Aghora “Aghora” (2000)

For some odd reason, my brain could never conceive why the principles of far eastern philosophy have never, or rarely, been the source of inspiration of some of the greatest metal albums ever released. I always found it surprising since some of rock ‘n rolls greatest rooted in the 60s hippie scene who took great interest in the wisdom of taoism, buddhism, and especially hinduism.

I suppose that many artists found it easier to find inspiration in the realms of drug consumption which is totally ok since it provided many precious moments in music history. They tend to have the negative externality of taking their toll on the musicians we love though.

And then there are persons like Santiago Dobles, a Berklee School of Music graduate, practicioner of body and soul balancing exercises ranging from qi gong to yoga and mastermind behind Florida based jazz metal prodigy Aghora. Those of you who know about the Aghori know that there can’t be a better name for a metal band that seem to find part of its inspiration in the ancient sanskrits, since the Aghori are also refered of being religious anarchists.

The Aghori are a hindu sect which worships Lord Shiva, the ultimate deity in Hinduism. The Aghori distinct themselves by an unusual approach to the theme of duality, which for them, doesn’t exist. In essence, their beliefs boil down to two points: First, the gods are perfect. Second, the gods are responsible for everything. Hence, everything that exists is perfect. The Aghori even find beauty and perfection in such actions as consuming excrements, cannibalism and other things which the common occidental inhabitant would consider being disturbing and sick.

I have no idea how hard or easy it is to digest any sort of backdoor releases but as far as the band is concerned: the only thing I find hard to come by here is to select the right words that will make you understand that you need to order this album right now!

It is with a crushing in-your-face style riff that “Immortal Bliss” kicks in the door to a domain of yet unheard soundscapes. The nine songs containing tracklist will take you on a journey through neckbreaking complex, syncapated rythmic riffs (“Immortal Bliss”, “Satya”), driven by a powerful and epic bass lines, up to exalted jazzy parts (“Frames”, “Jivatma”) consisting of wonderful guitar melodies, some oriental folk instrumentation, subtle pianos and Danishta Rivero’s beautiful vocal lines that underline a yearning for the answers to our most fundamental philosophical questions. I must stress here that I am glad to hear a women on the microphone that manages to give her vocals a sopranic injection without sounding gothic. Her voice also joins in the numerous oriental intervals which is an appliance I am particularly fond of.

This album lives of everything it is built up upon. Every element has a prominent spot in the sound. I wish more bands would understand that each instrument is part of the whole and that only a balanced equilibrium between all of them will provide the listener with the most pleasant sonic experience possible. It might be far fetched but it wouldn’t surprise me if Dobles said that this is one of the goals he wishes to put into effect with this band since he knows that only a balance between the energies flowing in our body leave us in good health. He sure found a good balance in the production of this album.

I can only pronounce my deep respect for this complete work of art. And those of you who are not interested in the whole concept: if you want to know what Sean Malone and Sean Reinert where up to, among others, before reuniting Cynic, then this is for you too. Namasté.



Release:  2000
Label:  Dobles Productions
Avantgenre:  Meditational Metal
Duration:  55:40
Origin:  USA
Official site:
Review online since:  02.12.2007 / 10:05:02


01 – Immortal Bliss
02 – Satya
03 – Transfiguration
04 – Frames
05 – Mind’s Reality
06 – Kali Yuga
07 – Jivatma
08 – Existence
09 – Anugraha

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