Much like the dangers of black magic and touches of bereavement, Dark Buddha Rising is profound with their 2018 project, II. While the initial moments of the two-track record are like needles that strike hair-raising abrasion as isolated shouts peel back the curtain, the sudden crash of lightning instrumentation is glorious and draped in satin sheet. The Finland based group holds the attention like a preacher to a mass and instead of leading the commencement, it is instructing through natural ability.
The first track, “Mahathgata I” is 15 minutes and is almost a vice than ensnares the listener, trapping them in this perpetual flow of performance. The group here holds a three-piece rhythm section with J. Rämänen on the percussion, P. Rämänen on the bass, and V. Ajomo on the guitar. As the other two members, both J. Saarivuori on the synths and M. Neuman on the vocal aspect; II is a push toward breaking molds and reforming over hot coals.
“Mahathgata I” is broken down into sections that act as different tracks to snap the action or disguise it as digestible pieces instead of one long, noise-ridden mess. The use of reverb and echo on the bass and guitar here is ghastly, to be even catastrophic at points. With this overbearing sense of tragedy behind the sound, Dark Buddha Rising wants to portray a macabre oil painting with colors that reflect Saturn Devouring His Son. It is grim but impossible to turn away from, and as audiences gather in the masses to see the horror for themselves, Dark Buddha Rising inches closer and closer to becoming a ruler of this realm.
Now switching gears, “Mahathgata II” is entirely based on liturgy as no instruments are used besides synths until the third act where pieces subtly parade in. The engagement of “Mahathgata II” is the feeling of uneasiness where the listener is seeing something that they shouldn’t. These emotions pour over like waves of torch-lit cloaks and robes where no faces are visible. Dark Buddha Rising has vocals here, but the shouts and layering are indistinguishable and nearly impossible to recognize, they appear human but are not entirely cognitive.
When the track finally ramps up around the six-and-a-half-minute mark, II is in full swing to become shadows against a cave wall. Barely illuminated, but entirely disturbing for onlookers. It is difficult to pinpoint exactly where the dread overcomes the audience, but it will most certainly happen before the oil lamp runs dry, perpetuating deceit through sound.