Black metal has been a versatile genre ever since it was born. Its loose definition leaves a lot of room to play and thousands of iterations of this genre have been born. As exotic as EBM or as grounded as orthodox black metal, they all have the dark melancholic feeling to bind them. Today I want to add another band to this list whose message might be a bit more open. It Djents presents you with Bhavachakra.
The band was founded by Ken Reda, who always envisioned something greater when playing in other bands. Influenced by the great Gorguts and Colin Marston (It Djents can definitely share this love), he set out to create a technically proficient yet ambient black metal band that combines dissonance and precision with atmosphere through layering and a subtle, yet persistent sense of melody.
You might want to know what Bhavachakra means. It is a depiction of a demon in Hinduism, in which the demon is holding a wheel. The Wheel represents the realms of rebirth in which you are born again. The ultimate goal is to escape that wheel.
Now you might think ‘Demons? That checks out in context with black metal‘ but wait, there’s more. The band discusses the philosophies of Hinduism and Bhuddism in their lyrics in which the center shifts slowly from a personal outlook to a macroscopic look at humanity as a whole.
This concept intrigued me, especially because the music itself wasn’t suggestive of this. Dark brooding atmospheres and riffs so fast they could also belong to the tech death genre flourish in the duo’s debut record while a balance of dirty and polished instrumentals convulse under a layer of intricate philosophy. You rarely see this kind of instrumental and lyrical dissonance. Ken explains:
‘I don’t want to be on some pedestal, a moral high ground; I just want to discuss these topics as they matter to me. On one hand it’s how I see myself and what I’m doing, on the other hand the texts are supposed to have a macro perspective on everyone.’
When asked about his decision to make music, he stated that his father was a musician and it was a call to follow his roots. He began playing the guitar around 14 years old and took classical piano lessons ( which really shine through in the record). To write songs he picks up the guitar and slowly works out what he finds fitting before discussing these ideas with drummer Paul Stacks, who Ken was keen to praise as fantastic.
When asked to describe the band in one word he said, ‘Reflective.’
Currently the band is working on another black metal epos featuring a bassist this time around. I hope to hear more of Bhavachakra’s established dissonant yet exotically gorgeous guitar work, precise and dynamic drumming and of course the punishing bass that now makes this band a trio.
Kenneth Reda – Vocals / Guitar / Piano / Bass
Paul Stacks – Drums