Indian - Guiltless
Relapse Records
Sludge, drone doom
7 songs (40:56)
Release year: 2011
Indian, Relapse Records
Reviewed by Brian
Album of the month

As genres are wont to do, doom has splintered off into million different directions and sub-genres. You have your classic doom, your drone doom, your sludgy doom, your doom-laced death metal. Then you get a band such as Indian, who are kind of tough to pinpoint as to where they belong on the doom wheel of colors. They’re grimy, sludgy, sometimes droning, and always utterly terrifying. The Chicago-based band have brought the lumber for three albums now, and their latest, Guiltless (their Relapse debut), is the finest effort yet.

The music takes its time, that’s for sure, as the band’s demolition is cold and calculating. You’ll have to sit and wait for the beating to fully play out, and the whole time, it’s scary. That’s a point I can’t state enough: The music has a horrific approach, mostly due to the vocals. They sound maniacal, no matter which guitarist is singing – Dylan O’Toole of Will Lindsey (Wolves in the Throne Room/Nachtmystium/Middian) – and it’s one of the finest points of Indian’s greatness over the course of their creative lives. Convincing vocals are so crucial, like an actor being able to sell and deliver his dialog so you buy into his character, and this band has it in spades. The torturous emissions on the title track, for example, are enough to make you wonder if either of these guys were able to even speak for a week after recording. Intense.

The music itself is kind of a weird paradox. It’s relentlessly suffocating, yet refreshingly atmospheric (thanks to producer Sanford Parker, no doubt). If you need a comparison, think Batillus or Lord Mantis, all who have records out on the Seventh Rule label, Indian’s former home. The noise is always swelling, the guitar chugging is like a giant truck continuously slamming into a wall, and the drums are just assaulted mercilessly. It’s ground-and-pound devastation from which you won’t soon recover, and you’ll find it oddly heart-warming that you won’t mind that a bit. Rarely does the tempo speed up, though there’s a bit of speed during Guilt, the second-shortest track on the album next to acoustic-mashed interlude Supplicants.

Simply put, Indian are one of the finest young doom bands going, and now that they’re with Relapse, the sky’s the limit. It likely won’t be everyone’s cup of warm blood, admittedly. But those who feast on this style of music, and its hellish spawn of subgenres, probably won’t be able to get enough. I know I can’t, and I’ve had this thing in regular rotation for about a month now. It never loses its intensity or its mesmerizing terror, and Guiltless is bound to be one of the albums you’ll see pop up on more than one critic’s best of 2011 lists. It’s that good.

Killing Songs :
No Grace, Guiltless, Guilty
Brian quoted 92 / 100
Other albums by Indian that we have reviewed:
Indian - From All Purity reviewed by Andy and quoted 83 / 100
Indian - Slights and Abuse/The Sycophant reviewed by Adam and quoted 85 / 100
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