ADARRAK Debuts with Shredding Fury on Ex Oriente Lux

            The forces behind a new entity rising from Singapore have now unleashed their debut offering titled Ex Oriente Lux. This brutal exercise in melodic precision, which is named after the phrase meaning “out of the east, light comes,” shows ADARRAK entering the scene with assertive musicianship and songwriting that pushes the outer fringes of their genre. Grand emanations abound in a euphoric atmosphere crafted from epic leads, crushing riffs, and a diverse combination of other elements as ADARRAK seizes the essence of the dawning light. This power is directed into Ex Oriente Lux with uncompromising will and vigor to deliver an expansive work of modern Death Metal.

            Brutalization commences with the pummeling wall of blasts, screams, and dense tremolo riffing that initiates “Final Ethos Demise.” Harmonizing melodies converge into crushing rhythms, and the lead melody of another transition carries into the first of many engaging solos. The tone changes with doom-laden riffing for the aptly titled “Into the Abyss,” along with the first appearance of clean vocals. These persist as fretboard intricacies signal the shift between multiple chugging grooves and riffs that build toward the track’s lead. Visceral tremolo melodies further its epic impact before doom returns with the compounding heaviness of deep gutturals. Leading melodies convey a spaced-out splendor on “Mettle,” and spoken words come through as muted riffing expands into complex arrangements with soaring clean vocals. Alternations with the harsher variety add a vicious contrast before soloing takes hold and drives an elevating intensity that continues until the end. The force of speed riffs and blasting launches “Bereft” into a frenzy of intricate melodies that shift and mutate along with an exchange of clean and guttural vocal deliveries. A hook merges with the striking power of chords and double bass to form a chorus passage, and the track culminates with compelling fretboard wizardry from Marty Friedman, notable for his work in bands like MEGADETH, which takes the melodic grandeur even higher.

            Entrancing arpeggiations lead the attack on “Withering,” and a melodic transfer broods over rhythmic chugging that shifts to the accented notes of a driving riff. Vocal dynamics compliment these transitions as they advance toward an interlude of tapping fury, and the riffing yields to memorable closure by another vehement progression of solos. “Through the Fabric of Time” follows with an imposing mass of doom that breaks into mid-paced rhythm, and pinch harmonics appear as it evolves into a sinister force with the chilling effect of arpeggiated notes. An evocative display of soloing recurs over crushing developments that cross over to “Beneath the Vault of the World,” where further technical excursions occur within the heavy continuum. The ferocity densifies with a descent into doom territory while a solo capitalizes on the foregoing riff dexterity. Cosmic effects lead into a final demonstration of epic melody on the instrumental “Fire will Cleanse,” and the haunting majesty that manifests is eclipsed by a procession of leads for a sublime finale.

            The title’s meaning, “out of the East, light comes,” doesn’t only apply to light, but implies deeper spirituality, wisdom, and culture also rise from the East as opposed to the Western world. A contrast between these two civilizations appears on the cover art, and inferences of the West being where these cultural qualities decay are supported on “Final Ethos Demise” with the increasingly ruinous influence of darkness “before the sun sets.” Another disturbing realization on “Into the Abyss” questions leadership from the powers that be, and whether we are “at the mercy of whatever pain they’re free to inflict.” Overcoming adversity is the focus of “Mettle,” and “Bereft” involves the conflicting nature of instincts to kill and survive, with a fear that ultimately ends through death.

            Time as an illusion and the transient state of “truth” are ideas portraying the emptiness of existence on “Withering.” This goes further on “Through the Fabric of Time,” and various time dimensions are also depicted with “vanishing hues of what once was, never will be, might-have-beens.” Suffering and the drive for vengeance against those responsible are expressed on “Beneath the Vault of the World” while declaring a resistance toward enslavement. Deeper meanings are clearly present in the lyrics, but contextual obscurities make some of them difficult to pinpoint. Many reflect the impact of rampant primal instincts, corruption, and how other tormenting elements of the human condition correlate with societal degeneration, along with hopes for renewal before the ultimate cure takes effect.

             Ex Oriente Lux is an impressive debut that exemplifies potent songwriting with an emphasis on melodic elements and solos without compromising the brutal essence of Death Metal. The substance behind these compositions often induces a rapturous effect that makes them instantly memorable. Harmonious transitions from blasting force to various mid-paced rhythms and crushing doom further elevate their structural immensity along with the range of vocal dynamics and technical proficiency. It will be interesting to see how ADARRAK continues their progression on future releases, but for now, Ex Oriente Lux is a fine display of epic shreddery that commands high regard among the Death Metal hordes.

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