22-year-old Pyramid Vritra has been making beats and writing rhymes since the age of ten, and after founding the collective Nobody Really Knows, hooked up with Matt Martian of Odd Future, which led to the formation of the Super 3 production group and Jet Age of Tomorrow. Yet the artist born Hal Jackson still toils at a day gig: driving a forklift at a Los Angeles home improvement store where his co-workers don't know he makes music.
While the often brooding Indra (named after the Hindu god of thunderstorms) probably won't make him any more accessible, Vritra's delivered a potent, personal strain of mutant hip-hop. The demonic moans that herald opener "Vanessa Hill" sets the album off on a foreboding note, and the haunting John Carpenter-esque synth of "Impulses" is a perfect accompaniment to Pyramid's vivid, stream-of-consciousness rhyme style.
"Cherry Avenue" is a tense, hallucinatory tale of romantic rejection, punctuated by violent and thankfully brief misogynistic imagery, while "Tea & Lemonade" has a playful uptempo sci-fi groove. "Zord" is a scathing takedown of mainstream hip-hop, which Pyramid terms the "Industry of Cruelty," but its sting is somewhat diminished by an overlong instrumental coda and it's the instrumental passages that, at times, hinder the album's forward motion, a minor blemish on an otherwise solid album. (Stones Throw)