“Vajra” is a Sanskrit word that means “thunderbolt” and “diamond.” Perhaps this is an attempt to place the New York-based quartet with the same name into the position of “diamond in the rough.” They have certainly etched out a unique place in the melodic metal rankings, offering a sound similar to other female-fronted groups like Lacuna Coil – vocalist/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Annamaria Pinna even offers some of the same tonal qualities as Cristina Scabbia – or perhaps to a lesser extent, The Birthday Massacre.
Vajra began as a project imagined and clearly influenced by Pinna’s time living in India. Pleroma is the debut release from Pinna and the band, and while the sound is appealing and pleasant, it falls just slightly short of my own expectations. Labeled as progressive rock with Eastern Indian influence, I had hoped and expected more of the Indian vibe—more sitar, for lack of a better explanation, admittedly being only really familiar with the sounds and not as much with the instruments that create it. That Eastern Indian influence is merely a hint rather than a shout, an essence where I was hoping for full-bodied flavor.
That is not to say the album is not successful in what it is, only that it is slightly less bold in its statement than I was expecting. There was also a distinct lack of climax as Pleroma progressed. Beginning to end, each song blended with the one before it in a linear path that never took me into a highlight or low-light area, with no shadows, no contrast, or standout for favorite track. If it were a photograph, it would be a monochrome—not to be confused with black and white; a photograph where everything captured is within the same section of the color wheel. Once again, this is not necessarily a complaint. There is definitely a market for monochromatic visual art and probably a similar market for the smooth lack of inflection of Vajra’s Pleroma, one where listeners want something unique but unassuming, aesthetically pleasing without being brazen.
Overall, Pleroma may not be a driving first attempt but it is a pleasing listen that should get a few spins on your player.Powered by Sidelines