Posts Tagged ‘India’

[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

(Originally reviewed for KtmROCKS Emag 08)

Well! Thrash revival happens to be a sprouting movement lately, trying to invoke the misdirected 80s’ darling – the music that could defy any other metal genre in its content of pure aggression and antagonism. Modern thrash bands though, have a slight twisted route to pull things off – for this, either the bands are seeking to step up the extremity or experimenting to trigger newer sounds, like one of my favorites, Vektor are doing. And then are some self-proclaimed thrashers who ‘mistakenly’ have played groove metal instead. Well, lets not get to that point. But anyway…

The band in hand, Devoid, balances well to put themselves between the retro-sound of thrash metal with a strong blend of originality that offers a slight touch of death metal and hardcore/groove metal intersections. Devoid come from Mumbai, India and “A God’s Lie” is the band’s debut full length album which was released in September 2010 through Demonstealer Records. Great song patterns and a whole lot of brilliant riffing, and I was being ass-kicked already.

So…

The album commences with an acoustic intro, “A Silent Death”, which soon flourishes into the up-front thrash strike of “Battle Cry”. With sirens and gunshots to welcome a listener, the first introduction of the distorted guitars and bass had given me a sort of “Pierced from Within” feel, but soon the sound spreads off in tone that could fairly be derived from any of the traditional thrash records.

Although Devoid cite Slayer as their foremost influence, they have managed well to mark their sound away from them, and hell! I haven’t found any significant amount of Slayerism in here actually, not even any chug based riff. There is also an apparent persuasion of hardcore/grindcore. For example, pop into “Possessed” (00:38) for instance. These hummable melodic parts in amid the avalanche of forthright brutality make this album so pleasant. To speak, I adore moments as such that tempt us bang heads. And hence melody points its existence throughout. You may think of “Enemy of God” melodic thrash but forget it already; this album doesn’t worship Gothenburg sound half its way anyway. Along the play, there were also Lamb of God, Death/Atheist and NWoBHM and groove metal influences felt.

The title track grasps a bit of progressive shape as it tends to go for a few tempo changes with (somewhat) erratic flow here and there. The band members too do not hesitate to mess around a little bit at times before actually hitting off towards full-on thrash. Well, the instrumentations incline a bit towards technical concentrations too, and the complex arrangements from the multiple genre ingredients still are mixed up well, which are proficient to build an in-your-face assault.

Philosophically, the songs are tilted towards ‘new world order and the evils of a prehistoric setup of the social norms and social deities’. The ending track “Beer Song” is actually a distinct one that plays homage towards… beers! “Beer Song” caresses a bit of Megadeth spark, comprising some traditional heavy metal within it. (Why is the song called ‘bonus’ anyway? May be because of the very reason of its concept unfitting with those of others? Perhaps!)

Drumming is a creative territory in the album as well – precise and very well executed fills, rolls and few blast beats providing the rest of the music a robust backbone. And I’ve got another thing to admire – Arun Iyer’s vocals – violent and hateful. We’ve heard a lot of this type before in thrash (or any other extreme metal), but hell I’m really impressed by the aggression he has released. Think of Kelly Shaefer’s work in “Piece of Time” and you already know what I’m talking about. Anyway, the growls are a bit more accurate and deeper than Kelly’s. Sharp! is the word.

The production is near to flawless, which roughly summons the vibes of old school atmosphere. This makes the release unashamedly modern yet grasping the primitive touch. Amogh Symphony, Devoid, Hydrodjent. Man, the Indian bands are just getting better by the day in regard to handling the production facet. The bass drums could have been switched a bit louder in the mix though.

All in all, it’s an excellent display of virulent thrash (/death) attack. This is a five-year-in-making album and the motive and seriousness of the band are further clarified by the super-consistent line-up, to pursue the common aspiration to making the top-notch thrash music possible. The release has already won a great deal of attention worldwide, which suggests the band is really up for a huge run. And so let me revise myself once again – “A God’s Lie” is one of the best metal albums India has to offer lately. Yeah!

8/10

– Samyam Shrestha