It was only a matter of time before INDIAN grew out of Seventh Rule's toxic sludge incubator and found more room to grow and infect on the roster of Relapse Records, a label that has already demonstrated a nose for the finer things in sonic torment by releasing COUGH's last album. On "Guiltless" we hear INDIAN reaching a level of consciousness that cannot be easily defined as something based solely on audio manifestations of rage. This is a snake that now slithers in patterns at least marginally more dynamic. That is to say the changes come in hints rather than bold colors, while the music, droning as it often does, seems even more based on drug-addled hypnosis, if not outright overdose-induced coma.
Though we are speak not by any stretch of the imaginations of lipstick and pigs, the INDIAN approach has been pushed closer to the chemical alterations of COUGH than the blind whiskey seething of EYEHATEGOD, even though the basis out of which all three sprung can be found in those areas most apt to include high percentages of the medicated and thriving Anger Management Consulting practices. As always, Sanford Parker's engineering only pushes those radiating waves of pain further into the red. Add Sean "Noise General" Patton's equilibrium-busting volleys to that already volatile mix and it is no wonder the ear wax melts within the first few minutes of "No Grace".
Overall, the INDIAN sound on "Guiltless" is bigger in some sense, as well as streaked with NEUROSIS glacial drift and NACHTMYSTIUM's dilated pupil whir. No big surprise in the case of the latter since the schizoid shrieks and six-string abrasions come courtesy of Will Lindsay, also known for his work in Chicago's now internationally revered not-really-black-metal-anymore expansionists. You can hear the influence in a most pronounced way on the eight minutes of "The Fate Before Fate". Lest anyone begin to think otherwise, make no mistake that on "Guiltless" sludge continues to be the defining characteristic and outside of the contrastingly quieter (though no less ominous) "Supplicants", it is the caustic that is king, even as the shading varies. Put differently, the hatred is real; it's just more artfully expressed.
I'll still give the nod to COUGH, but on "Guiltless" INDIAN has moved toward a closing of that gap. In either case, irreversible brain damage and delirium tremens are certainties. You might remember the odd twist in coloration, but it is the resultant scarring that you'll forever carry.