If this sixth album is the first you’ve heard of mysterious Finnish sextet Dark Buddha Rising, you’re certainly not alone. Four of their first five records were released either independently or on an obscure Finnish label, before 2013’s Dakhmandal, released on not-so-obscure Finnish label Svart Records, led to an appearance at Roadburn and subsequent signing to Neurot.
When it comes to comparative points, you could definitely mention Neurosis here, along with other recent Neurot signing Ufomammut. Like both aforementioned artists—but particularly the latter—Dark Buddha’s tunes trend towards epic lengths, with this, their North American debut, being perhaps their most extreme example. In fact, there are only two songs on Inversum … but they each exceed 23 minutes.
Suffice to say, opening track “Eso” has a long, slow buildup, with several seconds of sparse, echoing synths begetting the first appearance of a slow, mellow rhythm section. I keep waiting for a crescendo, as the song descends into the vaguely mideastern droney sound played by OM, complete with oddly chanting vocals. As the chanting gives way to blackened screams, we get a taste of downtuned death/doom à la Winter as the first repetitive heavy riff kicks in, ahead of a more grating, post-sludge riff pattern more akin to Ufomammut. The latter half of this lengthy number mostly consists of blackened wails, walls of feedback, and semi-tribal drumming with heavy snare crashes. More like Ugh-fomammut, if you ask me.
Second track “Exo” is hardly more enticing off the bat than its predecessor, with long, drawn-out drone synths and the repeated sound of a coffin opening interspersed with some unintelligible mumbles. A military-style snare brings the proceedings to an inauspicious start along with some loudly-ringing guitar notes, before we get a bit of NeurIsis-style meandering post-sludge riffage. There are a couple decent heavy passages here, but not nearly enough to fill 23 minutes. Can’t see myself coming back to this very often.