Tuesday, January 01, 2008
NEURAL VIBE- Mantra CD
(Snakeweed Records 1998)
“Mantra” is one exceptional local album that explores the rainbow coloured spectrum of spirituality in music, a rousing blend of psychedelic swagger and metal fusion. Psychedelia of this age is a placebo but Neural Vibe hit it right on the spot with its potent medicine. Neural Vibe's debut album so excellently provides an esoteric, cognitive landscape of surrealistic passage for deep meditations, yet drives a point with a tremendous energy experienced in the metallic riffings and all the rage. This exceptional album is another excellent product from Leonard Soosay's Snakeweed Records catalogue which has once again defied convention and found individuality. Check out the label my dear readers for some good headswim for this new age.
Anyway, Neural Vibe is essentially an ethnic fusion tribal metal band with strangely superlative presentation and a perfect package both music and sound-wise. The music has an inclination towards magical Indian-styled raga which can be felt in the carnal scales played. However, the guitar replaced the sitar and the drums is played like the tabla. They manage to make the ethnic/rock fusion interesting, without sounding like a Culture Vulture struggling with too many kitschs. Vocals-wise the singer sounds like Chris Cornell on a lower register meets a higher register Eddie Vedder when he's subdued and Layne Staley when angry. Music-wise there is two very big distinctions. One part of it is like Indus Creed, with more Shankar in it than the formulaic rock in which the former is known for. Such influences are found in more LSD-induced tracks like “Free My Soul”, “Beyond” and the environmentally-conscious nature trip of “(My) People Are Trees”. The other part is more metallic, which can range from the sometimes Indian vibe on Soundgarden, to the full out brutality of Soulfly and they are found on “Vicious Cycle”, “Applewhite” (dedicated to the 39 star trekkies of the Heaven's Gate), “Kamadewa”, “Apart”, “cpw201”...
It scarcely lets up from there. I'd always maintain that there are some bands in Singapore who manage to steer in line with their own orientation and settle on unique niches. Neural Vibe is one of them but it's been a good ten years ago since this album was released. Sometimes I feel that yesterday was more exciting than tomorrow and it appears to be the case here. Let's see if I can get my dirty hands on some funny mushrooms with Neural Vibe on full blast to go back several notches in time and I'll tell you the result when I'm back. Keep your fingers crossed.
--sojourner at 1:22 AM