Posts Tagged ‘Singapore’

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!

[Originally interviewed for KtmROCKS E-Mag Issue 09]

So the Singaporean grindcore specialists Wormrot have greeted the world with yet another brilliant album “Dirge” a couple of months ago, and which has already burst a lot of balls throughout the globe. Here’s an interview with the band’s founding members, Arif (vocals) and Rasyid Juraimi (guitar).

Greetings from the Himalayas, yo! Firstly, I would like to congratulate Wormrot for the amazing worldwide response on your new album “Dirge”, which many would consider to be one of the best grindcore releases of this year already. So let me start with this: how would you define ‘grindcore’ yourself? And how would you define Wormrot?

Rasyid: Right now, I would say grindcore is a bastard child of punk and metal with less limitation. I would say Wormrot is a band that plays catchy tunes at a faster BPM.

So how did the band come into existence?

Arif: Wormrot started out as a death-grind project formed by me on vocals and Acit (Septikaemia, Hellghast) on drums. We took in Halim (Arbitrary Element, Cardiac Necropsy) to fill in the bass. I met an old high school friend Rasyid who had just completed his national service (2007) by a chance meeting through a mutual friend and was invited to try out on the guitars. A couple of jamming sessions followed yet we couldn’t find a comfortable stride. Rasyid and I decided to go on our own to form a grindcore band, retaining Wormrot as the band name. Fitri was a friend of mine in camp while we were in our national service. He fitted the empty drum slot comfortably. And hence was our current line-up positioned.

Hey, when I first heard the band name, I thought you guys would sing something on gore and disembowelments and necrophilia and stuffs, but you actually sing about… you know, some other things on life. I mean do the lyrical themes have anything to do with the world around, the society and politics pissing you off for some reason?

Arif: The lyrics are always about my own personal issues. We don’t have any hidden messages through our songs. Just a warning to assholes around the world not to fuck with us or rather me. We’re not a political band. Rarely would I incorporate the army negativity into our songs but at the same time making it humorous amongst the degrading words. Lyrical ideas will never fade. Personally, I’ve experienced tons of shit that are most likely to contribute to the theme.

I very much would like to stick the band’s style with that of Insect Warfare or Kill the Client. So what made you guys ending up with generating some no-bullshit, straightforward grindcore sound?

Rasyid: It actually came naturally to us. Like I said before, we just wanna play some catchy and easy-to-listen riffs. Simple aggressive music.

Tell us what you guys dig more personally – hardcore or death metal?

Rasyid: I’m going with hardcore. I never ‘get’ death metal.

Arif: All of the above. I can’t really say which one I prefer the most. Basically I listen to everything. Although I’m leaning more towards grind and powerviolence these days.

Well, there’s no bass in the band’s music and I came to know it was on purpose. Anyway, do you think you guys would hire someone on bass anytime in future?

Rasyid: NO!

Arif: 3 is a crowd.

Talking about your current record label, how did Earache Records first find you? Were you guys surprised or something at first to have known Digby Pearson, the label’s owner, was actually very impressed with the band?

Arif: Pretty much shocked actually. We were looking for a label to release our second album and we did ask some labels but we didn’t approach Earache cause we didn’t think they would be interested anyway. So when Digby himself messaged us in Myspace, I was refreshing the page a lot of times not believing what just happened. We could not believe it!

Well, and let me tell you that the music videos of songs “Spot a Pathetic” and “Erased Existence” you released in past couple of months were fucking amazing. I really liked the concepts. Anything on this? How was their making process like?

Arif: Both videos were recorded live in one of the shows during our US tour this year at The Blvd in LA. Earache and Dave, the videographer, did a tremendous job in coordinating for both videos.

Considering that an average Wormrot song lengths below one minute, how long does it take to write a song? How’s the songwriting process like?

Rasyid: It depends dude, sometimes it took less than 10 mins to write a good song, sometimes it took us 6 hours sparingly to come up with an ok song. For “Dirge”, we came into the studio with basically nothing, sometimes I didn’t even have a standby riff to play. It was really a ‘starting from nothing’ process.

Oh, that must have been a crazy experience then. Well, you guys have recently played your shows in US and Europe. How was the whole feel playing in those parts of the globe? How do those gigs differ from the usual Wormrot gigs in south-east Asia?

Rasyid: Actually we suffered from the ‘just another local band’ stigma (in Singapore), until we gained exposure from our touring, and recently, our signing to Earache. Maybe it shows that “hey we’re fucking serious and we’re here to make a difference”. We’ve been getting better attendance numbers in our recent gigs than our early years, definitely. Singapore’s a conservative crowd, but more and more are throwing their inhibitions on the moshpits.

How much have you noticed, in your career till now, that Asian bands are often overlooked by the metal world at other corners of the world?

Rasyid: It’s a sad unjust fact, but it’s not gonna change. We know, and have seen, many quality bands in Asia, but the spotlights are shining too brightly on the other side of the world that they are contented with what they have there. And unfortunately, people in Asia are tuning in to the West much more than they bother about what’s under their noses, contributing to the ‘just another local band’ stigma.

“Just another local band” stigma? Talking about it, I came to know the local bands in Singapore are often overlooked by the crowd there (bands playing in front of ten), while they agree paying even very big amounts to catch international groups live. Is it so?

Rasyid: Yes, it is and it’s common, nothing’s gonna change. That’s why we’re playing more shows in the US and UK. Sometimes you just wonder “why should I ever give a fuck about the Singapore scene”, and the answer lies in those 10 people watching the shows. That is a good enough reason.

That’s a great thing to hear, man. What are you guys’ day jobs by the way?

Rasyid: Right now I’m a driver in a furniture company.

Arif: I’m a freelance artist doing artworks for bands and I can be reached at my website ‘Rotworks’ (http://www.rotworks.net).

So what’s ahead of this, yo? I guess it’s too early to ask but when could we expect another Wormrot release?

Rasyid: FUCK OFF! NOT SO SOON! By the way, thanks for the interview dude!

Arif: A new one? Hahaha! Won’t be too soon brother. Thanks for the interview.

Thanks for the interview, guys. And all the best for everything that’s ahead.

You could check out more about the band through the following links:
http://myspace/wormrotgrind
http://facebook.com/wormrot
http://twitter.com/wormrot
http://wormrot.tumblr.com

– Interviewed by Awaken/The Sickening Art

(Originally interviewed for KtmROCKS Emag 08)

Kalodin is a symphonic black/death metal band based in Nepal and Singapore. Here’s an interview with the band’s guitarist and the ‘brain of Kalodin’, Davin Shakya:

Hi Davin, thanks for granting me this opportunity to interview you! For those who haven’t listened to your music yet, could you please define Kalodin briefly – the band, the sound and how it all got started?

Davin: Greetings Samyam! We appreciate your effort in this brother, and thanks for the interview. “Kalodin”, is a word play of Nepali language literally translating “Black Day”. At the time when I was trying to brainstorm on our band’s name, I thought of few other possible names until I found out that those were already taken. And I knew I had to sort of imprint our background onto the name, hence the name, “Kalodin”, which metaphorically means “Dark Age” in Nepali.

Kalodin consists of:

Davin Shakya: Guitars, keys, backup vocals and sound engineer
Rai: Bass, graphic designer
OmEO: Guitar, video editor
Gobinda: Drums

During our “torture” era, we were just starting out as a metalcore band and as we aged, we started getting heavier and heavier – from metalcore to thrash metal to melodic death metal to symphonic black/death metal. And now, we have finally found our ‘signature’ touch that we establish in all the songs that we write. Spanish/Arabic vibe is a part of our whole song writing process not forgetting war/the downside of humanity/sex/religion.

Speaking of sound, we played with different musicians during our growth towards the present – different drummers, different guitarist and bassists. But we soon realized that in mean time, we will have to part ways due to my visa issue in Singapore. So I had to decide whether to stick with the lineup or move on, and decided to move on. Thus, explaining why we used MIDI drums on our whole production in “The Bestial Ritualism of Harlotry” and the parting of our ex-vocalist, Kiew Jay Joel from Singapore who played a huge role in Kalodin.

We recently recruited an official member once from Garudh, Gobinda on drums. But Ashis and Sanjay, from Garudh are also sessioning for us for our tours in Nepal.

And we have the luxury of a home recording studio so I can’t deny that we cut cost during our production stage but trust me, my balls grow white hair upon completion.

It’s not fun anymore man. It’s our way of life. Kalodin is our legacy and our destiny we can’t afford to fuck up. And I’ll do whatever it takes to honor this name and watch it go really far with the help of our members and fans!

It’s been sometime that Kalodin released the debut studio album “The Bestial Ritualism of Harlotry”, which was produced independently by the band itself. How have been the responses till now?

Davin: The responses have been all positive so far besides the MIDI drums!

Kalodin at Putrefaction Gig in Pokhara, Nepal

Kalodin recently played in Pokhara Putrefaction Gig in Pokhara and you said it was the best thing that has happened to you. You want to share something on it?

Davin: It was in fact the best live gig we ever played in our history! Our first make-up attempt was a complete success! The stage was outdoors with just sky as the ceiling! The lighting was pretty good. We FINALLY got to tour with our good friend, Antim Grahan. And most importantly, THE FANS WERE ABSOLUTELY CRAZY!!! Those guys were fucking awesome, supporting us from the start till end, taking photos with us! We did feel like rockstars in that moment! But what makes a rockstar? The answer is simple – our family, our friends and fans who keep supporting us in every move we partake to strive for the better!

Any interesting moment in the tour you’d like to share with us?

Davin: Haha, there are many moments that we won’t be able to forget! Kalodin’s version of “Eddie”, LIGU! was kind enough to buy some spaghetti and rub it all over the hotel room’s wall and puking all over the toilet, getting fucked up with great friends! Ligu nearly threw a TV set out of the window but I guess he realized we were all there on budget, hahaha! We also got to explore the beautiful places of Pokhara! It was awesome.

And you guys are also touring a couple of other towns in Nepal with Antim Grahan?

Davin: Yes, It’s an honor!

The Singaporean metal scene, as I know, is fucking huge, with frequent visit of world famous groups. What do you say about the Singaporean metal scene yourself?

Davin: Well yes the ‘scene’ there is great. Great international bands tour Singapore all the time. Maiden’s coming on February. People do not mind paying ALOT for these bands. But I am very disappointed with the local scene there. Bands playing in front of a crowd of 10. Let me just put it this way – the local metal scene there is bad. But some bands there are amazing! They truly are.

So till now, what differences have you noticed in between playing in Singapore and playing in Nepal? The atmosphere? The bands? The fans?

Davin: Well yes, the atmosphere is entirely different. As mentioned before, Singapore’s local metal scene is pretty bad. But that didn’t really affect us because we were the headliners. As for the bands that we played with in Singapore, they are awesome! But a little more attention from the audiences’ side would be great! These bands deserve to be heard man!

In Nepal though, everything was different. The fans were crazy! The stage set-up, and the unity of metalheads in Nepal! And that is important. Unity! For in the family of metal, we are one!

Since the band members are/were dispersed in two different countries most of the time, how did you manage the making and recording of songs all those time? How did the whole process go?

Davin: It started when I was in India studying Audio Engineering. Our vocalist at that time, Joel and Rai were in Singapore. So being the main songwriter, I compose something and send the mp3 file over to them by email. Upon receiving it, they will add their own stuff on it and send it back to me. The songwriting and recording process were done through these means. Joel recorded his vocals in a professional studio in Singapore while Rai bought an audio interface and recorded using that. They then send me all the completed files and I’d mix and master them altogether. It was a long, dreary process but we still pulled it off.

Kalodin’s music has symphonic, black, death, melodic death, progressive, power as well as heavy metal elements. Was it a sort of experimentation? Who are your primary influences behind the music?

Davin: We weren’t really experimenting. Instead, we tried to evoke different emotions in different parts of every songs thus the perception of various sub-genres of metal in our music. Our main influences are Dimmu Borgir, CoF, Behemoth and artists from Roadrunner Records.

There had been a lack of stable drummer with the band since the beginning, which had also led the band employing programmed drums in the album. In the mean time, Kalodin recently added Gobind as the official drummer of the band. Anything you want to say on the drumming department?

Davin: Well, like I mentioned above. We went through a great deal of changes in the past and because of geographical difference, we had to resort to MIDI drums to fill up the void in our production. But now that Gobind has joined the band, we will be releasing an EP with live drums intact! We want to brush away any doubt that we can’t do without a drummer which is going to require a hell lot of work and experimenting on the audio production side.

And Kalodin also released “The Divulgence”, a promotional package/compilation set of the album in Nepal?

Davin: No, “The Divulgence” isn’t an official initiation. We did this so that we can market our music for much cheaper rate. It is basically a compilation of 4 tracks from the album.

So how many copies of the album/package do you think were sold in Nepal?

Davin: The music industry here for metal isn’t up to the international caliber. And our price is too expensive for the market here so we didn’t really sell much. In fact, it was below 20 copies. We hope to see the market flourish in due time! It’s about the art’s integrity and yes, we do need money to upgrade our gears, don’t we?

We’ve learned that the band is working for the next EP already, which is said to come out in few months, probably. How’s it going?

Davin: We have already started writing new materials but it’s going to be a total surprise! So I won’t spoil it now. But we are going to make it such that fans will be able to download it!

That’s great. It suggests the band is going to shift a bit of direction in the EP musically?

Davin: Yes definitely! That’s the whole point. It’s going to be more brutal and darker.

Well, we were stunned (hehe) to get you playing with corpsepaint in Putrefaction Gig. I can say that you guys were the first in Nepal that actually did the make-ups for a live show. How were the comments?

Davin: Haha! It took balls of steel for us to do that man! We were certain that “golveda” (tomato) was gonna be all over our attire at the end of our set! Amazingly enough, nothing happened! Instead, fans respected that and took lots of photos with us which was an honor! We thank our fans for their support!

So what does the corpsepaint actually try to signify when talking about Kalodin?

Davin: Right now, it’s just a new face of the band. I know that our current music and the corpsepaint don’t match. But the whole make-up situation was implemented so that we can make an appearance as KALODIN instead of 6 different individuals. When the make-up comes off, we’re simply who we are outside Kalodin. But when the make-up’s on, we rock out as ONE. For our upcoming EP, our genre is going to be well suited with our appearance.

While talking about the philosophy behind Kalodin’s music, are you guys really into all those Satan stuffs personally?

Davin: I can write about this the whole night, but I’m not going to. Every individual is subjected to their own beliefs. Before answering your question, look around what’s happening in this world. It’s good to be optimistic in life but one has to be pessimistic too, to embrace the way of life. We are NOT Satanists but we do not overlook its teachings either. Our music is mostly about Atheism which is presented in the most metaphorical way possible using religion, sex and war as the references, rebelling against the ones who put you down. Against the fucking system, the transition of the old world and the new world in which, during the process has been defiled by men and lastly the APOCALYPSE which awaits us!

Our goal is to instill our music and lyrics in different minds, interpreting our words in 100 different ways. Everyone’s got a different story after all.

Lastly, few words you’d like to share with fans, friends and foes?

Davin: We, Kalodin embrace our friends’ and fans’ undying support from the bottom of our hearts. We will keep the brutality alive and spread our music… Worldwide! We will not disappoint. As much as we’re enjoying, creating our work, we’d like you to enjoy it MORE listening to it! We’d like to thank all our supporters! And as for our foes, who gives a fuck about them?

Kalodin thanks KtmROCKS, Antim Grahan and all our fans for believing in us and aiding us in every way possible! And thank you Samyam, for the interview!

Thank you, Davin. We wish you all the best for your upcoming EP, the tour and everything that’s ahead!

– Interviewed by Samyam Shrestha

(Originally reviewed for KtmROCKS)

Honestly, I am no big fan of the symphonic metal or black metal thing in general, and have listened to lesser amount of black metal than let’s say, brutal death metal or thrash. Even bands like Emperor and Arcturus fall short to keep me engaged after a listen, whereas Equilibrium (Ger) and Negura Bunget may just do the thing sometime. It’s not about experimentations or the taste, may not even be the hazy old school productions tending to defy modern bedroom brutal death metal for its tendency to fuck a listener’s ears. Thus, considering that Vesania is the one name that instantly comes to my mind when hearing the genre name and Om, I can think of as my favorite album in the subgenre right now, I often lean to seek for the ‘it’ in every other music I listen to, in relation or in comparison to these ‘good’ bands. Saying these, I think the band in hand currently, Kalodin, after having a few listens have hit me hard enough, informing about the sharp existence of the ‘it’. Well…

Kalodin play symphonic metal inclining towards black/death metal with progressive, gothic, traditional heavy metal and power metal constituents also noticeable in their music. All these things jumbled, the final sound crafted could be rather distinctive in itself, like what we’ve been offered here in this LP. Still, the band doesn’t tend to stop here and notifies us about their unconsciousness towards setting boundaries. Wah-wah solos from surface of classic rock n roll… in black metal? Heard before? At least I haven’t (or am I too naïve?). Things are a little stretched from what it would have been otherwise, hence forming a sort of an original version of what it is called symphonic black/death metal. The closest I could match their sound right now is with the Indian monsters, Demonic Resurrection, who had also experimented with the very aforementioned musical styles in precision, to win worldwide attention. I don’t know if there is even any DR influence there in the musicians in actual though.

Now.

The keyboard marks its dominant existence in the release, supplying the general ambience to the songs and forming a melancholic atmosphere throughout. The string ensembles don’t attempt to drown the guitars, and there’s an extent of utter balance and organization between the two – keyboards have their own moments and the guitars have their own. But overall, I can sense it would have been a little barren if the synths were to be erased in entirety. It’s not that there aren’t any keyboard-free parts, and these sound splendid too, like in In Glorificus Luctus…, past the acoustic/ambient phase. At other moments, it’s good enough that the keys have trailed with haunting followings in aid to the strong guitars, without infecting their aura.

Guitars, as said, have their own moments – from interludes and acoustic passages to lead solos – Davin Shakya, the brain of Kalodin, behinds the axes, have composed everything with splendor. There aren’t much chugs and tremolos, setting them apart from the trend of writing an entire black metal song through one-note-thirty-two-hits alone. And the song structures are pretty varied – from complex sounding Forsaken Virgin Demonlord to easy but vigorous Face of War. Technicality isn’t the primarily focused facet as the riffs don’t sound difficult, but one may clearly state where the technicality lurks when a piece like the beginner of Souls of the Dead rolls in. The riffs may also provide similitude with several other bands at times, like the beginner of Forsaken Virgin Demonlord, which may exactly fit in any blackened death era Behemoth album; Necrophiliac contains a certain proportion of gothic (Cradle of Filth, maybe) vibe; while the guitar solo accompanied section near the Face of War opener may adjust in any decent progressive rock/metal song. So saying that this album has something for everyone may not be incorrect. But as said, if you wish to subtract their sound on one band, think of Demonic Resurrection.

Kiew Jay Joel’s vocals have done a big favor to this release. His vocals range from high pitched shrieks, typical in black metal standards, to low Nergal sound-alike death growls, which have only made the things more absorbing. Here is also an inclusion of female vocals, in Interlewd: Into Purity, and it, to a huge level reminded me of Antim Grahan’s similar track When Silence Mourns, especially because of the female vocals, approach of the keyboard and the drum beats. Were the band listening to The Ruin of Immortals while writing this track? May be.

Since Kalodin have no drummer, the drums are programmed here. It’s reasonable enough to have applied this alternative in a circumstance that there’s no drummer in the band and all members are scattered over different regions of the continent. An excuse? I don’t think so. But the programmed drums do not sound artificial at all. If you think machined beatings do not go with this form of music at all, you may want to think it again this time… unless it’s the full-pace double bass part of Souls of the Dead. Yes, you could find plenty of other cases where human beatings have sounded more mechanic than these. Thank the production that it has attempted to make the drums sound as human as possible. Moreover, the album as a whole is produced tremendously and besides, everything has been mixed well so that you could hear every note being hit, even on the bass, which is plainly audible. It seems Davin Shakya knows his shit of how to catch a perfect output for an ideal composition.

All in all, the songwriting is really commendable with loads of delightful moments sealed within. It’s really tough to discern apart better songs from other good ones. One thing, I don’t know if it was intentional or not, but I could sense that as the album runs along, the songs turn less brutal and bends more towards melodic harmonies. Progressive tendencies?

So The Bestial Ritualism of Harlotry may be one of the finest releases in symphonic black metal I’ve heard recently, and is also likely to go well with the followers of any other metal subgenre than that. But if you’re a brutal DM extremist or something like that, then why are you even reading this anyway?

Stand-out Tracks:
Forsaken Virgin Demonlord
Dark Whisperer
Souls of the Dead

8/10

…and did I say that I am still chuckling at the album title and the artwork? Haha.

– Samyam Shrestha