Trendcrusher

death by fungi interview

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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. 

death by fungi

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.

cover 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

Written by trendcrusher

May 28, 2016 at 7:20 pm

Introducing: Allfather

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Allfather

Who: Allfather The band consists of Alan (guitar), Andrew (bass), Joe (guitar), Kieron (drums) and Tom (vocals).

“Andrew (bass but at the time guitar) and I were talking over twitter about bands and stuff. Our kids went to the same small school here in Medway and one day he asked if I wanted to play bass in a band he wanted to get together.” said vocalist Tom about how the band got together. “I said I couldn’t play bass but used to shout into microphones about ten years before and would love to have a go again. That was summer 2013, we finally got to play something in December 2013 (we tried a cover of Raging Speedhorn – Fuck the Voodoo Man) and basically took it from there. Our current line up came together earlier this year when Joe joined on 2nd guitar and now it feels like we are really onto something.”

Where: Rochester, UK

What: The band released their 2nd EP, ‘Bless the Earth with Fire’ last month. “It started off as five tracks but we thought we would add Blood Red Sunset on at the end as a bonus track. We thought it was as strong as the rest of the material but it was recorded in a different studio and has different production on it so it wouldn’t really fit in.” said Tom about the release. “Our approach has always just to try and write aggressive as fuck songs that are full of hooks and catches without sounding too contrived. Overall our tone and sound is sludgey but we try not to limit ourselves to worrying about genres. We try and write what sounds good. Hopefully you’ll hear elements of hardcore, doom, straight up heavy fucking metal, bits of stoner and even a bit of bounce.”

“Lyrically there is probably an overall theme of death, I mean come on, we are a metal band. Andrew and I share lyric writing duties. For us they need to mean something but also sound fucking cool if you’re singing along.” said Tom explaining the lyrical themes.

How: “The songs were written in 2014/15 and we recorded it at the end of last summer with Jason Frye at Son of Sun studio in Margate. In terms of songwriting our general approach is that Al (lead guitar) or Andrew come up with some guitar demos, we out them up on Soundcloud for the band to listen to, we pick what we like, take it into a studio and work it through” said Tom describing their songwriting process. “We keep reviewing and tweaking it until we think it is good to go. We are now working on new material and it’s the first time Joe has done it with us so we are looking forward to seeing what he can bring.”

“I think about 5 days. A day of drums, a day of vocals and then about 2 and half days of guitar and bass. Those were hard days but well worth it. Doing vocals I drunk a whole bottle of honey and still came away with no voice” said Tom about how they recorded the EP.

“Keep playing shows where and when we can. We all have jobs/families etc. so touring is going to be hard” said Tom about their plans for the rest of the year. “Also writing new material. Not sure how/when we’re going to try and release it but it would be nice to have a couple of new songs coming out by the end of the year but we will see how it goes.”

Stream/Download ‘Bless the Earth with Fire’ below

 

Written by trendcrusher

May 18, 2016 at 10:00 am

Imperium Interview

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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.

Imperium
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.

Imperium - Titanomachy

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

Written by trendcrusher

May 15, 2016 at 10:00 am

Introducing: Slaves BC

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Slaves BC

Who: Slaves BC The band consists of Josh (Vocals/Lyrics/Drums/Art), Sean (Guitar/Vocals), Rick (Guitar), Adam (Live Vocals) and Brandon (Bass)

Where:Pittsburgh, USA

What: The band released their  album ‘All is Dust and I am Nothing’ earlier this year. “All Is Dust and I Am Nothing” is a concept album based upon the book of Ecclesiastes from the Bible. Ecclesiastes is one of the “Books of Poetry” in the Old Testament of the Bible. Many religious scholars contest its right to be included in the Bible. I can see why! At first glance, it does not really seem to fit in with the rest of the teachings and stories of the Bible. Ecclesiastes is basically like, “Go ahead, eat that dry aged steak, drink that 18 year old single malt scotch, and bang that attractive person. You can do that, but you won’t feel any better. Nothing matters. You’re all going to die and no one will remember you.” Since I was a kid, I’ve been drawn to this book. It offers a very interesting perspective on life and makes you question everything.” said vocalist Josh aboutt the album. “Ecclesiastes is extremely bleak, hopeless, and repetitive. We just tried to match the book with our music. Maybe if we had amassed a supergroup using members of Portal, Altarage, Coffinworm, Lord Mantis, and Chthe’ilist we could have come close to the spiralling darkness of this book. In all seriousness, we might as well have been writing pop punk. Nothing brings you down and makes you want to die more than reading through Ecclesiastes.”

How: “The songwriting for the album went very smoothly. Most of it was just Sean (guitar) and I just sitting down and being like “lets pretend to write sweet music” and cool stuff just kind of fell out along the way. There were a couple times when I was like, “Ok, Sean. Write something terrible” (the Slaves BC word for awesome and terrifying metal). Sean occasionally would have 10 minutes of writers block and I would just pour us both a shot of whiskey and then we would write something we loved.” said Josh about the writing process for the album.

“We started recording “All Is Dust…” in 2012 before we signed to Veritas Vinyl. We assumed we would have to put out whatever we did ourselves, so we just started recording it. But not long after, Veritas signed us. They wanted us to put out a split 12″ before doing the full length album because we had no following. In doing this, this pushed back the full length 4 years due to the amount of time it takes to get vinyl made these days. I mean, Veritas sent out for the vinyl for “All Is Dust…” in May of 2015, and we didn’t get it back until February of 2016. Those were the 4 longest and most agonizing years of my life. Just sitting on all this music that we were so excited about for so long. But its finally out! So we are on to writing the next one!”
“The recording process was fantastic, because we record with Matt Very of Very Tight Recordings. We did it in a couple weekends with Matt, but those weekends were spread out over several years. And in those weekends, we were recording stuff for our splits and the Veritas Vinyl Christmas compilation. After recording with Matt, I never want to record with anybody else ever again. Matt is something of a tone guru. He obsesses over it and makes sure that we are making the best possible sounds and that he is perfectly capturing it. He comes up with all this little neat tricks on the spot for us to try that always work out great. We call him “The Wizard” because he brings out the best in us. Plus, he loves terrible sci-fi channel movies. So like, I’ll laying down vocal tracks or playing drums, and I get to watch Sharknado 2 while doing it. #AllForTheGreaterTone” said Josh describing their recording process for the album.

Written by trendcrusher

May 11, 2016 at 6:31 pm

Godless Interview

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Godless are an upcoming death metal band from India. The band members are no strangers to the Indian metal scene, they have been part of bands like Skrypt, Eccentric Pendulum, Ironic Reversal and Shock Therapy. The band release their debut EP ‘Centuries of Decadence‘ this week through Transcending Obscurity India. I spoke to bassist Abbas and vocalist Kaushal about the EP, working with Joe Haley and also their plans for the rest of the year.

Godless

“Ravi (my band mate in Skrypt) and I decided to form a new band. We wanted to take this project really seriously and wanted like minded musicians to play with. We got in touch with the other members and things just started to fall in place.” said bassist Abbas about how the band got together.

“We never really made a conscious effort to play any particular genre of metal really. We’re all definitely fans of death and thrash metal though. We just wanted to make some really powerful and and aggressive music so what we ended up making just happened to fall into the death metal category.” said Abbas about how they decided to play death metal.

Last year Godless released a single Infest featuring Sean O’Kane Connolly (Ex – In Dread Response) on vocals. “So we had struggled a bit trying to find vocalists when the band started off. We thought it would be a good idea to get a guest vocalist to track a song so people could get a feel of the band and it would be easier to jam with people during auditions. Soon after releasing the demo we actually tried out a few vocalist but things just didn’t work out as planned. We then thought of trying out someone from either Pune or Bangalore since they’re quite close to Hyderabad. The eccentric pendulum guys are really good friends so I asked them to suggest someone and they recommended Kaushal. He came down and jammed with us and things just went way better than we imagined. He was quite keen on the band and really enjoyed the music and has exactly the same focus as us so everything was just perfect.” explained Abbas about how vocalist Kaushal become a part of the band.

Centuries of Decadence

“All four songs in the EP have their own themes and narratives. The opening track Infest’s lyrics was written by Sean O’Kane Connolly and talk about the effects of overpopulation on the world. Ossuary is about a wretched creature which lives in the catacombs in a state of suspended animation, about to wreck havoc into our world — a metaphor for covert groups and sleeper cells within the governments of today. Replicant’s about, yes, the replicants from Blade Runner. Our vocalist’s big on sci-fi. Oneiros is our take on the Sandman, and we’ve taken our inspiration from Neil Gaiman’s graphic masterpiece. The artwork and the title of the EP reflect the narrative of the second song, Ossuary.” said vocalist Kaushal describing the themes behind their ‘Centuries of Decadence’ EP.

The EP has been mixed and mastered by Joe Haley (Psycroptic). “We’re all really big fans of Psycroptic and Joe’s playing. Since he was already mixing our stuff and mentioned to us that he was really digging the music we thought there’s no harm in asking him to try and lay down a solo. He was cool with it and just blew us away with the solo he laid down. Can’t wait for people to hear it.” said Abbas about how Joe Haley contributed a guitar solo to Ossuary. “Joe was just brilliant to work with. He was really cool with all the changes we had asked for and was just really nice about having to do even the smallest changes over and over. That said, he pretty much nailed the mix in just the first attempt and we’re really happy with the way everything turned out.”

With each member being a part of other bands, Godless could have become a side project. “Definitely not. We started off with the intention of never making this a side project.” said Abbas dismissing the idea. “Every band member took this up knowing that they’ll be able to commit to this band and make time for this apart from the projects they’re already involved with.”

Godless Album launch gig

Godless are launching their album in Hyderabad tomorrow at Houz of Blues. They also perform in Mumbai at the 8th edition of Domination the Deathfest on 5th June. “The plan is just to gig as much as possible. We’ve got a short album launch tour planned and then just booked a really cool gig at this metal festival Orka Networks is organising later this year. So just gigging as much as possible and writing new music in the downtime.” said Abbas about their plans for the rest of the year.

Listen/Download ‘Centuries of Decadence’ below

Written by trendcrusher

May 6, 2016 at 5:16 am

Heathen Beast Interview

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6 years ago, I was writing for Indianrockmp3 and got an email from a band I had never heard of before, Heathen Beast.  The band had emailed me about their debut release, ‘Ayodhya Burns’; The bold artwork and themes really surprised me . The band members used pseudonyms, no one knew who they were despite India having a relatively small metal scene.

The band returned last year after a 3 year break with a new EP ‘The Carnage of Godhra’ and their entire discography was released on CD by Transcending Obscurity. Today, the band release ‘Rise of the Saffron Empire’ their most venomous tracks yet. I spoke to the band about the EP, the themes in their music and more.

Rise of the Saffron Empire

Kolkata is not a city known for it’s metal bands. How did you get into metal?

The original line up of Heathen Beast was born and brought up in Mumbai. Later some of us were transferred to Kolkata on work. Since then we expanded our band to many parts of India with our main base in Kolkata. So we are quite new to the metal scene here. We all got into metal differently, some of us through friends, some of us through discovery via the internet and some of us via older siblings. It’s a different story for each member of this collective.

What made you decide to start a black metal band? What about the style appeals to you?

The absolute purity of black metal is what drew us to the genre. It is a genre that stands for something, it stands against something and it is never afraid to draw blood. It is the most primal form of metal and the perfect vehicle for us to express our hatred. It’s an ideology, a message and one that provokes thought. Very few other metal genres do that.

How has the response to your previous releases been? Have you faced any threats or complaints?

We are too insignificant for anyone to give a shit about us. So far we have had no threats or complaints. The response for all our music till date has been incredible. The fans have been more supportive than ever.

You went on a 3 year break after your first 2 releases? What was the reason behind it?

We are not full time musicians and life gets in the way and fucks us all. We have to move cities, change a lot of things around so sometimes it takes time to make music. Most musicians these days are all trying to balance life and music so we are doing the same. We are clear that this is 100% passion for us so we will do it at our own pace and we will do it right.

Your new release ‘Rise of the Saffron Empire’ has received accolades from around the world. How does it feel now that the EP has been released?

The feeling is amazing when people get your music and understand it. We don’t want posers listening to our music, we want people who not just like the music but also follow the ideology of the band. So we are happy to hear from most fans that they not only like the music but they relate to the lyrics and the ideology of the band.

The themes behind your music are current social and political issues in India. What is the main reason behind it?

Religion is the reason, God is the reason. Even the political events are driven by these man made creations and it is the most powerful force right now in our country. It is what is destroying what we have. It’s what needs to be spoken about right now. So we could not think of anything else that made more sense to sing about. However they are assholes out there who always go, but what about this and what about that, why are you not singing about this topic or that topic? We want to tell them you bastards if that topic is important to you then you should do something about it. So yeah fuck politics!!! Fuck political cocksuckers!!!

You have incorporated more Indian sounds on your recent releases. How did that happen? Have your taken formal music lessons in Hindustani music or percussion?

We have mentioned before that Heathen Beast is a collective and there are many elements that need to come together to complete this puzzle. So there is always some member who can bring a certain element to the table. Some of us have learnt Hindustani Classical and Carnatic Music while we were growing up. So we have that knowledge and we constantly strive to learn more and soak in as much musical knowledge as we can.

The production on the EP sounds better than your previous releases? Did you do anything different during the recording?

We are a beast that keeps growing and evolving. For us we do not look at production of EPs as better or worse. We only look at what is it that the material needs. How can we create a sound. How can we make the message stand out. For us our production is all about being raw and dirty. It should be abrasive and should be like a sonic assault without sounding like those programmed metalcore and deathcore robots.

All your releases are available for free download. What is the reason behind it? Do you personally like the digital format, which is intangible compared to cds and vinyl?

For us it has nothing to do with the format. It’s about spreading the music and the message. From day one we have said our music is always going to be free. Even when we signed to Transcending Obscurity we told brother Kunal that he can release it however he wants but we will release it for free as well on our pages. We know there are fans who want to own the music and support the bands and we really appreciate that because we can make the next album with lesson tension about money. But in principle we will keep the music free. This has always been the plan.

You have only released EPs so far. Is there a plan to record a full length album in the future?

“We think the age of the album is over now. The attention span of people has fallen and we think the 3 song format is the best way to get our message across.”
“We will always be open to recording an album one day when it makes sense for us. We are also full of surprises so you might just get an album next instead of an EP. You can never tell with Heathen Beast.”

Do you have any final words?

Hailz to all the Heathen Beasts in the world. Let us destroy religion and the concept of god and free the minds of men and find true freedom. Hailz!

‘Stream/Download ‘Rise of the Saffron Empire’ below

Written by trendcrusher

April 25, 2016 at 10:00 am

Transcending Obscurity 2016 update

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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

 

Written by trendcrusher

March 22, 2016 at 5:54 pm

Posted in Reviews

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