Album Premiere: MæntraKundalini Rising


Gonna abandon that special character right quick. [Not if I can help it. ~Roldy]

I don’t know about you, but when I hear that an album is themed and structured around the concept of the 7 chakras, I expect something in the stoner or drone realm at best and generic metal propped up by far-Eastern musical tropes at worst. I’m happy to report that neither is the case with Kundalini Rising, the debut album by San Francisco’s Mæntra. Instead, they play the kind of extremely burly technical death metal you might expect if I’d led with the fact that the band features Paul Ryan from Origin. If you’re thinking of copious blast beats, you’re on the right track.

But that’s not the whole story. The lineup is rounded out by Rudy Pina from blackened death outfit Cyanic and Adam Houmam, who also drums or has drummed for various more-or-less gory grind projects (Cartilage, Terrorizer LA, and, allegedly, Ghoul). Houmam excels not only at the aforementioned blasting but also displays a versatility that often allows him to loosen what would otherwise be a tight knot of non-stop intensity. Speaking of versatility, Pina not only contributes riffs aplenty, but is also responsible for half of the dual vocal approach that strongly reminds me of grindcore. Always a plus!

That’s still not the whole story though, as Pina is also credited with the electronic component of the band’s sound. A sometimes subtle, sometimes overt, but almost constant underpinning of effects and samples gives the music a surprisingly industrial vibe that brings a lot of atmosphere to the table. It reminds me a bit of last year’s Fractal Generator record, but where Macrocosm often made me think of a precise military strike akin to the Combine conquering earth, Kundalini Rising feels slightly looser, less martial in its approach, and more willing to embrace chaos. Indeed, the album is not concerned with subjugation, but rather with liberation, its intent being to “guid[e] listeners through the healing process to release tension, erase limited beliefs, and improve overall physical and mental clarity.”

We’re more than happy to give you a head start on that journey before the album officially drops this Friday.

Kundalini Rising comes out Friday, February 18th.

Get it on Bandcamp and check Maentra’s website for more info, videos, and merch!

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