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Senyawa - Alkisah Music Album Reviews

Senyawa - Alkisah Music Album Reviews
Mixing metal and noise with ritualistic howls, the Indonesian duo’s seventh album is a thrilling, at times ecstatic serenade to the collapse of civilization.

The end of the world has always lurked in Senyawa’s explosive mix of metallic bombast, ritualistic howls, and industrial-strength clamor. But the seventh album from this Indonesian duo is genuinely apocalyptic. Alkisah—which means “Once Upon a Time”—tells a linear story of Armageddon, from civilizational collapse to failed attempts at rebuilding to a final, mass-destruction doomsday. As singer Rully Shabara barks out mushroom clouds and instrumentalist Wukir Suryadi hammers heavy beats and heavier chords, using tools he built himself, everything seems to crash and implode around them, as convincingly cataclysmic as the best CGI blockbusters.

Yet somehow Alkisah is nowhere near morose. The constant pressure in the duo’s playing—every note here feels like it has to happen as soon as possible—mines the tension of global emergency. As a result, the music’s dark detonations are more likely to keep you on the edge of your seat than sink you into gloom. In many spots, the duo sounds genuinely ecstatic: The pummeling rhythms of “Menuju Muara” reach exertion-induced euphoria; “Alkisah I” wrings epiphany from one repeated chord; and closer “Klimat” paints judgement day as a frenetic uprising of earthquakes and prayers. For Senyawa, the world has to end with a bang, not a whimper.

Such explosions come from the musical friction between Shabara and Suryadi. The band’s name means “chemical compound,” and many styles interact throughout their songs (no wonder 44 different labels decided that Alkisah fit their catalogs). It’s as if they’re two radioactive elements dumped into a beaker, causing a push-and-pull that resists one-person dominance. This stick-rubbing aura evokes Japanese prog-punks Ruins, grindaholic noise-rockers Lighting Bolt, and Beijing-based low-end riders Gong Gong Gong. But their strongest parallel is NYC post-punk pioneers Suicide, who similarly mixed invented instruments—namely Martin Rev’s keyboard/drum hybrid—with intense singing and ominous theatrics, drawing on musical antecdents while steadfastly standing outside them.

Senyawa create a similar thrill, triggering the feeling that you’ve heard these sounds before but never imagined them put together this way. Of all the genres the duo taps into, the forest-shaking doom of heavy metal is most responsible for giving the music its gravity. That’s especially true when things get lower and slower, as in “Istana,” which stretches howls across Sunn O)))-worthy bass rumbles, and “Kabau,” a meditative mesh of chords that comes off like a translated Metallica ballad. Lyrically, the latter track has a cut-and-paste quality, composed out of ancient proverbs from the West Sumatran language of Minang. But in action, the song flows smoothly upward, like a river scaling a mountain.

Grandiose images like that are easy to imagine when listening to Alkisah. Its rhapsodic tones and end-times themes suggest the duo is gravely serious. But Senyawa are not averse to humor—a few moments here indulge in over-the-top absurdity—and their narrative about humanity’s evaporation has an oddly hopeful bent, as if the end of civilization might finally unlock something greater than all of us. Perhaps that’s a futile hope, but when couched in the exhilarating waves of Alkisah, Senyawa make it actually sound possible.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Senyawa - Alkisah Music Album Reviews Senyawa - Alkisah Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Tuesday, March 30, 2021 Rating: 5

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