Irkalla by Vajra

Release date: January 15, 2021
Label: Thunder Cult Records

Mythology and mysticism of all shapes and colors have become an essential part of heavy metal music, no matter what sub-genre we’re talking about. But to be convincing, the bands really have to immerse themselves into their theme and know what they’re talking about. In most cases, the mythology they cover has quite dark overtones, and in some cases, go into directions you don’t really care about. Oh, one more requirement – they should really know how to interpret their version of metal.

This is where we come to New York City’s alternative metalists Vajra and their latest EP Irkalla. As you might guess from the title, there’s certain mythology involved in Vajra’s theme here. It turns out it is the first part of their trilogy series that is to explore human consciousness. Actually, as the band explains, “Irkalla is the Sumerian/Akkadian word for the underworld. It is the lowest level of consciousness. It is the base, material, selfish, ego aspects of ourselves. It is the place that we must shine a light and acknowledge before we move to the next levels of awareness.”

 

To really stress the imagery they are trying to create, Vajra on this 30-minute EP (bordering on a full-fledged album, actually) includes a bonus section of music dedicated to the Shadow Queen, set in three movements. In connection with the EP release, the band has created a hand-crafted “Irkalla” potion made out of mostly organic essential oils, as well as a limited edition curated ritual pack to accompany each listen.

Obviously, Vajra is trying to create a specific mood experience to accompany their music, and both the mood and the music are painted in really heavy dark overtones. The band has no problem in covering the heavy element of their music, to which they add elements of heavy prog as well as some deep metal ambiance. 

It would be interesting to see (and hear) where Vajra goes with the other two parts of their consciousness trilogy and how far they stretch the boundaries of metal. So far, they’re doing well on both accounts.

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