Chicago quintet Indian surpass Relapse Records labelmates Cough as the modern monarchs of Electric Wizard-worship on their fourth full-length, Guiltless. But whereas Cough often sound like a straight-up tribute band, Indian bring a unique perspective to their dopesmoking doom. In particular, vocalist-guitarist Will Lindsay's experience in psychedelic black-metal luminaries Wolves in the Throne Room and Nachtmystium shines through the thick, brooding darkness to make something denser and richer than standard-fare Sabbathian sludge.
“No Grace” opens the album with a shockingly original and bizarrely phrased riff, while the vocals strike a screeching cadence that resounds from the deepest, trippiest corners of doom and black metal. The end of the track shows the black-metal influence at its most obvious with a soaring, hauntingly gorgeous riff that would sound at home on Weakling's Dead as Dreams.
Admittedly, the band isn't as rifftastic as Electric Wizard may have been in their prime, but the music hits just as hard with a psychedelic murkiness and hazy focus on rhythmic variation, as on the title track's clashing opening riff. Nevertheless, the eight-minute epic gets a little tiring by song's end, and the following tracks don't do much to drag the listener back down the rabbit hole. The bleak, dejecting acoustic interlude “Supplicants” breaks up the monotony just in time, setting up the album's closer, “Benality,” another epic in both length and sonic satisfaction.
Overall, the album is easily one of the most bewitching, hypnotizing, beautiful doom/sludge albums since Wizard's Dopethrone. Nothing has sounded more genuinely evil and distressing in a long time. CODY THOMAS