The Dead are a death/doom metal band from Brisbane, Austrlia. They have been around a decade and have released 2 albums and an EP. I heard them first when my friend Kunal Choksi released their second album ‘Ritual Executions’ on his label Diabolical conquest (now Transcending Obscurity)
Last month they released their third album ‘Deathsteps to Oblivion’. I spoke to their guitarist Adam Keleher about the album, it’s recording process and their plans for the coming year.
“It’s definitely a big relief to finally have this out.” said Adam Keleher about their album being released. “Recording had finished by late 2011 and that in itself had dragged on for that whole year. A lot of work had gone into it and we were confident that we had created something unique and worth listening to so it felt like we had unfinished business until it was out there.”
“Overall we wanted an album that sounded cohesive and not a random collection of songs.That was already worked out very early on when we had a bunch of ideas that seemed to be coming from the same place yet were strong and individual in their own right.” said Adam about how the album compared to their previous album ‘Ritual Executions’. “On the surface the big difference is ‘Deathsteps to Oblivion’ has predominantly slow and mid paced songs with only two minutes of fast blasting in total.
The recording of the album was affected by the floods that hit Brisbane in 2011. “It was during recording that the flood hit and things were delayed for a while. This was our first time recording everything ourselves so there was a lot of learning going on throughout.” said Adam about the recording process for the album. The band took a different approach to recording this time around. “All of our previous releases were essentially recorded live with a few overdubs for vocals and solos. For those recordings we had the songs worked out in rehearsal and had usually played them live too then we would spend a day or two recording and another day for mixing. This one was built from the ground up starting with drums and the songs only in a basic skeleton form. It was then built on and refined until we were happy with it.”
‘Ritual Executions’ was the first release of Indian label, Diabolical Conquest (now Transcending Obscurity). “Kunal, the head of the label, had positively and insightfully reviewed all of our releases including a badly mixed version of ‘Ritual Executions’ that we had put out ourselves. He approached us about making ‘Ritual Executions’ the first release on his new label Diabolical Conquest. We jumped at the chance of a proper release which also gave us a reason to remix the album and include a proper CD booklet with lyrics and additional art.” said Adam describing how the band got signed to a record label from India.
“Brisbane has always had a healthy band scene with plenty of bands and musicians around.” said Adam Keleher about the music scene in their city. Vocalist Mike Yee recommends we check out Dead Letter Opener, Lustration and Laceration Mantra.
“No official plans for 2015 at this stage.” said Adam about what the coming year holds for the band. “We recently played our first show in a long time and it was good to brush off the cobwebs and get out again. So we want to keep that going and help promote ‘Deathsteps to Oblivion’ now that it is out. Hopefully we will start recording again before the end of 2015. It’s too early to accurately predict when that will happen as we are still in riff collection mode.”
Listen to ‘Deathsteps to Oblivion‘ below
The excitement is slowly building up amongst metalheads across India, with just over 2 weeks to go for Mumbai’s only metal festival, BIG69. The headliners for the 2 day festival are legends Carcass, progressive metal act Sikth as well as Italian metallers Fleshgod Apocalypse and UK rap metallers Hacktivist. The festival taking place at the Richardson & Cruddas industrial compound in Byculla on the 17th and 18th of January, 2015 will also feature some of the biggest Indian bands such as Demonic Resurrection, Undying Inc, Zygnema, Kryptos and others.
One of the bands performing at the festival are Escher’s Knot from Bangalore. The band got together in July 2009 and since then they have opened for bands like Lamb of God, Lacuna Coil and Hammerfall. They were recently listed as one of the 20 best metal bands in the indian indie scene by Pepsi MTV Indies.
I spoke to their vocalist Abijith Rao about their upcoming album, the Septic Progression gigs and also playing at the BIG69 festival. Read the interview on Pepsi MTV Indies.
Albatross started as a project of Riju “Dr. Hex” Disgupta in 2008. “The idea was to create music inspired in the traditional side of metal; with different sets of musicians. But after a while, I realized that back in 2008, there was only 1 set of musicians who were actually into this kind of music. Those guys eventually became Albatross.” said Riju about the origins of the band. “Those who heard us back then were confused. ‘Werz the growlz bro?’ ‘Hi hatz ned 2 be louD’ ‘So mani soloz lulz’. But by the grace of Odin, today people not only get the music but look forward to catching us live as well.”
The horror themed music got the attention of King Diamond guitarist Andy LaRocque who mastered their first EP ‘Dinner is You‘ that released in 2010. In 2012, they released ‘The Kissing Flies’ EP as part of a split CD with American doom metal band Vestal Claret. The EP featured guest vocals from Niklas ‘Viper’ Stalvind (Wolf) and Sahil ‘Demonstealer’ Makhija (Demonic Resurrection).
2015 is going to start off with a bang for Indian metalheads; the biggest metal festival in India, BIG69 will take place in Mumbai on the 17th & 18th of January. The headliners are British death metal legends Carcass, British prog metal band SikTH, Italian death metal band Fleshgod Apocalypse and British rap metal band Hacktivist. The festival will feature Indian bands like Demonic Resurrection, Kryptos, Undying Inc and many more. Bombay Metal Project and Joint Family will put on special performances. The latter are performing live after 5 years. With a total of 22 bands over 2 days, it’s going to be indeed a “Heavy” metal festival.
I spoke to Sikth’s vocalist Mikee Goodman about their reunion and also playing at the BIG69 Festival for Pepsi MTV Indies
(Photo taken from the sikTh facebook page)
All metal (almost Indian) list this time around
Skyharbor – Guiding Lights
The sophomore release of the international progressive metal group is their first as a band. The album continue with the melodic elements first heard on “Aurora” from their debut album “Blinding White Noise: Illusion & Chaos”. Forrester Savell bolsters the songwriting with great production. Progressive metal fans will not be disappointed.
Gutslit – Skewered in the Sewer
The first album from Gutslit, death grind band from India is miles ahead of their split with Pulmonary Fibrosis and I have been listening to it a lot lately. The slam parts might put off grind purists. After a short tour of Europe earlier this year including a set at Obscene Extreme, things are looking promising for the band.
Pangea – This is NG, taking
Instrumental progressive metal band Pangea are one of the underrated bands from India. Their new single “This is NG, taking” has some trippy riffs. Keep an eye out for more awesome music from this band in the coming year.
Bhayanak Maut – Man
‘Man’ is one of the few concept albums released by an Indian metal band. Bhayanak Maut take a very different approach to the concept of serial killers.The band are a twisted lot; reading the journal that accompanies the album will send chills down your spine. Easily their best release yet.
Woods of Ypres – Against the Seasons
As the days get shorter and winter sets in, this is my go to album. The debut album of Canadian band Woods of Ypres is one of my favourite black metal releases. Here is my favourite track from it
Blastasfuck Records is the only extreme metal label that I know that releases only grindcore music. The label and also distro was started by Roby (The Kill) over a decade ago in Melbourne, Victoria. I spoke to Roby recently and found out more about Blastasfuk, the metal scene in Australia and the upcoming releases from the label.
Hi Roby, you have been running Blastasfuk Records for nearly a decade. How did you decide to start a label?
Roby: Yeah, it’s been a long bloody time. I was trading & selling records before I decided to call the label BLASTASFUK! It all came about from trading THE KILL demo with labels around the world. From there on I went mad!
What was your first release?
Roby: UNDINISM – Live At The Green Room 01.05.04 DVDR & NOISEAR – Red Tape Agenda MCD
When did you decide to release only grindcore music?
Roby: From day 1 mate… I can’t recall exactly what year!
What do you look for in a band before you sign them to your label?
Roby: Good composers who play fast music… Only bands I love!
What have been the most memorable releases so far?
Roby: That’s a very hard question. I think I’ve probably listened to the first HATRED SURGE collection CD more than any other BAF release.
You also play in The Kill. How do you balance being in a band and running a record label?
Roby: In moderation now. We usually jam once a week, but at the moment we’re taking a little break, whilst I’m trying to get this new KILL album out: “KILL THEM ALL…” whilst in the mist of writing new tunes & spending quality time with the family.)
What are bands from Melbourne and Australia that we should check out?
Roby: At the moment, bands like SEWERCIDE, INTERNAL ROT, SPLIT TEETH, MORBID ANAL, BLACK JESUS, PISSBOLT & shit loads more, I just haven’t been out for a little while… Old!
What are the upcoming releases from your label?
Roby: CAPTAIN CLEANOFF – Rising Terror CD GROTESQUE ORGAN DEFILEMENT – Body Horror CD EXCRUCIATING TERROR – Divided We Fall (Re-press) CD & more.
Here are a few releases by Blastasfuk that everyone should check out
This is a bit late but here it goes…
Scribe – Hail Mogambo
The third album by the post hardcore band from Mumbai continues where it left off on “Mark of Teja”. Named after the famous Bollywood villain Mogambo from the late 80’s hit film, Mr. India; the band further experiments with their sound on this album with the introduction of synths and also Vishwesh rapping on most of the songs. Listen to their first single “Cops, Cops, Cops, Cops” to find out why I have been listening to this album on loop lately.
Dhwesha – Sthoopa
Dhwesha are an anomaly in the Indian metal scene as their lyrics are in Kannada. The band play straight up death metal and wear their influences on their sleeve. The songs on the album sound a lot better than on the Yuddhabhumi demo that I heard a couple years ago. Sthoopa is a promising debut album from the Bangalore band. They are definitely a band that I will keep an eye out for in the future.
Phobocosm – Deprived
Deprived is described as “a suffocating and beastly dark death metal album with injections of doom, black and ambient elements throughout.” A few listens into the album you will understand exactly why. Phobocosm like to keep things simple unlike their peers from Montreal. Those who prefer listening to death metal with clean production should avoid this album.
Zero Gravity – Holocaust Awaits
Zero Gravity are from Indore, a city I least expected to have a metal band especially one with a female vocalist. Their first album has 8 tracks of death metal with catchy riffs. The album sounds good courtesy production by Ashwin Shriyan (Demonic Resurrection). A gem of a release by Transcending Obscurity Distribution.
Non – metal
Empty Yard Experiment – Kallisti
Empty Yard Experiment are one of the few progressive rock bands from the UAE. The band have matured as songwriters on their sophomore album, which is getting them attention across the world. I feel this is the best release from the UAE this year, along with Aramiac who were featured last month. The band put on a great show live with a lot of visual elements. They are touring the UK next month check the dates and more here.
Skrat – The Queen
The Chennai rockers are back all guns blazing with new album. Their latest album Queen continues with their style of uptempo rock that we heard on their previous album, Bring Out The Gig Guns. You can’t resist singing along to the infectious riffs and hooks. Skrat are at the moment my favourite rock band in India along with The Supersonics.