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Posts Tagged ‘Doom metal

Raul (Memento Mori) Interview

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Memento Mori is a Spain based label/mailorder that focuses on old school Death Metal, Doom Metal and anything in between. In the past year, there have been some great releases from bands like Morbidity, Horrified, Austerymn, Disrupted and more. I spoke to label owner Raul Sampedro about how he got into metal, the metal scene in Spain and upcoming releases from his label.

 

Memento Mori

 

How did you get into metal? What was the first metal concert you attended?

I was like 10 years old, back in 1982, and my father used to play this compilation tape (one of those “best of ” compilation tapes) on the car’s stereo. The tape featured many songs, but there were 4 of them that got stuck in my head for whatever reason: Kiss’ “Love It Loud”, AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell”, The Ramones’ “Do You Remember Rock’n’ Roll Radio?” and Status Quo’s “Whatever You Want”. That was the kickstart of my journey into Hard-Rock, Heavy Metal and Punk-Rock. Months later I started hanging about with a guy that was some 5 years older than me and it was him who’d burn lots of tapes for me, from bands such as Judas Priest, Rainbow, G.B.H., Metallica, Saxon, Manowar, Sex Pistols, Accept, Helix, Alcatrazz, Dead Kennedys, Black Sabbath, Tokyo Blade, Venom, Motörhead… The rest is history.
The first international Metal concert that I ever attended was Metallica + Metal Church, back in January 1987. Prior to that one, I had only attended shows featuring Spanish bands on the bill, such as Baron Rojo, Ñu, Sobredosis, Panzer…

Tell us how you started your label.

I had previously worked for other labels/distros in the past and I even ran a tiny label/mailorder called Acoustic Trauma Releases back in 2004-2005. But I had to fold that label/mailorder by late 2005 due to financial issues, right before moving to Finland (I lived there for almost 1 ½ years), and I guess I always wanted to restart the project whenever the odds would allow to. That happened back in 2010. Memento Mori started as a simple distro/mailorder, but soon after I felt an urge to turn it onto a label/mailorder, and put out my own releases and trade them with fellow underground labels out there. The first two Memento Mori releases (Ataraxy “Curse of the Requiem Mass” MCD and Centinex “Subconscious Lobotomy” reissue CD) saw the light of day in October 2010, and we’ve put out a total of 41 releases up to this day.

What has been your most memorable release so far and why?

Each and every Memento Mori release is like a son to me. Would a loving and unbiased father be able to point out one of his children as his favourite? All our releases are equally especial to me regardless any other consideration.

What qualities do you look for when signing a band?

I want to work with down-to-earth, humble people without any kind of rockstar attitude and an ego to feed. Other than that they also have to play the kind of stuff that I like to support through the label (Death Metal, Doom Metal, Thrash Metal and anything in between those genres) and meet a certain criteria regarding the, so to speak, “maturity” of their music. What I mean by this is, we don’t put out demos, so the band’s got to be seasoned enough as to be ready to go full-length.

Have you been part of a band? What instrument do you play?

I used to growl in a Death Metal band called Sacrophobia circa 1990-1992. Got to play live five times with them and recorded a demo titled “Only Death Is Irreversible” (Drowned Productions, 1991). Soon after leaving the band in 1992, I joined Postmortem. Thrash Metal in the Bay Area tradition was the game with them, but they wanted to give their music a more brutal edge and offered me a slot as the new vocalist. If memory serves, I only spent a couple of months with them, just practising at the rehearsal room, so no recording was made and I never got to play live with them. No more bands for me ever since.

Spain is not a country known for its metal scene. What are the Spanish bands you recommend we check out?

Well, those into classic 80’s Heavy Metal should check out the early works of Barón Rojo and Ángeles Del Infierno. Those two bands, along with Obús and Panzer, were probably the most notorious bands over here some 30 years ago. Regarding old Death Metal bands (1988-1995), I’d recommend to check out Feretrum, Suffocation / Intoxication, Obscure, Human Waste, Unbounded Terror, and also Aggressor (Thrash/Death Metal) and In Torment (Funeral Doom/Death Metal). And talking current bands, I’d recommend to check out Ataraxy, Bokluk, Graveyard, Oniricous, Banished From Inferno, Decapitated Christ, Necroven, Onirophagus, Karonte and Deprive. All of them play Death Metal. I’m sure there’s some remarkable bands into other genres, but I’m not really familiar with their music, so you guys got some homework to do.

Looking back at the past 5 years, would you change anything about your record label?

Not really. I’m quite happy with our output, the bands and people I work with, and the fans’ response. Sales and exposure could be much better, of course, but we’d need a much larger budget for promotion (not likely to happen anytime soon), or start putting out other forms of extreme -or pseudo-extreme- music that are “en vogue” these days (which is even less likely to ever happen as I’ll always stick to my own personal taste), or start doing vinyl (not really into a format that’s essentially a luxury item due to manufacturing prices and postage rates). We’ll keep struggling to survive in this trendy scene against all odds and I’ll die with my boots on if necessary.

What are your thoughts on physical format VS digital format of music? Which do you prefer and why?

I’ve never ever downloaded a single song (let alone an album), with the exception of demos and promos sent by bands for me to consider a possible signing, so make a wild guess what I think about digital music. A music album, or a book for that matter, is something that I need to touch. Simple as that. That’s why we don’t even offer downloads of our releases. I shiver in disgust at the mere thought of charging a single cent for a sheer computer file. To each his own, though. I’m just entitled to my own opinion and principles.

2014 was a great year for you with releases from bands like Morbidity, Horrified and others. What are your plans for the rest of 2015? Releases that we should look out for?

So far this year, we put out the debut full-length CD’s from Deprive, Austerymn and Disrupted, the sophomore full-length CD from Insepulto, the Transgressor reissue CD and the Misery early discography compilation CD. Coming out in a couple of weeks from today, there’s the Coffincraft debut full-length CD and a repress of the Burial reissue CD that we put out back in 2012. And then later in the year, we’ll put out the Praise The Flame, Dementia 13 and Abyssus debut full-length CD’s, and an Aldebaran compilation CD. And 2016 will also be a busy year at Memento Mori HQ’s. In fact the whole year schedule is close to be fully booked by now. I recommend all the readers to stay tuned via the website (www.memento-mori.es), the Facebook page (www.facebook.com/memento.mori.label) or even send e-mail to raulsv1972@hotmail.com and request to be added to our mailing list. Thanks for the intie. In Death, In Doom…

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July 23, 2015 at 8:30 pm

Dying Embrace Interview

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Last July/August, Cyclopen Eye productions released “Through corridors of dead centuries“, a split between two veteran bands from the Indian subcontinent, Dusk (Pakistan) and Dying Embrace (India). I described the release as “death/doom metal recommended for those who preferred metal that sounds raw”. It was Dying Embrace first release since they got back together in 2011.

This interview was originally planned to go along with the one with Dusk however it got delayed due to various reasons. I spoke to Vikram Bhat via email about their side of the split and their future plans.

 

Dying Embrace

Vikram Bhat (Vocals), Jimmy Palkhivala (Guitars), Deepak Raghu (Drums) and Pritham Denzil D’Souza (Bass) (Left to Right)

 

Where did the idea to do the split come about? Did Sandesh from Cyclopean Eye productions have anything to do with it?

Vikram: Hello Peter , actually this split was possible only because of Sandesh of Cyclopean Eye Productions. He always spoke about this idea right from the early years, even when the band was inactive and on a hiatus at the same time even Dusk were in suspended animation and he said, if these 2 bands ever return then a split has to happen, those knowing Sandesh, he always has had it his way.

How does it feel to have your first release out in over a decade?

Vikram: It’s a very surreal feeling, a bit of deja-vu a bit of disbelief all rolled into one. We never thought the band would return back, the love and support we have got since we returned has been fantastic. It’s a great feeling to see so many fans who still remember the band even though we were gone for a good 10 years.

Tell us a bit about the songs your side of the split. What are they about?

Vikram: We have 4 original compositions and a cover on our side of the split. 3 songs and one instrumental, the songs have a very different approach and yet still retain the trademark Dying Embrace sound. A melting witches cauldron of Death and Doom Metal with several influences which the band members brought in. The songs just like our older material deal with the occult, mythology and religion.The fans will get what they have loved and liked from us over the years.

How different was the recording process this time around?

Vikram: Very different actually, recording music has seen a sea change over the past years and for us it was an all new learning experience, luckily we had Srikanth Panaman of The Doom Cave Studio producing us and he guided and showed us the newer technology we had at our disposal now. It was a great experience indeed and the band enjoyed putting the new songs together for the split CD.

What are you plans for the rest of 2014? Any plans to release a full length album soon?

Vikram: Since 2014 has passed and we are into 2015,we have a few shows lined up for the rest of the year, a 7” split vinyl EP may happen by the end of the year, we have never got down to writing a full length album ever, I don’t think that will ever happen.

Any Final words?

Vikram: 666 apologies for the delayed replies to the interview,the past year hasn’t been easy on me personally and a lot of things got pushed to the back but I still owed you this one and here it is! Thanks for the support and patience and salutes & respect to all the fans and friends who have supported us, you rule and you know who you are!

Listen to ‘Ascendance of Namtar‘ from “Through corridors of dead centuries” below

 

Written by trendcrusher

July 21, 2015 at 10:00 am

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

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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

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

The Dead interview

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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.

The Dead

“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.
Deathsteps to Oblivion cover
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

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January 4, 2015 at 12:56 am

Now Playing – August 2014

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It has been a while since I posted here thanks to my day job,  and I’m resuming with a new feature that I’d like to kick off. I first saw it on Milliblog where is it called “Top recent listens” and today, I decide to finally get it done. Since I listen to a lot of music (Indian and International bands), I thought of featuring a few bands on the blog that I really enjoying without interviewing them. This is going to be a monthly feature (if work permits) from now onwards.

Here is what I have been listening to this month.

Metal

Dying Embrace/Dusk – “Through corridors of dead centuries”

Two of the oldest extreme metal bands from South Asia have come together on this long awaited  release by Cyclopean Eye Productions. The Dying Embrace (India) side features new material from them in over a decade. Being a fan of the “Doom” avatar of Dusk (Pakistan), I really enjoyed their side of the split. This is death/doom metal recommended for those who preferred metal that sounds “raw”. Read my interview with Dusk here.

 

 

Demonic Resurrection – The Demon King

Demonic Resurrection from Bombay are one of India’s most popular metal band. I did a story on them recently for the BC/MC zine. Their latest album “The Demon King” which released last month is a story about Good and Evil and how Evil triumphs. Each song on the album tells the story from a different character’s perspective. I feel this is their best album as yet, in terms of songwriting and production.  After their appearance at Wacken Open Air earlier this month and their UK tour last month, they ought to be playing gigs across India in support of the album.

 

The Down Troddence – “How Are You? We Are Fine, Thank You”

The Down Troddence from Bangalore took the Rolling Stone Metal Awards by storm in June by winning 8 awards and also putting up a great performance. This album released in January and I only heard it much later in March, since then it’s been on heavy rotation. The album has a good mix of Indian melody and aggression. Definitely a band to keep an eye out for in the future.

 

Animals As Leaders – Joy of Motion

The latest album from Animals As Leaders is one of my favourite albums of the year. I have been listening to the album constantly ever since it released.  “Another Year” is a stand out song. Tosin Abasi, Javier Reyes and Matt Garstka have released a masterpiece that will be very hard for anyone to top this year.

 

Non – metal

Until we last – Earthgazing

In the past couple of years, there has been a surge in the number of post-rock bands in India. One of the best bands among them are Until We Last from Bangalore . Earlier this month they put out their first release “Earthgazing” and it sounds great. A short release of just 4 songs,  I was left wanting for more; looking forward to a full length released from them soon.

 

The Supersonics – Heads up

The Supersonics from Kolkata are one of my favourite Indian rock bands. I have been waiting for the release of their new album since they got back together in mid-2012 after a short break up. After the first couple of listens, I was not disappointed at all. My favourite track is “Strawberry“, can’t help singing along to their chorus. The album is 10 tracks of straight up rock and roll. Easily one of the Top 10 releases by an Indian band this year.

 

Dying Embrace/Dusk – “Through corridors of dead centuries” is available from Cyclopean Eye Productions

Demonic Resurrection – The Demon King is available in stores across India. 

The Down Troddence – “How Are You? We Are Fine, Thank You” and The Supersonics – Heads Up are available from OkListen.com

Dusk Interview

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Dusk are the oldest metal band in Pakistan and founder Babar Sheikh has seen the band through changes in line ups and also musical directions. Last week, Cyclopean Eye productions released ‘Through Corridors of Dead Centuries‘, a split album featuring Dusk and Indian death doomsters Dying Embrace. I spoke to Babar Sheikh about their latest release and their future plans.

Dusk

Where did the idea to do the split come about? Did Sandesh from Cyclopean Eye productions have anything to do with it?

Dusk has always been open to the idea of collaborating with other acts and performers from the genre. Its been a great pleasure for us to be associated with some very celebrated names of the underground scene through our career. I guess it comes more naturally as an idea to people who have been associated with the true underground scene for the past two decades or so because back in the day splitting a record was the thing to do even being on compilation tapes was the cult thing to do! Dying Embrace for us have been brothers and partners in crime as far as the Sub Continental metal scene is concerned. Both Dusk and Dying Embrace have existed since the mid or early 1990’s (actually Dying Embrace are seniors) and this really was a dream come true for me. Both bands had somehow gone toward a more dormant mode since the past few years, Dusk decided to hit it back with our trademark Death / Doom sound and Dying Embrace were gearing up on releasing some of their previously unreleased stuff and at the same time incubating the idea of recording fresh material and this was the time when the hammer struck. The carrier of the hammer was none other than Sandesh Shenoy, long time friend, metal brother, fellow warrior in the underground arts, and now label owner for Asian Metal Underground Label – Cyclopean Eye Productions. I would give a lot of credit to Sandesh for helping Dusk realise the journey back to the trademark Death / Doom sound and full credit for making the split record killer idea a reality. It was really him (since the past two years Sandesh has also been managing Dusk and Dying Embrace) who pumped both the bands to a point where inspiration was sighted and finally it got Real!

Tell us a bit about the songs your side of the split. What are they about?

The songs on the split, as I mentioned before are a comeback for Dusk to our older sound, the sound which the underground associated with us so it was lots of memories coming back to the writing phases and right from the preliminary stages of the song writing I knew what I was wanting to achieve and how the songs would sound like at the end. The themes around which the lyrical content is based are also heavy like the sound itself. The opening track Shadow Poet speaks about the silent observer who lurks in the shadows of everyday life and paints a portrait of perceptions based upon his gatherings of life and reality. This is the solitary traveller who appeared earlier in Dusk lyrics sometimes as The Tragedian and sometimes as the habitat of the Fortress Of Solitude. Forged in the Fires of Duality is a heavier theme which taunts at society and splits in the face of those who live by their double standards, the content goes further to comment upon the addictition of power and the love for material possessions, something that has driven humankind away from their natural habitat – The Soul! For the end of the record we wanted to create a drone like tune or melody that would repeat itself, actually the time spent between recording the last track on the record ‘For Majestic Nights’ and the rest of the material is almost an entire year, and the more I listened to the other tracks the more I felt the need to have a definitive album closer which finally took form. Lyrically there is just a few lines which praises ‘The Night’ for being the time with higher spiritual expanse and power! However sound wise I believe we really found something special with this tune, many people who know the previous Dusk records will know that we never sounded this way but I believe this is one of the new sides to Dusk that we will further explore in the future.

The songs on the split release move into the direction of Doom metal compared to Thrash metal on your previous release. Any reason behind the shift in direction?

After we released our EP titled Dead Heart Dawning in 2006 (and a release on the three way split titled Rise of the Eastern Blood) Dusk was unknowingly moving into unexplored waters. This was also a very special time for me as an artist and musician since I joined Asian giant metal band Impiety and partially recorded with them for their Formidonis record. During this time I met fellow Impiety band mate and drummer Halim (Tremor) who agreed to join Dusk and together we wanted to jam some tunes that had more leaning towards the eighties thrash and death movement. Primarily this was a homage to more primitive sounding death thrash that made its mark from South America in the 1980s. Our toying around with these sounds got more and more serious and before we knew it we recorded 5 – 6 songs that we released with fellow Asian Crust / Punk / Thrash legends Distrust on a split record titled Eastern Assault. This was released by Pakistan’s only extreme metal label GMH Records. After the release of Eastern Assault things simmered down for Dusk and I got a sense of perspective, I realised this was good for a one off release (and believe me we gained some great fands by short lived 4 year Death/Thrash era) but Dusk will always be associated with tunes that made a mark from our earlier records. Sound wise a lot also changed a lot in the studio this time around when we recorded for the split. In the past it was more like a pattern but this time it felt more like a full blown production. During the death/thrash era I denounced lot of fancy gadgetry and gear and moved more toward the primitive approach for recording and of course that sensibility came along with me when I recorded the songs for the split. I feel the sound has much more body to it. Our engineer and my co producer Mr KK Wong (Ah Boy) a legend from Singapore’s underground movement really hit it home as far as the production and sound for the new Dusk is concerned. Tremor had never played drums for a doom record before (since when he joined Dusk we were already playing faster) so that was a great experience and I am happy that everything falls well into place at the end. The only part where one can catch a glimpse of the death/thrash era of Dusk on this split is our cover for the legendary Motorhead tune Bomber. This is where we blast everything into oblivion!

What are you plans for the rest of 2014?

Cyclopean Eye Productions just released the Dusk / Dying Embrace split titled ‘Through Corridors of Dead Centuries’ at Doom Over Bangalore II last weekend. I am sure the next few months we will hear much more of what comes as feedback. Looking forward to that! Unfortunately Dusk has not been the luckiest when it comes to live performances, as we were set to take the stage at the Ventbox fest in Singapore but due to personal and logistic reasons we had to cancel our appearance a month before the festival took place. But we are geared up on making some surprise appearances in festivals before the end of the year hopefully. Already starting to write new material for Dusk with long time collaborator and band mate Tremor however at this point I have no idea whether this will be another split or an Ep or a full length!

Any Final words?

Don’t follow trends – stay true to your art since this is what will help you survive and help you make your mark in the underground! Rock n Roll Thunder!

Listen to a track from Dusk’s side of the split below

Written by trendcrusher

July 20, 2014 at 2:16 pm

Posted in Interviews

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Feathers of Jatinga

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Yesterday while checking soundcloud I found out that Feathers of Jatinga released a 4 track instrumental EP here. Going through my emails today I found an interview I did with Vishal J Singh and Vedant 3 years ago for Indianrockmp3.

Feathers of Jatinga is a new project of Vishal Singh (Amogh Symphony) that features Vedant (Shades of Retribution) on vocals. They have released 2 singles, “Frozen Lies” and “Master who Bleeds” and are currently working on their debut album. I had a chat with Vishal and Vedant about their new project, what to expect from the album and if we would see them live soon.

Feathers of Jatinga

Hi Vishal and Vedant, Hows it going?

Vedant: We guys are doin’ great! We are really happy with the way things are shaping up….

You know each other for some time now since you are childhood friends, when did you decide to start “Feathers of Jatinga”?

Vedant: Exactly! We are from the same town, Duliajan (Assam). We are great family friends.
So it all started very young for us, I would say from the very basics. We wrote songs together, rehearsed together, played in our first band together,(Infinite Ashes),shared the same apartment together in Pune…..So…Yeah!
Vishal: Actually, Vedant and my brother Vikram are childhood friends and that’s how I met him. We are more like blood brothers. The understanding between us is very naturally mutual and we trust on each other’s decisions in songwriting. I think back in 2000, it was Iron Maiden that influenced both of us. We used to play almost a whole setlist of Iron Maiden covers during weekend rehearsals.

We decided to start Feathers of Jatinga last year when Vishal came home for a few days and we were having beer on my terrace. It was In July and the next thing we knew…we were writing and composing left and right….hahaha.

Vishal: Yes. We were actually talking about all those earlier songs that we wrote together between 2001 – 2003 for our first band “Infinite Ashes” but we never got the chance to include them in the setlist. It was because of differences in thoughts and ideas between us and the rest of the band mates. In September 2003, I remember it was Vedant’s birthday. There were many friends and another band in the party. I was so badly drunk with the rest of the band mates and I had a fist-fight with Uday (Bassist of Infinite Ashes). The situation turned worse. Vedant and I also had a big fight and argument. That evening, I said goodbye to the band and moved back to home (Duliajan, Assam) for a month. We all were young and a little wild. I was the youngest member in the band (I was 18 years old) and a complete hot-headed teenager. I regretted about it much later when I started missing my band members especially Vedant with whom I was so close like a brother. Then I heard Vedant also decided to quit Infinite Ashes and joined death metal band IIIrd Sovereign in New Delhi as their new front man. I knew that IIIrd Sovereign got the best death metal front man for their line-up. Few years after that incident, we met at my Late Father’s last ritual in our hometown. We share a common story of life (Vedant, who was also very attached to his Father, lost him when he was very young). I think since then we started talking to each other once again and finally in July 2010, we recalled everything during that beer session on his terrace. Feathers of Jatinga was actually a song that we made in 2002. We both agreed to keep this name for this project because it’s related to our personal experiences in life.

Tell us a bit about then Album, what are the songs like? Similar to “Frozen Lies” and “Master Who Bleeds”?

Vedant: The sound gives you a cold and dark ambience of the North-Eastern winter in Upper Assam which will be heard on most of the songs. The songs I would say will be mostly about the sing along choruses, clean atmospheric vocals and very importantly, melody playing a key factor.

Vishal : All I can tell that if you are sick of hearing extreme technical death metal, progressive metal and djent and looking for atmospheric metal with simple structures for a change, I am sure you will love this album. Instrumentally, the songs are all about straight-in-your-face arrangement and Doom influenced riffs. I would honestly say that Amogh Symphony fans would not enjoy this album so much if they are expecting anything like Abolishing the Obsolete system or The Quantum Hack Code. This album is for the listeners who are philosophers and thinkers in their daily life. It’s dark but yet very positive. Positive thoughts of our mind that makes us a human on occasions. It’s all about realization in life. Everyone has a story just like mine and Vedant’s. And this album is a fuel for those positive thoughts about life.

What are the songs about?

Vedant: The songs are based on human instincts, paranormal behavior, parallel existence, mixed emotions and feelings and personal experiences as well. For example, “The Master who bleeds” talks about a Pupil’s sacrifice of all his master’s preachings, principles, moral ethics and values and above all, his oath to follow the light of truth. All these turns to dust when the pupil stains his hands with sins to eradicate evil from the society which the Master cannot bear and banishes him from his life and wisdom.

Since you live in cities in two different ends of India, how are the songs written?

Vedant: Vishal comes up with the melody and the pattern of the songs, mails it to me with the arrangement sheet, I write the lyrics and the vocal melodies, record my vocals in Guwahati at Lucid Recess Studios (thanks to Siddarth Barooa from Lucid Recess), mail it to Vishal who finally does all the overall layering, mixing and mastering.

Vedant, why the shift from IIIrd Sovereign and Shades of Retribution to something mellow like Feathers of Jatinga?

Vedant: Not a shift really… I always had these ideas and concept written down for such projects and Feathers of Jatinga is the perfect ground for executing these ideas and concepts.

Vedant on clean vocals is a bit of a surprise to those who know you from IIIrd Sovereign and Shades of Retribution.
Do you have any formal training? Do you have any practice rituals or exercises that you do for your vocals?

Vedant: Naaaaahhhh……it was just the tapes for me! The loo is the place for me that provides me the practice pad…hahahaha.
Vishal: You guys should listen to Vedant when he sings Bhojpuri songs. His Bhojpuri vocal version of Iron Maiden’s “The trooper” is just insane.

Vishal, you always manage to get a clean and polished sound on all your projects. Where do you record and what equipment do you use?

Vishal: I used to record at my buddy Prashant’s home studio setup. His equipment is very awesome. I don’t rely on too many Equipments and plugins for production because it’s a very bad habit for a composer/arranger. Mixing is all about how you and your own ears want to hear it. I made a very simple setup for Feathers of Jatinga track arrangement. In DAW, I use Nuendo 4, Wave effects plugins and in Synth, Omnisphere by Spectrasonics. I used the same Aria Pro II Custom made Cardinal Series Guitar in the songs with Pod XT bean.

If given an opportunity which Bollywood music producer would you like to work with?

Vishal: Oh well! I am not sure about Producer. I think Benny Benegal (my former Trainer) is one great Bollywood producer with whom I would love to work with. Talking about music composer, I would say Vishal Bharadwaj (not because we share the same name). Even though A.R Rahman gets all the praise and support from thousands of fans, I think Vishal Bharadwaj is another phenomenal Bollywood music composer/producer who is kind of underrated. It’s a similar situation like Periphery and Animals As Leaders (if you understand what I mean) in Djent. Consider Rahman as Periphery and Bharadwaj as AAL.

Will the Album be released through a label or independently? What are the plans for distribution of it?

Vishal: Well, we are talking to few labels here and there. Not really sure about that but least we can do is printing some CD’s and distribute everywhere. Digital copies will be up as well.

Since you both are based in India, is there a possibility of doing live gigs after the release of the album?

Vedant: Haven’t planned anything yet. We will keep you guys updated though.

Vishal: Depends on our extreme busy schedules. I am very greedy when it comes to gigs. We need good money first and then we are on. We are not living in the past era of “Playing metal in the name of unity”. Like I always say, I want the session musicians (Drummer, Bassist, and Second Guitarist) to be paid well on time after shows. There are many great bands in our country who are still unpaid and they face such problem everyday. I love each and every fans and friends but before any legal work related to decent payments on time, doing live gigs will be suicide for us. If you guys buy our album and support us, may be Event Groups will show some love to us. Just like Amogh Symphony, everything depends on CD sales. It’s really a bliss to have greatest fans and friends who supports your music. But “Support” doesn’t help a band or artist to grow up financially. And there is no point in sacrificing your lifestyle just in the name of “supporting the scene”. I am totally against of this thought.

Are you working currently on any other projects?

Vedant: Yeah…I’m with shades Of Retribution as well and soon we will be releasing a new single produced by Vishal.

What are your plans for the rest of 2011?

Vedant : Let us release the album first…that’s what we are concentrating on as of right now!

Any final words?

Vedant : Hope you like the album.

Written by trendcrusher

June 27, 2014 at 6:34 pm

Interview with Woods of Ypres (2005)

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The second release by Woods of Ypres “Pursuit Of The Sun & Allure Of The Earth” is now available for pre-order on Earache Records. The album is a special on for me as it is the first Woods of Ypres album I heard. In March 2005, just over six months after the release of the album I did an interview with front man David Gold. It appeared in The Frequency, a publication of Fusion Radio which is the internet radio station for the Scarborough campus of University of Toronto.

David Gold

How did you come up with the name Woods of Ypres??

The original Woods of Ypres was formed in May of 2002 as a 3 piece in Windsor. The name came from a song title from another Windsor band called “Fact of Death”. We heard about it at the same time we were searching for a name and they gave us permission to use it. It meant a lot of things at the time, having reference to the park on Ypres Rd. in Windsor (when we all lived in Windsor), the battle of Ypres in WWI which had significant Canadian involvement (making reference to us as Canadians and our history), and the “Woods” part of it having reference to traditional ‘black metal’ themes (of being inspired by nature, etc…).To my knowledge, Woods of Ypres is the first black metal band to ever originate in Windsor.

Woods2Cover

Describe the band and its music

I like to describe Woods of Ypres ongoing style as Black & Doom metal, because we are both, and not completely one or the other. “Pursuit of the Sun…”, the latest CD is in more of a doom vein than the “Against the Seasons” demo which was more “cold” and black. It comes across as comparable to the band Opeth to a lot of people with the frequent use of the acoustic guitar and the light to heavy dynamics, but the Opeth style is only a reference point.”Pursuit…” was more of an experiment on how the same themes of black metal would be expressed in a summer setting as opposed to winter, which is more traditional for black metal. For example, whereas it’s easy to find comfort and collect your thoughts in the darkness of the winter, it can be an agonizing experience if you find yourself miserable in the summer when the sun is shining and there’s nowhere to hide from it, and everyone can see you suffer. It is the soundtrack for those emotionally heavy, hot and humid, sad summer days.

The next CD (due out by the end of 2005) will be a full return to our “cold” black metal sound, similar to the “Against the Seasons” demo, but more developed by experience. We have 12 new songs that we’re working on right now and I can already say that it will be the best Woods yet!

Woods1 - Remaster

Tell me about your first album “Against the seasons”. Is it going to be re-released??

Our 1st album “Against the Seasons: Cold Winter Songs from the Dead Summer Heat” will be officially released for the 1st time ever this summer! It has only been available in CD-r/Demo format up until now. The whole album has been re-mixed and re-mastered and it now sounds HUGE! Way bigger than it ever did! It will be available direct from us at http://www.woodsofypres.ca, at any CD retail store in Canada and at The End Records Mailorder (www.theendrecords.com). We are very excited to finally have it released properly, almost 3 years later after it was recorded.

Are you signed with any label??

Woods of Ypres is being released by the new upcomming music label “Krankenhaus Records” here in Mississauga. This label will do big things this year!

How would you come up with the lyrics in your songs?

The lyrics are always inspired from coping with terrible stuff. They are a mix of sadness, frustration, disappointment and hope. They are definitely not your typical ‘heavy metal lyrics’ but they are true to us, and have become a big part of the reason why we bother to make music.

How has the Response been to you music in Toronto?

I interpret the overall the response as good from the way that so many people feel inclined to spread the word about Woods of Ypres after they hear us. They recognize what we do as something special, because the can see that the music is also very special and meaningful to us. I also like the fact that people who bother really analyze our music realize that there is much more to this band than what can be said with comparisons to Opeth or Ulver. I appreciate that because thought there may be a few similarities on the surface, we are inspired from very different places and the end results are in fact very different. We never went out to be anyone else but ourselves, Canadian kids raised on metal who are now Canadians who make metal.

An old friend of mine used to have a theory that because there are so many bands in the world that you’ll probably never hear the band you and your brain would like the most (based on your own unique characteristics).From the reaction we have been getting, I think it’s okay for me to say that we have found some of “our people” because we hear from a lot of listeners who just “get it” and can immediately identify with it. The music, the themes, they effortlessly get it. It’s as if their brains were craving something specific, that didn’t yet exists and we fulfilled the demand. To them, “Pursuit of the Sun…” is more than just “Weekend Heavy Metal Purchase #666” and we really like that. Though surely, we realise that WOY is not for everyone, but it seems that the people who like it, really like it!

Are you going to be playing live soon??

We were set to play at the Northern Lights Festival but it was recently canceled, apparently due to slow ticket sales and the fact that a corporate metal tour booked their Toronto date on the same weekend as our festival. Woods of Ypres doesn’t have any shows currently scheduled.

What are the future plans for the band?

Dan Hulse (bass/recording engineer), Jessica Rose (keys) and I will be concentrating on developing songs for the new album right up until recording begins this summer. We are planning to do some serious gigging once Woods: III is released. 2005 will be another ‘writing year’ but we plan to make 2006 a ‘working year’ and play a whole lot more live shows. We don’t plan on doing an album next year, but who knows. We are always writing so something may come up anyway. But for right now, our focus is making the next album as good as we possibly can. “Against the Seasons: III – “The Deepest Roots & Darkest Blues” will be out at the end of this year.

Any final words??

Check out http://www.woodsofypres.ca for news and updates. + Visit the forum!