Posts Tagged ‘Symphonic Black Metal’

[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

(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)

Those of you who aren’t aware, Misanthropia is a Dutch melodic black metal band that features drummer Sarban Grimminck, who had thrashed the Kathmandu metal scene in the late 90s with the band Dead Soul. I was thrilled to learn that the band had recently opened for Mayhem. They have also played in Hellfest, France, one of the bigger metal festivals in Europe.

“Slang Des Doods”, meaning Snake of Death, is Misanthropia’s second full length studio release after their 2006 album “Rise of Necropolis”. The debut was a testimony bold enough to garner worldwide attention, and I couldn’t discern much of the divergence between the two albums, but can sense that the variations enclosed within each song have just increased this time; hence the progressive tendency in the flow of music is up as well.

The sound of Misanthropia could be said to go along the vein of early Dimmu Borgir and I could also catch some faint Bal-Sagoth and Amorphis feels at times. You could have guessed it already – the keyboards are a fundamental element of Misanthropia’s music, which forms a backbone to and outlines the general sound. They range from plain organs to extreme orchestral string ensembles, binding the gloomy yet epic ambiance. The keys seem to be the major focused instrument here and the guitars are just there to aid it, it appears. But the arrangement seems welcoming and well portrayed, regardless that couple of points with abrupt shifts of direction sounded sloppy to me.

The guitar riffs tend to have originated from death, melodeath, traditional heavy and epic/power metal grounds as well, apart from the labeled black metal. I could also hear some later Cradle of Filth in it. To say, this band was formed from the ashes of Throned by Tyranny, a gothic metal project, but here’s no any bothersome Dani Filth, double bass rolls switching up to one-two beats and power chords that are of hold ‘em down and move ‘em around mode.

The songs mainly center at the melody and mood of the music rather than brutality or technical lines, which is mostly a nice thing. “The Light Bringers” is in fact some sort of slow ballad, in a Dimmu Borgir styled ‘romantic’ symphonic metal fashion. At times, I was questioning if the band name went along with the nature of the songs, but fuck that already; the lyrics are sadistic.

Bram Koller’s vocals are remarkable as well. Although he has released some generic black metal screams and the vocals do not range much apart, they are still enough to keep up the fires. The production is clean and superb, and this catches no old school dirty grimness to hide half of the notes played, though I’ve become sort of a fan of the dirtiness in recent times. The band had got around with Mike Wead (King Diamond, Mercyful Fate, et al) who mixed and mastered the album.

The closer track “Tremolo Funeral” is an interesting one, as the band goes acoustic this time, and thus ends forty minutes of “Slang Des Doods”, which is a slow to mid tempo melodic black metal, and even though this variety of genre can hardly strike me enough, I think this one’s a commendable effort by the band nonetheless, who have disclosed a brilliant level of musicianship and much greater potentials.

7.5/10

…and yet again, I’m chuckling at the cover art 🙂

– Samyam Shrestha