SANATANA - Brahmavidya

Sanatana - Brahmavidya

16 songs
80:30 minutes
***** ***
Rising Moon


Jurgis is definitely not the least controversial musician from Ukraine, considering that he is a member of Khors and more recently Nokturnal Mortum, both of which, but especially the latter early in their career, seemed to have a proximity to some despicable political views. Sanatana is Jurgisí new band, together with his wife who calls herself Maha Shakti. Maybe she is a yoga instructor and has helped move Jurgis to a more peaceful and meditative nature? One can always hope...

Sanatana released earlier this year two digital albums, Brahma and Vidya, which have been compiled on a beautifully made double digipak CD version. Both albums couldnít sound any more different though. Brahma is Sanatana at their peak! Jurgisí black metal roots are hardly recognisable, instead we get some kind of melodic metal with all kinds of influences: power metal, folk metal, maybe post black metal and a lot of ethnic and Vedic influences. Jurgis has discovered yoga, spirituality and vegetarianism. While I prefer a more rational world view and red meat, I have to concede that the eight songs on Brahma are really quite excellent. They are moody, meditative but still have the necessary edge to work as metal songs. The addition of Indian folk instruments usually works well and adds depth to the music, except some percussive elements feel as if they had been added as an afterthought later in the production.

On Vidya, his wifeís influence becomes more obvious. They share the vocals on these eight unplugged tracks. So you have been warned: there is no metal to be heard on the second disc. Actually it sounds a bit like those yoga training CDs esoteric people love to push on anybody crossing their path. Lots of "Om" and "Namaste" etc. Where the merging of Western metal and Eastern folklore worked supremely well on the first disc, I felt a little dumbfounded on the second disc. There are promising moments, but you always want it to erupt into something more metallic, which is just not going to happen on Vidya.

Fans of the physical medium wonít mind and get the really artfully done CD, and those more digitally inclined have the possibility to stream and then decide if they want the whole package or are satisfied with just one half. Jurgis and Maha Shakti probably consider this a kind of yin-and-yang situation, and possibly thatís the way you should have it. If only I didnít have these afterthoughts about the musicianís other bands... But maybe in Eastern Europe people have a more innocent and therefore also much more dangerous take on political extremism. I wish it were not so, as Sanatana show that it can work very well without evil connotations.

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