By GMA's Bangladesh correspondent Nabil Abaddon
In the search for Extreme Metal bands from the most exotic corners of the world, we shine the light on a small South-East Asian country called Nepal, a country that has burst out as an emerging Metal scene in the last few years with a bunch of talented local bands and the consecutive arrivals of Metal acts like Vader, Napalm Death, Decapitated, Behemoth, etc. We searched a bit more and stumbled upon a band called Dying Out Flame.
Dying Out Flame is a five piece ‘Vedic Death Metal’ band, a particular sub-genre that originated with Rudra from Singapore. The name Dying Out Flame comes from the Hindu tradition of cremation. It is the last phase of the burning of a corpse. As the band moniker suggests, Dying Out Flame plays a unique brand of Extreme Music that incorporates Death Metal with ancient Vedic / Hindu philosophies and mythologies through the use of Eastern Classical chants, complex time changes, Death growls mixed with clean vocals and what not. They have played many local gigs and festivals and are now busy with the recording of their debut album.
I managed to talk with the band leader, vocalist and bassist Aabeg Gautam over the net. An excerpt from the chat follows below.
GMA: Greetings Aabeg! Welcome to GMA Interrogations. Hows it going with your band?
Aabeg: Thanks, we are doing great. A lot of things are going on at the moment. We are recording our debut full length album which will be released sometime in early / mid 2014. We are also performing live on regular basis. So stay tuned for massive 'Vedicization'. We have also been through some line-up changes on guitars because Saurav khanal was kicked out few weeks ago due to his false respect and attitude towards the band and music. We have however found a good replacement and we will come more powerful in upcoming days. Altogether we are really busy and exicted about everything going on right now.
Watch their song “Annihilation of Jallandhara” here
GMA: Dying Out Flame is a “Vedic Death Metal” Band. So tell us how do you define the term 'Vedic Death Metal'? How do you write your lyrics and compose the songs keeping that in mind?
Aabeg: If you'd make a 30 second study of our work you'd soon realize what is Vedic Death Metal. It is Death Metal music totally based on Hindu themes and Vedic literatures. it's the mixture of words and music derived from Sanskrit Vedic mythology / philosophy incorporating with ancient shlokas and fusing traditional Hindu classical music into Death Metal. To answer your second question, when I compose music and lyrics, there is no set formula. It all depends on time and place. I might have a riff in my head, a drumbeat or a mythological / philosophical theme that the song would be based on. I take those things and build an entire concept for the song around that. It just evolves and evolves from there, and there is always an emotion that works whilst making every song. It just comes to me from my inner feelings, thoughts and eternal love and dedication for Death Metal, art and religion.._
GMA: As far as I know, you guys started as a Technical Death Metal outfit. What made you change your genre?
Aabeg: These days, Death Metal has become a bit too glamorized and popular. I rarely see anything new these days. I see nothing but bastardization of artistry and style only and it sickens me. We don't want to play the same thing again and again which has become a trend these days. So to keep the music interesting, fresh and away from the trend, we had to make some changes to our sound.
As we had some concepts of Hindu mythologies, literature's and traditional classical music, we all decided to evolve into a Vedic Death Metal band for creating religious / spiritual awareness and closeness to the world. Most people in Nepal understood what Metal is in the last few years with the big success of Cradle Of Filth, Slipknot, Lamb Of God etc. Metal is violence, evil, Satanic, nihilism only for pseudo Metalheads and brainless kids here who don’t have any direction in life. But personally, I am spiritually aware, I do not have the need to flaunt it, because this is not how I want my art to be.
I look only at myself and focus on myself. It's my law, I'm my own law and my own God before anything else. The rest is less important, we just play in a way that reflects and expresses deep underlying truth and reality of existence and it seems that Vedic Death Metal is the only proper medium to express our feelings of religion, spiritualism and Death Metal aggression at the same time. It is a big part of our lives. There is no false faces behind it.
GMA: Is the band working on any EP or album at the moment?
Aabeg: We are in the middle of our recording of first full length album, which is much more extensive as far as the arrangements and overall music are concerned. One year of dedication and hardwork is what lies responsible for it's enormous patterns, and hopefully the final outcome will be what we have prayed for. I think this album will appeal and come as a fresh breeze to anyone whose heart pounds for Vedic Death Metal glory. We are enjoying the work and I think this is my life’s best work till date.
Album Teaser can be seen here
GMA: As far as I know all four members of DOF are studying at Nepal Music Center, am I right? How much does that help in the music you do with DOF?
Aabeg: Yes, except our new guitarist Bikalpa, who joined the band few weeks earlier, we all are students of Nepal Music Center. Studying music theories in music school has helped me a lot in composing music and keeping it interesting and to flow with everything really well. It has helped me a lot as a musician and a composer but if you have good listening power you don't need to worry about theories, it is simply the study of why certain sounds go together. Listening to some of the bands / artists that influence you, can help you to get a lot of the ideas. It's all about the feel and how it affects you..
GMA: Who inspired you to become musicians and who do you idolize as a band?
Aabeg: Music comes from the Gods and is not the gift of any one man or race. I can safely say that I'm inspired by my surroundings, inner feelings, thoughts and love for extreme sonic musical notes since my childhood and it lit a fire in me to create the music. These things are more influential than music itself I believe.I like the enormity of music, not only limiting to Death Metal, a lot of other genres too.
I like Indian Carnatic classical music, Jazz, Funk, Blues too.. but when it comes to metal, I am always into old school Death / Black / Thrash / Grind. I am the great worshipper of bands like Morbid Angel, Vomitory, Immolation, Unleashed, Dissenter, Bolt Thrower, Malevolent Creation, Vader, Sinister, Entombed, Nile, Lock Up, Terrorizer, Hate Eternal, Hate, Grave, God Macabre, Dismember, Emtombed, Carcass and many many more...
GMA: Do you think it is possible in Nepal to make a living solely on music?
Aabeg: It is impossible thing to make a living here solely on music. We all must have some other ways to have a roof above our heads and a meal on the table. Except for that, I can't say money has any value to me. But once you choose music as your basic occupation, you have to be satisfied and happy with what you get. The small amount of money we make occassionally are invested in one way or another, equipments, practise room charges etc.. But I am also pleased with the part of composing music. As long as my basic needs are being fulfilled, I am satisfied.
GMA: Tell us a bit about the Nepalese scene! What are the good bands and good gigs?
Aabeg: Sincerely, I don’t know if I can still call it scene or not. Metal is very disjointed here. Some bands are envious of other bands who are set on the longer road. It's a shame! It was good in the earlier days and could have went on to become something brilliant if there was not any jealousy and malice that exists nowadays.
Some stupid, shallow bunch of idiots ruined the scene who only wanted to promote themselves. Especially, the undervalued lot from the so called "true" big metal bands and "true" underground promoters whose only purpose is to gain a fan-base, profit , impress girls etc. They have erased the pure spirit and devotion of the early days. I know that it might look strange in your eyes that I have such negative attitude about the metal scene here, but this is the truth.
The internet made it much easier to wipe the underground. Internet serves it's purpose as well, people just have to realize that it is not behind the computer screen that the true foundation of metal scene lies. Whats comforting though is that there are still some bands who are honest and serious. Some of the hordes I highly respect and recommend are Ugra Karma - they planted the germ for the Death Metal to grow in Nepal. They instilled a spirit of what Death Metal actually meant, both in raw form and as an ideology.
Other bands who are honest and true to their conviction are Aakrosh, Binaash, Bidroha, Wakk Thuu, Broken Hymen, Narsamhaar, Undefined Human etc. So, they deserve to be supported as much as possible. If people do something sincerely and it makes sense, then everyone should respect them.
GMA: So Dying Out Flame will be playing in the inaugural Nepal Death Fest this year along with some of the most promising bands from the sub-continent. How excited is the band for that? Have you guys played in any other fests before ?
Aabeg: That's definitely number one on our list of things we're looking forward to. This is a first proper DIY Death Metal festival in Nepal that is going to be held on 11th January. So, we are really exicted for that and those who want to lose your breath momentarily, you all must have to attend the festival. And yeah, we have played numerous festivals before..
Watch their performance at Summer Fest (Nepal) here:
GMA: Nepal has been visited by many Death Metal bands like Vader, Decapitated, Napalm Death, Behemoth.Eeven Micheal Angelo Batio toured Nepal few months back. How many of these concerts have you been to?
Aabeg: I've had the privilege of watching and meeting all of them live except Michael Angelo Batio because that's not something for what my heart beats. All those bands were the beginning of the road for us, the foundation, inspiration to us as younger musicians and all of them have left their marks on us as fans and musicians. In fact, Vader was the first international Death Metal band I ever saw live, and it was something I will always remember as a fan.
GMA: So whats DOF's plan for the next year?
Aabeg: My plans concerning Dying Out Flame are to release our debut full length album and a music video for "Eternal Mother Of Great Time" firstly. From the other hand, my ultimate plan is to create the means for uplifting of religious / spiritual spirits and transcendence in the listeners that occur when listening to the great art. We will continue expressing our thoughts, attitudes and feelings through our Vedic Death Metal music with endless passion which is a big part of our lives and pictures of our souls and we will spontaneously continue Vedicizing new plagues with the holy storm of Vedic Metal. I want to create something more different and obscure that you wouldn't just call a good Vedic Death Metal band but it's Dying Out Flame alright and we will accomplish that. Also, we have thought of some lives, there is already invitations of tours from our brothers from Bangladesh and India. When the right time will come, we will play there.
GMA: Thanks for your time and patience. It was great talking with you. Any last words for the fans you would like to say?
Aabeg: It's been a good time answering to your questions and spread some propaganda. We're glad that there is an interest in what we're doing. Thanks for your support and great interview. The studio version of my personal favourite track "Shiva Rudrastakam" will be released after few days as an album promo. So stay tuned and salute to the brothers of Metal and yeah never forget "ahimsha parmo dharma"!!