as words cannot convey what the band is doing but it is a beautiful and introverted work made all the more poignant by what is currently happening in the Ukraine. Please listen to the album carefully and spare a thought for the plight of our brothers and sisters.

Brahmavidya

CD1

  1. Ugra (4:52)
  2. Mukti (6:14)
  3. Through Punishment (5:22)
  4. Black Mother Earth (8:24)
  5. Meditation (6:05)
  6. Consecration (5:05)
  7. Shiva (5:40)
  8. Thunder Cloud (5:20)

CD2

  1. Vidya: Pranama (2:38)
  2. Maya (4:26)
  3. Guru (4:21)
  4. Sadhana (3:57)
  5. Narayana (4:53)
  6. Jyoti (2:56)
  7. Yuga Dharma (5:25)
  8. Brahma Samhita (4:43)