New York City-based alternative metal group Vajra (pronounced “vaag-rah”) is BACK! The long silence between their debut album, Pleroma (2012), and the group’s new album, Irkalla (2021), was due to a heavy touring schedule and a complex confluence of unexpected life events that paused the vocalist’s (Annamaria Pinna) creative inspiration on the band’s music.
The wait was worth it and absolutely needed, since everyone grows as a person as the years go by. And what’s the point of doing music if it isn’t working for you mentally at the moment? That time is what helped create the band’s psychedelic new EP, full of mystical concepts, prog-heavy riffage, and an exciting look into a darker world.
“We have the freedom to musically, lyrically, and visually explore what we are driven to explore, and to release what we decide to release when the time is right,” says vocalist, Annamaria. “It’s a combination of instinct and business. We usually release on auspicious days.”
Irkalla is the first EP in Vajra’s Trilogy Series, which came out on January 15th. To many this is just a date, but the date is actually an auspicious day that is a derivative of three in numerology. The album title, Irkalla, is the Sumerian/Akkadian word for the underworld. It is the lowest level of consciousness. It is the base, material, selfish, ego aspects of ourselves. It is the place where people must shine a light and acknowledge before they go forward. The trials and grief that Annamaria experienced while writing Irkalla felt constant, like she was in her own personal Hell.
So clearly, between the name, date, and artwork, everything is connected.
The artwork for the EP was created by Tas Limur as part of a set of three visuals that are meant to go together, better known as a triptych. The three triptychs are visual representations of the three levels of consciousness that combined, reflect one full photo to be revealed after the release of the band’s third EP. Each triptych will feature one of the three primary colors. Dr. Irving Finkel of the British Museum assisted with the cuneiform translations.
“Things shift and move throughout the album depending on the song and each moment within the song,” Annamaria shares. “More concretely, we attempt to weave a tapestry of melodic rock with dark ritual experimental interludes. Perhaps the music and lyrics of Irkalla reflect an esoteric space to explore the dark night of our souls.”
“What is important is that the music may provide a portal to go on a journey,” says Annamaria. “The journey will be different for each individual. My musical heroes have done this for me.”
In connection with the EP release, Vajra has created a hand-crafted Irkalla potion made, mostly made of organic essential oils, as well as a limited edition curated ritual pack to accompany each listen. How cool is that? So much detail went into the creation of this album, and that’s what caught our eye to Vajra’s music.
You can find their vinyl and CDs available here: https://shop.vajraofficial.com/.
Watch the music video for “Sever The Tie” below:
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