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rock in the fine city
'80s-'90s singapore independent music archives
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
(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

Album Reviews

Anesthesia- Anesthesia CD Astreal- Ouijablush CD AWOL- Midnight In June CD Band of Slaves- 45 MCD Bird Brains- Peanut Butter Jelly Sandwich CD The Black Sun- The Black Sun CD The Boredphucks- Revolution 69 MCD The Boredphucks- Banned In Da Singapura CD Chris Ho- Nite Songs In Day-Glo CD Concave Scream- Concave Scream CD Concave Scream- Erratic CD Concave Scream- Three CD Daze- Sexy Little Boy MCD Do Not Ask- Just Play It! CD Edgar's Fault- Edgar's Fault CD Fection Dasche- Eternal Transgression CD Flying Pills- Flying Pills CD Force Vomit- The Furniture Goes Up CD Global Chaos- The Art of Listening CD Humpback Oak- Pain-stained Morning CD Humpback Oak- Ghostfather CD Humpback Oak- SideASideB CD Humpback Oak- Oaksongs Boxset Impiety- Asateerul Awaleen CD Kelvin Tan- The Bluest Silence CD Lilac Saints- Awake CD The Lizard's Convention- Here's a Funny Fish, Hurrah! CD The Mother- A Dark Trip On The Ill Tip CD Mutation- Void of Disharmony EP Neural Vibe- Mantra CD The Oddfellows- Teenage Head CD The Oddfellows- Carnival CD The Ordinary People- It's A Weird Existence CD The Padres- BigO Singles Club #1 MCD The Padres- What's Your Story MCD The Pagans- Stereokineticspiraldreams CD Radio Active- Eyes In The Attic CD Starfish n Coffee- Ghost MCD Stompin' Ground- Measured By The Richter Scale CD Stoned Revivals- Golden Lovesongs From The Evil Island of The Handsome Tropical Cannibals CD Sugarflies- And That's Why CD Watchmen- Democracy CD Watchmen- Love MCD Zircon Gov.Pawn Starz- Follywood CD Zircon Lounge- Regal Vigor LP Various Artists- +65 Indie Underground 3 CDs Set Various Artists- Left of The Dial CD Various Artists- The Substation 10 Years & Counting (Rock The Garden) CD Various Artists- 12 Storeys CD Various Artists- New School Rock MCD
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