Pure Wrath revisit horrific time in Indonesian history on jarring, charred EP ‘The Forlorn Soldier’

Every country’s history is packed with both positive and negative events that helped shape society and get people to where they are today, for better or worse. It seems like a lot of times people don’t want to reflect on the things that don’t shine a good light on one’s homeland, yet shelving those things don’t help us learn from our mistakes so that we don’t repeat them in the future.

Indonesian black metal band Pure Wrath has unearthed one of those on their thunderous new EP “The Forlorn Soldier,” a three-track effort that trades quantity for utter brutality. This release looks back on the Indonesian genocides in 1965 and 1966 when the Indonesian army turned its wrath on Communist Party of Indonesia members, Gerwani women, ethnic races, and other leftist sympathizers in violent attacks that cost countless lives. This album focuses on a story on one family whose members vanished swallowed up by the evils of nationalism. That makes this material far more terrifying than any satanic or demon-driven metal because these events are real things that happened to people and tore lives apart. Reality is always more frightening. The band is the brainchild of Januaryo Hardy, though he gets contributions from drummer Yurii Kononov (formerly of White Ward) and piano from Dice Midyanti (Victorian), and this is the band’s second EP to go along with two full-length albums, the last one being 2018’s “Sempiternal Wisdom.”

“When a Great Man Dies” starts things off with blistering fury as melody floods over, and Hardy’s nightmarish shrieks strike. Keys come in and rain over the chaos while the rage builds to a boil. Storming playing saturates the ground before soulful clean calling mixes in, changing the dynamic for a stretch before synth wafts in, and warbled speaking bows out with the song. “Children of the Homeland” ruptures from the start as riffs begin to make their way in, and murky synth lets a fog envelope. Shrieks rain down as the pace grows more frantic, and then clean playing introduced serenity for a bit, as the music float on waves before it ruptures again. The keys leave a glistening glaze as the music pounds the shore, shrieking smothers, and the track ends hellaciously.  “With Their Names Engraved” closes the album, beginning with clean notes that trickle  before riffs cascade, and the track spills guts dramatically. Clean singing mixes with slower-driving playing that remains just as heavy, while a synth cloud drops before the music gushes with power. A short clean part changes the pace for a stretch before eerie calls go out, passionate guitars erupt, and the track churns to its emotional finish.

Hardy’s revisiting a horrific era in his country’s history can’t be easy to confront, but he does so with blunt emotion and power on “The Forlorn Soldier.” The music continues to evolve for this project, as this EP pushes their sound even more atmospheric and demonstrates the possibilities Hardy possesses for Pure Wrath. This is a band and release that deserves the greater exposure it will get from Debemur Morti, and hopefully more people will learn about this project’s music as well as the terrible events that never should be repeated again.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/purewrath

To buy the album (North America), go here: https://debemurmorti.aisamerch.com/band/pure-wrath

Or here (Europe): https://www.debemur-morti.com/en/422-pure-wrath-shop

For more on the label, go here: https://www.debemur-morti.com/en/

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