"In order to grow; we need to bring in some international bands"
If you mentioned the country Bangladesh, the usual thoughts of clothes manufacturing, cricket and the Ganges delta spring to mind, but if you ask anyone who has knowledge of the metal scenes in Asia, they'll tell you about the bristling Bangladeshi Metal scene.
In 2019 history was made as not only did Dhaka's Trainwreck win a slot to perform at India's most prestigious metal festival Bangalore Open Air, at the very same festival they won a slot to perform at the largest metal festival on the planet, the Mecca of global metal if you like, Wacken Open Air.
This was the first time a metal band from Bangladesh had performed at both festivals, for a band who have been around since 2007 and dropped and changed musicians along the way; culminating in a line-up featuring no original members, this ultimately would be a surreal experience and so GMA spoke to vocalist Abir Ahmed about their fabled journey to Bangalore and Wacken, the current status of metal in Bangladesh, the growing attention towards Asian Metal bands and future plans; COVID-19 depending.
You played Wacken Open Air last year, courtesy of winning the Metal Battle Indian sub-continent edition, what was the experience like?
"It was a glorious day for the band and a historic moment for the music industry in Bangladesh, as a Metal band has never before set foot in the grand stages of the likes of Wacken Open Air in Germany and of course Bangalore Open Air in India. We got to experience the metal Mecca of the world with the most humble and generous audiences, from whom we have gathered tons of good wishes and a handful of positive criticisms, which we believe is going to help shape us in the coming years. "
Could you tell us about the journey you took from Bangladesh to Germany, procedures, travelling, etc?
"As we had to win two back-to-back shows in Dhaka and Bangalore before getting the wildcard to play at WOA, we had to prepare ourselves for a variety of expenses that would follow down the road to Wacken. But before getting on with the expenses, we had to get the visas first. As it was for the first time that a band from Bangladesh was going to such a prestigious and renowned festival to represent its nation, there had to be an extensive background check. We had to provide our individual bank statements with all the necessary papers along with the official invitation from the Wacken Foundation at the embassy. The German Embassy in Bangladesh kept in contact with the Wacken Foundation and both parties had been immensely helpful, understanding and considerate to our situation and agreed to grant us a Schengen visa for 13 days. We are a local metal band and as you can imagine, it does not pay as much to fund for an Europe tour yet. So we did a crowdfund, both inside and outside the country, and raised a generous amount from our core fans of a few neighboring nations.
We left for Hamburg on the 24th of July and returned to Bangladesh on the 5th of August. In these 13 days, we were blessed with the generosity of the German people and our fellow Bangladeshi citizens living in Hamburg. They made sure that we had a great time, showed us around and attended one of our shows which was hosted by the Wacken Foundation at the infamous Kaiserkeller music club. The gig was called "The United Metal Nations", dated 27th of July, 2019. The Hamburg government arranged our accommodations for a couple of nights in Hamburg. The Government arranged a full metal cruise for a few bands who travelled from Asia including Trainwreck. So yes, in spite of all the troubles that we have faced regarding our journey, the people along the way have been tremendously helpful and supportive to turn it into one of the most memorable one for the band."
For those who do not know about Trainwreck, can you give us a brief history of the band? What do your parents think of your music?
"Trainwreck is a metal band, originated from Dhaka, Bangladesh. The band was formed in 2007 and has been actively doing music and live acts since 2009. Since its inception, there had been a number of changes in the line-up, and currently the band has no founding members present. Today, Trainwreck is:
Our parents look at our choice of music; more like an adventure down a new road. There used to be times when they thought it's just a phase, but it never passed really. They are very supportive and understanding of our career, now more than ever."
How would you describe your sound without the use of genres?
"Upon a question as such, we always say that we're just a metal band. But from our listeners perspective, they have often entitled us to "Groove Thrash" more than anything. So let's try to put it as simply as we can. Our music comprises of the guitars played through the dirty channel of an amp with a tube screamer before that. The Bassist puts up a crushing tone that rather compliments the entire sound of the band. Drummer sets the groove but he can still be punchy and in your face. The vocalist strikes when the time is right to send the message. Altogether, we get a tight sound which you guys like to enjoy. This sound that we achieve, gives the band the right tools to express our musical views and philosophies."
Bangladesh seems to have a rather good metal scene, but what are the challenges that Bangladeshi metal bands face?
"Bangladesh has a very enriched music scene, regardless of genres. But when it comes particularly to Metal, the problems that we have faced performing and managing various shows, are mostly with sponsors. The turn-up at a full metal show can vary from 200 to a 1,000 core crowds depending on the line-up. Sponsors are often not interested to invest at such small gatherings that will probably not bring out the best outcome in their favour. And it's a Muslim country, alcohol is illegal here, so no liquor sponsors either unlike all the neighbouring nations. So most of the times, you can see independent organizers who have a knack for metal music, teaming up and investing themselves to put up a great show for the audiences, where they are happy if they can just break even.
Another point that I'd like to mention is, in order to grow; we need to bring in some international bands, bands that are doing great in our part of the world as well as the big names around the world. I believe with the right people on board, this can see the light of the day, and it would be a great experience for our people and the scene."
In general is there a lack of attention from metalheads in America and Europe towards bands from Asial?
"I wouldn't say that there is a lack of attention, because some of us are actually breaking the boundaries and taking our music to the world. But you have to admit, the process to be heard is not quite an easy path. It's expensive, it requires a lot of dedication, and when you are coming from a third world country, everything along the way gets a tad bit harder to be honest. But whenever we have encountered a metal connoisseur from a distant land, they have always greeted us with admiration and beer of course haha."
What sights / attractions would you recommend to metalheads visiting Dhaka?
"There is a lot of sightseeing to do for one coming to Bangladesh for the first time. But when it comes to the capital Dhaka only, few names that has to be mentioned are; the old town, Ahsan Manzil, Lalbagh Fort, Dhaka University, Jahangirnagar University etc. Dhaka is just the place for a foodie, if you have the stomach for it. We like our foods spicy, so keep that yogurt near. You can also visit The Beauty Boarding, a hotel and restaurant located in old Dhaka, a historical centre of the intellectual gathering of Bengali authors, poets, cultural activists, and politicians."
What are your plans for the year ahead (COVID-19 depending)?
"We had some confirmed tours lined up in The Philippines and India, also some pending gigs in Thailand and Indonesia, but as you can see we are going through a pandemic, everything is on halt now. We're staying home, trying to think positive thoughts, raise awareness regarding the situation. We hope this settles down sooner than we can expect. We were planning to come up with an album later this year, but now in this troubled times it seems so distant. We want to get back on the stages and do what we do best, in the presence of our people, where we will always belong."
India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, they all have a lot in common. Historical connotations, geographical locations, seasonal conditions, cricket, religious festivals among others... but nothing as striking as the sheer size of their metal music scenes. Sure not many people in the West know that these scenes exist with India being the exception, after all Kryptos and Demonic Resurrection have been gracing the UK and European shores many times. As for the rest of the subcontinental contingent, there is Orobas from Bangladesh causing a buzz, Pakistan's Black Warrant perhaps being one of the oldest bands from there and Sri Lanka's Dhishti leading the Sri Lankan Black Metal wave... overarching all of that is a passion for extreme music, a passion for metalheads expressing themselves and a passion for thriving in an 'Extreme Nation', this is what Indian director Roy Dipankar's latest documentary is called and is about. He gladly spoke to GMA about the documentary, the troubles funding and filming such a feat and what it means to be a metalhead in this part of the world.
"The subcontinent now has her own flag-bearers in extreme metal being recognised worldwide thanks to the internet, supportive distributions and record labels."
Roy, what gave you the idea of doing a documentary about the Indian subcontinent's extreme underground metal scene?
"My affinity for independent and alternative music has traversed a long way, a decade plus later, manifesting itself as a film via videos and documentaries capturing the panorama of non-mainstream music and emerging voices from the Indian subcontinent. The professional experience in the commercial and institutional sector of record labels eventually left me not so satisfied in terms of creativity, progress and space to showcase emerging sub-cultures and alternative voices of the youth. I began to feel (and see) the societal fissures and cultural bias (injustice) which ran from pillar to post, within mainstream culture, be it the case in India or Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The more I searched, the more I discovered concurrent narratives of musicians, fans and propagators from far corners of the underground subcontinent.
The fledgling emergence of an unique subculture against the backdrop of religious radicalism, rising nationalism, traditional hegemony makes this documentary loaded in contrast, conversations and controversy. This led me to develop a first-of-its-kind attempt to document and showcase voices, the prevailing conditions and questions raised by metal musicians from the fringe communities based in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Almost five years in the making, 'Extreme Nation' is now debuting at various film-festivals, media outlets and panoramas in India and outside."
What challenges did you have to overcome to deliver the documentary? How long did it take to create?
"Several! Especially when one embarks upon an independent task towards creative art which is all about subversiveness and anti-creation. Be it the interpersonal relationship of the countries, or the highly elusive or inert nature of bands and characters involved in the underground. Finding the right people and convincing them to be a part of a bigger spectrum was a massive deal.
Financial hurdles were / are the most difficult ones. Especially when the international documentary world is looking at India to produce more apparent hard-pressed issues related to environment, gender identity and equality, caste-based politics and such, a feature film on subculture takes a second or rather a second-last silver lining on the path to fruition.
Security was another concern regarding the cast and 'politically sensitive' content due to long term internal disputes and border-territory issues across the subcontinent. Diplomatic problems like visas have always been a chimera for extreme musicians to travel across our borders for performances. Struggling against the pre-fixated mindsets towards music that is metal, noise, power electronics, hardcore, is tough. But I took this as an anti-morose challenge which is both exciting and satisfying as the awareness spreads... a film about dark music! A film about the seething yet fragile voices within nations of the Indian subcontinent."
Do you feel that Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan (along with Nepal, Bhutan and The Maldives) are being noticed worldwide as forces within the extreme metal scene?
"Very much. The subcontinent now has her own flag-bearers in extreme metal that is being recognised worldwide thanks to the internet as well as supportive distribution and syndication by record labels."
What have you noticed about the scenes there, that at first came as a surprise to you?
"More than as a surprise, the feeling was that of a kind of discovery. The bands, their message, performances and imagery came across as crisp and sharp. It was both unique and seminal that would lay the path of an organised scene is what became clear to me."
Do you feel it will come to a point where a lot more Western labels take note of bands in this region; with Demonic Resurrection and Kryptos leading the way?
"Further to the aforementioned bands there are substantial releases of Indian subcontinental bands like Genocide Shrines, Konflict, Tetragrammacide to the now recent Kapala that has gained severe international recognition by release through 'Western labels' in the extreme underground."
What was life like growing up as a metalhead in India? What does your family think of your choice of music and your film-making?
"Growing up in the early 90's, the only two unique distinctions in sound for me was AR Rahman's music and Heavy Metal. Don't get me wrong, I mean, I grew up in the Bombay heartland (thus being) exposed to Bollywood, devotional cacophony of loudspeakers blaring during festivals, cassettes and LPs of international artists like ABBA, Boney M, Kraftwerk, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Rabindra Sangeet published by Polydor, Columbia, HMV (my grandfather's lifetime as an Exports Manager at HMV, Calcutta). But the teenage angst in me would be satiated by metal music alone and a bit of Bruce Lee films maybe. What attracts me in metal or extreme music (as currently what I listen to might not easily be identified as metal: 8MM, mz412, Bell, Black Cilice, Qrixkuor), it probably is that naked, unabashed and true openness of expressionist art that needn't adhere to a form, method or general formulae. My family is fine with me whether be it choice of profession or passion."
Will people in Europe get to see this documentary? Will you look to release it on DVD in the future?
"The film is completed and is making its way through film and music festivals. 'Extreme Nation' had her world premiere at the prolific Jecheon International Music Film Festival in South Korea this August. It was also screened at Wacken Open Air 2019, Germany and FICIME, Bogota, Colombia. The film is scheduled to screen at more avenues like Infierno Fest, Peru and a possible screening at Brutal Assault, Czech Republic next year. More announcements to follow. Currently I am in talks with a record label in Europe for a DVD release of the film later this year!"
Any final thoughts? Greetings you wish to send out?
Sigh on to you my friend,
Might be, is this the end,
The pain hurts the fear inside,
Kill be, the weak to ride."
Formed by three musicians from a number of the most well-known Bangladeshi Metal bands going, Nekrohowl is a Death Metal machine primed and prepared to slaughter anything in their path. Warmonger (Warhound), Sadist (Enmachined, Homicide, Nefarmaan) and Obliterator (Homicide) lead the charge with their grit-laden style of Death Metal, and having only been around for a year yet managing to unleash a demo, single and now their debut EP 'Epitome of Morbid', things could not be any sweeter for the fearsome threesome. GMA caught up with the lads to find out the band's history, the current state of the Bangladesh Metal scene and what the EP entails.
Hi guys, firstly can you give us a brief history of the band and what Nekrohowl means?
"Greetings to GMA. To write about the history will be a total waste of time. Let’s just say that Sadist (Papai) and I wanted to create a different form of death metal which has a unique style. From the urge of playing good music, we decided to start a journey into the realm of death, doom and darkness in the name of Nekrohowl. Our good friends Demodulated (Abominable Carnivore) and Pounder (Dissector) worked on the first self-titled demo. Later on, due to some unavoidable circumstances, both of them had to discontinue and thus we asked Mr. Warmonger (Warhound, ex-Orator) to take the throne duty and thus the pilgrimage to the unholy land of despair and nothingness began!! Nekrohowl denotes the howling of the sufferer from the rampage of eternal obliteration by death itself."
The Bangladeshi Metal scene has a vast amount of bands, but few have seem to broken out internationally, what bands would you say are the most well-known in Bangladesh?
"First of all, I would not agree with the statement that "few of them have seem to broken out internationally". There is Orator and they played overseas multiple times including the prestigious "Bangalore Open Air", sharing the stage with Inquisition, Napalm Death, Belphegor etc. There is Severe Dementia, headlined in KTM ROCKS Nepal around 2012. Even Orator got the chance to play at Maryland Deathfest in 2014. I just named two, but there are actually 10 to 12 bands which are capable of desecrating the European churns of extreme metal. But the only disadvantage of doing extreme metal is "money". With proper financing there are vast possibilities to enrich the extreme metal scene of ours.
There are a ton of bands who are well known in Bangladesh to a particular class of people whom I never consider as listener or music enthusiast. And there are very few bands which has the unique style of song writing, showing true musicianship and staying loyal to themselves. To name a few: Orator, Severe Dementia, Mirrorblaze, Chromatic Massacre, Thrash, Exalter, Infuscation."
How did the Bangladeshi Metal scene start, has it been going long? What challenges are there as a band?
"The Bangladeshi metal scene started back in the early 80's, Waves, a hard rock / heavy metal band initiated the journey and very soon it was flourished by the emergence of bands like Rockstrata, Warfaze, In Dhaka etc. You can easily see that metal is not a new thing in our country albeit not a very popular thing either.
There are lot of challenges you need to face: finance, record labels (we almost have no proper metal labels), recording / sound engineers with proper skills and knowledge, just to name a few."
Would it be fair to say that more and more Asian Metal bands are being taken note of? Did you know about metal scenes in Bhutan, Laos, Nepal and Myanmar (Burma)?
"Asian bands are gradually getting their due recognition, steadily for sure, but finally it’s happening. I have played at Nepal Deathfest with my other band Homicide. I have little or in some extent no knowledge about the scenes of the other mentioned countries."
Would you agree that the Asian Extreme Metal scene seems to have it's own unique sound and style?
"Yes, Asian extreme metal has the most unique sound and style to offer."
What do your parents think of your choice of music?
"Hmm, I need to ask them (laugh)"
Could you give us a breakdown of the EP - what do the songs mean, how was the EP made, etc.
"Well the EP tells the journey of death itself as the supreme entity who conjured his wrath against the mortals. The journey begins with the intro which summons the darkness within. All the five tracks were made focusing on the key aspect of Death Metal, that is to create the uncanny sound of sheer malevolence through a unique way of expressing the nothingness within."
Finally do you have any greetings, thank you's you wish to send out?
"Thank you for the interview. It’s always great to see people appreciating our music."
"When we started our journey, we did not get any proper platforms for live performances. All the gigs were push-sell gigs which we never did. Things went bitter when our buddy bands started messing things up. Too bad they don't exist anymore! "
Enmachined do not really need much of an introduction to our regular readers or to those who are well apprised of the South-East Asian Metal scene. Enmachined, popularly dubbed as the "bone crushers" are a five piece Thrash Metal outfit hailing from Dhaka, Bangladesh. Having started in 2011, the band has earned massive accolades and reverence from both sides of Bengal as well as other parts of the world.
Enmachined is highly spoken of for their annihilating live performances and have been confirmed to play at the upcoming Banish The Posers Fest 2014, where they will cause mass banishment alongside the likes of Nafarmaan and Orator from Bangladesh, Serpents Athirst from Sri Lanka and the mighty Impiety from Singapore.
GMA's interview with Serpents Athirst can be read here.
GMA's Bangladesh correspondent Nabil Abaddon sat down with Abir Mahmud (vocalist) and discussed live performances, Enmachined's songs and the struggles, the upcoming event and much much more.
Greetings brother! How is the band preparing for the upcoming event banish The Posers Fest 2014?
Greetings brother! Before every live gig, we partake in a couple of rehearsals and this time, there are no exceptions as well. The set list for BTPF has been fixed and that is going to unravel some new tracks and at the same time regular bone crushing numbers will be played. Enmachined is ready to diffuse the madness of Thrash Metal with full force.
Enmachined's set-lists are always well sequenced for the live assaults. There is always a broad array of songs, from mid-paced to fast, from groovy to thrashy numbers. It really seems to click on the audience. How do you go about making the perfect set?
We do consider ourselves as the audience before composing any material, before selecting the set list for a gig and mostly before taking any further actions that are related to any audience. After all, if we do not like the composition, order of the set list, then how can we expect the audience to like it?
So regarding the order of the tracks for a gig, we consider how the order would perfectly enchant us, how the variation of the set list would perfectly be utilized, if we were in front of the stage.
Watch the live performance of 'Thrash Assault" here
On the same note, it seems that Enmachined’s latest singles have significantly changed in terms of tempo and composition style. Needless to say, they sound “bone crushing”. What do you have to say about that?
We do not try to repeat the same things. Yet, we have not drastically changed to a new dimension either. A little bit of experimenting has always been made before finalizing any composition. Above all, we want to make it BONE CRUSHING haha!
Enmachined have performed at almost all the prestigious gigs this year. We are just a few days away from Banish The Posers Fest 2014. How excited is the band to perform alongside Nafarmaan, Orator, Serpents Athirst and Impiety?
We are really honored to share the stage with the aforementioned bands. Impiety is one of the biggest Extreme Metal acts of Asia. Also, watching them live for the first time will be a great experience.
Do you think being the only Thrash Metal band in this year's bill gives Enmachined any advantage?
Hahaha. I do not know what you mean by the term “advantage”. In my opinion none of the bands of the roster are alike in terms of sound. Everyone on the roster is going to represent their own music. Both Orator and Impiety have Thrash Metal elements present in their music.
You guys like to label your music as "Bone Crushing Thrash Metal". How did you guys came up with this label?
We always try to create something that will CRUSH your BONES. No matter whether it is Heavy Metal or Thrash Metal. A lot of people doubt our genre. Some people term it as Heavy Metal (because of my vocals and the track "Piranha"), some term it is Thrash Metal (I think this is the perfect criteria for our music to fall under), some even term it as Crossover Thrash Metal (because of the track "Thrash Assault", where one can perceive the influences of Crossover Thrash Metal). It really doesn’t matter how we are being termed. Our music will always be bone crushing.
Watch the live performance of 'Piranha" here
You are very much inspired by the classic Heavy Metal bands. Would you like to tell us as to how you got into Metal music? How old were you when you discovered it and how were you driven to become a vocalist?
Back in my school days, I discovered Iron Maiden. I was 15 years old at that time. Later, I became thrilled by the singing of brother Torsha Khan in a Stentorian single. I thought if a Bangladeshi vocalist like him can show the dexterity with the voice in such an excellent way, then probably I should also try hard to be a good vocalist.
Your Heavy Metal roots are also quite prominent in your own vocal styles. Your frequent use of falsetto and vibrato techniques, squeaky screams highlight you out from all the other vocalists in the local scene. Who are your favourite vocalists that you have always looked up to?
A lot of vocalists have inspired me and yes, this is true that most of them are from a Heavy Metal background. I am mentioning a few names here: Rob Halford (Judas Priest), Geoff Tate (Queensrÿche) and obviously Brian Johnson and Bon Scott from AC/DC.
Enmachined’s demo “Thrash Assault” was released via Salute Records (Sweden) last year. How has the label helped or promoted the band worldwide?
Salute Records has helped us a lot to spread our music worldwide, and we are grateful to the owner of the label, brother Tony for his immense support. Zines from different parts of the globe reviewed the demo, conducted interviews and featured articles of the band.
See our interview with Enmachined last year here!!!
What are you guys focusing on after the demo release?
Well we have been working on the next release for a long time, which is going to be the first studio release of the band. Some of the songs we have already done at shows and the feedback was killer!
Enmachined is one of those bands whose journey was no bed of roses. Would you like to tell us about the band's rough journey since 2011? The hurdles you had to go through during the dead era of the local Metal scene?
Initially it was a very difficult situation. We had to practice without a drummer for six months, we couldn't find a permanent bassist either. When we started our journey, we did not get any proper platform for live performances. All the gigs were push-sell gigs which we never did. Things went bitter when our buddy bands started messing things up. Too bad they don't exist anymore! There were good organizers too, I remember each and everyone of them who helped us. But struggling still exists and now looking back to those past memories, a lesson well learned is "you form your own band, YOU fight for it".
The struggle also continued when you were going through the hassle of getting the visas for the gig in Kolkata, India last year, which turned out to be a complete fiasco. The gig was postponed by a few months but the visa issues were still unsolved. Please tell us about the whole suffering.
Some of our members got the visas initially, some did not get it. Members who did not get the visa, applied again. Even, some of them applied thrice. But in the end only two of our members were issued the visa. Despite the postponement of the gig, we could not make it there. That was actually a terrible situation.
We even got an offer to perform in another city in India after that, we were even assured financial assistance by the organizer and you can probably guess the rest of the story. Same issues, visa problem and we could not make it again.
Are you guys aware of the fact that a bunch of young Metal bands are inspired by Enmachined in one way or the other? What do you have to say about it?
We are actually a young band haha. We do not know if we are inspiring anyone. But if we are, that's great! Yet, we have gained some dedicated supporters. Without their attendance at shows and their general support, we would not have reached this far in our musical journey. So hats off to you warriors, who ever and where ever you are.
You are quite an iconic figure in the local scene for your memorable dialogues and stage acts at the gigs! Your dialogues go viral every time! On a serious note, how important do you think its important for any band to pull off a great performance for the audience?
Honored brother. I am still very young and I think the term, “iconic figure” is not really an appropriate one for me haha. I do not know for the other bands. But, first of all we try to be flawless in terms of our performance (vocals, instrumentals or whatever), we probably have not yet reached the level to do everything flawlessly yet. But that is our ultimate target and obviously that can pull off a great performance for the audience. I, personally try to interact with the audience and I do believe that brings enjoyment to the audiences.
It was a pleasure conducting this interview with you. Looking forward to Enmachined's performance at BTPF. Anything that you would like to say to your supporters, perhaps to the folks at Primitive Invocation?
Primitive Invocation is a revolutionary community in our Extreme Metal set-up They have organized a couple of killer concerts in the past and I think Banish the Posers Fest 2014 will also be a remarkable one. Anyways, thanks for the interview, and your endless support. To the local metalheads, show up in RCC on Friday, the 7th of November, 2014!
BTPF event link: https://www.facebook.com/events/383753765111170/
GMA Interview Interrogation: Ruzlan Ahmed (Mortuary Productions Owner) and Hridoy Rayhan (Metal Monger Records Owner) - Bangladesh
By GMA Bangladesh Correspondent Nabil Abaddon
In the last 4 years, Bangladesh has been going through a major upheaval in the underground Metal scene. Although the country saw its international exposure originate with bands like Weapon, Severe Dementia, Barzak, Orator etc during the mid & late 2000’s, it was after 2010 / 2011 that the local scene had developed a level of consistency in producing some quality Extreme Metal acts at it's own pace, earning accolades from places around the world.
Recently this year, two dedicated Extreme Metal labels called Mortuary Productions and Metal Monger Records emerged out of the blue in the local scene and announced two well assembled international compilation albums. One of them is "Luxury Of Pain", which is a double disk album and is going to be released via Mortuary Productions. Looking at the bill, it seems that Ruzlan Ahmed, the owner of Mortuary Productions wanted to make sure that the local acts receive maximum exposure. That is the majority of bands are Bangladeshi, are immensely talented and have great reputation.
Apart from that, the compilation not only comprises of some of the best Extreme Metal acts from the South-East Asian region like Orator, Homicide, Plague Throat, Dying Out Flame, Abominable Carnivore etc but also some amazing Thrash, Death, Black Metal and Grindcore bands from countries like Italy, The Philippines, USA, France, Spain, Thailand, Sweden and Pakistan.
On the other hand, Metal Monger Records is coming up with a heavy weight compilation album called "Total Chaos: Volume 1". Hridoy Rayhan has done a brilliant job by bringing together some supreme and malevolent acts in the form of Sabbat, Ungod, Gehennah, Orator, Nafarmaan, Lobotomy, Savage Deity and lastly, Twisted Fate. Following them, there are some promising young bands on the bill: Enmachined, Mortar, Graveyard Ghoul, Revealing Hecate, Ego Kill, Exalter etc. The compilation is a “must have” for the old school lovers.
With this in mind, it felt right for GMA to catch up with both of label owners and get to know more about their endeavors.
Greetings Ruzlan and Hridoy. How is it going with you guys?
Ruzlan: Thanks brother! I’m doing great.
Hridoy: Hey Nabil! I'm doing great! Thanks for asking!
Lets start from the beginning. How did Mortuary Production and Metal Monger Records happen in the first place? What were the directions and the motivational factors?
Ruzlan: Well, Mortuary Production started when my band Necrolepsy needed a label to release and distribute it’s EP in Bangladesh. After the release we thought of taking the label seriously and continue farther. And also, it is really hard for the Extreme Metal bands to find a label in the country, so we thought of giving them a platform too.
Hridoy: Well, I always had intentions to support the Metal scene of this country. I knew most labels would not sign up or release an Extreme Metal album. I felt the need to start a label based on Metal and Metal only. That was my inspiration. That is what drove me to start Metal Monger Records.
Both of the labels are coming up with two different compilation albums. Why did you choose to start off your journeys with compilations? Are they coming out physically?
Ruzlan: As I mentioned earlier, our first release was an EP. So no we didn’t start off with this compilation. Compilations are a great platform for bands to spread their music throughout a great number of listeners. In case of an international compilation, when a listener buys a copy of it he checks out all the other bands along with the band from his country. So I really think it’s a great way to spread the music. Yes, our compilation which is called "Luxury of Pain" is a double disk compilation. To be honest, I never really liked online releases. So yeah that pretty much sums it up.
Hridoy: Yes the compilation is coming out only in physical copies and are numbered to 100. Well, I started off with a compilation because I wanted to reach a certain audience overseas with my label and the following bands in the album. I think a compilation is a great way of introducing newer bands to people. This compilation will set the ground for future releases from Metal Monger. I also plan to release further volumes of "Total Chaos" in later years.
Recently, there have been a lot of compilations coming out from home and abroad, both online and physical. It seems to be the ongoing trend now. Do you two think these compilations, including yours, help the bands and the scenes overall?
Ruzlan: Yes why not? I get to see many compilations releasing from my country and abroad. This is a good thing only if these compilations are going to the right listeners which is the sole purpose of these compilations. These releases help a band to increase their fan-base in places where they never even thought of and of course a good compilation works as a benchmark for a scene.
Hridoy: Well, in my opinion compilations are a ground where bands who have proven their sound to their audiences, can introduce newer bands to them. In other words, a compilation can give younger bands a head start and the scene evolves around the bands.
The Bangladeshi Metal scene has been flourishing and has spread outside of Dhaka to places like Chittagong, Sylhet, Rajshahi, Khulna, and as a result quality shows are happening. More bands are touring abroad and it seems that signing to foreign record labels are becoming the holy grail for a lot of local bands.
Please tell us about your thoughts as to how your labels can play important roles in farther developments of the local scene and what do your labels have to offer to the bands and the fans that other labels don’t?
Ruzlan: It is really great to see such great bands coming from places outside Dhaka. The metal scene now is at a great stage. The shows in Chittagong, Sylhet and others places are usually filled with Metal enthusiasts. Mortuary Productions will always support the local scene and the bands. A good number of quality releases from a label will surely increase the number of listeners and will help the bands in creating a fan-base of their own. It is really important for a scene to have a good number of listeners. Listeners who look forward to the releases of the local bands, show up in the gigs and support them. Mortuary Productions have a countrywide distribution and our releases will also be distributed by a few foreign labels and distros. So it is easy for the fans to grab a copy of our releases.
Hridoy: What I think is bands should sign up with local labels and the local labels should market them worldwide. But that's not the case in this country. Since we have only a handful of mainstream labels to start with, it is acceptable for the bands to sign up with labels from outside the borders. Not until recently we have labels that are based on Metal. So, we can only comment on this after a certain amount of time passes. I think the availability of labels based on Metal would have impacts on the decision making of the bands. If the labels do their part well, more bands will sign up with local labels and if the labels are willing to, they can sign up bands from other parts of the world and altogether the scene will go the right way. My label has nothing out of the ordinary to offer for the time being. Maybe if you ask this after a year or two I might have something
Have you guys signed any bands yet? What are the other releases / projects and future plans of Mortuary Production and Metal Monger Records?
Ruzlan: No we haven’t signed any bands yet. After "Luxury Of Pain", we will release a Black Metal split called "Lucifuge Rofocale of Xarkrinur and Krayl" and also the full length of Necrolepsy.
Hridoy: We are working on Exalter's (Bangladesh) EP release and Nekrofilth's (USA) EP "Street Bitch" and developing our website. Metal Monger Records is also organizing a gig called "Reign In Blasphemy Fest" in August which will comprise of some of the best Extreme Metal bands in Bangladesh.
Watch Reign In Blasphemy Fest’s trailer here
A label’s success depends a lot on its distribution channels as well as the promotion. Music must be made available to its consumers in distant places. How do you go about these two factors?
Ruzlan: Mortuary Production’s releases will be distributed through out Bangladesh and also by many labels and distros abroad like Salute Records (Sweden) and Six F Productions (Thailand). We promote bands and their releases so that their music spreads through out a huge number of people. The local bands have our full support.
Hridoy: As I mentioned earlier, I am working on Metal Monger Record's website. After it's done you can order the releases from any part of the globe anywhere and anytime. The releases will be available in a few outlets in Dhaka for now and I also wish to attend concerts with stalls for Metal Monger Records.
Looking at the bills of the compilations, both of them are pretty amazing. How did you go about selecting the bands? Have you had any difficulties dealing with them?
Ruzlan: I looked for some good Grindcore bands along with some promising Extreme Metal acts of from all over the world. Well I didn’t have any difficulties. The bands have been really supportive and I’m glad to work with such great bands.
Hridoy: Initially I knew what the compilation should sound like. I approached bands selectively. I haven't faced much problem in commencing with the bands. As a matter of fact, I got a lot of help from the band members. They were super supportive and I can say, without their support this would have been impossible.
Do you ever wish to make a career out of this? Apart from running the labels, what else do you lads do?
Ruzlan: No, I run this label only because of the sheer fun of running it and to help the scene and the bands grow. I’m also the vocalist of a Brutal Death / Goregrind band Necrolepsy and an old school Death Metal band Nordic Shadows.
Hridoy: I have a day job haha. I do want to make my career around my label. I love to spend my life doing what I love. But I am not counting on it.
How do you guys set your compilations apart from other compilations? How are they unique?
Ruzlan: LOP has great bands like Dying Out Flame, Plague Throat, Orator, HOMICIDE and many other killer acts from all around the globe. It also has some good Grindcore bands which is still a growing genre in bangladesh.
Hridoy: The bands make it unique.
Thanks to both of you, Ruzlan and Hridoy, for your time. Best wishes to all of your initiatives. Any final comments for the readers out there?
Ruzlan: Gratitude to you and GMA for the support. I would want everyone to buy original releases and listen to good music and always support metal. Ave!
Hriody: Keep supporting Metal!
Mortuary Productions Facebook & "Luxury of Pain Event page"
Metal Monger Records
By GMA's Bangladesh Correspondent Nabil Abaddon
In recent years Bangladesh has produced some really promising bands from the likes of Orator, Severe Dementia, Abominable Carnivore, Homicide, Nafarmaan etc in the international arena. Creature Of Judgement is another promising Death Metal outfit who are up next to make their mark in the Asian Metal scene. Creature Of Judgement is a four piece Death Metal band from Bangladesh. Founded in 2006, the band released their full length self titled album ‘Creature Of Judgement’ last year. The band is just about to make their international debut at the inaugural Nepal Death Fest on 11th January, 2014. I caught up with Oni Ruddha, one of the guitarists from the band, here is how the conversation went….
Apocalyptic hails brother! Congratulation on making it to the Nepal Death Fest 2014. For those who don’t know your band, can you briefly tell us as to how Creature Of Judgement came to existence?
Greetings. Creature Of Judgement is a Death Metal band hailing from Dhaka, the Metal heart of Bangladesh. Creature Of Judgement was formed back in 2006 as we had the desire to produce some dark extreme music.
How did you decide on the moniker “Creature Of Judgement”? What do you try to preach through the name and your lyrics?
In this land as a creature we are human beings. We believe that every mortal has to undergo his karma Which creates a grotesque entity inside him, we call that new born entity as the Creature Of Judgement. For instance, at first Satan was an angel but as a Creature of Judgement he became Satan.
As Creature of Judgement, the band we think ourselves as messengers to this world. As messengers we offer our music which adheres to the dark, discrepant shore of this world and we interpret the above through our music and lyrical content.
Creature of Judgement came up with the debut self-titled album in 2013. How has the response been so far? How was the experience of recording the album?
January 19th 2013 was the day we released our album at the Dhaka Art Center. The response was good at the launching. Albums were being sold rapidly. Honestly we didn't expect this much overwhelming response from the fans and followers of Creature Of Judgement.
The experience of recording the album was just unforgettable. We faced minor problems in the process but we did have some pretty good times. It took a long time to record the album and we had to wait a lot for the pre & post production of the album.
How often does the band perform in local shows?
We are very selective about the local shows. We did some successful gigs. But the biggest gig we did last year was Eastern Darkfest which was held at the National Library Auditorium in Dhaka. There was Abandoned World (Sweden), Chronic Xorn (India) and few other local bands in the lineup. We were the headlining act of the gig.
For those who don’t know Creature of Judgement, which song would you like to suggest to them and why?
You can never judge a band with just one track. But if we really have to pick one then it would be "WAR". This track highly represents the sound of Creature of Judgement. This particular track contains devastating drum blasts, ruthless vocal growls, extreme technical yet groovy guitar work.
You can listen to the song here: http://www.reverbnation.com/creatureofjudgement777/song/15946847-war
What do you make of the studio facilities in Bangladesh in terms of recording a Death Metal album?
In a third world country like Bangladesh we tried to utilise the most out of the studios that we have. Death metal has been in Bangladesh for a long time. So it wasn't that tough to record the album.
Nepal Deathfest is going to be Creature of Judgement’s international Debut. All of you must be really excited and preparing yourselves accordingly. Tell us how did this come about? How did you hook up with the folks from Nepal Deathfest?
Yes, it will be our first international debut gig and yeah, all of us are very excited. It's almost like a dream come true for us. Our regular jams are going pretty good. Nepal will get a few surprises from us. Some of us have already visited Nepal. We made few good friends over there and hooked up with some local metalheads. They are really good and friendly people. So I guess it wasn't that tough.
Do you have any ideas about the Metal scene in Nepal?
Nothing to say about Nepalese Metal scene. They do have some class bands. Metal fans there are totally crazy. They really know how to slam and bang their heads.
You will be touring Nepal along with your countrymen Homicide. What do you think of that band?
Yes, Homicide are a very promising Death Metal band from our country. They are like our brothers. We have already shared the same stage once. I guess they are as excited as we are about Deathfest. I know we will destroy and conquer the stage.
Well gratitude's for your time comrade. Best wishes to the band. Do you have any thank you’s or greetings to your supporters?
We would like to thank the fans and followers of Creature Of Judgement from the cores of our hearts. You guys give us the strength to keep on going. Keep supporting us. Keep supporting metal.
Creature Of Judgement
Hasnat Choudhury Ripon : Vocal and Guitars.
Oni Ruddha : Guitars
Tanvir Ahmed : Bass
Ahmed Bappy : Drums.
By GMA's Bangladesh correspondent Nabil Abaddon
If you follow our interviews regularly or keep track of what goes on around the South-East Asian Extreme Metal scene, then you should know about the uprising Bangladeshi Black / Death Metal force called Nafarmaan! Nafarmaan, which means 'the detested', 'the disobedient', 'the blasphemer' in Arabic / Urdu, was founded back in 2008 by the drumming virtuoso Nohttzver, who is also known as the co-founder of the legendary band Weapon.
Of course, one has to know that Weapon was initially founded in Bangladesh, released an EP called “Violated Hejab” and then shifted to Canada. Nafarmaan unleashed their diabolic rage against all the false paradigms on stage for the first time on 16th of November at the Banish The Posers Fest, which was put up by the local cult organization Primitive Invocation and featured bands from Thailand, Malaysia, India and Bangladesh. A full gig review will be coming your way soon.
I spoke with Nohttzver just a few days before the show and talked about Nafarmaan’s upcoming debut EP, future plans and also tried to throw a glance at his story of getting into the devil’s music and much much more.
Welcome to GMA once again brother Nohttzver. Well firstly let me tell you that Nafarmaan looks awesome in the rehearsal video (Bloodsoaked Revelations); which has been uploaded on Youtube a few days back! So when is the EP “Quayamat Lullaby” coming out?
Great talking to you guys as always. Yeah the rehearsal video was captured by a close brother of ours Sajid [Roadkill Tilt], the response of which has been outstanding so far. The EP is due for release in two formats; Tape (200 Copies) via Graceless Recordings (USA) and CDR (Limited to 66 Copies) via Asian label MTD Productions. If everything goes accordingly, both formats will be available within Dec 2013 / Jan 2014. There are also plans for a re-release and also a special release only for the sub-continent with a bonus track. Fans can view the rehearsal video here
As you know, three bands from Bangladesh: Nafarmaan, Enmachined and Abominable Carnivore were supposed to headline at two different Metal fests in Kolkata and Mumbai in September, but could not go to India due to Visa complications. How do you see this issue? If I am not mistaken, the organizers from Kolkata, Putrid Ascendancy has postponed their event Ritual Ascension Fest to December. Any updates on that?
Yeah it is just ridiculously f***ed up. The Embassy people involved with these Visa formalities are lame and uneducated Motherfu*kers. I’m sure that the guys from the other bands who were involved with the fests in India will surely agree with me on this as well. You’re right about Ritual Ascension Fest getting postponed to December. However, it seems that it might get postponed further until we all resolve our visa glitches. If we fail, then the show must go on and in that case we’ve already officially told Putrid Ascendancy to do the fest without Nafarmaan headlining. Our brothers from Putrid Ascendancy especially Carnage Desecrator have been more than supportive and their cooperation on the matter deserves sheer respect.
So BTPF is going to be Nafarmaan’s debut gig. What awaits the Metalheads? What should they expect from the band at the event?
Yes it will be. What awaits...don’t want to say much on that since one needs to witness Nafarmaan live when they are their most lethal.
Tell us a bit about yourself Nohttzver, how did it all start for you? As in discovering Metal music, playing drums and everything. Who are your inspirations in drumming?
(laughs) that will take quite a while to sum up. It started at the very early age of ten; 1989 to be exact. I’ve said this in another interview and probably will say this always. None of this would’ve ever happened If I hadn’t watched Legendary Bangladeshi Metal / Rock band ‘Rock- Strata’ Live in 1988. Watching them live with Legendary Bangladeshi drummer Mahbubur Rashid on drums did it for me. I also owe much to my elder brother who was a bassist himself and was responsible for introducing me to Metal. In 1992 I formed ‘Phantom Lord’ along with Ex-Rock Brigade members, a lineup that specialized in Heavy Metal and Thrash, and later ‘Metal Warriors’ was formed with the same lineup but with the exception of the former vocalist. I’ve also worked in a popular mainstream act of the country called ‘Ark’ from 1993 to 1996, which actually f**ed me up rather than help me with music. Then around 2004, Weapon came along which I co-founded along with longtime friend Vetis Monarch. I guess you know the rest.There are quite a few drumming inspiration ranges from John Bonham, Igor Cavelera, Dave Lombardo, Neil Peart to Ustad Allah Rakkha Khan.
The “Violated Hejab” line up: from left to right Kapalyq (now known as Skullbearer), Vetis Monarch and Nohttzver.
Would you like to take us through your war-gears?
Well at the present I don’t have much of it, except my Eight and half inch Pearl Snare (Steel), a pair of Good Sabian High-Hats, a worn out Zildjian China and a pair of Axis Longboards XL2 pedals.I guess I’ve only kept the stuffs that best represent my signature. I’ve also got a quiet big and rare collection of drumsticks which is also one of my hobbies.I miss my old kit and I hope I get to build one once again.
You are also known for designing the legendary logo of Weapon as well as the logo of Nafarmaan afterwards. Recently, I have noticed some pictures of you making the design of Enmachined’s merch on Facebook. How did that come about? Have you ever thought of doing this professionally?
Weapon’s logo is something I will always be proud of! Firstly, I don’t draw professionally. It is more like a hobby and a passion kinda thing for me. Well, the Enmachined kids were stuck with what to come up with or who to approach for their debut shirt. It was actually Abir (the vocalist of Enmachined) who shared the problem with me and our talks progressed and I asked him as a brother if they needed my help with their artwork. I asked for a day to come up with a draft but ended up doing the final one instead. I think I called him after half an hour later and handed it over to him.
You were the co-founder of Weapon and now you have founded Nafarmaan. Whats that particular thing in Black / Death Metal that made you choose this path and has kept you in it for this many years? How do you define this sub-genre of Metal?
Black / Death Metal is not everyone’s cup of tea. I mean one just does not like this form of extreme metal. Personally, it always had a huge impact and significance in my life and I felt the most comforting in expressing myself through this extreme art form. I have always led life in a rebelliously turbulent and hostile way and always sought the most pleasure exploiting and indulging in the extreme; may it be perception, religion, war whatever. Black / Death Metal is a vile form of art and it’s the last thing for soothing ears and timid cupid hearts.The relation and the connection has to come from within. This is what best defines me.
I would like to ask you a question that I have asked in my earlier interview with brother Skullbearer. What do you make of the decision that Vetis Monarch has taken to let go of the Metal musician’s life for good?
Well it is his life, so it is his Decision. But I am proud of the fact that he took Weapon where it is today.
During the Weapon era in Bangladesh; Vetis Monarch and Nohttzver during their practice sessions!
What are the future plans for Nafarmaan?
As you already know we have also recorded two extra tracks apart from the four tracks in the EP, so the obvious judgment for those unreleased tracks would be either be a Compilation or a Split. I can vouch for the band and say that Nafarmaan is productive and active than ever. The songwriting is going simply great. Five songs have already been written for the Full-length, three amongst them are good for recording. Apart from that and as you already know, Nafarmaan is live ready and we are keen on impaling our flag of Nafarmaany on foreign territories as well as participate in worthy domestic onslaughts from now onwards.
Gratitudes for your time Brother! Eagerly waiting for the EP and looking forward to the debut performance. Ave! Would you like to say anything to your fans?
Gratitude to you and GMA, your support have been much appreciated. The wait for the EP will soon be over and I can also assure you that Nafarmaan will have some great news for you in 2014. As for the fans ...Stay true, if not to metal at least to yourself !! Check out the EP teaser here.
“In metal there are a handful of successors. Most of them fail to reach out to the listeners. This isn’t because they are fated to do so, but because they took the wrong turn!”
By GMA's Bangladesh Correspondent Nabil Abaddon
Morbidity is one of the vilest Death Metal bands existing in Bangladesh who are keeping the ancient torch of OSDM still alive and held high in this region. As they like to call themselves ‘Skull Crushing Death Metal’, Morbidity surely got that flair in their sound and attitude to match up-to their promise of bringing forward pure Old School Death Metal massacre!
Formed in 2011, Morbidity earned accolades at home and abroad in 2012 with their demo ‘Pits of Eternal Torment’ and are going to release their debut full length album next year via Me Saco Un Ojo Records! If that’s not all for OSDM fans, then they should know that Morbidity are going to perform at the Banish The Posers Fest on 16th November after their short hiatus, which is going to be the country’s first international Extreme Metal show featuring bands from Bangladesh, India, Thailand and Malaysia. I managed to catch up with Azerate, the guitarist of Morbidity and had a chat about the band and their music.
Apocalyptic hails to you Azerate! How is the band preparing for the upcoming event Banish The Posers Fest? How excited is the band for the gig? Also tell our readers what you exactly mean by the moniker ‘Morbidity’.
Greetings, brother Abaddon. We are content for the gig and the rehearsals are going well. I think you know the actual meaning of Morbidity, that it is the state of being Morbid and that’s what we follow.
I have noticed that Morbidity always maintains a very low profile and only performs in gigs put up by Primitive Invocation. What are the reasons behind these?
Yes, we do maintain a very low profile; we like to keep things this way. Primitive Invocation is the only organizer who puts the kind of show that we like to perform. If there was some other organizer who would put some good lineup, we would definitely give it a try.
So Morbidity’s full length album is coming out soon. The teaser on YouTube sounds quite promising. Please tell us more about the album. Is it going to be a conceptual one? What do the lyrical themes deal with?
Yes, it’s coming out via Me Saco Un Ojo Records (UK) in LP format. Though it was fixed to be released this year but due to some unavoidable circumstances it will be releasing the year after. The album has that Scandinavian, especially Swedish and Finnish Death Metal sound that is rare to hear in these parts of the globe along with distinctive morbid flavors of our own, in one word it will be “CRUSHING”. The lyrical theme deals with Death, Darkness and Occultism.
Readers can view the morbidity album teaser here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTmaTvsuBDc&feature=youtu.be
Being an Old School Death Metal band in 2013, with all the modern technology available now, do you think releasing demo tapes with muddy production is still necessary? Or is it just to make the ‘Old School’ statement?
Haha! The term “old school” obliterates the moment the production and sound quality is polished and glossy. The mission statement of OSDM is to create the sound as our forefathers shaped which is raw, dark and evil. For me a demo should be created as raw and filthy that it can be.
Well tell us a bit about yourself Azerate! What gears do you use for live and recording? Also tell us about your influences in music.
My prized possessions are Dean Razorback 255 and Pod XT Live which I procured back in 2010. I have used them ever since both in live and for studio sessions. If you ask me as a guitarist then Yngwie J. Malmsteen, Jason Becker, Buckethead, Gary Holt and the list goes on and on. As for bands, one name - Iron Maiden.
What are your five most favorite albums that you’ll never stop listening to?
Azerate: Tough answer indeed.
Iron Maiden – Seventh Son of a Seventh Son
Sodom – Persecution Mania
Asphyx – Last One on Earth
Crypt Of Kerberos – World of Myths
Gammacide – Victims of Science
You joined Morbidity in 2011. What are the changes that you have noticed in the local scene since then? How difficult is it to find Metal musicians of the same taste in Bangladesh?
Well, to begin with I was about to join Morbidity back in 2010 but due to working with two other bands I couldn’t do so. Though, the concept and the music always allured me. After joining them what I realized was how little knowledge I possessed about death metal especially OSDM and how far, out-reached its realm was, which made me astounded. Yes, the scene changed drastically during 2012. Every other band was doing old school metal and people’s taste was reaching to newer limits. They finally realized which was true and which was not. And I’m glad to be a part of it. And about finding musicians with similar tastes, It isn’t difficult to find them if u look in the right places haha. Yes, I do believe 2-3 years back it was hard to locate them but now every other guy I know does good music and I always support music which is good.
You also have an Old School Thrash Metal Band called Nuclear Winter right? Would you like to tell us a bit about that band? What’s that particular thing in Old School era that attracts you so much and made you be parts of two different outlets of Old School Metal?
Nuclear Winter is a straight out Thrash Metal project which aims to deliver fast paced nuclear thrash attack, distinctive in nature. The band is busy with the rehearsal tape which would be out soon from Hellhouse666 Productions.
Old school music has that raspy, gruesome, evil sound about it that allures me the most. The fact is that, in metal there are a handful of successors. Most of them fail to reach out to the listeners. This isn’t because they are fated to do so, but because they took the wrong turn. Reasons are obvious, I think you know that too. As a rule, they have no actual artistic drive and they try to imitate other superior acts. Sadly, they won’t be getting any of it and would wind up somewhere else. Old school music defines my ideas and creates an atmosphere, a platform for me to pass it to the listeners. Both of the bands know what they preach and will triumph evidently.
What are your future plans for Morbidity apart from the full length album? Any chances of performing overseas?
All will be unveiled pretty soon. We ask our supporters to hold onto their sits. As for the shows, we are already taking arrangements for performing overseas.
Thanks for your time brother! Much appreciated. The last words are yours….
Thanks to you too for the immense support and the interview. Only death is real.
"Asia has given birth to so many great bands in the past and present which are very hard to be overlooked"
Interview by GMA's Bangladesh correspondent Nabil Abaddon
Orator perhaps needs no introduction to those who keep track of what's brewing up around the South-East Asian Extreme Metal scene. Orator, the Deathrashing horde of Tantric occultism rising strong from the lands of East Bengal, bears the fire of true primitive Metal in their hearts. Inspired by the unorthodox left hand Tantric doctrines, extremism and similar aspects from the Qlipoth tree of death worship, Orator preaches about cosmic destruction and burning paths of self-becoming through their barbaric primitive style of music. Born from the demiurgic womb of Barzak in 2008, Orator came out burning like a phoenix, stronger than ever before, decimating at home and abroad alike. Having played strength to strenght alongside Manzer (France), Infernal Execrator (Malaysia), Dying Embrace (India), Abigail (Japan), Infernal Curse (Argentina) at different Metal fests.
Orator has released an EP “Dominion of Avaktyam” (2010), a live tape “Live Cremetoration” (2011) and their first full length album “Kapalgnosis” earlier this year via Armee De La Mort Records (France). Followed by that, Orator inked a deal with the Singaporean label Pulverised Records this year, which elevates them to the next level.
The interview undertaken was done with the frontman, guitarist and lyricist of Orator, Amit Skullbearer. We spoke about the upcoming “Banish The Posers Fest”, his approach to music and much more.
Apocalyptic hails Skullbearer! Firstly, congratulations on the amazing worldwide response to Orator’s latest album “Kapalgnosis” and also on the sign up with Pulverised Records (Singapore)! So how do you define the genre “Deathrash” yourself?
Thanks for the support brother. Death / Thrash to me is the unification of two very archaic forms of Metal music into one that would represent elements from both the genres, distinctively but supporting each others.
Check out their song ‘Satanachesh Grimore’ here from their album “Kapalgnosis” :
How is the band doing now? Orator has not hit the stage for quite some time now. Are you guys upto writing some new songs?
Yup we are presently writing new materials. And we are also gearing up for Banish the Posers Fest in November.
Orator has played in many countries around Asia and with a lot of the big names around this region. What kind of response do you get from the audience and fellow bands every time you play a gig in the overseas? Which is your favourite country to play gigs in apart from Bangladesh?
Undoubtedly it is Thailand, to answer your second question. We have played there twice. Killer gigs with great bands, great brothers, good times and what not. We always have good response from the audiences wherever we play, surrounded by comrades who headbang to our originals and cover songs alike.
Orator started in 2008 from the ashes of “Barzak”, which was a Black / Death Metal band. Although being the brain-children of the same person which is you, these bands are totally different in terms of genres and ideologies. Why did this transition take place?
Well to be honest, I kind of had enough with this “Black / Death” notion, Barzak turned out to be like that on the full length “Qabiluhu”. But I have always preferred the “Opocheshta” demo tape sound which was purely of Death Metal. And, in 2008 it was only me and Vritra who were left with a broken band, so we decided to change the band name and genre along with it.
Recently you have posted a practice video of a Barzak song called ‘Shiraj’ on Facebook. Would you like to tell us more about it?
One of my earliest compositions, revived just for the coming gig in November. I jammed it for the first time after 8 years. Mephistopheles has added a totally different aura to the drumming compared to the original, so we’re really excited to go live with this track for the first time. I am sure a lot of Barzak enthusiasts are looking forward to this too. Orator’s rehearsal footage of “Shiraj” can be viewed here.
Orator is known for the distinctive primitive, barbaric yet Eastern essence and also for using ethnic instruments and chants in some of the songs. How important are these aspects to Orator’s music?
Keeping both the thrashy and Death metal elements is very important for us while composing. But the ethnic instruments, they have no importance whatsoever. We used some ethnic instruments only on few of the songs that demanded it, there are no obligations tied to the use of them. And, instead of ripping off Eastern classical scales what we do is blend in one / two notes within our own riffs to make the difference.
Do you care much about the sites which have reviewed Orator’s releases so far? Do you give them a read?
No not really, unless someone gives me the link to it or tells me about it. I have ignored many people who sent me emails asking for CD's in exchange for an album review.
Do you agree that Asian Bands are overlooked by much of the Metal world?
I agree, and then I also claim that Asia has given birth to so many great bands in the past and present which are very hard to be overlooked. They have proven that “your music speaks for your band”. Let’s see what the future brings.
2013 has been quite an interesting year for Bangladeshi Metal scene, specially for Orator. First, the release of “Kapalgnosis”, then the big news from Pulverised Records. How did this deal come about?
It was simple yet extreme. I wrote to brother Calvin, sent him few of our songs as sample. Both him and brother Roy Yeo were impressed and we got the record deal. Frankly this is the biggest thing that has happened to Orator so far.
What do you think of the overall Bangladeshi Metal scene right now? What are the goods and bads? Any new band(s) you would like to suggest to watch out for?
The scene is much better than it used to be. Bands with guts are showing up in the scene. They not only have good influences, but Warhound, Morbidity, Nafarmaan are some of the bands to look out for. And some promising Thrash Metal bands like Nuclear Winter, Enmachined, Thrash etc are building up a Thrash Metal scene which was previously totally absent.
Orator deals with Tantric occultism as far as the lyrical themes are concerned. Why and how did this mystical topic catch your interest to work on? What does Orator orate through the left hand Tantric ideologies?
Throughout the history Vama margh has proven to be one of the most unorthodox and extreme paths of self becoming, becoming into nothing. And this notion has drawn my interest very much. I personally use this tradition as a form to uphold the ultimate reality of nothingness, the unending vast void of ‘avyakta prakriti’ that every being or thing is destined to embrace. Orator is just the agent of the undifferentiated primordial chaos that is forever there and consuming.
You were a part of the legendary band “Weapon” before Vetis Monarch (founder of Weapon) moved to Canada. Earlier this year Vetis Monarch officially disbanded the band just when things were getting even bigger for them. He also stated in his “last” interview that he has untied himself from the isolation's of being a Black / Death metal musician’s life for good. What do you have to say about it?
It’s his life and I am sure his actions speak for himself.
What do you make of the studio facilities in Bangladesh in terms of recording Extreme Metal music?
We have many studios here to record the instruments and vocals. It gets frustrating when it comes to mixing and mastering. Most of the sound “engineers” here are into commercial mainstream pop rock shits to whom you cannot explain the type of output you want. Luckily we had Maamar Huq, of Sonic Occult Studio who himself is into metal music, so we did not have much trouble to deal with.
What holds for Orator in the future? When can the fans expect a new album under Pulverised Records?
Hopefully by mid 2015. There might be some demo tape releases in between this time, maybe in 2014.
Lastly, whats going to be Orator’s killing strategy for Banish The Posers Fest 2013?
Get up on stage, perform, and get off the stage.
Gratitudes for your time brother Skullbearer! Really appreciate it! The last words are going to be yours…
Deathrashing madness prevails! Keep up your apocalyptic support. Hail.
Orator is :
Skullbearer - Vocals, Guitar and lyrical concepts
Vritra Ahi - Bass
Mephistopeles Warmonger - Drums
By GMA's Bangladeshi Correspondent Nabil Abaddon.
Abominable Carnivore, formed in 2011, is an uprising Black / Death Metal force from the holy soil of Bangladesh. A country, largely populated by Muslims and has more to offer than you think. Abominable Carnivore sings the darkest lullabies and preaches about what is unholy and morbid. They had their debut EP ‘Light Devours Our Lust’ released via Dust and Guilt Records in 2012 and since then they never looked back. Abominable Carnivore had a destructive Nepal tour and now they are looking forward to desecrate India at the Entombed Metal Fest: Volume 4!
I Nabil, spoke to Dip Demodulated, the vocalist of Abominable Carnivore in the the dark streets of the capital city Dhaka and talked about their upcoming India Tour, their full length album and much, much more!
“Coming from a country which is massively supported by Muslims, it's pretty tough to do any kind of Metal music”
Ave brother! How is the band doing currently?
Ave! The band is alive again after a short hibernation. We have not performed at any gig for a while. We are back to our businesses and getting ready to slay!
Abominable Carnivore is going to headline the Entombed Metal Fest: Volume 4, Mumbai show which follows your Nepal tour in February, 2013. This is just great! How excited are you guys for the big event in India? How is the band preparing for it?
Obviously we are pretty much excited for the show! We are also very aware of the line up from top to bottom and it is going to be quite a competitive show for all of the bands. We toured Nepal and showed no mercy there. Mumbai will be no different! We are also looking forward to play with some class metal acts like Plague Throat, Gutslit, Insane Prophecy, Fragarak, Grossty and Dormant inferno. It is an honor for us that we’ll be sharing the stage with them. It is going to be a blood-shed battle and we are honing ourselves accordingly.
What are you guys expecting from the Mumbai metalheads? What do you have to say about Frameshift Initiative for organizing this unholy congregation of metal savagery?
Our thoughts and ideologies are pretty much similar with them, although Black / Death Metal is new in our country, Mumbai metalheads have been worshiping and preaching this music for a long time so they should brace themselves for total war! Also its going to be a big honor for us to be a part of this with them, performing at their festival. As for the organizers, killer initiative and gratitude to them for inviting us to be a part of the most chaotic, ruthless and intense gig of the year. I hope it will be a great one as well as it will help to make the bond of both countries and the bands stronger.
Alright, it has come to my attention that Abominable Carnivore have started to work on new songs for the full length album. Is that true? How are things working out? When are you hitting the studio?
Yes that is true. All the structures are ready for our new album which will come out very soon, the label will be announced later. Things are working out quite nicely and we are working hard both on the lyrical theme and instrumentation so that our views flourish well throughout them. We will be coming up with a new song which we will release for everyone before the Indian tour. Hopefully after coming back from India, we will then hit the studio for the rest of the materials to be recorded.
Talking about the lyrical theme, Abominable Carnivore deals with occultism. Is it going to be same for the full length album or is it going to be a conceptual album?
Pretty much. But we have also worked with issues like killing and the darkness of nature. ’Nazara’ is a good example of that. Our next album is going to be little different from our EP “Light Devours Our Lust" and yes it will be a conceptual album. There will be a lot of dark imagination incorporated into the lyrics. We wanted to push ourselves to cross the barriers and the new album will be a good example of that.
Coming back to the tours, Abominable Carnivore toured Nepal in February 2013 and played two gigs in Pokhara: ‘Valentine Massacre’ and ‘Butcher The Values’. How were the shows? Tell us about the Nepalese metalheads and organizers from ‘Brutal Pokhara’? Would you like to go to Nepal again to play more gigs?
When we went to Nepal, we neither had any expectations nor any clue about what was going to happen there. But we were overwhelmed by their hospitality and it did not take us much time to get friendly with them despite the language differences. Our first show ‘Valentine Massacre’ was pretty massive and we played in front of a crowd of some 1500 people open air! So that was a big thing for us as we do not get that sort of turn out in extreme metal shows back home in Bangladesh. We really enjoyed playing there and the crowd was moshing, headbanging and killing each other. It was intense!
As for the other gig, ‘Butcher The Values’ was organized by ‘Brutal Pokhara’ and we played with Narsamhaar and some other extreme metal bands from Pokhara. It was a pretty good experience. The show was in a bar and there was a crowd of 200-300 people. At first, the stage was set up outside the bar in an open space. But later on they had to change the set up and move inside due to the sudden downpour. It was really a good experience!
Two other bands from Bangladesh are also touring India in the same month! One of them is Nafarmaan, a Black / Death Metal band which was founded by Nohttzver (ex-Weapon). Then there is Jahiliyyah of the same genre, who are immensely talented and skillful. Apart from that, there was Eternal Armageddon which is disbanded now. What do you think about the Black / Death Metal scene and the whole metal scene overall in Bangladesh? Is the sub-genre growing in popularity in this part of the world where people are known to be more religious?
Coming from a country which is massively supported by Muslims, its pretty tough to do any kind of Metal music at the first place, let alone Black / Death Metal. But I would like to say that things are really changing around here which we could not think of five years back. A lot of bands are pumping in in the Metal scene but yes, the popularity of Black / Death Metal is relatively low in this part of the world. The foundation of Black / Death Metal on this holy land lays deep with the birth of the mighty Weapon. Eternal Armageddon also played a significant role. Though we only have a few Black / Death Metal bands but all of them are doing great music and the flavors really vary from band to band. As for Abominable Carnivore, we do what we believe and preach. Jahiliyyah and Nafarmaan have their own distinctive philosophies and flavors. We do have a strong community here amongst the bands. We (Abominable Carnivore) want to stay like that and keep producing quality music. As a matter of fact, we are doing pretty good as per our plans!
About the whole Metal scene, massive changes and improvements have been observed in the last few years. A lot of talented bands are coming up and they are focusing more on the originals. There are organizations like Primitive Invocation and Metal Morgue who are putting up quality shows. We had Manzer (France), Infernal Curse (Argentina) and Abigail (Japan) in Bangladesh. A lot of our bands are touring abroad and representing our country which is even greater! Altogether, our scene is getting better day by day, year by year.
Just out of curiosity, what influenced the name ‘Abominable Carnivore’?
Very interesting question you have asked. During the early days of this band, I was looking for such a name which would have that violent, extreme and ruthless vibe in it, keeping the sound we wanted to produce in my head. “Abominable Carnivore”, the name has those elements in it and it really represents those things, thus was the name fixed!
Well, share us which bands have been on your playlists lately!
Recently I have been listening to some interesting bands / albums constantly. Firstly, I would like to mention the latest album of Deeds of Flesh. I think its pretty cool and insane stuff! I am also listening to this really old band called Hideous Divinity and Evile’s new album ‘Skull’. That’s pretty much it at the moment.
Would you care to reveal a little as to what holds for the band in the future?
We are planning on touring with some Asian bands which I won’t reveal much about right now. You already know that we are working on our full length album. Theres a possibility of coming up with a split as well. As for the local shows, I can’t say much right now as there may be some chain shows this year and we are talking with some Asian bands to tour Bangladesh. It is going to be killerI Hopefully!
Thanks for the time Demodulated! I appreciate it. Finally, if you have any words for the fans, the space is all yours!
For the fans, I would like to pay my gratitudes to them for their immense support! Fans from Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Sweden and Malaysia you guys are awesome! I would like to thank our brothers from Jahiliyyah, Nafarmaan, Dissector, Enmachined, Narsamhaar, Dying Out Flame, Insane Prophecy and Plague Throat, thanks for the immense support!