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Southeast Asian Vedic heavy metal rocks China's extreme music scene

Beijing label resurrects Singaporean band Rudra's genre-shaping early albums

Rudra in 2013: from left, Kathir, Simon, Vinod and Shiva. “We came up with the term Vedic metal because [the genre] fuses ancient Indian philosophy and music, especially folk-traditional and classical, with extreme metal,” said Kathir, Rudra’s singer and bass player. (Courtesy of Rudra)

SINGAPORE -- In his 2006 book "Extreme Metal: Music and Culture on the Edge," British sociologist and music critic Keith Kahn-Harris said that heavy metal music is not for innovators, but refiners. Deena Weinstein, an American professor of sociology, later described the globalization of metal as bound to universally established canons of sound and style.

Southeast Asia, however, seems to have turned those arguments on their head, with diverse and localized forms of rock-derived music ranging from Indonesia's Islamized punk and heavy metal to the incorporation of ethnic folklore and instruments in Thai and Malaysian pop and rock music.

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