After Oblivion is a technical death/thrash metal group hailing from Bosnia-Herzegovina and having released an EP and a compilation with No Blest from Brazil already, this is their third offering but the first one that has reached me, so I’m rather unaware of their past sound/approach done back in ’07 and the time gap admist could possibly grant some alteration in direction, but anyway. While this EP is a bit too short display of the band’s craftmanship, it still helps to figure out their musical proficiencies in a quick and clear note.

“Vultures” is what was described to me as a promo release of three of the selected songs by the band. I’ve noticed that their music is often closely related to with Death and I don’t deny this much. In fact, the music is stylistically derived much through influences lying in later-day-Death (specifically “Symbolic”) while some Martyr and Pestilence could also be observed in places. My taste is actually not much on the ground of technical death metal, but well, I always took it as, it’s always welcoming when bands imply technicalities to foster their songwriting and not merely for mindless wankery.

I don’t know if it was intentional, but incorporation of middle-eastern melodies could also be noticed, prevalent mostly in the riffs, much similarly done as the Egyptian Scarab. The bass is clearly audible, thanks to the clean production (which I would have liked it thick, but well…). And the vocals are like Schuldiner again and there come in more of those melodic lead solos that remind of classic Death years.

Although labelled death/thrash or technical thrash, this is more death metal and less thrash to me. And although the songwriting is pretty enjoyable, there is nothing new presented musically in surface of tech-death, and the experimentation in originality tends to be lacking at times while following the influences, but the inclination towards middle-eastern flavour could be what saves the album from sounding like plenty of others doing this style. All in all, a good, commendable record “Vultures” is, which is recommended to fans of Death and death metal in general. After Oblivion is a band worth watching out for in days to come, and I hope they find some good record label soon.

7.5/10

My dear friend Hassan Umer from Pakistan has assembled some awesome hardcore/sludge/grind/metal tracks by bands from throughout south Asia and beyond, and has released this compilation called “Rebellious Damnation Theories”. It’s just an online released (released Oct 28), you can download it via HERE.

[Track List]:

01. Jugaa – “Vultures Will Feed”
02. Bonecrushing Unity – “Open Your Eyes”
03. Sangharsha – “Insaniyaat”
04. Moron Crew – “Unity”
05. Foreskin – “Anger Management”
06. Pataca – “You are Dead to Me”
07. Dementia – “Sworn Annihilation”
08. Tormentstorm – “Slaughtered for Pleasure”
09. Nuclear Winter – Thrasher’s Cult
10. Herodah – “Hivemind”
11. Mysosis – “The Uncaring Strokes of the Master”
12. Bvlghvm – “LPC”
13. Bruxism – “Absolute Control”
14. Abusive Father – “The Epic as Fuck Tale About How Some Random Paki Dude on the Internet Asked Us to Do a Track for This Compilation”
15. Chillar Killer – “Bari Gal Kiti, La Lao Littar”
16. Ha5h on Death Drive – “Mango Juice”
17. Masturbate – “Methods of Ejaculation”
18. Gorified – “Obliteration Quandary”
19. Multinational Corporations – “Inhumanization”
20. Unholy Sermon – “Genocide Nations”
21. Necroticon – “Necrotic Truth”
22. Sledgehammer Autopsy – “The Cosmic Horror”
23. Death Inquisition – “Death Comes Ripping” (Live Misfits Cover)
24. Takatak – “Giant Song” (Live)
25. Inside 2 Stoopid Triangles – “Fuck Off Metalheads!” (Live)

The facebook event page for some more information if you wish…

When Silence Entertainment first announced that this year’s Silence Festival will be headlined by the legends Vader, it was hard to believe for an instance. Vader has been one of the oldest and most consistent groups in the death metal world and while most of other death metal old-guards had been releasing substandard albums this year, Vader’s “Welcome to the Morbid Reich” was still competent in outperforming few of their older classics. So I was waiting anxiously for the day to come, October the fifteenth, and when it finally arrived, I couldn’t help but rush direct to the venue before an hour than the scheduled time.

We reached the festival ground at mid-day where there were only a handful of people gathered, volunteers, Garud security-men and few police to be seen around. Not only was I keen to mingle myself with the atmosphere but also as I had to miss two opening bands last year, being only an hour late. That was a great concert with great acts like Enigmatik (Switzerland), The Motherrockers Gang (Switzerland), E.quals and Binaash among others playing and this year, the bar was raised much, much higher. Thanks to Silence Entertainment!

Well… the stage was set-up beautifully and it seemed grand! The lights, the sound system, everything had their grandeur. It took a while and it was no late than 2 PM for the gig to kick off.

The festival Line-up:

Vader
Underside
Antim Grahan
Helmut
Commando Noise Terror
Kalodin
The Innercore
Hatebook

To start the event was the uprising local death metal group Hatebook. There were ongoing talks that the band has grown to a much tighter live act in their recent shows, and I was totally looking forward to this set. A bit muddy sound output in general, but they had delivered their best.

A quick sound-check with “Sphere of Madness” and then threw five crushing originals that featured influences ranging from Cannibal Corpse to Gorguts. Progressive elements were much evident in their newer songs, marked by numerous tempo changes and chilling Gorguts/Pestilence inclined riffing. This was the newer side of Hatebook’s music I hadn’t noticed before. Bivesh Thapa, their drummer was pounding the kit in a consistent fury backing up the vigorous band in front – quite impressive stage presence, especially of the vocalist and the bassist. Navin Pokharel was a monster behind the mic as always, bestowing with his diverse vocals range – growls to grunts and pig squeals. The crowd hadn’t still grown much big till then but it was a cool opening act for the day, the only notch down being the sound not being very clear.

Hatebook’s set-list:

Spartacus
Face of Death
Cadaver Militia
Precipitation of Human Flesh
Revenge

Then came The Innercore, a Hong-Kong based bunch of four Nepalese and a Philippino. They played metalcore, in style of Lamb of God meets As I Lay Dying. And since modern metalcore influenced by the Gothenburg sound is not my cup of tea, they didn’t get much of an attention from me. But pretty impressive stage gesture and they seemed to be having fun onstage and that’s what it matters the most. Did about half a dozen songs and I really adored the band’s drummer. I rest my case.

Next up were the local symphonic black metal outfit Kalodin who conquered the stage adorned with corpsepaints on. Their live sets have always been full of vivid atmosphere but this time they did it without all those lights on and thus it wasn’t as ambient in the daylight. Initially, Davin Shakya’s guitar had drowned behind the keys and drums, but they soon recovered the sound and began blasting continuously. They presented some five or six songs off their full length. But still, the sound output wasn’t much decent and the overall sound seemed unbalanced. Quite a disappointment from the guys I was having an expectation on, and having seen them twice already, this was their least appealing set for me.

Another thing is that they’ve being doing the same stuffs onstage all those times, and it seemed to be lacking the newness to a degree. Davin did put on show some of his immensely skillful shreds though, and the whole Dimmu Borgir-meets-power metal styled metal was commendable. All in all, they’re capable of bringing a much stronger performance than that, but things didn’t go well for them that day. They’re coming with an EP later this year, so I’m pretty excited on that note.

The first international act for the day was Commando Noise Terror, a solo project of Guido Wyss, drummer of Swiss brutal death metal band Enigmatik (/Near Death Condition, another killer death metal band), who had headlined the first edition of the festival last year. Finally, most of the audiences were on foot. He displayed his diverse talent in drumming, pummeling the kit in front of the tracks being played, which ranged from electronica to ambient flutes and jazzy metal to western classical. For the set, a different set of drums was employed and the guy had destroyed the skins, literally. The crowd cheered at him time and again, while he was exhibiting a very technical and creative side of extreme metal drumming. His set lasted for around half an hour and ended with a drum cover of Deicide’s “Scars of the Crucifix”, minus the vocals. He also did one on an eastern classical track (Anil Dhital – Kutumba collaboration, you remember?). Great set which took the gig on the next level!

Then came Helmut, another Swiss act. This band was out of my focus for whatever reasons, until they showed up what they’re capable to delivering on stage. A pleasant surprise and one of the best performances of the day, Helmut played music blended of everything heavy metal, doom, sludge, punk, rock, blues, mathcore and whatnot! Their set started with a company of the local guitar maestro Anil Dhital (E.quals/White/Lakhe) who had presented his sitar skills along Helmut’s music. This was the first time I actually saw him playing the instrument and it was mind-blowing!

And then when the band began to play their slow, doomy riffs, it all blew the stage away. Real catchy riffs and which were SUPERHEAVY!!! I digged the band’s music. The vocalist used from clean singing to Meshuggah-ish screams and growls and was little eerie but flew perfect with the music, which also stretched to easy ZZ-Top influenced blues segments. Equally exciting was their stage presence – really splendid and easy-with-the-stage, they were real fun to watch, especially the bassist. They really know how to rock n’ roll! I learned that their new CD is being distributed for free in Tone Music Store, so go grab them up real fast if you loved the guys.

Then onstage were Antim Grahan, the local black metal giants. The light of the day had completely escaped beyond the horizons by this time and which had only made the ambience more elegant. This time, the band didn’t have any face-paint, fake blood or the pig head as before. They came in and straightaway delivered their material.

The instruments beside the drums weren’t much discernible at the beginning, but they leveled up quickly. There were a number of mess in their playing but overall, it was a tight set. It was cool that they included new as well as older songs in their set-list, including the cover of “Hallowed Be Thy Name”. Well, this had come on-the-spot, since the crowd was cheering to hear the song played (which is really pathetic! The crowd still favors covers to originals?!?) Thus it came all unprepared and it could be observed since the bassist was relying on Pankaj Shakya (one of their guitarists) to know what to play further. Nonetheless, they pulled it off, but it was their weakest that day. It was the first performance of the band with their new bassist, Kunjan Shrestha, formerly of Wings of Spasm.

Surya was furious as always with his drumming, who was one of the highlights of the set, completely destructive while entering brutal blast segments. Vocals from Parash Shakya were also clearly audible, calming my complaint that they weren’t much loud in few of their previous sets. Overall, it was a mixed set, and which also invited the crowd to the pit. The sound released was quite awesome, if not flawless.

Antim Grahan’s set-list:

300
The Ruin of Immortals
Winter Blossom of Ceremonial Grief
I, Lucifer
Infected
With Vengeance I Bleed
Hallowed Be Thy Name (Iron Maiden cover)
Pashu Samrajya

Underside were next, the band featuring the members of E.quals, and Bikrant Shrestha, the key organizer of the festival, added. I had thought this band to be metalcore although being tagged ‘modern metal’, but turned out to be a little more than that, more or less. Their music consisted of thrash, groove metal and hardcore punk ingredients as well. I’ve always loved E.qual’s stage persona, if not their form of music so much, and same was the case here, plus I was actually enjoying Underside’s music, which wasn’t as technical as E.quals’ though. Energetic band and the commanding front-man, Underside proved to be the tightest local act to perform that day. They did about four or five songs, and since I was too excited longing for Vader, I couldn’t concentrate much on them after a while. All in all, they released a perfect sound output and created headbang frenzy in the crowd. Great set!

And after a long wait, Vader finally showed up. The field was full of around two thousand who were desperately waiting for the legends to arrive and commence the mayhem. Quite a bit of time consumed as separate sets of speakers were unfolded and the drums’ set was also replaced by the larger one that was used by CNT earlier. And finally the intro with haunting keys came on track, “The Dark Side” originally from Star Wars to be specific, and it felt the skies were tearing apart and the demons were arriving down on earth.

The tall men arrived and then in no time started demolishing with one song after another. Peter initially had few problems with the monitors and it raged him a bit but it was cool that he later apologized for the muddle (he actually kicked one of the monitors in front of him). The big man also messed a lead solo in the first song in the process of confusion. But then what followed were fifteen other songs, presented flawlessly, with absolute precision. Obviously, they had the best sound output among all other bands that day with every note hit audible and they were just tearing apart the stage. Great stage persona, cool interaction with the crowd and most importantly, brilliant music. Paul actually greeted with namaste’s at instances between the songs, which was cool.

James Stewart, their English drummer was blasting his drums like a machine relentlessly driving the madness foster. Hell broke loose and there were two separate pits in two halves of the ground and both pits turned out pretty huge and violent.

Just when Vader announced their last song, the crowd went “Raining Blood, Raining Blood” (pathetic again, the crowd favors Vader covering songs as well… hinting them the crowd actually loves Slayer’s songs more than Vader’s own? It’s a pity). But then again, they had two great covers of “Black Sabbath” and “Raining Blood” at the end. They made the former sound even more evil while the pit had broadened its territory during “Raining Blood”. After the set, the band members gathered to thank the audience, while Peter greeted with “Subharaatri Kathmandu”, which came much as a thrilling surprise, haha.

Vader’s set-list:

Sothis
The Crucified One
Black to the Blind
Shadow Fear
Come and See My Sacrifice
Kingdom
Dark Age
This is the War
Impure
Wings
Silent Empire
Black Sabbath (Black Sabbath cover)
Raining Blood (Slayer cover)

(and two or three others I cannot remember names of)

The clock had already pointed 10 PM and we rushed happily back our homes. A great historical day for a small underground scene like ours! Best. Gig. Ever!!!

I would like to thank Silence Entertainment for pulling off such a great event like this and which in itself is a huge milestone in the local scene. And I hope more gigs like this would be organised in future. Kudos to the Silence crew!!!

[The above pictures were taken by Umes Shrestha of KtmROCKS. They are posted here with permission.]

Within a very short span of time, nearly four months, the Singaporean grindcore machine Wormrot have come up again with their EP called “Noise”. While their previous ‘full length’ was just above eighteen minute mark, this EP is only a little more than five minutes. Musically, this is the same Wormrot – no progression or shift in sound or whatever. And same with the productions.

I’ve always loved their apporach to grindcore, i.e. they seem to throw a very complex structured grindcore in an easy and straightforward manner, offered in grind as in similar style to Insect Warfare or Kill the Client. The regular Wormrot amalgation of hardcore, punk, crust, crossover thrash and metalcore ingredients in their music is evident, and the flow is designed well, while Arif balancing his throat with both growls and screams. But overall, this just seems to be a collection of the remnants they forgot to include in their last album, literally.

Thus nothing new is on the table, but a worthy-check-out if you like their older stuff. It’s a fair step that it was originaly released as a digital download then 10″ EP and CD by Earache Recs, haha.

So here goes my tiny review for the tiny EP. Grindcore!

(Posting just for the heck of it)

October 15. Jawalakhel, Lalitpur, Nepal.

It’s less than two weeks, folks!

Vader. Helmut. InnerGuilt. Antim Grahan. Commando Noise Terror. Underside. Hatebook. The Innercore

Event organized by Silence Entertainment. Check out Silence Festival page for more information and the rules and guidelines, etc.

Origin, mostly has been the band that orients on technicalities and speed over other compositional facets, the strategy which has worked out well to establish themselves as one of the few technical death metal maestros that doesn’t suck while demonstrating one’s individual instrumentation proficiencies. But alongside, while conforming towards the technical dimensions, what bothered me a bit was the lack of musical variation that was almost non-significant between their previous records they did after the more straightforward self-titled. Their last release, “Antithesis” was a real remarkable one, perhaps one of the best death metal releases of the last decade, that it got me doubting if the band could ever cross that bar of magnificence again.

Well, it was before a couple of months that Origin had released the single, “Expulsion of Fury” in their Facebook page, the track that was about to be included in this album. That was when Morbid Angel had just released their substandard ninth studio album. I listened to “Expulsion…” and the first three seconds, I thought owned the entire “Illud Divinum Insanus”. The insane sweep arrives, makes way to the classic Origin riffing with dual vocals assault and Longstreth’s mad blasts. It wasn’t outside what everyone could expect out of the band and it was quite convincing enough to make me look forward to the album release.

Origin always seem to wow me through their limits-stretching technical precisions. And this time, they have done it with additional spices added on the regular. They never bothered to bring catchiness and memorable feeling in their songwriting, but this time, it’s here to be felt. The guitar work is balanced well with the amount of arpeggios, the trademark Origin technical riffing and frequent grind-inclined groovy offerings. Melodic instances have increased this time, sometimes advancing as a progressive form of the genre, much akin to Ulcerate from New Zealand, the band this album made me remember at times. Well, there are constituents that suggest the band is returning back to their demo or S/T era sound. Lots of primitive death metal chugs are presented which are there to remain in your head for a long time. All these elements have displayed the band’s broader horizons and thus reflecting a wider side to songwriting. I gladly hope they would continue experimenting with this sound in future releases as well.

The guitars don’t mind slowing down at times and then reviving the fury again, while the blasts and fills continuously design the flow. Really fast bass pedaling by John Longstreth, no wonder why he’s counted as one of the fastest death metal drummers on earth. More sensible and varied drumming than any of Origin’s previous records.

I was wondering how the vocals on this album would be, because James Lee was a monster, one of my favorites in death metal world, and his departure had obviously put me in question. But Paul Ryan and Mike Flores have done tremendous job behind the mic – the standard Origin growls with screams, which come dual, and that won’t make you feel the absence of James Lee at all, though I miss the big man. As furious as what the music demands them to be and they’ve even got variations, consisting deep Devourment-like gurgles at times. The bass guitar could have been mixed a bit louder than that. But the production is quite great, if not perfect.

Tracks like “Saliga” and “Consequence of Solution” run around seven minutes but still manage to maintain the consistency up in their flow and don’t make you feel that they are forced to have got themselves elongated. On the other hand, “Purgatory”, which is just a little longer than a minute is also capable of throwing the charm of its presence. And there are moments when they try to fuse middle-eastern melodies to the ongoing brutality, like in “Saliga”, 02:42 or “Consequence of Solution”, 04:22 and which I feel could have been neglected. I couldn’t help but get Nile feel at what these parts followed, if not at those moments (e.g. “Saliga”, 03:12 onwards or at its opener riff or in “Fornever”). “The Descent”, although a rare acoustic track by Origin, had made me feel that it would have been better if they had never attempted this anyway. A bit of a relief out of the continuous brutality but also, at the same time, pointless.

Thus, while this is one splendid album, there remain a bit of vacuum of judgmental void, at few of the points that I refrain to consider either good or bad. The overall sound is the typical Origin, mixed with Ulcerate, Pestilence and even Nile and Brain Drill. Hence this is just per what is to be expected from these technical beasts. The album presented newer sounds that are to be counted on from the band, and I hope that they release Entity‘s successor soon.

8.5/10

It’s been quite sometime that I started to dip into the Bangladeshi underground metal scene, and I’m impressed from what I’ve been offered till now. Bands like Severe Dementia, Orator (/Barzak), Chromatic Massacre, Gene-Split, Art Cell, Jahiliyyah, Powersurge, etc. have their own spark to please my ears, and a good thing is that the majority of bands there are inclined to grasping the old school vibe of black/death/thrash metal, as opposed to the ‘modern’-metal infested Nepali scene.

Gene-Split play thrash metal, much in vein of Sepultura (Arise-era as well as Roots-era) meets Nervecell meets Testament. Melodies are often thrown in channels of acoustic passages and lead solos, and it is also evident in lots of riffs here and there.

The album starts with “36 – Urdho”, with a chugging riff, which seems to be derived through the early-death metal influences. The devastating drumming follows the instruments in full velocity, while bass is easily audible. Another neat riffing at the opener of “Ekushey Prekkhapot”, the second track, probably my favorite in the whole album. The third one, “Daridrito 6 Dofa” opens steadily and moulds to a beautiful ballad. The band tends to slow down a little from this track onward, and thus orients much into maintaining groove.

The vocals are incredible. It’s fascinating to hear the vocalist singing in Bengali. He reminds me of Max Cavalera or even later-day Barney Greenway, and is powerful on his duty, especially in portions like the acoustic melodic segment at the midway of “Ponkhaghat Ain”, which enhances the strength of the melodic guitars which could have been a little bleak and out-of-place otherwise.

The production could have been better, but I dig how it’s been presented here. The bass drums sound loud in the mix at numerous occasions. But all in all, this is some splendid thrash metal from the land of the tigers, and which is highly recommended if you’re seeking to collecting some wonderful and obscure metal records from the Southasian subcontinent. It would have been awesome if the band could continue what they were exhibiting in first couple of tracks throughout the length though, as the later songs, in my opinion couldn’t probably match up the initial intensity.

7.5/10