Nepal Earthquake Relief

Nepal

 

“SHAKEN BUT STILL STANDING

It has been three weeks since the earth shook us.

25th April 2015 was the fateful day when a massive earthquake, measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale, hit the small Himalayan country of Nepal, flattening entire villages and causing destruction across the nation. The dead bodies piling up have exceeded 8000, with more than 17,000 people injured, around 299,588 houses completely destroyed, and 269,109 houses deemed unlivable. Just when we were trying to understand what had happened, we were struck by another tremor, an aftershock that measured 7.3 on the Richter scale.

Whether living in Nepal or abroad, it would be rare to find a Nepali who has not been shaken to the core by this tragedy. People have lost their loved ones, their homes, and their sense of security. Most of them are left grieving under the open sky, with no roof over their heads.

Though development organizations and local communities have been working tirelessly to rescue and provide immediate relief to the victims, recovery is a long road. Nepal needs as many resources as it can get to start the rehabilitation and rebuilding process for its displaced citizens, while also reconstructing its shattered infrastructure.

Nepal’s rich cultural heritage has influenced its youth to develop a passion for the arts and music; many talented musicians have been bred in this unique culture. The Nepal Earthquake Relief Compilation is a tribute to the resilience and strength of the Nepali people, as well as a collaborative effort by the participating bands to give back to the country that has given them so much.

The funds raised through this album will go to active organizations working on finding long term solutions for shelter and rehabilitation of the communities in the most severely affected districts of Nepal.

The compilation has been hosted on Bandcamp at https://nepal-earthquake-relief.bandcamp.com/

Zombie X Incest – Live Demo (2014)

zombie x incest

 

Holy Powerviolence! Who would have thought that this style of extremely fast, loud, obnoxious and raging punk music would infiltrate the Himalayas? Well, not most people in the world but this particular reviewer isn’t very surprised at the recent emergence of Zombie X Incest from Nepal. The country is already home to metallic hardcore titans Jugaa and it was only a matter of time their influence spread out to younger acts.

 

In fact, this young Powerviolence/Hardcore Punk act chooses to begin this live set off with a Jugaa cover, the booming mosh riffs being heard alongside the chatter of some crowd that gives the perfect ‘small club’ setting to this live demo. After the cover is done with, they move onto their own original tracks “Revolt” and “Purnibiram” which exhibit the band’s contemporary style of PV indebted to the likes of Magnum Force and Sex Prisoner. I use the word contemporary, because they don’t play the spastic, unpredictable kind of PV of the 90’s that was exhibited best by Spazz and Man Is The Bastard. Zombie X Incest’s style of fast, loud punk music would better be described as Fastcore/Thrashcore (people prefer the former because some metal nerds confuse Thrashcore with Crossover Thrash) but that style seems to have just blended into powerviolence over the last few years with the proliferation of groups such as ACxDC. Indeed, the band even cover one of their tracks “Leech” on this live demo, before delivering their fan favorite “Why So Serious” which sounds like it would be real fun to mosh out to – especially with that Batman/Joker line, haha.

 

Considering the nature of this band, and the fact that they’re the first powerviolence act in Nepal, I think that the choice of a demo recorded live at a gig is the best way to showcase themselves to punk and hardcore fans outside their home country. There is a sense of urgency, and more importantly – a real FUN vibe going on here that makes me want to just run around and throw myself on the wall for no good reason. Looking forward to the Nepali scene growing as well and inspiring other South Asian countries to make some fast fucking punk to let out their aggression.

 

 

ZXI

 

Zombie X Incest on Facebook

Zombie X Incest on Bandcamp

Jugaa Discography

Jugaa logo

Jugaa. Killer Hardcore/Metal band from Kathmandu, Nepal. For fans of Integrity, Ringworm, Earth Crisis, Eyehategod, Disembodied and Arkangel. Get their discography here. All links are band-sanctioned and provided by Vishal Rai, the band’s guitarist.

Track from Ghalazat compilation – Eternal Sleep (2013)

http://www64.zippyshare.com/v/10294812/file.html

Split with Sangharsha – Jugaa side only (2011)

http://www64.zippyshare.com/v/26076712/file.html

Hamal Hardcore [EP] (2010)

http://www64.zippyshare.com/v/60830313/file.html

Fuck The Scene [EP] (2008)

http://www64.zippyshare.com/v/58905826/file.html

Split with Shannon Scam – Jugaa side only (2007)

http://www64.zippyshare.com/v/67739698/file.html

Jugaa Lineup

Other links:

Jugaa on Facebook

Ghalazat Compilation on Bandcamp

Sangharsha/Jugaa split download link with both sides

Shannon Scam/Jugaa split download link with both sides

Jugaa’s interview with Eternal Abhorrence

Jugaa Interview

Jugaa’s guitarist, founder, main songwriter and chief exporter of their heaviness to foreign lands – Vishal Rai – is an important figure in the Nepali hardcore/metal scene, whether he likes to admit it or not. Since 2007, Jugaa has put out 1 demo, 2 EP’s, 2 splits, and 1 compilation. They’ve also shared the stage with Singaporean grindcore act Wormrot at Undergrind fest in India, where Jugaa showed off their Himalayan Hardcore sound to a non-Nepali audience for the first time. He’s also a punk rock veteran, a part of the infamous band I2ST back in the early 2000’s. But at the end of it, Vishal’s just a cool, knowledgeable bloke. I’d like to pretend this interview was conducted at a bar over a few beers, but I hope to have that honor some day when my own band plays in Nepal!

Jugaa Lineup

 

– Hey Vishal. What’s up and how’s the preparation for Silence Festival going?
We’ve barely been able to get together once a week to rehearse and our drummer keeps forgetting his parts. Things are going to be disastrous. Haha.

 

– Tell us a bit about the background of the band and the line-up. What was the purpose behind Jugaa’s formation and is it still on the same track as the early days?
Our old band (I2ST) stopped playing in 2005, I think. After a year or so of inactivity, we were itching to play again but not as I2ST. That band had a time and a place and that time had clearly passed. That’s when the most evil man in Kathmandu, Ranav from Cruentus (the best black metal band this country has produced), stepped in on vocals.

The purpose behind Jugaa’s formation has always been the same – to create dark, heavy hardcore.

 

– You guys were on the Ghalazat compilation. How’s the compilation been recieved thus far?
It’s been received pretty well, I guess. More than that, it was just a relief to get it out after months of delays. It was certainly cool to be on a compilation with our good friends, with a cover designed by an artist who’s worked with some of my favourite bands – Jacob Parmentier of Abernathy Designs.

 

Jugaa2

 

– Looking at Jugaa’s sound, there’s definitely a strange melting pot of influences from black metal to NYHC. How do you make it work, with regards to the songwriting process and individual influences of the members?
Well, it’s an amalgamation of having a myriad of influences and the art of stealing riffs, which I consider myself a student of. Hahaha. I’m responsible for a majority of the songwriting, which I do alone at home, so the influences of the other members don’t really come into play until we get together. And then, what I’ve envisioned usually turns out to be completely different once the drums and vocals come in because they have their own style of doing things.

People have compared us to bands I’ve never heard of, some even obscure (at least to me) death metal, and I find that very amusing and intriguing.

 

– In the last 3 years the Hardcore scene has been harkening back to the days of the 90’s Metallic Hardcore era, but bringing in some HM-2 influences from Sweden too. Where does Jugaa fit into the realm of heavy music today, in your opinion?
I don’t know, man, I’ve never thought of things that way. We’re just a band from a tiny country in the armpit of the world – South Asia – trying to have a good time playing heavy music.

 

– You’re always on the look out for new heavy music and such. What are the best new hardcore bands in your opinion?
I’ll limit this to bands that only have demos so far. Most of them play 90’s style heavy hardcore/metalcore. I’m biased since that’s my favourite style.

Incitement – http://incitement.bandcamp.com/
Below – http://atonementrecords.limitedrun.com/products/516337-below-demo-2013
Jukai – http://jukai.bandcamp.com/
xRepentancex – http://xrepentancex.bandcamp.com/
Pulled Under – http://pulledunderhc.bandcamp.com
Outer Heaven – http://outerheavenpa.bandcamp.com/

 

Vishal

– What about the music scene in Nepal. You’ve been involved in making music for well over a decade now, how have things changed since back in the I2ST era?
Many things have changed and a lot has stayed the same but it’s definitely gotten bigger, that’s for sure. Nepal has to be one of the few countries where attendees at “underground” concerts outnumber those of the mainstream pop/rock variety. A decade ago you were lucky if you could play a show a month, now there are shows every other weekend. Besides that, I wouldn’t know because I’m not as involved as I used to be. Kids do seem to be having fun though, and that’s all that matters.

 

– Do you think people are right to call I2ST a legendary band as far as Punk Rock in KTM is concerned?
I think people call I2ST legendary because of the warped “old is good” belief. In all likelihood, people who call us that are younger kids who weren’t around when we were active. We just happened to be one of the first punk bands in this country. They probably heard about us from older folk or read about us somewhere and, since they weren’t around then, it created an aura of mystique. It’s all good though, who wouldn’t want to be termed “legendary” even when you know you don’t really deserve it? hahaha.

In a way, this is funny because everyone hated us then. The exact same thing happened to our friends UgraKarma. They were despised because of the use of programmed drums on their albums and now there are tribute shows being organized in their honour. The only difference is they actually had really good songs that people overlooked just because of the drums, while ours don’t seem to have aged well.

In any case, I don’t associate myself with the Kathmandu punk scene. I don’t know what it’s like now, but it was terrible a decade ago when it was overtly PC with a holier-than-thou attitude and people trying to force their opinions on you. I’m not apathetic and I like bands that have solid things to say (as rare as they may be), but when shows have hour long speeches between sets, you know you’re deep in No Fun Club territory.

 

Jugaa live

 

– Tell us a bit about your bond with Sangharsha. You put out a split with them a year ago and teamed up once more for Ghalazat.
I’ve loved Sangharsha since their demo. Kshitiz is a terrible guitarist but he comes up with brilliant riffs. hahaha. We go a long way back and we have a lot of things in common so that’s reason enough to keep teaming up.

 

– Same as Sangharsha, Jugaa isn’t too active on the live front despite making some mosh-heavy music. What’s your reason?
It started out due to geographical issues since I wasn’t in the country for a while. Then when we started playing again, we realized we weren’t into it. We don’t tour, so playing regular shows in the same city to the same people tends to get tedious. We also didn’t want to be one of those bands that put themselves on every bill, no matter what kind of show it is. I feel it cheapens the whole thing. I’d rather be in the studio.

 

– How do you see the next 5 years unfolding for your band?
We’re breaking up after the next EP, whenever that may be.

 

– 5 albums that changed your approach to music?
Slayer – Reign In Blood,
Rancid – …And Out Come The Wolves
Ramones – S/T
Earth Crisis – Destroy The Machines
Integrity – Humanity Is The Devil

 

– Thank you for your time. Do you have any last words?
Thank you, Hassan, for all your support these last few years. The rest of you, go download Ghalazat

http://ghalazat.bandcamp.com/

 

Jugaa logo

Jugaa on Facebook

Jugaa on Bandcamp

– Hassan Dozakhi

Sangharsha Interview

Sangharsha are a Hardcore band from New York with roots in Nepal. I’ve been a fan of ’em ever since a Nepali friend of mine made me hear their split record with Kathmandu based HC goons Jugaa. They’ve been a regular in my playlist ever since, and interviewing them was one of the first things on my mind when I started this blog/zine. I managed to interview Sangharsha’s guitarist and founder Kshitiz Moktan and talked to him about the past, present and future of his band.

Sangharha's self titled EP (2012) is a regular on my playlist.

Sangharha’s self titled EP (2012) is a regular on my playlist.

 

Hey Kshitiz. How’s everything at your end?

Enjoying Life and Fatherhood, dawn of a new era!

 

Despite being around for a few years, Sangharsha remains somewhat of an enigmatic entity. Can you give us a brief summary concerning the history of the band?

One night in the hot summer weather in 2004 in Alabama, a vision struck to me, what if four meteorites would stuck together hit the earth, what would happen, this is when the vision started to take a reality.

 

The sound has evolved quite a bit since the band’s nascent days. The first demo was no-frills hardcore but you’ve flirted with heavier, sludgier, doomier sounds since then. With this in mind, what sort sounds do you see Sangharsha exploring in the future?

Beautiful, minimalistic but powerful and spiritual songs of love and realization.

 

Sangharsha’s lyrics were expressed purely in the Nepali language in the past. You’ve started to incorporate English songs lately, however. What inspired this shift?

So that we can harness and fine tune some of our accentuated, articulated and grammatically perfect Eng-Lish!

 

You recently put out the Ghalazat (Urdu for Filth) compilation with a bunch of rad hardcore, grind and death metal bands from Nepal and Pakistan. What was the purpose behind the compilation, and when can we expect a sequel to it?

Ghalazat was envisioned as a love for humanity with a ray of hope of music to celebrate that we together can co-exist in this world full of extra terrestrial beings. Expect Ghalazat II to be back in 2014 with more songs and bands supporting our vision.

 

Ghalazat featured UgraKarma, Binaash, Terrifyer, Foreskin, Jugaa as well as Sangharsha.

Ghalazat featured UgraKarma, Binaash, Terrifyer, Foreskin, Jugaa as well as Sangharsha.

 

Despite making a lot of noise, you lads haven’t been too active on the live front, though.

We like to write and create history rather than be on the streets preaching about something.

 

Right, now let’s talk about your pre-Sangharsha musical endeavors. You and Vishal of Jugaa were in Inside 2 Stoopid Triangles, a really rad Punk Rock band from Kathmandu apparently.

Four wannabes trying to be hipsters back in those days playing hip punk music which people thought was anti-everything which was quite the opposite when we started it and ended it.

 

Not many people can claim being in kickass hardcore and punk bands in two different countries. What’s the biggest difference you noticed in the scene in Kathmandu and the scene in New York?

Never been a part of a scene, so no comments please.

 

You’re recording your next record in Kurt Ballou’s (Converge) studio. How’d that come across and when can we expect the new stuff?

Well Kurt does a super job of bringing out a Band’s natural sound to a record, since we are going to record songs that are emotional and full of love and realization, it was a natural choice.

 

What’s on your playlist these days?

Listening to a lot of MattyB, that’s all in my list, go check out MattyB in youtube, it’s awesome.

 

Thanks for taking the time to talk to us! Any parting words?

Keep the Faith (George Michael)

 

Kshitiz (L) dedicates this interview to drummer Dipesh Mote (R) as well as Vishal Rai of Jugaa (not pictured)

Kshitiz (L) dedicates this interview to drummer Dipesh Mote (R) as well as Vishal Rai of Jugaa (not pictured)

 

Read our review of the Sangharsha/Jugaa split here.

Sangharsha on Facebook.

– Hassan Dozakhi

Sangharsha / Jugaa | The Sickness That Never Sleeps (2012)

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Ah, Nepal. The land of beautiful folk music, gorgeous women, amazing Himalayan landscapes, brilliant food… and two of the most vicious Metallic Hardcore bands polluting the airwaves in modern times. What am I talking about? Well, ladies and gentlemen, I am referring to the unrelenting fury contained within the sound of Jugaa and Sangharsha, two Nepali Hardcore bands. The two groups are musically devastating in their own right but when combined on a split release, the results are just earth-shattering. Really, this is the type of music that could cause an avalanche of epic proportions in Nepal’s native mountain ranges.

Musically, both bands share the same core influences but some key differences ensure that neither band sounds too similar to the other. Even lyrically, the topics discussed are similar – the decay of society seems to be the dominant theme here. The similarities in the two bands are not all that surprising once you take into account the fact that Vishal of Jugaa and Kshitiz of Sangharsha played ina  punk rock band in the early 2000’s as well called “Inside 2 Stoopid Triangles” but as I said there are some differences that set both bands apart and make them unique on their own as well. And with all due respect to I2ST, this is not some fun punk rock. This is dead serious hardcore.

Sangharsha

Since Sangharsha’s side of the split comes in at first, I’ll place them under the microscope first. Sangharsha is total mosh music, barring the second half of Ekata of course – which sees them delving into sludge/noise. Their statement becomes clear with the opening track – a cover of Integrity’s Vocal Test. Crunchy, thick, and howling screams topped off by extremely clear drums and bass. The production is about as good as you can get for this kind of hardcore. Musically, there’s a healthy dose of metal influences but this is heavy hardcore all the way through. No bullshit, no gimmicks, just music to re-arrange faces to. Indeed, compared to Jugaa the sound is probably more definitive of the route hardcore music is taking in the modern world. But along with their extremely potent and witty songcrafting – the middle sound sample in Insaniyaat as an example – and with their exclusively Nepali lyrics, no one would fault Sangharsha of being ‘generic’ or ‘rehashed’ like most dime a dozen hardcore bands. In fact, the way they involved Nepali – a language from the Indo-Aryan family tree (which also includes Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi, Bengali, Marathi, etc) – into music of such heavy and extreme nature without resorting to generic themes of love, patriotism, and the other generic themes that plague the music made in these North Indian languages – inspired me too. Sangharsha show everyone in the subcontinent that you CAN make extreme music in your own local language.

Jugaa

Jugaa are a personal favorite band of mine these days, let me just say that. These guys have some of the most badass riffs you will find in hardcore music today, irrespective of race, country, continent, whatever. In fact, some of the European and North American hardcore bands should listen to Jugaa and take some notes. Musically they are a lot more metal influenced than Sangharsha. The riff-centric approach to songwriting, the headbangability of the music, the death metal styled vocals, the dark grim atmosphere of their music and the raw production will definitely catch the attention of as much metalheads as it would of hardcore kids. Imagine if Aussie hardcore band Mindsnare and early 90’s metallic hardcore pioneers Ringworm got it on while a younger version of Hatebreed taped it and passed it on to the lads from Obituary and Entombed, and with the tape finally reaching some grim black metallers in Norway albeit in a more low-fi form. That’s Jugaa’s sound in a nutshell. But despite the metalness, this is still ruthless, aggressive hardcore that takes no prisoners. Jugaa fittingly finish their side on the album with a cover of Ringworm’s Birth in Pain, after two absolutely insane songs in Come the Winter and Vultures Will Feed, complimenting Sangharsha’s selection of Integrity’s Vocal Test as their cover.

In conclusion – I say this without any kind of bias that this is one of the finest hardcore/metallic hardcore releases you will hear in this day and age. Doesn’t matter if you’re a thrasher, grinder, hardcore kid, death metal kinda guy or just someone who likes both the extreme wings of metal and punk – listen to this. There’s something for everyone here. AND, after this review I’m gonna be reviewing both band’s individual discographies as well so watch out for that!!

Final Rating: 9/10

Jugaa on Facebook

Sangharsha on Facebook

Download the Split here

(Additional note: I find the selections for their covers pretty interesting. Both Integrity and Ringworm are legends of the Holy Terror scene, but after a lot of extensive listening, Sangharsha definitely comes across as more of an “Integrity” type of band at least on this release, with their more subtle intake of metallic influences while Jugaa owes a lot to Ringworm musically and especially in the riff-based approach that makes them appeal to metalheads. Maybe the two should start a “Hamal Terror” scene, haha!)

Originally written in 2012 for The Bamboo Shots by Hassan Dozakhi.