“Sanguine Vigil” isn’t actually released yet but the CD-version will be out in the end of february. LP will come out later due the huge pressing time.. Tapes and digital streaming will be also available soon!
Slow Dragon Music
We recently reviewed the upcoming EP from Dundee’s Catalysis, and it has to be said, we were impressed with the ground they’ve made in developing their sound. As they accelerate towards their home town release show, it seems like this is a band with a well laid out, but explosive plan. We asked the old (founder Drew Cochrane, guitars) and the new (Col Macgregor, vocals & bass) about life at the centre of the chemistry. Has it all been a carefully conducted experiment?
Col Macgregor: How much can change in six months really, right? I mean, we’re all very driven characters in our own way, and that has really helped us to move forward with real pace and enthusiasm. For us to have moved this far forward, in that sort of time-frame – given work commitments, families and whatnot – is pretty incredible. The plan has been to forge ahead with this new lineup, and with us all doing our bit behind the scenes, it’s helped it feel like a real group project. Nobody is being carried or dragged along, as is common in most bands, and that’s really positive for me. Really though, Drew’s at the heart of this, so if there is a carefully conducted experiment going on then he’d be the one to ask.
Drew Cochrane: I would say, for the last 6 or so months, there’s been a fairly solid plan in place. The first 6 months of the year we were kind of treading water, and not really doing much after the release of Into The Unknown. We played some shows, etc., and were also still sort of cementing our feel as a lineup, as Col had only joined in the October before, and Sean even later than that. We’d written a bunch of new stuff, but we weren’t really getting anywhere with it, as our singer was too busy to commit. This kind of brought about the change to a 4 piece lineup, with Col stepping up to the plate for vocals, and at that point, we decided that we wanted to release a single ASAP to show where we were as a band.
We ended up working with Mendel from Aborted on the single, and were super happy with how it turned out, so decided to do an EP with him. We wanted to demonstrate how far we’ve come in our second year as a band, and where we are now, but also essentially showcase what was a new start for us this year, with the core writing team changing, and a new vocalist. It’s quite fitting that our new self titled EP comes out exactly 364 days after the last one. It shows how much can change in a year.
Slow Dragon Music: Drew, you’ve been right at the root of this band from the start. It can be easy for outsiders to see change in an artist’s direction. How have you found your way around the new arrangement of personnel?
DC: Really easy. I say this with no disrespect to any previous members of the band, but the current lineup has an incredible work ethic. Everyone plays their part really well – Sean and I probably handle about a 50/50 split of the writing musically. Sean does a lot of our video stuff. Col does our visuals for social media, etc. Calum runs our Instagram and merch pages, plus does a lot of the day to day organising, and I handle most of the booking, the Facebook page, and also take on the producer role when it comes to recording.
A big thing that’s made a difference is that we’ve all pushed each other a lot. The previous lineup had the lead guitar split 50/50, so when Paul left I really had to work on my lead playing, both in terms of variety of writing, and tightness live. Col has stepped up an incredible amount vocally. He’s like a different singer, if you compare to his previous band. And, although Sean played on Into The Unknown, he joined once all the writing had been done, so he’s had a much bigger hand in the writing of the new material, and I think it’s stronger for us working together, and playing our different styles off each other. Calum has come into his own on this EP too. He’s managed to write some really cool, creative drum parts that don’t rely on the metal cliche of spamming fast footwork everywhere at the cost of tasteful playing.
We obviously wrote together on the last one, but I feel like the combination of the 4 of us writing together is special, and has helped achieve a higher standard and greater variety than we could have hoped to achieve before.
SDM: And what about you, Col? What was it like stepping up to the front of the band? Do you feel your influence is being realised?
CM: Yeah, absolutely. Coming from within the band at the start was quite hard for a number of reasons, not least of all because Sam is an insane vocalist to try and replace. The sheer power and range he has blew my mind when I joined. But on top of that, things weren’t going well, and I know that Drew was getting frustrated with the lack of progress, and we talked about me stepping up to doing the vocals. I said I would give it a go, but I could only do my thing and not to replace Sam. Our styles are so very different. I’d been the main vocalist in my last band, Dirty Judas, and know my way around a microphone so I was definitely excited by the idea. Felt awkward though, just because I had joined the band, then started taking on more vocals; and then Drew and Sam had a chat about moving forward without him; and then I became the main vocalist. Sam, though, was as chilled as anything about it all, so that made it much easier.
In terms of my ideas, I get to write about the stuff that inspires me, and the guys are more than happy to let me get on with it. In fact, they seem to really appreciate what I’m about, lyrically, so that’s really warming. I feel that I’ve come on as a vocalist since joining. Sam was big part of that, as I learned loads from him in terms of technique and delivery, but also the music that Drew and Sean are writing really demands more from me.
Also, perhaps because I’ve got no significant input on the songwriting side of things, I’ve been able to really focus on progressing as a vocalist, and honing how I tell the stories I want to tell. I’d also said quite early on that I thought we should really focus on getting solid, consistent, backing in place. Sean is a cracking vocalist, and Drew’s lows are proper filthy, so it gives me a bunch of different tools to play with when writing lyrics and planning out sections. I think, in terms of our live performances, it gives us a nice on-stage dynamic.
I guess it’s just like the behind the scenes stuff; we’re all involved so nobody is hiding, or left wishing they were more important. We’re all essential to the band. That’s probably the first time I’ve thought about it like that.
SDM: This EP seems designed to mark a new beginning. Is it a sign of a bigger work to come?
As far as bigger work to come is concerned, we’re ideally looking to record an album next year. We’re actually already sat on a couple of songs for the next release that are finished, including vocal demos being down etc, and another 4-5 instrumental demos that we’ve been working on, too. An album would give us greater freedom to create something more varied and expressive, as I think with an EP you really have to keep things extremely focused. The truth of the situation is that cost is a huge factor, and we’ve got other things to consider financially.
We’ll probably decide around mid-way through the year whether we’re going to do an album, or whether we will just issue another EP. One thing is for sure, and that’s that you can expect another release from us by the end of 2019. From the way the initial demos are sounding, it’s going to raise the bar for us even higher than the one we’re about to release.
CM: Yeah, I mean Sean is a writing machine. It’s insane. The guy wakes up at 5 in the morning and literally writes and records some brutal metal before breakfast. It’s madness. Sean being so prolific has really brought Drew on as well, I think, as it’s made Drew really push for his ideas to be bigger and better. I think that’s why we’ve got a five track EP with so many ideas and feels on it.
An album, for me, is the logical next step. It would let us spread all this around, and explore these new areas a little more. I’m old school, or just old, though. I like an album, a body of work that exists within itself; has a start, middle and end and tells a story. I’m sure that’s what we’ll do, and I’m really excited by the idea.
SDM: It looks like all the supports you’ve chosen for your launch show are local, or have spent time on the Dundee gigging circuit. Was there a reason behind this? How do you all feel about the Dundee scene?
DC: Without being disparaging, the Dundee scene is pretty weak, although it’s not dead. You’ve got lots of guys shouting “support your scene” in your face on social media, but, when it comes to boots on the ground, those same people are often nowhere to be seen. There’s a lot of folk who play in bands who wouldn’t be seen dead at a local show – unless they were playing – but, at the same time, will moan online about poor attendance.
There’s a few reasons behind the choices of support. We picked Black Blood because our old singer Sam is with them now, we get on well and they bring a great local crowd in with them. Threshold Sicks was an obvious choice, because they’ve been away for a long time, and there will be some anticipation behind their return to Dundee. Bereavement are longstanding veterans of the scene now, and we’ve played a few shows with them, so it made sense to invite them. The final band, Our Worlds Collide (unfortunately cancelled due to injury since this interview was conducted – SDM), are relative newbies to the scene, and it’s always good to give the little guy a leg up where you can.
The other thinking is that between the bands on offer, there’s a fair range of sub-genres, so hopefully we’ll attract some lesser seen faces around Dundee shows through the door; that guy you always see in town in the Cannibal Corpse tee who you’ve never seen at a show, or the guy with the Slipknot hoody you see in Tesco at least once a week. We want to bring them into the fold.
CM: I don’t know if I would say the Dundee scene is weak. To me it’s just really unpredictable. I think the problem with Dundee’s crowd is that the city is just a wee bit too small or disjointed to support the scene it craves. There’s been a lot of changes in the city too. The main rock pubs and nightclubs have shut down, and that puts a real dent in the ability to get out there and promote, or build a solid cohort of folk who like their riffs heavy, and will just head out to see what’s happening.
It’s also a funny city in that a significant proportion of the folk who live here, and might be quite into what we do, are students, and they tend not to cross the Hawkhill. We’re working on that though. We’re definitely building a bit of momentum which is really nice and can only help us moving forward. Last gig we played, there was a guy singing along, which is genuinely the first time I’ve ever seen someone sing my songs back at me. That’s pretty mind-blowing to be honest. He knew the words better than I do!
SDM: Question six is the standard closer for SDM interviews; anything you’d like to add? Something you feel we might have missed?
CM: There is a real energy in this band, that’s created from a mutual respect for what each of us is doing, so we’re in a really exciting place just now. It would be great to see any of your readers come and catch our EP launch, pick up a copy of our new EP, or both! We’re humble guys who are supremely lucky to be putting out music we all love, in a band where we are respected and appreciated by each other. We pass all of that love, respect and appreciation on to anyone who invests their time and money in supporting us. The EP is available to pre-order from www.catalysis.bigcartel.com for physical copies and all the usual suspects for digital. Physical copies which were ordered before 1st December come with a free copy of our last EP, too.
There’s nothing quite like a local show at a small venue, such as a metal concert in Amarillo TX. Hugging the stage becomes an assumption. You get so close to the band that their hair brushes your face when they headbang. Local acts usually open for the headliner, and you meet those local folks, and a community develops.
Then there’s a moment when a local band takes the next step. Not so long ago, they were playing the local venue to 15 or 20 friends some nights, and then a couple of years later, they’re playing to 15 or 20 THOUSAND people in a foreign country.
Of course, it’s not that simple. I know that because I’ve watched it happen. I’ve heard them budget for the regional and national tours they’ve taken with other local bands-sharing rooms and roads and relishing the dream. I know about the dilemmas and discussions. I know about the life that goes on off-stage, which is as relentless as anyone else’s-with jobs and families and tragedies and triumphs. That “couple of years” isn’t just 730 days. It’s lives and lifetimes.
So, when Extreme Management Group landed my second family, Texas death metal band Abolishment of Flesh, a gig at the 2016 Hell and Heaven Fest in Mexico City, I saw the reward for all those struggles, the relish on the dream.
So, I offer you a brief conversation with Abolishment of Flesh. Please send them vibes as they embark on this journey.
Vinyl Lair (aka Dr. Metal): First off, who’ll be in the band?
Jess Cazares (co-manager/tour manager, Ramon’s wife): Ramon on guitar and vocals, Izaak on Guitar, Mariel on Bass, and Rene on drums for the Mexico show. The last 2 are session musicians.
(Dr. Metal’s Note: That’s Ramon Cazares, founder of Abolishment of Flesh; Izaak Chavez, member of my inaugural Heavy Metal as a Literary Genre Class; and session musicians Mariel Miele and Rene Martinez.)
Vinyl Lair: Any set secrets to reveal? Will you play from across the history of AOF, or will there be all new stuff? How long will you have?
Izaak Chavez: This set will have a few newer songs that we haven’t really played in front of a lot of crowds; I actually wanna say 2 of them we have played in Mexico before.
(Dr. Metal’s Note: Before means last year when AOF toured in Mexico with Origin. Jess gave up that they will close with their signature song [and my personal favorite], “The Suffering”– What a marvelous metal IRONY!)
Vinyl Lair: What’s it feel like to be part of a festival with so many musical heroes? Izaak, the slate seems especially suited to your influences. Hoping to meet anyone in particular?
Izaak Chavez: It’s pretty surreal to see the bill and know that I “might” get to meet and/or share the stage with some of them. When Jess first called me at stupid o’clock in the morning to tell me about the gig, it didn’t register until later in the day. I just kept thinking, “Hoooly shit, I might get to meet one of the guys in Rammstein, or unknowingly meet one of the guys in Ghost”
(Dr. Metal’s Note: Izaak’s final project in my metal class treated Rammstein’s videos.)
Izaak Chavez: Total SFB moment
(Dr. Metal’s Note: SFB is shorthand for So Fucking Badass-developed as a code for showing our enthusiasm during my metal class)
Jess Cazares: Yeah that was disappointing. I was expecting you to scream and instead you just asked about whether our flights were covered
Ramon Cazares: This is the biggest fest we’ve done so personally I am happy to be performing with all the bands. It’s not often you play on a bill like this. Looking forward to meet Amon Amarth and Suicidal Tendencies.
Izaak Chavez: That’s right! I forgot Suicidal Tendencies were playing too.
Jess Cazares: I like Rammstein, so that is cool.
Vinyl Lair: That’s too awesome
Vinyl Lair: What a marvelous opportunity. Will you stay for everything?
Jess Cazares: Hell yes! Looking forward to seeing all the awesome bands. But these guys know how to support.
Ramon Cazares: We will be there from start till the after party!
Jess Cazares: I am already tired, haha
Izaak Chavez: Plus it’ll be kinda cool to see all the other “openers” on the small stage
(Dr. Metal’s Note: AOF will be taking the New Blood Stage, one of the six stages for Hell and Heaven Fest. In reality, AOF has been a band since 2006 with one EP-Decimation (2012) and one full album-Creation to Extinction (2013))
Vinyl Lair: Any estimate on the size of the audience?
Izaak Chavez: Fucking huge
Jess Cazares: Indeed. Lots of bands I’ve never heard of. Plus motor cross stuff and so much more-about 15,000-20,000, supposedly from past years
Ramon Cazares: Between 12 to 20 thousand
Vinyl Lair: Wow
Jess Cazares: Indeed
Vinyl Lair: That’s astonishing
Jess Cazares: And people there are so open to different styles. Will be a great crowd.
Vinyl Lair: How do Mexican crowds differ from American crowds?
Izaak Chavez: Exactly! That’s why I love playing in Mexico; the audiences take it all in.
Jess Cazares: SO different. Mexicans are so open and kind-hearted. They take it all in and appreciate everything.
Ramon Cazares: Haha, They seem very open to music and not scenes or genres or what’s popular. They just like good music!
Accidental Guitar Center Reunion: Left to Right: Izaak Chavez (AOF guitarist), Rebekah St. Clair (Izaak’s lady and my former student), Jess Cazares (AOF co-manager/tour manager), Dr. Martin Jacobsen (aka Vinyl Lair’s Dr. Metal, the author of this story), and Ben Jacobsen (my son). Photo Credit: Dr. Metal-Actually it was some chick we didn’t know at Guitar Center, but it was my iPhone
Vinyl Lair wishes Abolishment of Flesh the best tomorrow in Mexico City.
(Dr. Metal’s Note: I am so proud of you. Give the show you always give. You are my metal family. I love you.)
Written By Christy Lee
The definition of underground is a group or movement organized secretly to work against an existing regime. “I listen to underground metal music.
The definition of Heavy Metal (or simply metal) is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom and the United States. With roots in blues rock and psychedelic rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness.
The metal music genre is a culture with mixed feelings from their followers. They are either disappointed the genre doesn’t garner enough mainstream attention or they prefer their music to remain underground.
We all know the great cautionary tale of what happens to metal bands once they become successful. Let’s bring up a band we are all familiar with, “Metallica.” They began playing in a garage, started playing shows. Their fan base grew and they eventually reached the kind of fame most people dream of.
There are bands in the game just to play and stay true to their fans remaining underground and there are musicians who rely on their art for financial support as well as expressing themselves with hope to become famous. Some would argue this would be classified as selling out and letting down their true fans but not only is music an art form it can also become a rewarding career with the possibility to earn a decent living which would ideally be the ultimate climactic outcome. But to what price would someone have to pay to gain legendary status. It’s a double edged sword.
There is a definite division among fans of the metal genre with passionate opinions about the outcome and quality of music a band produces and their ideals.
This brings me to my current topic of discussion which is “An Intimate Interview with George Misanthrope of the band “Monument of Misanthropy.” A band dedicated to making music and staying true to their fans by remaining underground.
Q&A With Christy Lee and George Misanthrope of the band Monument Of Misanthrope
GM: Brutal Death Metal.
CL: What is the basis of your lyrical theme?
GM: Misanthropy, Hatred, Animal Cruelty, Evil.
CL: How old were you when you first got into metal? GM: Well I must have been 10 or 11 when I traded some mainstream records with a friend at
school and got AC/DC “Back in Black” and “For Those About To Rock” in return. I guess it was a good deal thinking of it. My friend got Police and Supertramp-vinyls from me (laughs). Now people may say AC/DC is not metal but hard rock… But you know at that time AC/DC was seen as pretty hard and badass and newpapers were full of shit like AC/DC and Kiss are satanic bands and stuff. Whatever it didn’t take long then till I owned my first Iron Maiden (“Iron Maiden” and “Killers”) and Judas Priest-albums (“Unleashed in the east”) which paved the way for harder stuff like Metal Church, Metallica, Anthrax, Testament. CL: How did you guys end up with Romain Goulon formerly of the band Necrophagist in your band? GM: Romain is a very good and old friend of Jean Pierre Battesti. They were jamming together before Romain got famous for being the drummer of the technical death metal innovators Necrophagist. Unlike Necrophagist the stuff JP and Romain played at that time was pretty much brutal death metal with old-school death metal and grindcore elements- Brutal and fast but with some Napalm Death & Terrorizer groove in it. JP who álready knew me from “Raising The Veil” one day asked me if I want to try out some vocals on some songs he had pre-produced with Romain. And I of course said yes, because I liked the brutality and straight in you face-punch of the songs. So for all of us in “Monument Of Misanthropy” the album is also kind of a tribute to the early days of pure, upright and unpretentious death metal, which defined the 3 of us as young musicians.
CL: So which modern metal bands would you say influence your band as a whole or who you guys admire?
GM: To be honest I don’t think too many modern bands had any influence on our music (talking of MoM) because it’s pretty much old-school death and grind. But of course we listen to modern bands too. Speaking for myself I’ve been of course listening a lot to Necrophagist, The Faceless and Origin, but also a lot newer technical death metal bands lately like Beyond Creation, Archspire, Fallujah and Rings Of Saturn. I feel like this technical part of death metal is the most promising branch of metal and able to carry on the torch Chuck Schuldiner handed over with his work. I mean metal – at least for me – has always been about technicality and virtousity on each instrument. So I think it’s just logical that those outstanding musicians in those newer bands are able to set new trends and benchmarks withing metal music in the future. CL: So on a personal note, have you ever gone to an authentic Octoberfest in Germany?
GM: Hahaha. Well you can’t escape those fests being in Germany and also all over Europe during the end of September. I like the beer and stuff, but you know all those “ordinary” people getting drunk once a year, trying to be funny or starting fights after one “Maß” of beer [1 litre] just fuel my misanthropy. I’d rather drink beer with my friends and listen the music I like to listen to, than sway to Alpine folk music with superficial snobs and blowhards… [laughs]
CL: What is the music scene like over there and what places do you play at most, cities, venues?
GM: Well I guess the European metal scene has always been a bastion of die-hard metal fans. Once a metal head always a metal head. It’s always been an escape from mediocrity and bourgois snobism that exists mainly in the big cities and capitals here. We have a lot of young and motivated metal bands throughout Europe. Many bands come and go as they fail on the circumstances of today’s music business. Bands have to play for free to get known and rarely are able to sell their CDs. Even signed bands are struggling hard to survive and almost every musician has a day-job to pay his bills. Even most of the well known European death metal musicians have a steady job when they’re not touring. So you have to be very dedicated to metal if you want to stay within public perception for a longer period of time. As an unsigned underground band you mainly play local venues, pubs and smaller festivals, just the way we think metal was meant to be… CL: I think you’re a really great vocalist, do you play any other instruments or contribute to the band other than front man? GM: Well thank you Christy. – I indeed played guitars for some unknown forerunner bands of “Miasma” (most known for their debut “Changes”) which got produced by Martin Schirenc [Pungent Stench] btw back in the days… I also used to play “Silent Night” and “Little Drummer Boy” as a kid on my keyboard for my parents and relatives on Xmas-holidays, but never pursued this carreer ever after…. [laughs]
CL: How do you come up with your lyrical inspirations, how do you approach new material? GM: That really depends on the band and the mood I associate with new material. When doing the lyrics for Monument Of Misanthropy things were pretty much clear because of it’s bruteness and speed. It HAD to deal with aggression, anger, frustration and sick minds reacting to a sick society. It wouldn’t have been appropriate to write lyrics with cosmological or other scientific content, which I actually do writing song lyrics for Raising The Veil and Disfigured Divinity.
When I had to sit down and write lyrics for “Anger Mismanagement” I just listened to the instrumental version feeling the vibes and wrote down the first line that came to my mind. It’s not that I already know where this journey is going to take me from the very beginning. It evolves and crystallizes by itself. So you can read the lyrics as my “stream of un-consciousness”. It’s really what springs to my mind while listening to the music. It’s nothing artificial or designed to be “extremely brutal” it sometimes really feels like someone else is making me write it and nothing done really on intention. It’s a bit frightening now that I think of it (laughs).
When I read some other bands lyrics I sometimes have the feeling they tried to put as many brutal sounding words into their song as possible, just to show off with their “brutality”. You can feel their struggle to become the most brutal band in the world and you can also feel it is not coming from their heart as well and that there is no real substance behind this faked angriness… CL: Do you listen to heavy metal and its sub-genres exclusively or do you listen to other genres of music also?
GM: I am always feeling sad when someone tells me I only listen to metal. Man you’re missing a lot if you do so. Sure metal is the kind of music I listen to most of the time for many reasons and of course I don’t listen to the mainstream pop media wants you to listen to. But I think I am not the only metal musician and fan that listens also to stuff like Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, Wagner or Liszt. Moreover I dig jazz-fusion like Tribal Tech with the brilliant guitarist Scott Henderson. All the newer technical metal bands like Animals as Leaders etc. wouldn’t exist if those guys haven’t existed and done their exceptional music. CL: How do you feel about how today’s society likes to categorize metal sub-genres? GM: I think its human, which doesn’t mean it is ok or that I like it. People especially growing up kids long to be part of something they can or want to be identified with. It also has to do with insecurities during adolescence. Anyways what really matters is that someone really likes the music genre and it’s a message and ideals which he or she’s listening to. I never thought it was cool to be a thrash metal fan when I listened to thrash or later a death metal fan listening to death metal. I just liked the music and the people I met in metal record-stores (yes we had to buy our music at that time), clubs and at shows. But it has always been and probably always will be that people of one genre try to tell you that his genre is the best ever and that what you’re listening to is total crap. I never tried to persuade someone to any kind of metal genre. If a friend didn’t like what I listened to it was ok I kept listening to it. Best practice for dealing with metal elitist preachers: Ignore them, end of story. CL: If you were to evolve heavy metal, how would you do so? GM: That’s a tough one. I really don’t know into which direction metal could evolve anymore. I mean it’s almost impossible from today’s point of view. It is almost impossible to play faster or more technical as metal is being played today. Also do we have that many sub genres that it’s almost impossible too to “invent” any new crossover genre too. I guess only time will tell where the future of metal will be heading to…. CL: “Tell me something about you that you never talk about in interviews.” GM: Well only few people know this: In the beginning of the song “Monument of Misanthropy” there is this 1 min sequence of an old song “I like to like people” by “Bozo the Clown”. This in fact is an old single that I used to sing a long with when I was a small boy of 3 yrs- or so, My father even recorded me singing to this song. He still has this on an audio cassette and we listen to it from time to time. (laughs)
CL: Where do you see your band going in the future? GM: We’ll be playing probably some select festivals in Europe in 2015 and then start with another album which will be self-produced, self-released and self-promoted again. We’ve done great with this independent path taken. After all we’re doing it not for fame or becoming rich or whatever, but for the passion for death metal music. By the way I don’t think that any new band is getting really rich in metal in the nearer future. Whenever a known or semi-known band drops a new album it’s getting officially promoted via pre-release free streaming of the whole album on YouTube or Soundcloud. All the kids of course know how to get the music for free from all those portals. So I assume labels don’t really rely anymore too much on music sales but merchandise sales and money they can make of the bands when they send them on extensive tours. Only the collectors and die-hard fans will buy the CD and HQ download-albums. Music has become a side-product which gets consummated “en passant” while
surfing the net or chatting on some social-network. Looks the days when you bought a CD or vinyl and cut yourself off from anything else just to listen to the music and read the lyrics are definitely gone forever. So if you don’t do the music for your own passion and believes you will be frustrated pretty soon. It’s no coincidence that many very gifted musicians and bands are calling it quits after a few years in the business….. CL: What were your experiences working together with the famous Romain Goulon (drummer of Necrophagist)?
GM: It’s like in the normal working world: Those who have an amazing talent and extraordinary working skills don’t brag about it. They do their brilliant work and let the other ones be jealous about it. Same with Romain: He does his brilliant drumming like it was the most natural thing to do. No cocky star behaviour and conceited acting. I’ve seen and met so many local nobodies with zero talent that behave like they were the biggest rock stars on earth…. They’re playing in front of their high school friends and think they are the new metal gods. It’s so ridiculous sometimes. The real big metal stars are 99% down to earth dudes and drinking buddies (laughs). CL: How long does it take to record your vocals for an album? GM: As an unsigned band you cannot afford to stay in studio for 3 weeks or longer to record your stuff. So when I am entering a studio, I already know a 100% percent what I want to sing on every part of every song. There’s not much time for experiments. Normally my vocal trackings don’t take more than 6-10 hours split on 2 days for one whole album. Usually it takes 2-3 takes for each part. More wouldn’t even be possible. After 4 or 5 hours of intensive growling without long breaks in between my voice is past it’s best. Longer tracking seasons would put my voice at risk. So we usually stop to have some beers and preparing for the 2nd recording-day. CL: What’s your opinion of Satanism in metal? GM: Well in the 80ies and early 90ies it was some kind of “shock value” to do the satanism thing as a band. And yes I have been wearing a turned up cross and Deicide-Tees to with pride then just like the Slaytanic Wehrmacht-Tshirt, which was also a big provocation to authorities and church. Especially here in Austria (homeland of Hitler). And of course all the bands whom had Satanism as one of their main-message back then like Deicide, Morbid Angel or Possessed would be stupid if they started to change their official attitude. They have to keep up their credibility to their loyal fans. And this can become pretty much schizophrenic, when you think of Tom Araya, being a stric catholic father back home in Texas and then sing “I am the antichrist all love is lost…” in Wacken. So to answer the question. I don’t believe in god as a person who sits somewhere , watching each individual in this uni- or multiverse like all the religions are trying to make us believe. Religions just like politicians main purpose is not to help you but to enslave you. Both are working with phobocratic strategies. Be it religion that tells you to go to hell when you sin or politicians creating fear via CNN or FOX TV. I am spiritual but in a more scientific way. I love nature and all what makes me understand the architecture of our micro and macrocosm. For me for example quantum physics has much more mystical aura than all this heaven and hell fairy tales (laughs). CL: Even bigger bands have problems selling their CDs and concert tickets. How does this affect the underground and unsigned bands?
GM: Well this actually IS a big problem for all bands, signed and unsigned. First the big labels realized “hey we don’t sell as many CDs due to music-piracy. ok let’ s send the bands around the globe for years and let them sell their merch and all will be good.” But what happened now is that on one hand many promising bands called it quits due to burn-out and frustration and even more self-destructive: they created and overflow of bands touring so that the live-gig-branch got over-saturated in the big cities too after some years. So what to do now? Next solution-strategy was to re-activate all the old bands that still had a big name but have disbanded or retired already and send them around the globe as well. Well that’s where we’re standing now. As an unsigned and most likely also unknown band you can decide to play local gigs or buy yourself in on some bigger tour or even into a label if you have enough change saved. On the other hand if you have the passion and the right musicians you can also succeed using the internet to make yourself heard on YouTube, Soundcloud and Facebook etc. and then try to grab some interesting gigs and festival slots. We decided for the latter and I think our success proves us right.
CL: Any last words you have to say to your fans?
GM: “Thanks to all our awesome fans that supported us on our way to independently deliver you the most brutal of underground death metal. A ride in which we have full control of the production but also artistic freedom in music, lyrics, cover, booklet & T-shirt design. In many ways this feels like a return to what metal was and again should be all about!”
A Candid interview with one of India’s most popular extreme metal bands, “Demonic
Written By Christy Lee
As you all know, it is not easy to succeed in the music arena and the industry has been on a steady decline now for many years. There are many different factors that add to this equation but the main reason is music being readily available on the internet for downloading and sharing. Record sales have plummeted and that used to be the main source of income for both musicians and labels. The rock and metal genres have always had their challenges when it comes to success. The degree of difficulty for success in the music industry is multiplied when you’re music is in the rock or metal
genre. Demonic Resurrection like many other bands out there has gone through the vicissitudes of the music industry.
Demonic Resurrection, a blackened death metal band formed in March 2000, are now one of India’s most popular bands. Fourteen years later the band is about to embark on a European tour for a month including Wacken Open Air Festival, one of the biggest metal festivals in the world. They will be promoting their fourth full-length album, “The Demon King,” slated to release in India in July. They also made the cover of this month’s “Rolling Stone” cover in India. “Demonic Resurrection” is an extremely talented band, has released three studio albums, one EP, have signed with Candlelight
Records and have had their video, The Unrelenting Surge of Vengeance aired on national television in India. The band is on the verge of future success but this wasn’t always the case. They have had their share of difficulties. They experienced a successful 2010 year, winning the Golden God Award, playing Inferno, Brutal Assault etc, making their first video. Then in 2011 the tides turned.
Demonic Resurrection has been steadily gaining fame and popularity in India. I’m talking to Mumbai extreme metal band Demonic Resurrection’s frontman and founding member Sahil Makhija, also known as The Demonstealer.
C: How hard has it been for you collectively as a band trying to succeed with the current state of the music industry?
DS: We got booked for Sonisphere in the UK and spent 1200 Pounds for the TIER 5 Visa which is required for the UK and about 2500 pounds more on our tickets. We managed to book 4 more shows in the UK. Our visas did not come on time and when they did we got rejected and we lost around 1500 pounds in the process. We spent over a year trying to earn that back. We had 2 lineup changes after that. Husain and Daniel left in 2012 and 2013 respectively. Our album sales outside India were not good since we couldn’t tour. Candlelight was going to drop us from their roster. Our merchandise did not sell outside India so we’re pretty much off OMERCH as well. We had an offer to tour with Krisiun that was going to cost us 10,000 EURO despite it not being a buy
on but that got cancelled. Anyway finally with the new record our label decided to give us a show and release the album so we’re hoping this album does well. Right now on this tour we’re investing close to 5000 euro to make it happen. We don’t know when or how we’ll earn it back but it’s almost double of what we individually earn in a year, it’s tough.
C: Do all of you have regular jobs to support your music careers?
DS: Ashwin the bassist is a producer on the side, he just finished a course in sound engineering a year ago so right now he’s just recording and producing bands at his home studio. Nishith is only 19 but he has a day job as a sales executive in a music distribution company. Our drummer used to work in a call center till 2012 and he’s now been trying to be a full time drummer and drum teacher since 2013. Our keyboardist was a creative director in an advertising company till about a year or so ago he quit everything and has his own website/startup called Freejinn http://www.freejinn.com. So yeah everyone is busting their hump basically.
C: Tell me about your experience with this month’s RS cover.
DS: Well in India Rolling Stone isn’t like it is abroad, it is very tied into the local Indie scene and that scene includes the metal scene. They have their own metal awards show so it was not new that they write about DR regularly. So they were aware about what has been going on with the band and they’ve had another Indian hardcore band Scribe on the cover last year for their metal issue and this time they felt we were the ones that should be on it. I should mention that they do only 1 metal issue every year (sometimes 2) around the time of their metal awards.
C: I love the outfits you guys wore on your cover photo for the Rolling Stone cover. Did the magazine provide the clothes and did you get them?
DS: Oh, the clothes were ours and only the black jeans were from Levis which yes we did get to keep. We got these clothes custom made for our new stage look. Since that kind of clothing is not available in India we went to an online store in the UK found the outfits we liked, took them to a designer friend of mine. She does mostly commercial work and isn’t a metal head but she has her own workshop and makes clothes for commercials, movies and has her own line as well. She had them made for us according to what we showed her.
C: Very cool, she does great work. Who is she?
DS: Arunima Majhi. Her company is Whimwit Designs
C: Tell us about the inception of the band. Was it a planned decision or a result of experiments? How did you come up with Demonic Resurrection?
DS: I think the passion that metal brings out in the fans for the music generally steers them towards playing an instrument and forming bands. A friend of mine from school, one who introduced me to metal suggested we start a band and we had a 2 man project called ‘Slaves Of Pain’ inspired by the Sepultura song. The project fizzled out soon enough but I had the desire to form my own project and I thought of the name and Demonic Resurrection seemed the perfect fit. For starters there was no other band with the same name and it sort of fit the kind of sound I have envisioned for the band. I used to write my songs on the computer using a drum machine and I searched for 2 years to find members but I had no luck until the year 2000 when I managed to put together the first line-up.
C: With a band name “Demonic Resurrection” Is your music considered too controversial?
DS: No not at all. No one really cares about metal here because there is no money. There is millions of rupees to be made elsewhere and people to harass. So metal is too small to bother anyone. Most of them just think it’s noise or some rubbish that is going down. The only controversial thing due to our name would be a few Christian folks assuming we’re a satanic band and I’d clarify that we are not.
C: What is a Demonic Resurrection song? Do you conceive of a song as melodies and riffs or as an abstract idea? How do you build on it?
DS: The song writing for the band has primarily been done by me with all the members who bring all of their input to the table. Mostly it’s either a riff idea or something Mephisto writes on the keyboard that will form the base of the song and we generally finish writing the songs ourselves and then sit with the band and work on it collectively. In the earlier days Mephisto would jam with the drummer JP at the time and write sections and parts. For me as well some ideas are born from jamming with the drummer. So there is no fixed formula but we just know when we have something DR worthy.
C: Tell us about the new album you have coming out?
DS: For starters the album is called ‘The Demon King’ and it’s a fresh story, we’ve closed the door on the darkness trilogy for now. Each song is a chapter in the story which roughly is about the resurrection of The Demon King. Musically I would say the album is more concise and focussed. We’ve kind of found our sound a little better with this record. The orchestrations on this album is more grand I feel, the riffs more technical, more blast beats but still being melodic. So hopefully people will enjoy the record.
C: What are your thoughts about the metal scene in India? Do you think metal there has any validity as an artistic movement which questions societal standards and norms? Or are its values purely musical?
DS: Each artist is different. Some of them question societal norms, some write stories like we do, others take inspiration from local pop culture and so on, heck we even have a Viking metal band and I’m sure no one in that band is of Viking descent. The scene is still small but growing quite rapidly.
C: Do you send political messages through your music?
DS: Not with Demonic Resurrection or Reptilian Death. I do have a humour rock/metal band called Workshop and we’ve sung about some issues so to speak with the music but I don’t get very specifically into it.
C: What adversities if any do you face as a metal band in India?
DS: The same stuff that affects bands outside India I guess, lack of venues, lack of infrastructure, piracy, lack of fans attending local shows etc etc. It’s a pretty elaborate list.
C: How is the metal scene in India growing as far as large scale festivals and big names in metal touring in your country?
DS: Well no metal festivals have survived the test of time so we have nothing that we can count on at this point apart from a few small club ‘festivals’ that are now getting regular. We do have 1 proper music festival that is regular since the last 4 years called the NH7 festival. For almost 15 years we had the Great Indian Rock Festival hosted by the Rock Street Journal a local magazine until the founder and editor, Mr. Amit Saigal passed away 2 years ago. In more recent times our 25 year old Independence Rock Festival didn’t take place last year for the first time in 25 years. So there are many that come and go but nothing stable.
C: Do you think that metal as a form of art loses its ‘purity’ when brought out of the underground and exposed to the masses, many of whom might not be able to relate to the ideologies and the technicalities of the genre?
DS: I don’t believe so. I believe everyone has a right to listen music of their choice. If a particular band has a mass following it’s because on some level a larger number of people are connecting with that music. Tomorrow if Blotted Science sells a million copies it won’t make them any less technical, instead it would mean more people are connecting to that style of music. So in my books the purity is ruined by intolerant people.
C: Quite a few present-day metal bands say that they do not have any ‘musical goals’ as such and make music solely for the passion. What does Demonic Resurrection seek to accomplish in the near future?
DS: My personal dream has always been to make a living from my music. Not to be a rock star, not to have a mansion and a fancy car. I just want to pay my bills, make music and tour. I Just want an honest living with my art.
C: Congratulations on Wacken Open Air 2014. How big a leap is Germany?
DS: Thank you. It’s a big thing for us. It’s the world’s biggest metal festival. We’re looking forward to the experience.
C: Is there any bands you’re looking forward to meeting or listening to during your experience at Wacken Open Air?
DS: For me it’s the entire festival experience I love. I am looking forward to seeing Behemoth and Emperor. I’ve met Ihsahn about 3 times already but it’s always a pleasure to meet him and have a conversation, he’s such a humble and down to earth guy. I also look forward to hopefully meeting Nergal finally. I released Behemoth’s Evangelion in India (and I lost a ton of money on it) but I had hoped to meet him at Bloodstock in 2012 but that was not to be. Maybe this time I will get the chance.
C: I’ve never seen you guys live, so in terms of your live sound as compared to that of the studio albums, what is the difference? Do you think the album’s capture the live sound or is it more the other way round?
DS: My philosophy has always been to keep the studio and live as separate entities. What you record is something that stays forever and we work first for the song and how it sounds and then figure out how it’s going to turn out live. I think though on this album apart from the
orchestrations in terms of how much layering I’ve done on the vocals and guitars I think it’s probably closer to the live sound than the last album. I think live is many other factors which you don’t have when someone sits with an Mp3 or a CD and listens to your band.
C: You’re mainly categorized by people who seek sub-genre labels as a blackened death metal band. In your opinion, do you think there’s more to your music than that?
DS: Yeah of course but labels are needed because everyone wants to have an idea of what you sound like. For me we’re a Demonic Metal Band. We have elements from black, death, thrash, power and some other sub-genre. But it’s much easier for people who would enjoy our style if they have a known sound to relate to. So we’ll live with whatever people tag us as.
C: Do you have any plans to tour in the United States in the near future?
DS: We would really love to but the financial burden is tremendous, however we do hope that at some point in the next 5 years we can find our way there.
C: I certainly hope you meet your goals and have the opportunity to tour in the Unites States in the near future. Thank you for talking with me Sahil, it’s been both very interesting and a pleasure. Good luck on all your future endeavours. Any last words you would like to say to your fans out there?
DS: Just ‘thank you’ – we’ve come this far because you’ve been there to keep us going, your words, your messages, your bodies flying in the pit when we play, the horns you raise at the gigs. It’s the force that keeps us going. Cheers & Stay Demonic! \m/
By Christy Lee