Extreme metal has long been a space for people to both explore and express their inner thoughts, confronting the harsh realities of life on this increasingly bleak planet through one of the most intense and cathartic styles of music there is. It’s also a global force, something that through the wonders of the digital age (aka Bandcamp) means that different perspectives can be shared through the genre by people spread all across this space rock. The current situation in Malaysia is not one that we at Astral Noize are overly familiar with, but through the music of one-man project Iravu we’ve recently had our eyes opened somewhat.
The project’s new EP, Like Shades Of Night, is sole member Hareesh Kumar Shanggar’s way of reflecting on the events of the last year: “There’s a lot going on in Malaysia and I kinda feel like there’s no way out. The elites continue their political and economic scheming while the marginalised are forced to toil and suffer,” says the Bandcamp bio. Musically, the EP reflects the despondence felt in the fact of injustice, starting with the ominous ‘Nebulous’ before the brutally sinister ‘Ghosts Of Their Past’ launches into fierce blackened extremity with guitars that callously swirl with all the grace of a rusted chainsaw stuttering as it sears through flesh. That intensity is maintained on eleven-minute closer ‘Idle’, where the atmosphere seems to close in on you like a narrowing cave. The whole affair is gloriously filthy, boasting an intensely macabre atmosphere and a unique approach to black metal that eschews norms (guitar solos!? fuck yes) whilst still holding onto the biting cold-heartedness that can make the genre so fear-inducing.
Ultimately though the EP is a call to arms, or perhaps a wake up call against the injustices that the project’s creator sees in the world and in Malaysia: “I, among many, hope that Malaysians begin to understand that there are no magical heroes coming along to save us, we have to do it ourselves. This system is so broken that it is willing to kill and intimidate to ensure its survival. Calling for resignations, elections and fighting for control of some rigged institution is not gonna change anything. We have to start asking the right questions, interrogating where the real power lies and take it back. There can’t be compromises with the ones in power and the fascists who spread hate/violence towards the vulnerable. Until then however, we’re going to see this cycle continue forever.”
Check out the EP on the Antifascist Black Metal Network here and pick it up for digital download here – all proceeds are heading to the SEED Foundation Malaysia, a non-profit providing support for marginalised communities in Malaysia.
Curating Resistance is a series designed to promote bands, artists, labels and more from the world of heavy music, with a particular focus on those who use their platform to promote progressive causes or speak out against injustice and bigotry in the metal scene and beyond. For more, click here.
Words: George Parr