Against Evil Interview

The Indian metal scene has been growing at a steady pace over the last few years, reaching a point where bands outside of the so-called main urban centers have started to form. While India as a metal-producing country is well past the initial primordial stages of development, it’s still interesting to see 80s influenced bands such as Against Evil form from the unassuming backdrop of Visakhapatnam.
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– Hey Shasank, how are you doing?

 

I’m doing great man! Thanks for asking! Hope you are doing well too!

 

 

– Can you tell us about the formation of Against Evil?

 

We actually started in 2009 playing hard rock/heavy metal covers in a band called ECHO. We became quite popular in the local music scene and also did a fair number of gigs across India. In late 2014, we decided to make and play our own music and since ECHO has already made a name as a cover band, we wanted to get a fresh start and decided to form a new band focused on playing our own music. That’s how Against Evil happened!

 

 

– Most Metal bands in India play pretty extreme stuff. What motivated you to play traditional Heavy Metal?

 

To be honest, we didn’t pre-decide what kind of music we were going to make. We just wanted to play METAL with clean/semi clean vocals but we didn’t care about any sub-genres. We picked up our guitars, started jamming and this turned out to be the final product. Our love for classic metal bands like Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Megadeth, Accept etc also helped influence and shape our sound.

 

 

– Not much is known about the music of Visakhapatnam. What’s the status of the metal/rock scene?

 

Well, there is no metal/rock scene here in Visakhapatnam! There are a couple of good bands that play covers/originals but absolutely no audience to encourage any of them. Hopefully, we are trying to change that and get more people to listen to and encourage rock/metal music with our upcoming release.

 

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– Your first release is out soon on Transcending Obscurity, how did the release come around?

 

We released our debut single – War Hero back in February, 2015 and got an overwhelming response for the song worldwide. This motivated us to make more music and release an EP. Since we had already written a few songs by then, we thought that it would be best for an unknown band like us to release our music first to get better recognition. In that way, we got in touch with Kunal Choksi from Transcending Obscurity Distribution who was interested to release our debut EP.

 

 

– What was the recording experience like?

 

It was one hell of a ride man! We had a great time in the studio even though it was the first time for us! It was also a great experience for us to get associated with veteran guitar player Simone Mularoni from Domination Studio, Italy who mixed/mastered the entire album. A special mention to All Things Rotten from Croatia who did the album artwork for us. Working with such great international artists on our first release itself is a proud feeling for us!

 

 

– What’s next for Against Evil?

 

We have put in a lot of hard work and effort into making this album and we hope the music reaches out to rock/metal lovers all over the world and they enjoy it. The fact that people are buying our music and listening/enjoying it means a lot to us. Right now, we are gearing up to play a few shows that we have lined up.

 

 

– Thanks for your time, good luck for the release!

 

Thanks for taking the time to do this interview man! Hope you enjoy the album 🙂

 

AE 7

Djinn & Miskatonic Interview

Bangalore is no stranger to Doom Metal, as those who remain involved with the South Asian scene may know. Djinn & Miskatonic are one of Bangalore’s premier exporters of riffy Doom Metal – despite the fact that they started as a bass-and-drums Drone style act. Despite the success of that style, they added another guitarist and released their debut album “Forever in the Realm” on Transcending Obscurity India, which was much appreciated by Doom-mongers in India and beyond. With the band working on a split with Black Metal band Solar Deity as well as another full length, I figured it would be an interesting time to catch up with founder and bass player Jayaprakash – who apart swinging the hammer of doom, is also a published author and runs an animal shelter. Read on.

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– Hey there, JP. Hope all’s going smoothly.

 

It’s okay. I live in interesting times, as the ancient Chinese curse stipulates.

 

 

– In terms of creative output, how was 2014 for you?

 

It was quite a good year. We got Djinn back together after a short-lived disbandment, did a couple of gigs and now have a second album coming together. My first chapbook of short stories, ‘Weird Tales Of A Bangalorean’ was published and sold out. My stories appeared in a few good anthologies and magazines.

 

 

– Aditya from Solar Deity mentioned he would be doing a split with D&M. How’d that come across, and when can we expect new material?

 

More or less at random. Sriram, our guitarist, and I talk about doing splits with all kinds of bands and we liked the idea of going outside genre lines and doing a split with Solar Deity, whose music we like quite a bit. I’ve always liked the more, well, depressive kind of black metal. Aditya liked the idea too and I think he will be recording soon. I am not sure exactly when we will put this out, we need to re-learn and re-arrange an older song of ours called ‘Flight Of Sand’ for this split.

 

 

– On the previous record, the band’s sound was generally of a free-flowing structure, plodding along at standard doom tempos but not afraid to kick up the speed here and there, with some unexpected nods to Death and Black Metal apart from the usual 70s proto-metal and doom fare. To what do you credit the curious songwriting style?

 

Gautham Khandige, our singer, says I have an ‘anything goes’ approach to songwriting. Personally, I just get a bit bored playing one mood and style straight through a song. While I enjoy consciously retro bands, I don’t see any point in pretending the 80s and 90s didn’t happen, and it’s fun seeing how you can branch into thrash, or death, or black influenced passages and still keep it doomy. On the new album, though, there’s a general increase in baseline tempos and more 80s metal and epic metal influences. So I think the key to Djinn is a doomy core with other metallic textures thrown in. Really, it all goes back to Iommi who pioneered the turn-on-a-dime style of songwriting.

 

 

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– You’re also a published author. What are your main writing influences – apart from H.P. Lovecraft, of course.

 

Peter Ackroyd, in novels like the amazing Hawkmoor and The House Of Doctor Dee plays on the idea of old cities being palimpsests, where sometimes older times peep through the cracks and become part of their own future. That’s been hugely inspirational for my series of Bangalore tales. Robert Aickman is a writer I struggle with – I am probably immensely influenced by his beautifully written, haunting and subtle tales of unease, yet I feel there is something dry, sterile in his style that I want to rebel against. But is there, or is it just the urge to ‘kill the father’? I don’t know. Other important influences are Vilas Sarang, Naiyer Masud, Thomas Ligotti, Italo Calvino, JL Borges, Angela Carter and many more.

 

 

– Do you feel that your interests in writing stories and making music converge, or do you prefer to keep them seperate?

 

There is a parallel. I favour dark themes and moods in both music and fiction. I write gloomy weird fiction and I play doom metal. HP Lovecraft is beloved by weird fiction fans and metalheads alike. I think it dovetails quite well. I may even base a song on one of my stories some day, and in fact some of my stories allude directly to music.

 

 

– Tell us about your animal shelter that you run with your wife. When did you initiate it, and how has it fared thus far? Is there much of a scope for animal rights activism in India?

 

It’s been a series of ups and downs. Currently more downs than ups. But we will keep at it.

India has a vast need for everything. I focus on animal welfare, but there’s poverty, environmental destruction, a host of social evils…you could spend a lifetime listing what’s wrong. I choose to focus on one cause, because you can’t do everything, and the plight of stray and abandoned animals in our cities strikes a repsonsive chord. My work is more in practical rescue and rehabilitiation than activism per se, though I do try to spread awareness. I think it’s the urban middle class who are the biggest problem. They are divorced from nature, high on consumerism, and want to live in a sanitised, branded and shrink-wrapped world. The joke is that they’re living in a bubble and it isn’t going to last forever.

 

 

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– Back to your band. You started it as a drum-and-bass only sound, adding guitarist Sriram a year later. Do you foresee any more lineup additions?

 

I was really content with the drums and bass sound, it sounded way heavy as it was if I may say so. But it’s hard getting that kind of amplification going on the bass out here unless you have some seriously large cabs to go through. It also limited our appeal a lot – people who would have objectively enjoyed our riffs and arrangements tended to be unable to see beyond the ‘lack’ of a guitar. But I can’t say this worried us a lot. However, I was starting to want to draft a guitarist just to have more sonic options and Sriram happened at the right time. We’ve currently added a second live guitarist, Mushaf Nazeer, to replicate some of the dual guitar layers Sriram put down during the sessions for our upcoming second album. I’d like to add a cellist some time, or failing that a keyboard player.

 

 

– Barring the upcoming split, what’s in store for the future?

 

We’ve almost wrapped up our second album, which will be called ‘Even Gods Must Die’ I hope to have it out by March/April. We are planning another split with Dormant Inferno and a few other Indian doom bands.

 

 

– Thanks for your time. Hope you have a good year.

 

Thanks for asking! And a great year to you too.

 

 

DM bass

 

Djinn & Miskatonic on Facebook

Djinn & Miskatonic on Bandcamp

Solar Deity Interview

Solar Deity is a Black Metal band from Mumbai, India, that describes itself as a “Satanic Black Metal” band. Frontman and main songwriter Aditya Mehta has been involved with Mumbai’s Death Metal scene with his past bands, which ensured that he already had somewhat of a reputation when Solar Deity was first initiated. Their music has been well-liked by this blog/zine for a while now, and you can read our review of their most recent release “Devil Worship” here. After delaying a possible interview for many months, I finally got in touch with Aditya and we discussed the band’s future, along with his new vegan beliefs.

 

 

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– Hey Aditya! How’s everything going?

 

Hey Hassan! It’s going quite okay.

 

 

– Solar Deity has been on the quiet side since “Devil Worship” was released in the latter half of 2013. What’s been going on?

 

We were busy with other stuff. Also, having to change the lineup every now and then was a bit of a drag.

 

 

– There has been significant musical evolution in SD’s music, with the musical style flirting with different styles in every release. Where do you see the sound going on future stuff?

 

It’ll go ambient/depressive and back to the traditional style and then to something very raw and intense… there’s a lot we want to do. Solar Deity can go any way as long as it’s black metal.

 

 

– Initially SD was not a live act, yet you made the transition from the studio to the stage – complete with an elaborate live act and stage presence. What has the live experience been thus far?

 

I enjoyed our first Bombay concert (at Blue Frog) the most. Playing live is fun and so is jamming with the band, but it’s terribly boring having to sit around at home playing the same shit over and over… but playing to an audience does feel good.

 

 

 

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– Did the songwriting process change much when the band went from being just primarily you (and a drummer) to having a full lineup?

 

No, because I composed all the stuff. It will change now because both Niraj Singh Chauhan and I are writing songs. You’ll hear my stuff and you’ll hear his stuff and when we write stuff together you’ll hear that.

 

 

– Let’s talk about Exhumation. Your old Death Metal band created a reputation for itself in the old Mumbai metal scene of the 2000s. Do you still feel an affinity with that sort of music?

 

I still love death metal and all those bands we used to listen to. I still listen to them and I understand and enjoy and respect death metal even more now. My favorite memories of Exhumation are those of the fun times I shared with those guys and of us making the music.

 

 

– Your outspoken nature has caused a lot of your opinions on the Indian metal scene to cause a lot of controversy in the past. What’s your take on the Indian scene as it currently stands?

 

Thanks to Facebook everybody can see what exactly is happening. We don’t get too many shows but that’s okay – the others in Solar Deity understand that I am the guy who has to do all this. The rest of the scene is welcome to continue being diplomatic and they can suck each other off till the end of eternity. I don’t sit on Facebook waiting for people to go wrong so that I can point it out; I’ve never asked anyone to buy my music or merch and I won’t be asking the kids to crowdfund my wedding or my children’s education either. I’ve lost friends and made enemies only because I love all that metal is about. I don’t care about being popular or respected, and I don’t go around asking organizers to put my band on the bill. I don’t have a fucking agenda, man. Somebody has to take the trash out and in these circumstances I am one of the four or five people doing that. It’s like five people trying to keep an entire city clean, heh. Devdutt Nawalkar (Old Disgruntled Bastard) is my favorite critic and he doesn’t give a fuck what anybody thinks. A few other people who rant either have nothing to lose or do it anonymously, and that’s fine too – other musicians attack the poseurs anonymously because they don’t want their bands to be affected. I don’t do shit anonymously and I don’t give a shit about what hipsters think of me either but sadly my haters take it out on my band as they have no other way of teaching me a lesson. It’s okay, though… in battle there is no law. Ahahaha, the butt-hurt poseurs… FUCK THEM ALL.

 

 

– It’s become common knowledge that you’re a vegan now. How does this tie in with your Satanist belief system, and how does this impact your music?

 

I feel even more extreme now, haha! One of the things about Satanism is that it doesn’t let you bullshit yourself or others, and I really couldn’t pretend to be unaffected about where our food comes from. I debated with myself for a few years about if I should go vegetarian and now I know I was only trying to justify my meat-eating. I realize that every reason I gave myself for not going vegetarian was code for: I want meat, cheese, eggs and dairy. I’m glad that argument is over. As for the music – all the new black metal stuff was composed much before I turned vegan, but maybe the side projects will tell you something!

 

 

 

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– Solar Deity recently got into some kind of deal with Transcending Obscurity, Kunal’s label. Can you elaborate a bit on what that basically entails?

 

Kunal Choksi is going to release a mini discography of what we’ve made so far on Transcending Obscurity because he thinks our music deserves more recognition. It’ll have a new layout and bonus material and KC has big plans for it. We’re very kicked about it.

 

 

– What’s next for the band? A split? A full length album? More EP’s?

 

A split with Djinn & Miskatonic! Our next EP will have to wait because we have the mini discog on Transcending Obscurity and the split with Djinn & Miskatonic coming up.

 

 

– I wouldn’t think you have much time for sideprojects nowadays. Anything on the cards, however?

 

Yeah, I’ve been talking about a lot of stuff. I’m going to get off my ass and make at least Angry Dwarf happen this year.

 

 

– Thanks for the interview, Aditya! Take care.

 

Thanks, Hassan!

 

 

SD Live

 

Solar Deity Official Website

Solar Deity on Facebook

Solar Deity on Bandcamp

Grammy Winning Effort Interview

While India has been the breeding of ground of some of the most outrageous metal acts of our time, it has sorely lacked bands that played hardcore punk. The closest Bombay saw was the first Scribe EP and later on, the first and only Riot Peddlers. So when Grammy Winning Effort, a band not heard of much before and even more, with a peculiar name for an independent band, came down to this years Control Alt Delete fest, Mumbai was blown away by new sounds so heavy that even most staple of metalheads could not deny. A big fuck-you to all the hipster metal elitist that swarm the scene. I recently caught up with the Dayus and Shashvat of the Grammy Winning Effort:

 

 

 

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– Hello dudes at Grammy Winning Effort! How’s it going?

 

Dayus and Shashwat: As good as good can be.

 

 

 

– Please introduce and tell us about yourselves and the current line up

 

The line up as of now is

Dayus: vocals

Shashvat: Guitar

Jaidev: Guitar

Doodie: Bass

Suyash: Drums

 

Dayus: Well we’ve all got a bunch of different things going on with our lives, but when we meet up the main thing we like to do is play drinking games and just hang out. We don’t actually spend loads of time in the jam room or anything. A lot of good ideas that have anything to do with our music usually come up when the bunch of us are piss drunk.

 

 

 

– India is a little lost on the concept of Hardcore music – how did you guys get into the music and decide to make it as well?

 

Shashvat: I was more into metal first, I used to listen to a bit of hardcore influenced metal, then dayus introduced me to everytime I die, from there I just started listening to loads of hardcore and post hardcore. Its just more raw and simple. And adaptable, u can mix a lot of styles together when writing, and its more groovy.

 

Dayus: How I got into hardcore is this: Metal started to get real cheesy, real fast. And I was going through a bit of a reckless phase of my life. And I remember how none of those clean, well composed metalcore bands weren’t doing it for me anymore. One of my friends was visiting from New York and he introduced me to Maylene and the sons of Disaster. And I immediately thought to myself “This is the new sound. This is the direction I want to head in”. The band getting into hardcore was: I met our old drummer Shanty at a house party and I played him some stuff by Every Time I Die and asked if he wanted to start making some stuff like that with me. He initially said he didn’t like it, but after listening to a few more tracks at home he was into it. Shashvat was immediately on board and to our surprise Jaidev wanted in too (he usually doesn’t play for heavy bands). Doodie joined the band in 2011 and since then it’s been us pretty much all in the direction of composing Hardcore and Post-Hardcore stuff.

 

 

 

– So far, you guys have put out a number of demos but no official releases – What’s the scene with that?

 

D: Till now things have been pretty up and down with the Delhi scene and the scene for music in India. There have been a few little breaks with the bands in between. The most part of a full length album is recorded. We just have to finish up the drums and vocals then sit down to mix it. Not sure how long it’ll take for everything to be done but we’re looking to have it ready for November.

 

 

 

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– How is Delhi’s extreme music scene?

 

D: As of now it’s shit. Everything is dead. And honestly it hurts to see that a city which was once owned by kids in black tees is now completely taken over by the electronic scene. We have nothing against electronic music, in fact almost all of us listen to loads of other stuff on our own. But to see that many metal/rock fans just disappear from a city because a few gigs stopped isn’t cool. Another reason why we were so stoked to hear about the initiative from Cntrl Alt Dlt.

 

 

 

– How does the crowd receive the music in Delhi? You guys played at Mumbai and how would you say it is in comparison?

 

S: We haven’t played to a huge crowd in delhi, and we have mostly been on the bill for shows that have many other non heavy bands, so no wild crowds. The CAD crowd was wild as hell!

 

D: The crowd here takes some coaxing to come out and to start moving. Heavy gigs haven’t been a popular thing around here in Delhi for a while, so it takes a little time for them to get back into the groove of it. But once they do it can be a really good show.

 

 

 

– At CAD, I saw your bassist use a far out looking bass guitar – what’s that all about?

 

D: He played an electric contra bass. He had just gotten it and insisted on using it for Grammy. So he brought it to the jam pad and it sounded massive. It definitely adds a much grungier tone to the rhythm section. Especially since he runs that thing through a sans amp for extra gain. Pretty unorthodox, but that’s why we like it

 

 

 

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– Are you guys looking forward to playing The New Wave festival in Goa?

 

D: Hell’s bells yes. This is exactly what we’ve wanted from day 1. An initiative to bring back live shows in a big way. After seeing what CAD can do with the last gig in Mumbai this is gonna be amaze-balls. And we’re all for the cause. It’s gonna be one of the most diverse crowds we’ve played for yet, and that is going to be one hell of an experience. And the after parties with all the metal/rock/hardcore/indie kids by the beach, who doesn’t want that?

 

 

 

– What other bands are you guys into from India?

 

D: There are lots of bands here in India that we all draw inspiration from. Especially since we all grew up here listening to these bands. But when it comes to our biggest influence only one name comes to mind. Parikrama. They are by far and large our favorite band out here. And we’re even releasing our own version of Tears of the Wizard!

 

 

 

– What would you say is the problem with today’s scene?

 

S: Lack of investment (money as well as interest) in the arts, more so with music, more so with ‘western’ music. No venues interested, the public not supporting the bands they like. A few of them do, but no where close to the numbers needed.

 

D: Exactly that. Everyone listens to music, but at the same time there’s this huge double standard when it comes to people trying to make a living as a musician. There’s no way to make a solid living as a musician unless you ‘sell out’ in some way. Making jingles, shit Bollywood music or some crap like that. And that’s just sad. People don’t realize that this scene (or any for that matter) would be nothing without them. And they are what decide the rise and fall of genres, the change in tide of the music industry. Not some big-wig record label in the sky. Go out. Support your local music scene. Make a difference.

 

 

 

– Do you guys see a future for Hardcore bands in India?

 

S: Well, hardcore is not really treated as its own thing, it goes under metal over here, and as of now, if you want to make any money then no, if you want to just have fun playing music and destroying venues then maybe, if venues let you destroy them on a regular basis and enough people come out for shows.

 

D: Original Hardcore is more of a cult genre and all about standing your ground as an individual or rebelling against the way the world is spiraling out of control due to ignorance in the government. It’s not that often that you’ll find a band that plays straight up Hardcore for the tone of it. It mostly translates to Post-Hardcore or Metalcore for bands that want to incorporate that vibe into their overall sound. Sadly though there’s loads of bands out here doing the latter when India really needs the former. India is very far away from the HxC community but it needs it a hell of a lot right now. So I hope to see a Hardcore community develop here, but like we said earlier – nothing can happen without support from the audience.

 

 

 

– Any plans on touring soon?

 

D: As soon as our album is released and the New Wave festival is done we plan to do some travelling and gigs around India over the winter definitely. We’re piecing together some plans for gigs in a bunch of different, less travelled cities. So if you’d like to see us tear down your local bar/pub give us a shout and we’ll bring the fight to you.

 

 

 

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Grammy Winning Effort on Facebook

Grammy Winning Effort on Soundcloud

– Vrishank Menon

Gypsy Interview

Gypsy are a breath of fresh air in the South Asian underground music scene right now. While most bands concern themselves with the extreme end, exploring the harsher climates of the metal terrains, Gypsy take us back to the era of catchy hooks, party-singalong choruses, wild solos and general extravagance of the “glam” scene. There’s more though, Gypsy incorporate a traditional South Asian instrument – the sitar – into their sleazy sex-themed music, giving it a local touch. Listening to Gypsy is like going to a party where everyone’s wearing “foreign” clothes but drinking local booze. They’re loads of fun to listen to, and their sitar player Swarnabha Gupta is definitely a fun lad to talk to. Check out my interview with him.

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– Hey Swarnabha. How goes it?

 

Hey Hassan! Everything’s fine..but….Such heat, much pain, need child bear to survive!

 

 

 

– Introduce Gypsy and the lineup.

 

Currently, we’re five. Shanky, the vocal powerhouse..loud as fuck! Budgie, probably one of the most hard-hitting and energetic drummers in the city. Soumya, who has a pretty subdued presence, but you can always hear his low octaves pounding you right there on your heart! Soumalya, the crazy little monster who shreds till he drops. If you dun see his amp volume cranked up to the max., understand that he ain’t in the right mood! And then, there’s me, who adds the oriental flavour and reminds people that there’s still an ounce of India left in our veins. Gypsy is the highest level of escapism ever seen by the people of India. Larger-than-life stage setups, tons of hairspray and makeup, weirdly painted instruments, flashing lights, graphic lyrics about sex and drugs, loud riffs, blazing solos, and of course, the traditional Indian touch which reflects our rich heritage…we’re everything that reality’s not. Actually, most of the people living here have a boring life. They’re always looking for security and missing out on the fun part of life. 10-5 jobs, regular haircuts, fitted formals…BLEHHHHH!! If you’re gonna live life, live it king size. Be flamboyant, be loud, don’t be afraid to be brace. We help them run away from this harsh and oppresive world, even if it is just for an evening..but trust me, they have the time of their lives at our gigs! We remind them that there’s something called having fun. That’s why we’re here!

 

 

 

– You guys are a rare breed – a band dedicated to playing 80’s hard rock/heavy metal.. with the inclusion of a sitar. What exactly drove you guys to the creative pursuit of such music?

 

All of us are big fans of acts like Ozzy Osbourne, Alice Cooper, Iron Maiden, Van Halen, The Scorpions, Motley Crue, WASP, Poison, Warrant..we’ve always had a thing for the ’80s. They are not just about making kickass music, they are about putting up a HUGE show, ensuring that every single person out there in the crowd, who’ve paid for the tickets, have a fuckin’ great time! Thus, Glam Metal. The perfect amount of hard rock, the right grams of Heavy Metal blended with a cup of theatrics and an ounce of badassery! Nowadays, most of us have given into Western culture so much that we don’t remember our own traditions. Well, the sitar’s here to remind them how rich we are culturally. And I had always wanted to play heavy music with my instrument, and change the wrong notion people hold about it. It’s a VERY flexible instrument. I’ve heard people telling me “You can never play Heavy Metal on a sitar. Try playing some commercial fusion..or just stick to classical itself.” But that’s not what I wanted. I wanted to be someone like Slash, someone like Jimmy Page. Someone who’ll not just be a great musician, but someone who’ll inspire millions to take a sitar up and play it! People are afraid of classical instruments. That fear needs to be done away with. That’s what I’m trying to do. I want kids to say “You can do THAT with a sitar? COOOOOL! I wanna play one too!” rather than “A sitar’s too boring and difficult. I’d rather play a guitar” too boring and difficult. I’d rather play a guitar”

 

 

 

– You put out an EP which was pretty well recieved. Are you doing anything new anytime soon?

 

Of course. We’re writing new songs. One’s already done. It’s called Rock Your Heart. It’s in our usual setlist too nowadays. It’s one of those ’80s’ish Rock n Roll anthems! Here’s the song- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQrxpzATpI0&feature=youtu.be

 

 

 

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– How does it affect the dynamics of the live sound, when having an electric sitar in the sound set-up?

 

Haha, the sitar makes our music louder, contrary to popular belief. We’re one of the loudest rock and roll bands in the city, and we ain’t compromising with our loudness for anything! So, way out? If you can’t tone the volume down, make the sitar louder! So, we got dual EMGs for my sitar! Loud enough yet? Judge it yourself folks! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XIds9euMim4&feature=youtu.be Balancing is a tad bit tough though. One tiny error with the sliders and the sitar starts screamin’ like a baaaaaad bitch! So, we balance the sound really carefully, so that it minimises unwanted feedback from the sitar, at the same time preserving the dynamics.

 

 

 

– How is the metal/rock scene in Kolkata nowadays? Any local favorites?

 

It’s developing well. Much of the old-school-new-school hostility is gone, people are working together to organise gigs, the turnout’s good these days, people are ready to pay 200 bucks for a gig, they’re buying local band merch! We witnessed it with our own eyes at the Wacken Metal Battle, where we opened for German Folk Metal band Suidakra along with Djent band Noyze Akademi and Alt. Metallers Ashencore. Guys from KOSMA and Brutal Bengal headbanging together to our songs. It was a treat for us! Almost all the upcoming gigs are featuring bands from both the circuits too! That’s great in my opinion. eg: Slam-Death Metallers Evil Conscience are launching their debut EP, and guess who’re playing alongside ’em on the same bill? Noyze Akademi as well as our Brutal Death and Blackened Death brothers Purgation and Imperial Cult! Hell even we’re playing on the same lineup with veteran Metalcore band Chronic Xorn, Groove metallers Damagera and some other modern metal bands at an upcoming gig called Headbangers! So currently, we’re pretty content with the scene..but it would be great if there were more venues in Kolkata who’d allow Metal gigs. Local favourites: Rock- The High Crook (Blues Rock and Hard Rock), Das Hubris (Blues Rock and Hard Rock) Metal- Steelbird (Classic Heavy Metal), Deadbolt (Thrash Metal), Mortar (Thrash Metal), Armament (Thrash Metal), Imperial Cult (Blackened Death Metal)

 

 

 

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– What are your expectations for the upcoming Devil’s Coven gig?

 

They’re bringin’ down some sweeeeeeeet bands! If it’s done properly, it’ll be a benchmark gig for Kolkata. Ugrakarma and Plague Throat on the same bill? Dayeeeeeem that’s one gig no one would wanna miss! (Alas, I will be missing it. I’m leaving the city on the 28th for 3 long years)

 

 

 

– Since you play Sitar and are well acquainted with classical South Asian music, who are your favorite musicians in that area of music?

 

I’ll give you my top three inspirations. 1) Ustad Shahid Parvez Khan, 2)Ustad Shahid Parvez Khan, 3) Ustad Shahid Parvez Khan. Not just because he’s my Ustaad, but also because there never was, is, or will be someone as badass as him!!! If I’m givin’ you my top 5 inspirations, I’d say 4) Ustad Vilayat Khan and 5) Pt. Ravi Shankar. Damn, I wish I could even place Ustad Rais Khansahib here. I absolutely worship him.

 

 

 

– Plan on doing a solo sitar album some day?

 

Pretty soon bro, pretty pretty soon. Stay tuned.

 

 

 

– Thanks for the time, any advice for the people reading this?

 

Listen to good music, play good music, attend all the local gigs, support the local bands (only the ones you love, of course). Dun lose yourself to the cold world out there. Remember, Rock n Roll’s gonna keep you warm forever!

 

 

 

gypsypool

 

 

Gypsy on Facebook

Snuffx Interview

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– Hey, how’s it going? Introduce the band’s lineup please!

 

MK: hey man looking good, Snuffx is Cris Allin on Guitar and Vocals and Mohammad Kabeer on Drums.

 

 

 

– You guys were born out of the ashes of a grindcore/noisecore band called Necrofilth, with whom you recorded an album. Why abandon it and start over?

 

MK: Well, Zack Massacre from Nekrofilth had messaged us telling us that our name was causing a lot of confusion among listeners and requested us to therefore change it. We were planning to change it anyway because of our change in sound, so it wasn’t really a big deal.

 

CA: We had plans to throw in powerviolence elements into the mix for a slight change in the sound anyway. I wouldn’t say we abandoned the old noisecore/grindcore style there’s still that nasty raw feel to the tracks and in our recent release “Phencyclidine” we took the sound back to the Necrofilth days.

 

 

 

– What bands is Snuffx influenced by the most?

 

MK: Sea of Shit has definitely had a big influence on Snuffx when it comes to our slower, sludgy stuff like Legalize Krokodil and Genocide, especially in the use of feedback and creepy guitar wails. Sex Prisoner has been a big influence as well on our sound, which can be seen in songs like Religion is Slavery, Power Trip and No talent, when it comes to the faster stuff, I think the bands which we are most influenced by are Infest, Chainsaw Squid and Mellow Harsher. And ofcourse our early influences of Fear of God and Anal Cunt will always be there.

 

 

 

– Is Snuffx the first Powerviolence style band in India? How’s the general Grind/PV/Hardcore/Crust/etc scene in the region?

 

MK: There is this one band called Abolish Mornings from Bangalore which play some pretty neat old school powerviolence from Bangalore, I also like Grossty and Nauseate from the same city, Delhi on the other hand is pretty dry, people haven’t even heard of these things, they think punk is Green Day and hardcore is Lamb of God, haha. Which is quite strange actually because Delhi is a pretty Powerviolence place if you look at it, complete chaos everywhere with some parts of the city looking like an urban wasteland.

 

 

 

– You guys are pretty prolific, with releases happening every now and then. Can you tell us all your releases in chronological order up til this point?

 

CA: We’ve had our fair share of noise, so far including demos splits and singles, starting with Necrofilth we had Comprehension of a Grindcore Opus which was our first album after which we did put out quite a few singles. Moving on to Snuffx there were 3 demo’s then we did Human Beard 4​-​way Split with Water Torture, Swallowing Bile and Phosphorus Rex, followed by a split with Frame313. Third World Powerviolence, 120 Minutes, split with Noxious Threat. PV Poems, Noise Violence, Spiritual Ecstasy and finally our most recent Phencyclidine.

 

 

 

snuffx release

 

 

 

– How do you guys prepare your material? What’s the jamming process like?

 

MK: Very free flowing, there is no specific plan, sometimes I have some ideas which I explain to Cris mostly by just playing the drum parts of the song, most of the time which he understands completely and plays exactly what I had in mind, sometimes when I want something specific, I explain things to him verbally(which can be quite funny at times making the riffs sound like a Bollywood song haha!) , and then there are times when Cris has his ideas which he explains to me , on the guitar, sometimes the drum parts that I have to his riff’s are exactly what he wants, other times he challenges me to do something different and be more creative with my drumming. And then there are times where we just improvise on the spot and have a lot of fun doing so, most of the Necrofilth songs were made like this, most of the times we decide to do covers beforehand, although it is quite common for us to descide doing covers on the spot, we listen to the song in the jamroom , analyse the parts and then begin covering it, Fear of God and Anal cunt were done this way.

 

 

 

– Do you guys play live? If so, what is the response usually like?

 

MK: We have only played once uptil now, at the Pandemonium : The uprising which was held in 2012,people were pretty shocked and didn’t really know how to react, haha. We haven’t really played a gig here since then because there is no audience for this type of music here.

 

 

 

– What do both of you do in your daily life when you’re not making deafening noise?

 

MK: I am a freelance video editor,I edit corporate films, I am a total sellout haha!

 

CA: I work for Amercian Express, that’s right corporate world homie. Representin’ the C, nah it sucks balls, I’m serving notice and will be done with it for good in about 15 days.

 

 

 

– What are your future split/demo/ep etc plans?

 

CA: We are working on a new sound so definitely have a demo lined up, we’ve got an upcoming split with Nihilist Holiday.

 

 

 

– Thanks for the interview, good luck with your band!

 

CA and MK: Thanks!

 

snuffx

Snuffx on Facebook

Snuffx on Bandcamp

– Hassan Dozakhi

Gutslit – Skewered In The Sewer (2013)

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Brutal Death Metal is a bit of a self-parodying genre these days. The bands are either too “slammy” or too “technical,” with intelligent songwriting being put aside for either an over-abundance of slams, or pointless technical guitar wankery. There are pockets of scenes worldwide that still manage to hold down the crafty nature of the mid-90s til mid-2000s era of Brutal Death Metal – Indonesia certainly springs to mind – but the genre generally fails to keep the interest of the average metal fan these days. This is where Gutslit come into the picture. Hailing from Mumbai’s reputed metal scene that has spawned the likes of Exhumation, Albatross, Solar Deity, among others, Gutslit manage to do more than just casually grab the listener’s attention – they force him/her to take notice.

 

 

Starting off their debut full length album with a typical metal album intro, Gutslit get straight into the pummeling with the track “Pustulated Phallic Enthrallment.” The song gives a good window-view into the world of Gutslit. Catchy chunky riffs aligned with a truly inhuman rhythm section lead the way for the entirety of the proceedings. The rhythm section in particular needs to be given props – the drumming is truly barbaric, and the bass-playing is equally eloquent… a word that doesn’t pop up much for the bass-guitar in this genre of music. Immediate hints of Dying Fetus or Benighted can be caught by the average metal ear, and there’s a subtle Cryptopsy element in the name (“Slit Your Guts,” anyone?) that manifests in the technically strong bass-playing as well – but Gutslit is pretty much Gutslit most of the time. The song structures are fairly simple – keep it bulldozing through, keep the vocal patterns simple, add in the sudden little technical flair for variety, keep the music grooving no matter what, and then throw in an absolutely colossal breakdown. A perfect formula, when you get the riffs right – and the riffs here are ridiculously infectious, especially the well-placed breakdowns/slam parts that could rival even the best in Devourment‘s debut album. Speaking of breakdowns, the ones on “Offal Barter, “ and “Atrophic Cranial Disintegration” almost had me couch-moshing and charpai-jumping in my kurta and shalwar. As far as individual tracks go within terms of overall memorability, “Maze of Entrails” takes the entire bloody cake. That’s not to say the other tracks are overweight slouches. They’re all excellent and the replay value for this little album is immense. The fact that it’s just around 26 minutes means that it’s guaranteed repeated listens. If you find yourself blasting this album continuously, don’t be surprised. Gutslit combine individual skill with compact, aggressive and deliberately catchy songwriting in a manner that most metal fans probably haven’t seen since the early works of Gorerotted or Aborted.

 

 

I have no qualms with the production either. I’ve heard some criticism about it before, but it’s suitably clear and filthy at the same time for this kind of music. The mixing and sound-levels here are near-perfect, among the best kind of mix job I’ve heard in an Indian band to be honest. Though with this band, the quality shouldn’t just be compared to other Indian metal. Hell, with this level of technical proficiency and expert songwriting, replete with catchy and crunchy breakdowns – this band could easily be from anywhere in the planet. When you’re listening to music as good as this, location becomes secondary. The only thing that matters is the bludgeoning force of the music.

 

 

 

gutband

 

Gutslit on Facebook

Listen to Gutslit’s “Skewered in the Sewer” on Bandcamp.

Gutslit Interview

Gutslit are an Indian Brutal Death Metal band who’ve been making waves in the international death metal circuit since the release of their debut album last year. They’re a part of a new breed of South Asian metal acts that have managed to break cultural barriers and gather the interest of metalheads across the world as well as their home base in Mumbai, India, and it was a pleasure to talk to their bassist and sole original member Gurdip. We talk about the band, their new label Transcending Obscurity as well as metal in South Asia.

 

 

 

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– Hey, hope you’re doing well. Thanks for the interview!
Hey Hassan. Thank you for this. Hope you’re doing great.

 

 
– It’s been an eventful past year for Gutslit with the album release, the big gigs, as well as getting signed onto Transcending Obscurity. Do you have high hopes for 2014?
Well yes, 2013 was big and we are working hard to make 2014 even bigger.
We have two huge festivals that we are playing at.
One being the biggest grind fest in the world, Obscene Extreme Festival in Czech Republic and the other Death Feast in Germany.
Alongside that, we are working very hard to get a new 4 way split out too.
Hopefully that should work out well too.

 

 
– You guys are working on some upcoming split, do you wish to shed some light on it?
Yes. It’s a 4 way split with 3 other International bands of relative genres, yet different.
I would love to share more, but I’m waiting for a few things to fall in place and once that is done, I shall make everything public. I’m just being cautious and yet the wait.

 

 
– “Skewered In the Sewer” was full of hard hitting yet catchy brutal/slam death metal tracks, with the songs written mostly by ex-guitarist/founding member Dynell. How does that affect the writing process for the future, knowing that one of the men who contributed to the band’s key sound since the nascent days is no longer in the band?
It was quite difficult for us to let go of Dynell. But as he said, God has a different plan for him, we couldn’t challenge much beyond that.
We were on the verge of calling it quits, but luckily found Prateek who happened to be an guitarist with an amazing grasping power, feel and ultimately love for the music.
Things do go slow when you change members or member in any band, but this kid worked as fast as Aaron’s blasts and got done with our old songs in matter of days or probably a few weeks. There was no stopping then. A new tone is definitely what will be different. After all every guitarist or musician has his own style and feel. The structures are fresh and quite chunky. The new songs we have written with him are faster, tighter and more fun.
I’d say, it’s a positive move forward.
Rest is upto our fans and you guys to decide how our new material sounds.

 

 

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– A lot of reviewers have pointed out how your bass-playing style sets Gutslit a notch above most Indian bands – especially since a lot of people don’t seem to take the instrument seriously. Who influenced your bass style and do you have any pointers for other Indian kids picking up a bass?
For me personally, it was sheer love for the instrument and this style of music. I do have a fusion band for all my mellow parts, but in Gutslit it’s purely business of ‘carnage and butchery’ and business is in my blood.
I’m quite nobody to be advising people. But I do appreciate the kind words. It means a lot.

 

 
– Playing at Obscene Extreme will no doubt be one of the highlights of your days in the metal scene. How did the whole thing come about? How were you contacted? Which bands are you looking forward to playing alongside/seeing at the fest?
Curby is an old friend and an inspiration for me. That man has done what even big companies can’t do it. For people who don’t know, you should sit with him and talk to him about his life.
He started from nothing and now hosts shows in 4 continents. Even the biggest festivals can’t manage to pull that off.
We were up on the bill at OEF 2011 as well. But lot of issues happened in personal lives of our former band members plus we had some visa glitch that was out of our control. Ultimately we had to back out. But this year, we have everything in place and hopefully the visa shouldn’t be a problem.
We look forward to playing with everybody. I personally have so many favourites that I can’t seem to just pick names. It’s like a kid in a chocolate and toy factory, combined.

 

 
– How do you feel about South Asian metal growing in prominence lately? Bands such as Orator from Bangladesh have been invited to Maryland DeathFest too, which shows that the international community is finally taking notice of the Subcontinent metal scene.
Subcontinent metal is very powerful and very strong. The only thing is that it wasn’t heard enough and plus the quality of production was inferior. But things have changed now.
The only thing which makes it difficult for bands to travel a lot are the expenses. Flights to Europe and America for example are quite expensive making it difficult even for fests to be able to get a lot of south east Asian or Asian bands to such venues.
But for bands who place passion over anything else, there are ways even those ends can be met with. Everybody in this world who is into extreme metal music needs a steady job or source of income if you want to get going without sulking much about the scene not feeding your family.

 

 

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– Tell us a bit about Transcending Obscurity and the platform it provides for local bands with the upcoming fest, as well as its general label/zine activities.
Kunal Choksi, the man behind Transcending Obscurity has been a good old friend even before he ventured and tried his hand with Indian bands and shows. I personally know him with his former label, Diabolical Conquest and the days when getting even a good underground band CD to India would mean going through a bitch of things. But he just managed it all really well.
With TO, he has taken things a notch higher. He has signed up a lot of Indian promising acts for their releases and is helping around a lot of new and old acts to get a platform to play at.
With him around, we are assured of being heard where it matters, getting our music out to people who would really love this style of music, which in itself means a lot.
The shows organized are brilliant. More than half a dozen bands on one night and with a deserving sound and relative setup, it’s perfect. Kudos to the man.

 

 
– What were your favorite albums of 2013 and which ones are you looking forward to in 2014?
I really loved Gorguts’s release of 2013, also Katalepsy were amazing, as always. Carcass was very good too. Personal favourites: Defeated Sanity, I just love that band.
2014: I’ve heard Dying Fetus are releasing something. Can’t wait for that. Even Cannibal Corpse, Cattle Decapitation might have something coming up.
Even Gutslit might have a few good songs coming your way 😉

 

 
– Thanks for your time Gurdip! Keep up the good work.
Thank you so much bro. Means a lot and hope to see you soon someday.

 

 

 

gutband

 

 

Gutslit on Facebook

Listen to Gutslit’s “Skewered in the Sewer” on Bandcamp.

 

 

 

– Hassan Dozakhi

The Grim Mage Interview

The Grim Mage are a really rad doom/sludge/stoner band from Bangalore, India. If that surprises you – well it shouldn’t in the first place, cuz the city is home to a number of sick doom bands and The Grim Mage is just one of the latest additions. Despite being fairly new, these lads have all the ingredients necessary to become a major band in the Asian Doom scene, if you read my review a few days back. I contacted the band’s founder Sashank to talk about gigs, weed, doom, and Paki pop sensation Taher Shah.

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– Hey guys. Hope your preparations for the upcoming gig are going good!

Sup’ Hassan, How you doin? And oh yeah things are going great. We have rehearsals everytime we can fit one into our really busy schedules. We like to laze around, but unfortunately there are colleges and jobs to go to.
The upcoming ones would be our 4th and 5th gig, Also both the gigs coming up this weekend are pretty big(Supercoven fest being a gig where we get to share the stage with some of the doomy people whose bands we like a lot and the other one, Impending Doom Fest, is a really big stage), So we are kinda trying to work our asses off to sound good on these stages.

 

 
– You guys pretty much came out of nowhere and not much about the history of the band is known. How was it formed, what were the influences/circumstances/quality of weed behind the band’s creation?

So once during our excursions we happened to find this dark doomy dungeon which later we came to know was the lair of a super weedian mage. And we saw him invoke some of the doomiest and stoned fiends from the land of the greens. And now we go under cover dressing up like those fiends and attend the shamanic bong rituals the High Mage conducts.
Hahahaha. Syed met me at an acoustic show a couple of our friends from a hard rock band were doing(it was at a restaurant with only 5 guests) and we got talking about heavy metal music and shit like that. Which led to him and me planning on forming a band that would play stuff like that, yeah. And then after i think about a month or two we actually started working on it. It used to jams on my terrace with just the both of us working out on riffs on the acoustic, the bass and the guitars. Once we were sure of the riffs and arrangements, we had a real tough time finding a line up. We went through a lot of mutual contacts and called a lot of friends and fellow musicians to try out and have jam sessions with us. It all turned better when i met with Vishnu and asked him to give a try and have a jam with just me and Syed. Vishnu was not into this music at all, but he hit it off well and enjoyed playing this stuff a lot(he still does, and surprisingly he is digging through a lot of the modern doom and sludge bands). And for a week or two we were seiously considering playing as a 3 piece band with the distorted bass and no guitars. But then i got in touch with Anway, again a super old friend of mine. We got talking, had a jam session and we played our first gig the next day.
So this is how we were actually formed.

 

 
– You put out your first demo “Worshipper” quite recently which has been well recieved in the local doom circuit. What was the recording process like for a rookie band as yourself?

When we were about 2 weeks old and were going to play our second gig, We seriously wanted to have a demo or some recorded samples of our material available at hand so that we could tell our friends and people who had watched us to spread it around and too see their reaction on how it is. So we went ahead and contacted a couple of recording studios and did a research on how to record the material with resources available at hand. And frankly, the studio thing worked out to a big fat huge amount which we couldnt arrange, neither wanted to. Just the same week, we were having a rehearsal at a jam room and came to know that the place has facilities enough to help us record a live jam session. We then got talking with the guys who were managing the studio. Which in our luck happened to be Jake from Dark Desolation and Grossty. He and Yogesh(he too works at the studio) had the right idea about stoner-doom-sludge metal and knew exactly what we wanted to sound like and immediately helped us record a live demo. Super thanks to them! The recording process was very very simple and we had absolutely no issues while we were at it.
It was an attempt to get in touch with the right doomsters from our town, and boy it did work out.

 

 

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– How have the live gigs and general reception been for you since coming into the scene?

Man, the live gigs are fun. Its fun to be on stage, be it for a bunch of five people or even frikkin one hundred people. The reception i’d say has been generally good. I mean the first gig we played, there were a lot of people who had no idea about what we were doing(cause may be we were super high) or they just never had heard to any of this music. Only about 5 out 40 people at the gig genuinely enjoyed us and were slightly nodding their heads in approval when our sludgey parts came on. They even spoke to us after the gig and told us they enjoyed us. But then we had our second gig which was super fun and there were only about 8 people in total watching us(all being our friends of course). The third being Operation Grindcore, where we shared stage with some of the finest Grindcore and Hardcore punk bands from Bangalore like Scally, Rip Off and the super fun Grossty. This gig was till date the best we have had.
So i’d say, we have had a decent time so far. There are a lot of people who do not approve of our music and consider it to be not something fun and great, but hey! who gives a flying fuck? As long as we have 10 likers among a hundred haters, we will keep going.

 

 
– Man, Bangalore seems to have a great music scene, from grindcore to doom metal. What is it about the city that draws more and more people towards heavy music? Or am I mistaken and the reality is a bit different from what foreigners like me understand?

I would say, what you see is something that is ten thousand times post processed and filtered of all the shitty stuff and is posted on the social media. I mean, its really too long to explain how the heavy metal music circuit sucks here. But in short i’d say, there are some really KICK ASS bands here that deserve some bigger and heavier platforms to play at and they are seriously not getting them. And yeah, there are a lot of new people getting into heavy music everyday in bangalore. There are the genuinely true fans and then there are lots and lots of exhibitionists. So in a nut shell, Bangalore has superb bands-Lots of fans(posers apart)-No stages and gigs happening to help them grow.

 

 
– So let’s say a Pakistani or European/American/Japenese/whatever is coming to Bangalore. How can he get the finest weed? Any tips when scoring from dealers in your city?

Weed kills. Hahahahaha, but yeah there are fine spots. You can always give Anway a buzz when you are around. He has a better idea than me when it comes to this.
I mean, i too get some fine stuff. And i have had a lot of floopy adventures as well. I can surely help you with that stuff when you are around. But be ready, i am going to state a disclaimer as well. Cant assure anything about the quality. Hahaha, it keeps fluctuating from good to bad.

 

 

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– Coming back to the music. Pedals and other equipment counts for a lot in Sludge/Stoner Doom. What stuff do you guys use to get your desired sound?

The weed mage gave us some magic staffs and holy strings that we use to make the super fuzzy music, hahahahahahaha.
The funny thing is we have no dedicated equipment or gear as such. I know stoner-sludge-doom requires a lot of that but we just dont have anything.
We use two super old multi effect pedals, digitech rp35 or zoom g1 or some shit like that. Its funny i know, and i use a guitar multi effects box for the bass. But as long as it is giving us that heavy heavy tone we like, we have no issues. A lot of people do not like the concept of distorted bass guitars, i was once among them too. But this heavy heavy tone works wonders.
Also a Gear upgrade is in the books. Only when we are financially set.

 

 
– Outside of Doom Metal, what other genres do you guys regularly listen to?

Now that is a tough one. Rather, its a biggie.
We as a band and together dig death metal, almost any kind of death metal(from the primitive bands to the new modern death metallers, every form of death metal). We collectively enjoy a lot of black metal, Anway and me being ardent fans of the genre.
We like a lot of hardcore punk, the early hardcore punk bands i mean. And then we have our individual preferences and likes. I personally like all kinds of music. I mean i like everything from country to 60s and 70s pop-rock-hard rock to 80s glam to reggae-hip hop-funk-grunge to brutal death grind and nasty music that can make your ears bleed.
All this influences my playing too, which influences The Grim Mage.
I LOVE THE PAKISTANI SENSATIONAL EYE TAHER SHAH TOO.
RESPECTS TO THAT GENIUS.

 

 
– Before we end this interview – any future plans? Splits, EP’s, full length albums? Or just taking it one joint at a time?

The Grandmage of Boom has advised us not to go on further exploits till we master our prowess on demonic 420 smoking fiend summoning rituals hahahahahahaha.
So, We already have 4 new songs(one 12 minute tale) ready apart from the demo stuff.
Planning on recording them as a garage demo again sometime super soon. Going to work on a full length after that, with the right financial backup and sound. Till then we are clueless and will keep playing live shows. Its always a joint at a time, you never rush into these things. But expect some stuff from us super soon. But not too soon. Hahahaha.

 

 
– Cheers dudes, thanks for the time. Hails from Pakistan.

The dudes had no time, so i had to myself get to do this hahahaha. It was super fun. Hails from India. Much respect to the land of Taher Shah. Hahahahahahahahaha.
Stay metal, cheers! \m/

 

 

 

grimband

The Grim Mage on Facebook

Worshipper Demo on Soundcloud

My review

– Hassan Dozakhi

The Grim Mage – Worshipper (2014)

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The weed must be really good in Bangalore, India, because the city keeps churning out one quality doom band after the other. Following in the footsteps of the likes of Djinn & Miskatonic and Shepherd, the aptly named The Grim Mage is the latest in a line of Bangalore based doom bands… and boy, these lads do kick up quite a fucking gust of smoke with their first demo entitled “Worshipper.”

 

On the surface, The Grim Mage fall prey to, or rather consciously adhere to all the obvious stereotypes of Stoner and Sludge doom of the modern era. It’s there in the band name, it’s there in the choice of the demo title, even there in the artwork and rears its stoned, misanthropic head once again when you look at the tracklist and spot the Electric Wizard / Eyehategod covers. You can’t avoid those blatant homages to the stoner cult even when you start the demo – movie samples dominate the music between the heavy riffing and psychopathic screams. It’s safe to say that this band wears its influences on its sleeves – depending on which side of the divide you lay on, that could be either a massive turn on or a colossal turn off.

 

The choice of cover tracks is interesting, because the music appears to be primarily indebted to “Dopesick” (and onwards) era Eyehategod and “Dopethrone” (and onwards) era Electric Wizard – a mixture that is by no means uncommon in the doom world of today, but the way in which this ensemble blends those two primary markers together is of more interest to this reviewer. In terms of the riffs and vocals, the Sludge element remains more prominent than the Stoner element. The vocals especially seem to bow at the altar of Mike Williams, save for the final track – where he should have continued prostrating at the same altar, rather than attempting the singing style. However, key proponents of sludge style riffing – the crushing, percussive stops and the faster hardcore-influenced sections – are never triggered, and the band ends up relying on stoner grooves to keep the music going – and keep the joints rolling. Their original songs “Sweet Demon Sugar,” “Worshipper” and “I Am Not Dead” are very well composed, from the bass-breaks coming in at the right time too to amp up the psychedelia, to the vocalist’s vocal delivery, and the group ends up concocting three very memorable tracks – even if the craving of a little tempo upcharge in the vein of Melvins, Iron Monkey or even “Holy Mountain” era Sleep lingers on til’ the end.

 

bandgrimmage

Though many may be put off by the production, I personally love it. Frankly, there is nothing more suiting to this kind of Sludge/Stoner Doom than basement level production. The heaviness of the riffs is not at all downplayed or relegated, it just takes on an altogether different form. A mundane wall-of-sound style heavy doom tone would have stripped all identity from this demo, to be honest. Instead, the in-your-face sound here, highlighted well by the garage vibe of the drums, makes the music even more nefarious and evil – as if a satanic ritual were occurring as you light your afghan hashish blunt. Not too dissimilar to the effect conjured up by most of Ramesses’ material.

 

Individual performances are great here, but the vocal performance drops as the tracks go on, perhaps the vocalist should give his throat a little rest before assuming control of the microphone. The samples are a little overdone here, and there are moments such as in “I Am Not Dead” where the sample just drags on and distracts from the crushing weight of the music on display. Overall this is a nice little demo, with some amazing original tracks showcasing the potential of these lads to go on and do some nice things in the scope of Indian Doom Metal. Less focus on covers and more focus on honing their own craft would help take them a level higher and really stomp some ears.

 

supercven

 

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