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Grand, Triumphant, Brutal - 92%

In, November 19th, 2012

I've listened to Siksakubur's earlier albums and I didn't really like them. They were skilled musicians, but the lousy production sort of ruined it for me. Unlike black metal, brutal death metal needs a more clear production so as to give their brutality more force. A cloudy or muffled production makes the music sound rather weak. Then they released Tentara Merah Darah in 2010, and not only did they fix all the production problems, they released something of pure, unbridled awesomeness. This is seriously one of the best albums to ever come out of Indonesia.

Tentara Merah Darah is actually a concept album, which basically covers the story told in the movie 300. They growl in Indonesian so I have no idea what they're saying, but could be singing about My Little Pony for all I know and I would still think this album is amazing. It starts off with this little keyboard piece that reminds me of all those Super NES games I use to play before transitioning into the unrelenting brutality.

The vocals may not be as deep as most brutal death metal bands, but they're extremely aggressive and fit the music well. The drums are even more violent with their many intense blast beats and rapid fills, but they make sure to keep it fresh by including more mid-paced rhythms and even some military-style rhythms like on “Dewa Yang Terluka”. They also keep the music fresh by adding more thematic elements like that woman singing at the beginning of “Laskar Pelayan Kegelapan”.

The centerpiece of this album is the guitars. Sometimes they have a Death influence, sometimes they have a Nile influence, but they're all brilliantly crafted and pleasing to the ear. However, the part I really want to talk about are the solos. They are incredible, plain and simple, like the gods raining holy fire down upon the wicked. Listen to the solos near the end of “Menanduk Melawan Tanduk” and “Memoar Sang Pengobar” and try not to be mesmerized by their energy and spirit.

If there's only one problem with this album, it would be that it's too long. The music would have had a lot more impact if it was more succinct. Other than that, Tentara Merah Darah is easily one of the best brutal death metal albums ever to emerge from Indonesia. Now if only I could get my hands on their latest album St. Kristo...