Trendcrusher

Introducing: Crypt Sermon

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Crypt Sermon

Who: Doom metal band Crypt Sermon The band consists of Steve Jansson (Guitar), James Lipczynski (Guitar) Will Mellor (Bass) Brooks Wilson (Vocals) and Enrique Sagarnaga (Drums)

Where: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

What: Crypt Sermon released their debut album ‘Out of the Garden’ in February through Dark Descent Records. “Well, it’s not a concept album but there is definitely a theme revolving around Christian history/mythology.” said guitarist Steve Jansson about the album. “Brooks is the one who writes all of the lyrics for the band. He takes Christian and historical themes and offers alternate starting points or inversions of the common, faith-based epistemology.”

“The songwriting process was pretty varied. The bulk of the demo was written by James and I from just jamming together on our own and coming up with the riffs and general structure. That’s how we did it in the beginning but for Out of the Garden it was much more collaborative since we were working in an actual band environment.” said Steve about how they wrote the album. “Brooks, James or I would often show up to practice with some riffs or ideas and we all would work together to carve out a song. There were also times where one of us would write a song on our own, record it at home and then send it to everyone in the band to hear and work on.”

How: “The recording process started off a bit rocky since there was some complications with some of the click tracks as well as scheduling but after we got through that, it was pretty smooth sailing. The album was recorded in a few different places; the drums in an actual studio, the rhythm guitars at our practice space, bass along with guitar solos in a bedroom and vocals in yet another studio.” said Steve describing the recording of the album. “The guy who recorded the album’s name is Arthur Rizk and he did a really killer job. As far as how long it took, I think a month or so. We recorded on weekends, mostly”.

Listen to ‘Out of the Garden’ below

Written by trendcrusher

April 19, 2015 at 12:31 pm

Dionysus/Dormant Inferno Interview

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Transcending Obscurity is one of the few underground metal labels in India. In my interview with Kunal Choksi  in October 2013, he shared his plans for a sub label for India bands. After a quiet year (2014) next week will see the second release from the label, ‘Beyond forgotten shores’. The split release featuring 2 upcoming bands from the Indian subcontinent, Dionysus (Pakistan) and Dormant Inferno (India).

I’ve been listening to the review copy of ‘Beyond forgotten shores’ for the past couple of weeks and it sounds great. Both bands have recorded their best material yet. Read my interview with Sheraz from Dionysus and Sunny from Dormant Inferno below.

DionysusDormantInferno

Dionysus (Left) and Dormant Inferno (Right)

You have been working on the “Beyond forgotten shores” split for some time now. How does it feel now that it is a week away from release?

Sheraz (Dionysus): It feels amazing since this split has been long overdue. We’ve been working on it since 2013 and I am glad both the bands are finally done with it and I am really looking forward to the release.

Sunny (Dormant Inferno): Yes things have been good. We worked on these tracks through 2014. It feels fantastic to be back and making some music after the 4 year void!

How did the idea for the split come about?

Sheraz (Dionysus): Idea for the split came about when I first heard Dormant Inferno on the internet and got in touch with Sunny. We connected well through music and in other aspects of life and became really good friends and when I mentioned doing a split with Dormant Inferno, it was like he was already thinking about it. So the decision to do a split was totally spontaneous. Kunal Choksi from Transcending Obscurity helped us turn it into reality.

Sunny (Dormant Inferno): Well it was like a natural thing to happen as both bands share common ground on a lot of aspects. Apart from when we had formed, there wasn’t another band in India that played the kind of dark doom metal that we were into; that’s how we kind of developed a kinship with Dionysus. It was just a question of who would ask first and then Sheraz mentioned it, and it was on from there!

Tell us a bit about the songs on your side of the release. How long have you been working on them?

Sheraz (Dionysus): Dionysus songs on this release are a bit more evolved from our last output. They’re more black metal, more on the atmospheric side. More memorable song structures. Basically people who are into black/doom metal are going to find it very interesting. We’ve been working on these songs for over 2 years now. It took this long since Waleed Ahmed , our frontman moved to Karachi in 2012. So recording process takes a lot of time now.

Sunny (Dormant Inferno): Well there are 2 new originals and a cover. ‘Veil of Lunacy’ is the latest track that we have written and I started composing it around Feb 2014 after we returned from our gig in Bangalore jamming along with our then live members Vineet Nair and Paresh Garude. The track developed into a mammoth slowly and steadily over the months. While ‘Deliverance’ is track that Gautam and I used to jam on in around 2010, the early days of Dormant Inferno; it was supposed to go on the ‘In Sanity’ release but we did not feel that the track was complete and so the track was buried for a few years. But we brought it back to life for this split release! I guess letting things take their natural time has worked well.

Tell us about the recording process for the songs.

Sheraz (Dionysus): It’s really weird and different from the other bands. Waleed and I do most of the song writing. Umair and I record the guitars/drums in my home studio. Then we send the files to Waleed in Karachi, he records his own parts on them and edits some parts etc then he mixes them and sends them back to us. It’s really hard to record like this but since Waleed doesn’t live in Lahore anymore, that’s the only way we can record now. It’s fun though.

Sunny (Dormant Inferno): Initially our plan was that we will record the instruments here in Mumbai and Gautam will send us his recorded tracks from the US. But as things unfolded, Gautam was scheduled to visit India for a few days, so he ended up recording his vocals here as well. I ended up doing guitars as well as bass, and Lenin rose up to the challenge really well as he had just joined us a few weeks before recording. All recording, mixing, mastering has been done by Ashwin Shriyan at Mindmap productions.

beyond-forgotten-shores

The cover art for the split is done by your label owner Kunal Choksi and it looks awesome. Did you have any input in it?

Sheraz (Dionysus): It was Kunal’s idea and he captured the image of the music perfectly. We did gave him some suggestions but it was in fact totally his work and I am totally happy with it. It has that old school nocturnal feel to it that is found throughout our music.

Sunny (Dormant Inferno): Yes, it looks really mysterious and very different than most artworks. We pretty much gave him full freedom to try and capture the mood of the music into the art and must say he did a great job!

What are your plans for the rest of 2015?

Sheraz (Dionysus): Looking forward to the release. No plans as of yet. Let’s see.

Sunny (Dormant Inferno): Well, we are contributing a single towards another split called ‘Pentacle of Doom’ which is conspired by the Djinn & Miskatonic guys. It is scheduled to release somewhere middle of 2015. Rest is yet to be seen and we are content in promoting ‘Beyond Forgotten Shores’ for now.

Any final words?

Sheraz (Dionysus): Thanks for taking interest in our music. Cheers!

Sunny (Dormant Inferno): Thanks a lot to the Indian metalheads for the encouragement through the 4 year period of inactivity. These new tracks are for anyone and everyone who has helped us return!

Listen to “Beyond forgotten shores” below

Written by trendcrusher

April 11, 2015 at 10:00 am

Planet Radio City gets Metal

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PlanetRadioCity.com is the music portal of Radio City 91.1FM, India’s first and leading FM radio brand. A few years ago, they started Radio City Freedom, a web radio station playing independent music from across the country. At the end of last moth, Radio City launched a dedicated metal web radio station featuring over 100 artists from across the country. I spoke to Nitin Rajan, Product Head – Digital Media & New Business at Radio City about their latest web radio station.

RCradiometal.jpeg

“We had launched Radio City Freedom in 2012 which plays independent music from the Indian diaspora across genres. The station has been doing exceedingly well and the logical progression was to branch out into two main sub-genres which demanded stations of its own, Electronic Music & Metal.” said Nitin about how they decided to have a dedicated web radio station for metal. “Metal with its various sub-genres at this stage has the critical mass to merit its own radio station. A few years ago, without the quantum of music needed to run a radio station would have led to fatigue. So yeah 2015 sounded perfect for Radio City Metal.”

“We have been running a weekly show called Domination@8 on Radio City Freedom and thus were in touch with bands and were collecting music for over a year now. So a dedicated team which sources the music, programs it using the most appropriate music programming techniques and of course customizing it has been a challenge.” said Nitin describing the work that went in to launching the web radio station. “The back end infrastructure was in place as we have been streaming more than 15 web radio stations as a network. So yeah, a lot of planning and hard work has gone behind the scenes to get a quality station out.”

The web radio station currently features 250 songs by bands from across the country, veteran bands like of Kryptos, Demonic Resurrection and even upcoming bands like Mortar and Against Evil. It is quite simple for bands to get featured on the station. “We proactively reach out and source music from upcoming and established talent in the country and add them to our playlist.The bands can send us their music on freedomradioindia@gmail.com and our programming team will select the songs based on certain minimum essential requirements mainly – production.” said Nitin about the process.

“Stage One is to stabilize the station with a good library of music from around the country. To reach out to all quality bands spread across the country with the intention of showcasing all the diverse sub-genres being produced.” said Nitin about their future plans. “Later we will call bands and musicians to our studios and have a chat with them, interview them, premiere songs, have online listening parties where bands can launch albums and much more but in due course of time.”

Tune in here to get your daily dose of metal – http://www.planetradiocity.com/internetradio/radiocity-metal.php

Written by trendcrusher

April 9, 2015 at 1:04 pm

Amogh Symphony Interview

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2014 was a good year for the independent music scene in India. One of my favorite release from an Indian band was “Vectorscan” by Amogh Symphony. The release saw the band moving away from technical metal and into “Avant garde” territory. I spoke to the band about the album, how Andrey became part of the and also what the future hold for the band

Amogh Symphony

How does it feel now that ‘Vectorscan’ has been released?

Jim – Like a load was lifted off my back. Now, i can practice my doublebass for fun, not to achieve BPM for a track. It is no fun to have tempos that i cannot play at the time to record. It makes practicing like work, which is detrimental to the creative process.

Andrey – A huge relief. Like it or not, the music finally shaped itself. Creating the album was no easy task for all of us.

The storyboard for the album is quite extensive. How long have you been working on the story for?

Andrey – The story has just begun.

Vishal – The story was written in 2 months but later I had to do a lot more research on it. Especially with tantric mantra style rhymes as song titles/chapter titles. This time, I had to treat it like a proper storyboard with images and visuals. Overall, 3 years of work.

With Jim in USA, Andrey in Russia and you in India. What was the songwriting process like?

Jim – Slow for final arrangements. Vishal is the kind of guy who can create a 5 minute song based on a 7 second drum loop i send him. With all parts in an hour or two. It’s hard to get Vishal to stop changing things. Vishal sent me new song demos, i did listen to them more than once and they went to my trash folder. I learned from TQHC when i would spend two weeks on 4 measures, and i was finally ready to record the next day, that night Vishal would send a new version with that section deleted.
This album did not have re-composing and fitting the drums to the music like TQHC, by chopping them up, changing, adding bass drum parts, starting the groove on th & of 3 etc…
All the songs were set in stone before i hit record. Vishal did change things and recompose, but that was done on top of the drum tracks.

Andrey – Lots of communication, countless phone calls, emails, messages, thousands of shared ideas to be refined later. And thousands of hours, obviously. No random noise. Focused work.

Vishal – lol. I know you guys hate me so much for doing that. You heard them, Peter.

How did Andrey become part of the band?

Jim – Andrey was wandering around the My Little Pony section of Toys R Us crying. We followed him around. Then he found a plastic xylophone and played an incredible etude. Vishal and i looked at each other and immediately bought the giant My Little Pony Stable Playset and a couple of ponies for Andrey. We never saw such an excited guy. He then ran and grabbed a Barbie guitar and played Eruption note for note. We knew that we had found the third member.

Andrey – Started as a new member of RPL, wrote some unusual extra parts, which Vishal liked.

Vishal – I discovered Andrey through Mark during Robots Pulling Levers guest sessions. Andrey amazed all of us with his playing and ideas and I knew that I found the third puzzle of Amogh Symphony lol and Jim made up the story because he is a genius.

Amogh Symphony - Vectorscan cover

How long did the recording process for the album take?

Jim – About a year.

Vishal – About a year? Aye, more than a year.

Andrey – More than a year. Too many ideas we’ve gone through. We could write an entire discography based on leftovers.

How difficult was the recording process for the album? I believe an entire recording of the album was scrapped.

Jim – That is correct. But the amount of songs were more than one album. It was like two albums. And each one had a different style. We knew something was wrong when Vishal had some Irish-like folk song violin parts.

Actually there is a bass line that survived the cut and made it to the album. Except it is not shifting time signatures like a broken record.

Andrey – ‘Finding the right sound’ for a certain idea was the hardest part for everyone. More thinking, more playing, more unique, unusual sounds.

Vishal – I took help from few recording engineers. I wasn’t happy with same old “hi-end” and “crystal clear digitally” styles of production. Same synth, same presets….never. Hence, it was a non stop search for the right sound which means even the scratch recordings were tweaked to get the basic skeleton structure.

What is next for the band? I believe you have been working on instructional videos and a DVD.

Jim – This is top secret info. Since we pissed of many fans of the metal Amogh sound, the next album is designed to piss off everyone else. As far as video, i want to do some lessons on YouTube.

Vishal – You know, that’s been going on since quite a long time but I want to make sure that I do not end up making a regular DVD video where I sit and show off same sets of guitar and production/music composition lessons. All I want is to share something that others do not and/or never shared. For example, how to make top notch music with minimal gear and cheap equipments when you are broke and cannot afford to buy those expensive gear on Youtube demo videos.

Any Final words?

Jim – Don’t blow dry your hair while taking a bath.

Andrey – Thanks for listening our music and thanks for support.

Vishal – You never know where the direction goes. No matter what, a lot of fans supported and accepted our directions that we chose. I really want to thank them all for being with us and believing in us.

Listen to ‘Vectorscan’ below

Written by trendcrusher

April 2, 2015 at 10:00 am

Shepherd interview

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Shepherd are one of the bands I have been listening to this month. Winner of the ‘Best Emerging Act’ award at the Rolling Stone Metal Awards last year, they released their debut album ‘Stereolithic Riffalocalypse’ 2 weeks ago. I spoke to the Namit and Deepak from the band about the album, being a sludge band in India and a lot more.

Namit, Abhishek and Deepak (Left to Right)

Namit, Abhishek and Deepak (Left to Right)

“Feels great that all our work is finally set in stone so to speak! Relieved as well, because at one point it seemed that there was always something ‘round the corner that would get in the way of us releasing the album.”said Namit, guitarist and vocalist for Shepherd about the album finally being released. “Yeah it’s been a blast so far. Time to write some new shit.” said Deepak, drummer and vocalist for the band. The sludge/doom metal band is rounded up by bassist Abhishek who is also a member of Death/Thrash metal band Inner Sanctum.

The band started in 2011 and they put put 2 demos, one in November that year and the second in April 2011. “We’ve known each other since college, but it was only when Deepak moved to Bangalore that things really started to fall in place.” said Namit about how they got together.

“We started out as a band that loved to jam it up and bring in the improv element to the mix. But gradually as we started playing more shows, we also started writing more songs. It came to a point where we had enough songs to head to the studio and record – which in itself took as long as it did to write the album, due to lineup changes and whatnot.” said Namit about writing the album. “We took it pretty much one song at a time. We used to jam a lot onstage to compensate for not having enough songs. And as we wrote more songs our sets became more song oriented. It’s just been about trying to be concise and to the point.” said Deepak.

Stereolithic Riffalocalypse

Stereolithic Riffalocalypse’ was recorded at Area 51 studios in Bangalore. “Recording was good fun. A little tedious at times with the retakes. Halfway through we had to write lyrics, and sing on the songs we had written – which was a first for most of us.” said Namit about the recording process. “ Heading to the studio, and singing / listening to the vocal lines before they had been tested on a live stage was insane.

The album was masted by Brad Boatright of Audiosiege “He’s a master at what he does. Our mixing engineer Rahul Ranaganth (ex-The Bicycle Days) is also responsible for the massive sound you hear on the album.” said Deepak about working with Brad.

Stereolithic Riffalocalypse’ is probably the first ‘Sludge’ release in India. Shepherd started out as improvised band with hints of doom metal on your initial demos. “As a jam band we’re definitely more chilled out and along the lines of Earthless, Yawning Man, Truckfighters – simple groovy stuff on which you can build the jam. But we have always wanted to write songs that would fucking destroy places. Low, plodding and intense – influenced by our love for all things loud and heavy.” said Namit about their shift towards a sludge sound.

“It started with Sabbath for me. Then through Pantera I discovered Exhorder then Crowbar, Corrosion, Eyehate etc.” said Deepak about how he got into sludge and the band that have influenced them.“It’s just like how when you find something you like, it makes you want to dig deeper and find more of it.”

“Putting out ‘Stereolithic Riffalocalypse’ on vinyl. New EP release for late 2015/early 2016.” said Deepak about their plans for rest of the year. “Starting writing/recording this summer for that. Besides that, play some gigs anywhere we can. That’s about it.”

Listen to ‘Stereolithic Riffalocalypse’ below

 

Here is a video of Shepherd performing ‘Blog Slime’ live

Written by trendcrusher

March 23, 2015 at 1:00 pm

Voice of the Soul Interview

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I have a soft spot for the metal scene in the Middle East after spending most of my teenage years in UAE. One of the bands that has been on my radar is Voice of the Soul Named after a song from the Death album ‘The Sound of Perseverance’; the band was formed in Kuwait in 2007 and released 2 EPs ‘Into Oblivion’ and ‘Eyes of Deceit’.

Voice of the soul.jpeg

“I was 16 years old at the time and I had a couple of friends who were really into writing music and so on. One stuck around, and we eventually completed our lineup after we found a few people on a Facebook group I made. It was called something along the lines of “Guitarists, Bassists, Drummers, Vocalists in Kuwait” or something like that.” said said Kareem, vocalist and guitarist about the origins of the band. “Kuwait’s music scene is tiny, so it got some bite! At this point, it’s just me and Monish who have stuck around since our Kuwait days.”

In 2011, they relocated to Dubai, UAE and released their 3rd EP, ‘Winds of Apprehension’. This year is turning out to be good year so far for Voice of the Soul. Their debut album ‘Catacombs’ will be distributed across Europe via Hells Hammer and India via Transcending Obscurity next week. “It’s pretty overwhelming- in the best way possible- to say the least! We’re excited to finally have some legit presence in Europe, and it’s so important for a metal band to take India’s amazing scene into consideration.” said Kareem about their album getting distributed.

Catacombs.jpeg

“Catacombs is interesting. The album isn’t anything like any of our previous releases, which is good I think.” said Kareem describing their debut album. “The album doesn’t follow a strict theme, but in the overall scheme of things, it just has to do with people, society, and forms of conformity and exploitation.”

With members spread across the Middle East (Dubai and Beirut), the songwriting process would not have been easy. ”Every release had a different process. For Catacombs, I communicated with my bandmates using Skype and Guitar Pro. We also recorded rough demos and so on. It took about 5 months I’d say.”said Kareem about writing the album. Before then, I took a long break from writing, and suddenly went on a writing spree. Once you start, you can’t stop!” said Kareem about how they wrote the album after being present in different countries. “If you’re talking stricly process, I tab out the songs, make all the necessarry edits, then record rough demos before hitting the studio. Many musicians I know are skipping the tabbing process, and I can see why they think it’s more or less redundant – but I like having tabs available while we prep for shows and what not.”

Catacombs was recorded at Haven studio in Dubai with producer Hadi Sarieddine. “It was intense but fun. We recorded the whole thing in a little over a week.” said Kareem about the recording experience. “Hadi was fun to work with because he didn’t just que us to record, stop, and repeat. He got involved in the song-writing process from the start and was very hands-on.”

“The previous EPs were recorded soon after each other, between 2009 and 2011. I was still a young and inexperienced musician back then. I was 19 when Into Oblivion came out in 2011.” said Kareem comparing Catacombs to their previous releases. “Since then, apart from simply practicing my instrument more and just experiencing more in life, I took a huge break from writing and started learning jazz on the guitar. I took a few Skype guitar lessons with Emil Werstler (Daath, ex-Chimaira), and they were truly eye-opening. I also wrote the bulk of Catacombs’ songs on the acoustic guitar. It was just a whole new approach to writing, and my influences changed of course. I still love Gothenberg melodic death metal, but things change after release 10+ songs that are primarily inspired by those bands.”

“We’re gearing up for our Europe and India releases, and we’re going to do what we can to play as many shows as possible.” said Kareem about their plans for the rest of the year. “I personally want to work more on our YouTube presence. We put out a playthrough video and people seemed to dig that, so it was a bit of a wakeup call. Here’s hoping for the best!”

Listen to ‘Catacombs‘ below

Written by trendcrusher

March 19, 2015 at 10:00 am

Hacktivist

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UK rap metallers Hacktivist performed for the first time in India at the BIG69 festival. They were headliners of the Red Bull Tour Bus on 18th January.

Me with 4/5th of the band
Me with 4/5th of the band

 

“It feels amazing,” said vocalist Ben Marvin about their first gig in India at the BIG69. “It’s crazy we have a fan base already in India! None of us have been there before so we’re really looking forward to embracing the culture. Even if we are only there for a few days!”

Read my interview with Ben Marvin from Hacktivist on Pepsi MTV Indies

Written by trendcrusher

March 15, 2015 at 11:00 am

Posted in Interviews

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