Posts Tagged ‘Death Metal’

I am a sucker for brutal music that’s catchy and that’s not a mere technical wankery, and this album agreeably fulfills and defines that block of my taste. In outright drought of brutality of this sort from the local geographical sphere, I had been religiously waiting for this record to come out. After a series of failed attempts of the band trying to record their material, Binaash could finally do it in the beginning of 2012, and here we have – death metal full-length no. 3 from the Himalayan nation.

Having seen the band live and having been dehumanized by their wicked sets, I could only have anticipated more from this album. First listen and I had mixed feelings about this, especially due to the sloppy sound production values. It moved on, and the music was growing on me; and I was eventually picking up on ‘how’ to listen to this one.

I used to take Binaash’s music to have been concentrated with more percussive emphasis, with the drummer offering his wicked versatility and jazz fills and fusions, and it providing a distinct part of a listener’s focus. But here, after listening to “Binaashkaari”, I conclude it’s all riff-driven death metal that’s been forwarded. One could accuse the mixing that has done quite an injustice to the vile drumming, which has drowned under the heaviness of other instruments. But nonetheless, apart from that is above par, with the thick buzzing of guitars implementing the aural molestation. It is also evident that there is a distinguished difference in the sound quality in acoustic intros and metal tracks, the acoustic intros having a very neat touch.

As said, music is catchy as fuck, where the rudimentary formulae in brutal death metal have been twisted with synchronized atypical grooves, and most of the tracks have the distinct distinguishing sound that could discern it apart from others, e.g. “Swaagat” has this Gorguts tech-death meets thrash appearance, “The Wests” more or less reminds of Cryptopsy with a grind edge, “Eerie Sentiments” appears as a more groove-orientated manifestation, etc. The band’s key riffmeister, Prateek Neupane, although coming from old school death metal background seeks to experiment with newer ideas extending to putting breakdowns, ranging from Cryptopsy-like (“The Wests”) to Dying Fetus/hardcore breakdowns (“Eerie Sentiments”) and slam passages (“Waak”). So it’s all jumbled within and in display through the fifty-one minutes record. The Macabre/Gorerotted/Birdflesh styled humor that is put in has been a refreshing facet as well. Intros precede all tracks, which are mostly in forms of acoustic guitar presentations that don’t particularly go with the themes of the songs that follow, but add as chilling breaks amid the unrelenting brutality. The ‘fun’ element could be observed in these parts mostly, but lyrics of “Binaash Momo Pasal”, “Bancharo”, etc. also do emit that spark. For example, “Bancharo” is actually a conversation between a bird and a hunter (sick, amusing vocals for the bird’s part there). Lyrical themes of tracks vary from real-world serial killer stories to nihilism and from personal experiences to a tribute to the fans (the title track, “Binaashkaari”, meaning ‘destructor’ or ‘destructive’ is actually a reference to the band’s fan-base, where Binaash means ‘destruction’ in Nepali).

The immediate bands that come in mind to explain the musical style are early-day Cannibal Corpse, Dying Fetus and even Aborted with some grind on it, but the references are far more, with regular aforementioned breakdowns and old school tremolo-picked spices been used up. “Gravitational Imbalance” has a robust Deeds of Flesh glow with its technically played mosh-driving riffs. This track demonstrates the actual technical proficiency of the band.

Again about the drums, it is quite superbly done, yet it falls weak with the existing production. Rishav’s beats, since he’s come from jazz background, are pretty versatile and full of ideas, but it doesn’t save from its weak output. It’s hard to follow them at moments, and the sounds of cymbals are just blunt. The bass drums are nearly non-existent at times. What’s impressive though, about the production here is the furious bass of Bijent, the thick existence of which marks an impression, and is clearly and distinctly audible. The vocals range from grunts to growls (backing vocals). I have more preference over those sadistic low growls here, but the lead vocal is pretty interesting as well, that also contain screams to occasional squeals. Prabin has notably changed his style quite a bit compared to his days with Arachnids, which I take as a positive note.

In nutshell, this is some creative brutality, with lots of ideas being put up within. One may notice a slight shift of the songwriting style that varies between songs in the first half and the relatively newer songs in the second – the newer songs being shorter and more… ‘fun’! “Binaashkaari” doesn’t attempt to do anything new but they’ve fairly put forward a warm demonstration of their style of death metal with the groove, the fun particles and unrelenting brutality and catchiness, still pertaining to the members’ raw influences. Regardless of its cliched (yet raw) album art, some vicious music is in display, but it would have been more striking and have added much crisp if it was wrapped and presented with a bit better sound. Although a generic contender in the global death metal circle, it’s still quite a remarkable album of this style from the subcontinent, and which doesn’t apply programmed drums.

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

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.]

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

[Originally interviewed for KtmROCKS E-Mag Issue 09]

LILLE GRUBER is considered to be one of the most unique sounding and versatile drummers in the death metal world. He is the only remaining founding member of the German brutal death metal monsters Defeated Sanity and has also played for numerous death metal bands like Cenotaph (Turkey), Belphegor, Twitch of the Death Nerve, Mucopus, Sinners Bleed, etc. Here is the interview with him:

Greetings from Nepal, Lille! How have you been doing lately?

Hey there, I am doing fine! We are preparing for the Euro tour with Gorgasm in August/September right now and things couldn’t go better!

Going back to your starting days, who inspired you to start playing the drums? At what age did you start playing?

The person that inspired me the most to play drums or music in general was my dad, who also was a musician. I grew up in a community of musicians. All my dad’s friends were musicians and I heard and saw them play everyday. So I guess that influences you as a child.

Your style of drumming draws a lot from some other elements of the drumming world and makes your sound and style unique than any drummer I have personally heard in brutal death metal. Can you elaborate on how you created your playing style?

Well, I really take music in general seriously. My aim is to make serious music, not pop music. So if you wanna make the best music you can, you will look up to the best, the top of the music world. And that includes mostly jazz, classical, folklore but also pop, rock, soul, blues, of course metal and even hip-hop, electronic stuff, etc. A good musician gets inspired by all musical art form. For how I created my style, my way of playing evolves from my preferences and what comes out is a mix of all that I prefer. I guess you create your own style in a way where you listen a lot to other drummers/musicians and then first try to imitate, then find your own way how to involve this stuff.

How do you tune such a unique set of drums?

I really just learned to really tune my drums haha, before I just worked on the drums until they kinda sounded cool for me. For me personally a very important thing is to have the snare nice and high. A too low snare drum seems too “fat” for me, a high one is nice and dynamic, also has that punch.

What kind of snare drum do you use to get that tight sound?

I use a Ludwig Black Beauty snare drum – to me, the mother of all snares. Although, I can’t even say that. I just never used much other stuff besides that cause I never felt the need.

Would you care to elaborate a bit on your current kit?

My current kit consists of 1 bass drum with double pedal (never could afford a second one plus it has no room in my rehearsal space haha), 2 hang toms, 1 stand tom, 2 crashes, ride, china, hihats and the crashes have splash cymbals and a bell on top. I like playing around with splashes now; it’s the first time in my life I had the money to afford some small cool stuff like that. It’s a Pearl Master series kit btw.

Tell us the way you approach after every album? There is quite a shift in drumming between all of your albums, each got better than the previous.

Well thank you, glad to hear that! Well I never give up and never stop doubting myself so I guess that is the reason for always improving. The general style of every album changed too – different song structure, different riffs. So that is the reason for a different drumming style as well. Also, every album had different drum sounds. None of them really satisfied me yet. I hope I can get closer to my vision next time.

How much do you think that the change in band’s lineup affects the style of music that it plays? What has been the case with Defeated Sanity?

Hmmm depends what situation you have. I think the most important is if the core band knows what they wanna do, if new members come into the whole thing they can be either “executors” or creative minds that vastly change the material. For us, when Chris came into the band his style of playing inspired more fast grinding then we had before. I remember I had to really keep up with him in the beginning. He writes less “contemplated” stuff than going for raw fast insanity, which is a nice contrast to what I was doing.

Sadly enough, quite a lot of bands use programmed or at least triggered drums on their albums. What’s your thought on programmed drumming? Were you ever tempted to use programmed drumming?

I was never tempted to do that stuff. We need organic, human sounding drums. Well programmed drumming works for a few bands, I am thinking about Heinous Killings and Mortician here. But for a live drummer to sound like a machine (=trigger¬ing the whole kit) makes no sense to me. Also lots of guitarists do it cause they can’t find a drummer but wanna release shit…. so it’s kind of “worst case scenario” thing.

What bands are you listening to right now? And what sort of music do you normally enjoy listening to?

Right now I have been on a big old school trip haha. Listening to lots of old Malevolent Creation, Monstrosity… the more thrashy stuff you know? Always listen to jazz and classical stuff on the side, but my main menu is still metal. Right now listening to Watchtower “Control and Resistance”. Immense album!

Could you name some drummers who have influenced you a lot?

So many great drummer out there, so this time I will mention a whole lot of them haha: Tony Williams, Jack De Johnette, Billy Cobham, Wolfgang Teske, Alex Marquez, Stephen Shelton, Rick Colaluca, Lee Harrisson, Chad Walls, Jon Engman, Brad Fincher, Gene Holgan, Sean Rein¬ert… the list is endless.

So what’s up with your current bands, Defeated Sanity and Cenotaph? You were in verge of touring?

Well, with Cenotaph I don’t do stuff anymore. I haven’t heard from Batu in a longer time now. I think they are working with a young line up in Turkey now and it seems to go really well with their drummer. With DS, as I said, we are right now preparing for the Euro tour starting in August. Also working on 5 new songs and writing much more material than that. I think the next album will be recorded next summer. I am confident about it.

You have been the only remaining original member of Defeated Sanity now. How does it feel to drive the band as the only founder member remaining?

Well, first and foremost it’s sad to have lost the founding member Wolfgang Teske last year to cancer, RIP!!! He was there with me from the beginning, and then decided he couldn’t do it anymore in 2008 because his fingers didn’t work that well anymore. But with Jacob and Chris, the core of the band seems like my first real band, so it still feels like this is the first line up (minus Wolfgang). It’s a great feeling to know, the 4th album is coming up and things just keep getting better for us. Also is a hard task to top each album you released before though. Songwriting-wise, we can’t top the last one, but we will try to make the production better.

Can you please tell us about each member and a brief background of Defeated Sanity?

Yes, gladly! Jacob I got to know when we were building a new line up after I came to Berlin from Bavaria. I saw him with his old band CEREBRIC TURMOIL, who made a crazy mix of math core and death metal and when I saw him play I knew he was the guy I wanna work with, he was a young fucker too, 17 years old. Chris we met a bit before when we were searching for a bass player, some bassist came to audition and brought Chris with him. In the end we decided to work with Chris but not the bass player. The latest member for DS is Konni on vocals. He was in Despondency before and we have known him since the Demo days. He is a very good frontman and singer, so we are a very strong team!

Who’s writing the songs? What are the main themes/subjects of the music?

Well I would say I am the musical director in this band. I hear lots of riffs from my band members and compose even more than that myself… and most time in my life I spend with contemplating about putting them together in a good order. This happens on the way to work in trains, at the instrument, or just walking around, or while giving lessons. Lyrical themes are all inspired by the evil in this world. Both the evil that we witness ourselves, but mainly the repugnant things we hear everyday in the news or whatever. We are just very fascinated with cruelty, violence, dark thoughts.

Are there any goals you want to reach drumming-wise?

Yeah, for sure. I try to get faster and more accurate with my double bass. But on the other side I wanna get more fluent with improvisation and jazzy stuff. If u ask me, two contradicting things… but practicing completely different things must be good for you, as you will get a broad horizon musically. I might wanna start jazzy stuff when I get old, haha. That would rule!

Anything you do besides drumming (I mean some other jobs)?

No, I only give music lessons right now (guitar and drums), it’s my job.

Lastly, any advice, tips, would you give to younger drummers here in Nepal?

Play everything SLOW first, if you wanna be able to play it fast. Also incorporate dynamics in your playing. Listen to the drummers and the bands I mentioned! And listen to them good, and then play your own stuff and try to emulate it at home while playing your style in the shows!

Thanks a bunch Lille for your kind reply ! Keep it brutal, and keep it sick.

DEFEATED SANITY:
http://www.facebook.com/DefeatedSanity

[This interview was originally taken for KtmROCKS E-Mag Issue 09.]

Devoid is a thrash/death metal band from Mumbai, India. Here’s an interview with them:

Hello guys, firstly, I would like to congratulate Devoid for the awesome international response on your debut album “A God’s Lie”. To begin with, for those who haven’t listened to your music yet, how would you describe a typical Devoid sound?

Thanks a lot for the wishes, man. The awesome international response was surely a pleasant surprise. Hard work does pay off. For people who haven’t heard our music, we are a thrash/death metal band with hint of melodic elements. Conscious efforts have been put in to NOT sound like any other thrash act and hence, it’s an interesting listen.

Devoid has definitely made an impact in the Indian metal scene with the release of the album and the band is obviously getting a healthy amount of exposure in the international metal arena as well. So how has been the six years’ journey till now?

Our six year long journey has been needless to say, tough. Earlier it was the lack of funds to buy good equipments. Later it was the lack of funds to record in a good studio. Determined to come out with an album, we took matters into our own hands. We recorded the whole album at MotorG studios which is the brainchild of Arun (band’s vocalist/guitarist). Recording the album was huge learning curve for the whole band. In these six years, we have not given up and practiced our asses off to become better musicians and more importantly, a tighter metal band. The band’s closest friend and manager, Roydon Bangera has played a very important role. He handles all the business end of the band, which according to us is as important as the band itself. Together with him, we have grown as a unit. Opening for bands like Cradle of Filth and Decapitated, who have been our childhood heroes, was definitely a dream come true. We have set very tough goals for ourselves, so right now we’re nowhere near where we imagine ourselves to be. We’ll be pushing hard as always.

Could you describe the concept behind the album and its name? Any meaning that Kali on your album cover depicts?

The face of Kali is a placeholder for God and why specifically Kali needs no reasons! If any Hindu God/Goddess deserves a spot on a metal album, it would be Kali and it is probably because she is a badass who crushes demons with her feet, then tears them from limb to limb and then wears them as trophies around her neck while obliterating everything everywhere. Very metal. She, the God, is sticking her tongue out because at the tip of it is the source of the meaning in the album title – A God’ Lie. It signifies the divine lie, hot and ready for selling and spreading. The colors and the images on the album are the brainchild of Shakti Dash. He is an intense guy and he knows his trade. He really got into the album and he wanted to represent what he felt through the music and the lyrics.

Tell us something about the recording of the album, which was entirely recorded and produced by the front-man Arun Iyer. How was the experience?

One of the main reasons for us to record this album on our own setup was the lack of funds. We never really intended for it to be a complete DIY project as far as production is concerned but since I (Arun) had dabbled with the recording arts before I thought it’d be much safer and readily available for any last minute tweaks, and believe me there were a million of them. It was a brilliant learning experience for me and I am really looking forward to more. The final sound though on the album was never good enough for me and that stretched on and on for a year till we settled for a sound that was closest to what we had in our heads all along. I understand that in this age records short of pristine quality is thrown right off the window, but to my surprise people have taken the under-produced sound, if you may, rather well. I am not entirely satisfied with the final sound on the album and now, when I spin the album again I usually find more than a few things I’d like to change but that process was seemingly endless. But hey, with jack-diddly for a budget, I think we did just fine.

Was there any reason you had put the “Beer Song” as a bonus track? Is it because of the difference of its lyrical concept as compared to the other songs?

Speaking on behalf of the band and the evident numerous minge sessions, we all love beer! This song was one of the quickest songs that came out of the jam room and though it stood out of our set list, which became a major reason for us to enjoy this song even more. We were scared if this would backfire on us but thankfully it is now a crowd favorite too.

You are among those bands in the world that are reviving the genre of thrash metal. Tell me few of your favorite groups among the revival horde? And also some of your other major influences that you’ve incorporated to make this album?

The first band that comes to my mind is definitely Hypnosia (if they were still around). Their album “Extreme Hatred” according to me is one of the thrash epics. Sadly, they disbanded after the tragic death of their drummer. Amongst the others are Lazarus AD, Destruction, Bonded by Blood, Deathchain, Violator, etc. These bands came out with some really good albums which had that essence of old school aggression but didn’t sound like copycats. We in the band grew up listening to bands like Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, Kreator, Sodom, Sepultura, Pantera, Exodus, Cannibal Corpse, Deicide etc and the influence is hence understandable. But, Slayer has had the biggest influence on us. Slayer is the reason why we started this band. We just wanted to be as fast and brutal as them. “A God’s Lie” is a mixture of all our influences and we’ve tried to make the album sound as interesting and not boring or repetitive as possible.

Arun, you were surprised to learn that you also have fans here in Nepal. Had you expected it at first? How about a Devoid gig here in Nepal for us, the Devoid fans?

It’s always makes us happy when someone appreciates our music. When I read on Facebook on one such event page as to how many people wanted to see Devoid live, we were ecstatic. We do hope that someday we get to showcase our music to Nepal.

So what were your expectations out of the album, when you first started working on it?

Honestly we had no time to think about expectations as our prime aim was to record what we felt was our best over the years and since this was our first attempt in recording, we took all the time to make this one count.

It’s sad that the record label you’re signed in, Demonstealer Records has now closed its label division. But I’m confident that there might be few international labels as well, out there who are eyeing on you. What do you think?

Yes, Sahil who owns Demonstealer Records did issue a notice explaining as to why he decided to shut his label. So presumably, our next album will be released on some other record label. About international labels, we leave that responsibility on our manager to select the most suitable option for us. We would love to be on an international label to increase our chances of international tours.

I wonder if you guys have already started writing for your next release. Well, have you? Could you enlighten us a bit about it as well? How different is it going to be from the last album?

Yes, we have started working on some new material although it is a mess right now. We have all the ideas in our head and we just need to execute them in the right manner. We’re taking it easy to get the right sound. It’s going to be a little different from our last album – less melodic and more brutal and faster. That said, we will retain all the elements that make us sound unique.

So how do you see Devoid, lets say, five or ten years down the line?

Touring Europe and recording in a top notch studio.

Any last words you would want to throw to end this interview?

Keep supporting metal, and all deserving bands. We hope we will have the pleasure of spreading our music to Nepal soon. Cheers!

You could check out more about the band in the following links:

http:// facebook.com/pages/DevoidIndia/140937786471
http://reverbnation.com/devoidindia

– Interviewed by Awaken/The Sickening Art

[This interview was originally taken for KtmROCKS E-Mag Issue 09. Caught these guys up in their great practice space at Sanepa. This is not the full version of the interview.]

Hello guys, what’s up with the band lately?

We’re currently working for our sixth studio album. We’ve added a new bassist, Kundan Shrestha (ex-Wings of Spasm) and our former bassist Bhaskar will now be the second guitarist for the band.

A new album? Could you enlighten us a bit about this?

Yes, we have started working on it. We’ve just finished composing one song, which we’ll be playing in the forthcoming gigs. Musically, we’re up to some straightforward black metal this time, with a bit of funeral doom influences. There won’t be any death/grind elements as in our last album “Putrefaction Eternity”, but you could observe some raw black metal and brutal black metal influences within. This will be some primitive, cold and depressive black metal, to speak.

Any concept the album will embrace?

As said above, this time our lyrical theme will revolve around the depressive side, the melancholy of life, built in with dark fantasy.

So when do you think will it be out?

We’re not in hurry for that. This time, we’ll do the thing slowly and steadily. We’ll attempt to achieve the best quality music no matter how long it’ll take. We’re just in the songwriting process and there is no any rush at the moment.

You guys had recently played in Deccan Rock, Hyderabad in your first ever performance in India, which was headlined by Decapitated. How did the tour go? What was your anticipation before the tour, the actual gig and the responses?

Well, it wasn’t any minor thing for us. The anticipation was really huge for all of us. It was an honor to play alongside one of our favorite bands, Decapitated, whom we are following since their debut release. The crowd was a little thinner than what we had expected, about 500 (in the first day), but the gig went awesome, and it was one of the best performances we’ve ever given. After our set, we were stunned with the reaction of people. Those weren’t just “you guys were pretty good” responses, but “man! you guys surprised me, I didn’t know good metal bands existed in Nepal” sort of responses. Obviously, there was a bit of underestimation from the crowd before, thinking that we’re from Nepal. But later, they were literally shocked through our performance, and we were shocked through their reviews. Gaining “the best band of the day” title (in some review) is obviously a huge thing for us. A great appreciation was there for our drummer Surya and guitarist Pankaj, who had better stage presence than rest of us (haha).

After the gig, we could also converse with the guys of Funeral in Heaven (Sri Lanka) and Violent Eve (Spain). They were really cool guys and we have become good friends with Funeral in Heaven.

About the upshot of the gig, I guess it could be an opening of the door for other local bands to the international metal arena. We’ve given them a hint that we have a decent metal underground here and it could be good for our local scene as a whole. So overall, it was a tremendous achievement.

Also, few promoters in India have shared their desire to invite us there, in cities like Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad, so hopefully, we’ll be playing there soon. Also, we might be playing in Sri Lanka as well, with the help of our friends in Funeral in Heaven, and we will also be trying to bring them here in Nepal.

Having released five albums, you have a lot of song options to select for a gig. How do you normally select songs?

Well, it’s all in random. There’s no such criterion at all. But sometimes the wish of crowd would drive us pick few songs as “Forever Winter”, “300” and “Infected” which have always been the local crowd favorites.

What was your set-list in Deccan Rock like?

In order, “Pashu Samrajya”, “With Vengeance I Bleed”, “The Ruin of Immortals”, “Winter Blossom ov Ceremonial Grief” and “300”.

So what are the upcoming performance dates in your diary?

The three confirmed are KtmROCKS Black Tour, Nepfest and Silence Festival, the latter one opening for the mighty Vader. Under the Black Tour, we’ll be playing in Pokhara, Dharan and Kathmandu, that’ll take place around Dashain/Tihar. After these concerts, we would probably stop focusing much on playing live for a while and concentrate on our next album.

Your last release “Putrefaction Eternity” had received some critical reviews from the listeners. What do you say?

Our last album was a total experimentation. We had brought together black metal, brutal death metal and grindcore elements all in one mixture. So there was a greater risk of disappointment for the listeners who would want some regular Antim Grahan stuff. It wasn’t purely black metal and it wasn’t purely brutal death metal either. So, with many listeners taking it as a total shocker album, most of the fans of the typical Grahan melodies/symphonies could be dissatisfied.

Nearly 23,000 likes in Facebook. Had you guys expected that you would have such a number of fans when you first started Antim Grahan?

First of all, we hadn’t even expected that there would be something called Facebook, haha. And no, we seriously hadn’t expected this at all, since we were formed just as a college band for the sake having fun without much seriousness (in the beginning that is).

You’ve definitely come a long way observing a drastic change in the local underground. Any new band in scene that you really like?

Yes, there are a lot of excellent bands lately. One of them is Hatebook, who look really promising. Although not so new, we really like Binaash and their straightforward no-bullshit brutal death metal blended with some grind. Also, the black metal band Garudh, whose raw and primitive sounding music we like. And how can we forget Define Mental? Haha.

(I was interviewing there and Surya was playing keys and Niraj was with a guitar so…) You guys seem to be multi-instrumentalists, right? What instruments can each member play?

Parash (vocals): I can play drums.

Surya (drums): I also play guitar, madal, flute and keyboards.

Niraj (keyboards): Flute and guitar.

Pankaj (guitar): Well, I can growl and can also give some drum beats on pop songs, haha.

Bhaskar (guitar): I also play bass and drums.

Kundan (bass): Drums and guitar.

Alright, thank you very much for the interview, guys, and all the best for the upcoming album and the gigs.

– Interviewed by Awaken/The Sickening Art