death by fungi is a hardcore punk band from Mumbai, India. Formed in 2013, the band released a self titled EP last year. Earlier this month, the released another EP, ‘in dearth of’ which features a more melodic sound.
I spoke to vocalist/guitarist Vrishank Menon about the ‘in dearth of’ EP, recording it and also their plans for the rest of the year.
What made you decide to start a hardcore punk band? What about the style appeals to you?
I can’t say! I got into punk rock when I was very young, right after I got into Slayer and Metallica, but mostly listened to skatepunk bands like Strung Out and Propagandhi. As I got older, I got into eighties hardcore (Black Flag, Minor Threat), metalcore (Shai Hulud, Converge, Integrity), powerviolence (Spazz, Charles Bronson) and post-hardcore (Fugazi, Glassjaw, Nation of Ulysses).
The music was very empowering, it was fast and it broke musical convention – as a 12 year old, I loved that! I still firmly believe that most alternative genres of music we listen to today – be it alternative rock, metal, math rock, whatever – comes from hardcore and hardcore ethic.
Mumbai is a city better known for it’s metal than punk scene. How did you find like minded band members? How did the band get together?
I was very fortunate to find these people but we aren’t all that like-minded when it comes to music. I mean we all love hardcore bands like Converge and Despise You, but we come from different places, musically. I began writing punk and indie rock tunes when I was in my mid-teens and used to record songs on my own since none of my friends liked punk rock. Kamran and I grew up playing in odd bands here and there so it was natural that I’d make him play bass with me and he did. Another friend agreed to play drums but he didn’t really care. Finding Aryaman was more a stroke of luck. He used to play drums in a mathcore band with Kamran and so when our old drummer left us right before our first show, he asked Aryaman to drum for us. We had no idea but he came from a background of thrash and old-school death metal like Entombed and Morbid Angel. So he was super stoked to play fast songs with us and we all clicked immediately. The first song we jammed to was perfect and all of us established ‘musical intimacy’, if that’s a thing. We shifted to a heavy hardcore sound because of Aryaman’s influence on that band. I think we found our sound our current sound together.
The ‘in dearth of’ EP sounds more melodic compared to your self-titled EP. What prompted the shift in direction? Tell us a bit more about your EP.
Two songs on the EP are more melodic but the other two are much heavier than our older work. In terms of sound, we’re just doing more, not letting genre boundaries limit us. We threw in bits of post rock, skramz and emo (bands like American Football and Christie Front Drive, mind you) while fucking with time signatures and guitar tones. We just write what feels right.
What was the songwriting process for the EP? How long did it take?
It’s different for every song. Iced and Pathfinder fell together very quickly and sort of assembled themselves. I literally remember Aryaman and I spit-balling riff and drum ideas and putting together all these songs in literally less than an hour. Endless Rain and Black Lung were very different and we spent a lot of time writing those. Endless Rain was actually the first song we wrote as a band and we’ve been revising it for 2 years. We weren’t even going to put it on the EP but we had extra studio time booked, so we altered the structure and put that in.
We try to be systematic but our band works better when we’re impulsive and do things if they feel right.
The EP was recorded at That studio and a home studio. What was the recording process like? Did you try anything different this time around?
It was much better, we enjoyed the process and everything came out sounding very nice and didn’t rob us of all of our money. That Studio was great and the engineers we worked with, Anupam Roy and Abhishek Kamdar, were very helpful and added a lot to the record.
The only thing I did different was recording a lot of guitar layers.
What are your plans for the rest of the year? Do you have any shows planned?
We are recording a split with our friends from Jugaa (Kathmandu based- metallic hardcore) in the summer and I’m currently trying to book as many shows as possible. We’re also organizing DIY house shows, which should be very fun. Hopefully.
Stream/Download ‘in dearth of’ below
Imperium is a popular name for a metal band. According to Metal Archives, there are 15 bands with the name, from Chile to Slovakia. There are 2 from the UK. Imperium is a death metal band started by guitarist Mike Alexander. Earlier this month, the band released their second album ‘Titanomachy’ featuring Doug Anderson (Unfathomable Ruination) on vocals. Inspired by Greek mythology, the band have released a solid slab of modern death metal.
I spoke to vocalist Doug Anderson about the album, the current state of death metal and also the possibility of them performing live.
Tell us about the origins of the band. How did you’ll get together?
The bands formation in 2010 consisted of Trigger the Bloodshed and The Bridal Procession members Robert Purnell and Steve Garnier and founding guitarist Mike Alexander. The debut album ’Sacramentum’ dropped in 2012.
With line up changes and injuries, Mike had to take his time preparing the new material. The songs have been a long time coming, and now with myself on vocals, we are finally ready to unleash a new chapter from Imperium.
How did you become a part of the band? Did it have an impact on the writing process for the album?
I was put in contact by our mutual friend Mike Barber, who I played in Prostitute Disfigurement with for a spell. I recorded a demo for Mike (Alexander) and the rest just fell into place.
Music wise the album was more or less finished, I just came in for vocals. I wrote all the lyrics and patterns of course, and there the themes began to develop.
Your latest Titanomachy is about Greek mythology. Tell us a bit more about it.
The first album was heavily rooted in the history of the ancient Romans. ‘Titanomachy’ goes back even further, to the source of the Roman gods, whose origins were lifted from Greek mythology.
The whole album covers many of my favourite myths and monsters from Greek mythos. The title track itself covers the Titanomachy, the war between the titans and the gods.
What was the recording process for the album? How long did it take?
The album had already been written and recorded for some time before I joined, over a year infact. When I stepped in, it took around 6 months to have everything finalised, and the actual vocal tracking process took a weekend. A few months later we had the mixed and mastere
The album is being released by Ultimate Massacre Productions. How did you get signed to the label?
I heard of the label through Mallika and Serge, and approached them myself. Both of them play in successful bands in their own right (Abnormality and Epicardiectomy) and trusted what they had to offer. It’s been a mutually beneficial deal through and through.
What are your thoughts on the current state of Death metal?
It’s quite an amazing time for death metal in some ways. Imperium itself is a great example of the internet age getting a chance to shine.
I have met Mike twice. Ever. I met Chuck Creese our producer, once. Since signing to our label, I have never met a member of the Ultimate Massacre productions team. Yet together we have managed to bring what was needed to produce a really great piece of music for the whole world to hear.
it’s a very modern way of doing things, but can saturate the scene with an over abundance of content. More bands means more good bands, but also more boring bands. But If the listener is savvy and knows what they want to hear, they can track down a nearly endless supply of high quality death metal.
The band is currently a studio project, do you foresee a possibility of play live in the future?
It’s something we’ve touched on, but there’s nothing to report there yet. Who knows what the future holds though!
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
To push the album to as many people as possible, and begin work on the third Imperium LP!
Thanks for answering all the questions. Do you have anything else to add?
Thanks to everyone who has supported us so far, and please check out the album on May the 7th!
Stream/Download Titanomachy’ below
In the past couple of years, Transcending Obscurity has emerged as the premier metal label from India. In addition to the main record label, there is the sub labels – India and Classics as well as a distribution label. Last year, the label released over a dozen releases and does not plan on slowing down this year. Here are the releases that have been out this year (in chronological order)
Affliction Gate – Dying Alone
Death metal is not one of the things that come to mind when you think of France. Affliction Gate have created a lasting impression in my mind with their 4 track EP ‘Dying Alone‘. The songs have everything that I enjoy in death metal – bone crushing riffs, growled vocals and a bit of melody. I was left with a sense of melancholy as the last track ‘Manicheism Inertia’ ended. I look forward to hearing a longer release from Affliction Gate soon.
Blackhour – Sins Remain
Despite following the Pakistani metal scene for some time now, I heard about Blackhour through Kunal. Their second album ‘Sins Remain‘ improves the sound from their debut release ‘Age of War’. The clean vocals and guitars reminded me of bands like Iron Maiden and Saxon. The album is not an easy listen as there are 2 tracks that exceed 8 minutes in length. I interviewed the band earlier this year, read it here
Third Sovereign – Perversion Swallowing Sanity
Indian death metallers Third Sovereign are back with their sophomore album after 9 years. Their debut album ‘Destined to Suffer’ is a landmark in the Indian metal scene. ‘Perversion Swallowing Sanity’ is another slab of no frills death metal. The album was self produced by the band and it sounds a step above their previous material. I hope we don’t have to wait another 9 years to hear new material from the band.
Primitiv – Immortal and Vile
‘Immortal and Vile’ is an album I have looking forward to after hearing the singles ‘Taurus’ and ‘Lords of Primitiv’ that Primitiv released in the past couple of years. The album is 6 tracks of groovy death metal. Set in a ‘primitive’ time, their story lines make Primitiv stand out from current death metal bands. The album sounds heavy as fuck, I had a sore neck after the first couple of listens. This is definitely going to be one of my favourite albums of the year.
Abyssus – Once Entombed
Greek death metal band Abyssus are a prolific band, they have released an EP, a full length album and 3 split in just 5 years. ‘Once Entombed’ is a compilation containing music from 4 of them, ‘Monarch To The Kingdom Of The Dead‘ EP and splits with Nocturnal Vomit, Morbider and Slaktgrav. This release is a great introduction to the band’s sound, straight up death metal. If you like what you hear, check out the band’s their debut album ‘Into the Abyss’ released by Memento Mori last last year.
For more music from Transcending Obscurity, check out the massive label sampler below