Posts Tagged ‘India’

It’s going to be difficult to be impartial for this, as Sahil and I have been friends for a while and I’ve always thoroughly enjoyed his music, so the chance to see legendary Indian death metallers Demonic Resurrection live at last was a chance I couldn’t miss. But to be fair to him, I’d have told him if they weren’t very good. Which is not true, they were awesome.

First of all though, Wretched Soul were an excellent support band, with their razor sharp death metal hitting every sweet spot in the place. They have a huge melodic streak straight through them, that gives their records a bit of variety. They are ferocious at full speed, but they have some absolutely brilliant ‘Painkiller’ moments where the vocals shriek high and the twin galloping begins. It’s quite a thing to be that heavy and yet that fucking catchy and epic. I salute you sirs, and recommend people buy ‘The Ghost Road’, for that is a killer record.

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But the main reason I’m here is for the mighty Demonic Resurrection. The Demonstealer is an unassuming, charming and humble bloke who becomes possessed by nightmarish demonic voices when the superlative death metal maelstrom begins. The technical madness of ‘The Demon King’ and ‘Krishna – The Cowherd’ were particularly mindblowing. On record, Demonic Resurrection have many subtle little flourishes that disappear a little on the live stage, but if anything their music becomes more ferocious. The musicianship in the melodic genius of ‘A Tragedy Befallen’ is incredible, and the savagery of ‘Dismembering the Fallen’ is tangible. Demonic Resurection are a mighty live proposition, and despite there only being a small crowd in attendance we all fully appreciated the effort and journey they’ve been on to entertain us.

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Indian death metallers Fragarak have outdone themselves here. ‘A Spectral Oblivion’ is a mammoth opus, coming in at 84 minutes of progressive death metal that would give the best a run for their money. Coming out on, of course, the great Transcending Obscurity at the end of October this year, Fragarak look to become your new favourite Indian band. Of course, if you have the staying power…

One of the most ambitious records you’ll hear from the sub continent, ‘In Rumination I: The Void’ opens the gates on our journey with graceful acoustic guitar and choral voices before a serpentine death metal riff takes hold. There is clearly some influence coming from Indian legends Demonic Resurrection and Demonstealer, with crisp death metal riffing wrapped in some nasty black metal coating. The sense of adventure is palpable, with odes to the likes of Amorphis on the gloomy but melodic epic ‘In Rumination II: Reflections’. Each song builds with glorious style, where you are reminded of Behemoth and Opeth and Demonstealer all at the same time.

Double disc records always run the risk of being bloated, but ‘A Spectral Oblivion’ is varied enough in both riffing and songwriting that it rarely becomes an issue. Masterful changes between acoustic passages and punishing death metal, Fragarak have created something that is to be admired and respected. Few bands would go this far on their second record, and ‘A Spectral Oblivion’ is a progressive tour de force.

A collaborative effort between elite members of the Indian metal scene, ‘supergroup’ The Minerva Conduct are breaking genre boundaries across the sub continent. Featuring alumni of Demonic Resurrection, Albatross, Gutslit and a former Animals as Leaders drummer, ‘The Minerva Conduct’ is a record that is scintillating, brave and mind bogglingly technical in parts. It is out 15th September.

Instantly precocious, proggy and thunderous, opener ‘Vile’ snaps into juddering Meshuggah-esque territory with some dazzling fretwork. Open spaces begin to appear within the chugging riffs, and this is where the Minerva Conduct begin to realise the potential of their collaboration. Soaring atmospheres meet heavy djent riffing; propulsive drumming coalesces with twanging bass riffs into a driving engine under stabbing guitar riffs. And this is only the first track! This is an album that effortlessly jumps from electronic, almost ambient soundscapes into brutal death/djent riffing without losing a step. I was six tracks in before I realised there were no vocals, a fact that does no harm to the evocative nature of the music.

‘The Minerva Conduct’ is a shape shifting beast; with progressive metal a vague catch-all genre title that never does the music enough credit, the band manage to construct an organic piece where songs are constantly evolving. The ethereal moments of calm in ‘Desertion’, the Gojira-esque closing to ‘Metanoia’, the electronic highlighting in ‘Appetence’: these are all high spots in a record that never fails to surprise, invigorate or impress. Hopefully The Minerva Conduct are just getting started, because I could listen to this stuff all day.

If there was ever a band that can truly speak to the foul corruptions of government, it is India’s Heathen Beast. Their new release, ‘$cam’, is a scathing indictment of the Indian government and their practices, wrapped within a barbed wire petrol bomb of a release. ‘$cam’ is 21 minutes of some of the fiercest political grindcore you’ll find, laced with a black edge. It is out now on Transcending Obscurity.

The inspiration behind ‘$cam’ is the mass demonetisation of the sub continent’s currency, leaving 90% of banknotes worthless. This has seemingly left the poor so much worse off than the rich, tax avoiders it was designed to take down. Heathen Beast tackles the issue with visceral intent, including such potent song titles as ‘It’s Only a Minor Inconvenience’ and the disturbing ‘If You Disagree You Are Anti-National, Go to Pakistan’. You get the idea of how the government seem to approach the issue. Musically the musical is a ravaging mix of Rotten Sound, Napalm Death and Impaled Nazarene, where nasty riffs meet shrieking rage and whirling drums.

When matched with soundbites echoing the real life effects of this scheme, ‘$cam’ takes on a whole new urgency. In a place where this kind of outward criticism could lead to serious consequences, Heathen Beast are even more vital and pertinent. The odd flourish of traditional instrumentation keeps you in the moment, and the intensity feels real. Get a hold of this before they go, and learn about something outside your comfort zone.


Atmospheric blackened death metal from a member of Indian black metallers Diabolus Arcanium is the state of play with Entity of Hate and their new EP ‘Cursed by Eternity’. It’s an intricate and self assured debut, that brings to mind both Cradle of Filth and Wintersun, minus all the associated orchestral burden!

Opener ‘Cursed for Eternity’ has some great, flowing guitar leads and keyboard enhanced riffs are both eerie and catchy as hell. Vocally it is relatively basic, but it works with the kind of gothic vibe that builds with the atmospheres. Wonderful riffs dominate the insanely good ‘Bloody Lovers & Prey’, that at points feels like a horror film soundtrack overdubbed with heavy metal. The virtuoso guitar work is a big draw to this for me, and it is hard to find this kind of music that doesn’t feel overwrought with grandiose redundancy. Even the synthy instrumental of ‘Bloody Tears (Castlevania)’ doesn’t feel too much.

While defiantly mixing symphonic and cold black metal atmospheres with gallping melodeath isn’t the most obvious mix, the likes of ‘Heart Shaped Dagger’ shows how this kind of extremity can easily include oodles of melody. Entity of Hate are my new favourite band of the moment, and ‘Cursed for Eternity’ is a record that, while short, is full of awesome surprises!

Demonic Resurrection are the Behemoth of Indian metal, and not only in their musical stylings. Around for years and becoming more and more influential with every release, Demonic Resurrection are also getting more and more ambitious with each one. ‘Dashavatar’ is their fifth full length, and is an exploration of all the avatars of Lord Vishnu in Indian mythology. For those of us that are interested in that, it is a fascinating journey. For those of us that are here for just the music, you won’t be disappointed.

I first came across Demonic Resurrection on their stunning ‘Return to Darkness’ record from 2010, and their swelling in popularity goes hand in hand with their evolution as a muscial force. Take the anthemic ferocity of ‘Kurma – The Tortoise’; it matches Behemothian intensity with ethnic instrumentation and an innate sense of the importance of memorable songs. Soaring melodies dominate ‘Varaha – The Boar’, while the atmospheric black/death of ‘Parashurama – The Axe Wielder’ reminds you of their extreme chops. Mainman Demonstealer roars, croons and riffs his way through ten powerful songs, each with their own individual character. In a world where every band strives to be unique and different, Demonic Resurrection stand out from the crowd by being simply fucking excellent at what they do.

The strings and orchestral moments of ‘Vamana – The Dwarf’ brings to mind great European power metal, as does the soaring ‘Narasimha – The Man-Lion’. Every metal fan can deny it, but most of us came to love metal because of anthemic heavy metal greatness, and that’s what Demonic Resurrection have in their core. Coat it in progressive, symphonic and complex blackened textures if you will, but at heart they are a heavy metal band and that shines through.

‘Dashavatar’ is the answer to the question, ‘can anyone do anything that feels new in metal anymore?’ Demonic Resurrection better becoming fucking huge after this, because ‘Dashavatar’ covers all bases, from powerful melodic soloing to cyclonic black/death maelstroms. I’ll be hard pushed to find a better record than this in 2017.

Being marked as a ‘landmark release’ in Indian metal is a big ask for Darkrypt to live up to. This is the place that has brought us so many great acts recently that Darkrypt need to be pretty good just to keep up with their countrymen. Fortunately, I have faith in Kunal at Transcending Obscurity when statements like this are made, so I’m looking forward to ‘Delirious Excursion’, coming out in October.

From the ponderous intro ‘The Becoming Alteration’ comes a fire breathing monster in ‘Dark Crypt’, where riffs most murderous come tearing from the cemetaries of vintage Scandinavian death metal. Lacking the buzzing HM2 pedal, but summoning the feel of classic Swedeath (mixed at Unisound Studios by Dan Swano helps) shot through by morbid melodies, ‘Chasm of Death’ has an undead swagger about it. The guitar work is stellar, and really helps to accentuate the switches between relentless chugging and spiralling solos, particularly the beautiful solo in ‘Cryptic Illusions’. The gloomy darkness of ‘Folie à Deux’ is also punctuated with a skillful solo, and this injection of virtuoso guitar work is key to setting them apart from other death metal bands.

Also key to this release are two of its guest appearances, the incorrigible Rogga Johansson of Paganizer et al and Nitin Rajan of Primitiv (one of the subcontinent’s most potent acts). Both add a great deal to a record that already bursts with death metal fury. Rogga lends his talents to the aforementioned ‘Cryptic Illusions’, and boy is it a stormer! The rumbling ‘Inducer’ is where the Primitiv influence comes in deep, but you can also feel an earth shaking Bolt Thrower lean in other tracks too. Darkrypt have crafted a combination of some of the finest death metal styles into a hell of a record. Seek this out if you appreciate skull cracking brutality and evil melodies!