Dark Buddha Rising Credit: Maija Lahtinen

Of all the albums I’ve covered since the Reader adapted to the pandemic by trading concert previews for record reviews, the new release from Finnish metal explorers Dark Buddha Rising is probably the best one I could’ve picked to help me stay grounded and focused during our agonizing election week. Psych, drone, and doom are among the most immersive forms of music on earth, and on Mathreyata, Dark Buddha Rising alchemize them into something that feels big enough to encompass the cosmos—an especially inviting place when things get this heavy on the home planet. Since forming in 2007, Dark Buddha Rising have used improvisation and intuition to compose their celestial transmissions. Their work is founded in darkness, but their fascination with geometry, nature, and the esoteric gives even their most diabolical experiments a meditative quality: on Mathreyata lead track “Sunyaga,” for instance, doomy guitars and unfaltering drums create an almost serene pulsing drone beneath the windswept screams of front man Vesa Ajomo, before the song drops into a blackened abyss. Dark Buddha Rising recorded the base of the album’s four long pieces before joining forces with fellow Finnish extreme-metal group Oranssi Pazuzu for the 2019 debut album of their collaborative Waste of Space Orchestra. Only when that project was done did they return to this material, and the stretched-out process seems to have suited them: Mathreyata contains some of their most powerful music to date. The prismatic layers of the instrumental “Uni” are a great way to get lost, and sprawling album closer “Mahatgata III” ends this journey on a peak: its psychedelic twists, intense builds, and cathartic releases can help you feel ready to face any storm.   v