Over a significant span of years — going all the way back to the spring of 2010, in fact — we’ve devoted a lot of attention to the musical endeavors of the multi-faceted Mumbai-based extreme metal musician Sahil Makhija, whose nom de guerre is Demonstealer. We’ve followed his progress through the bands he has led, including Demonic Resurrection and Reptilian Death, as well as through his solo work in Demonstealer.
In addition to his musical output, which has featured live appearances at big European metal fests, his career has included starting a record label, establishing a professional recording studio dedicated to extreme metal, and even hosting a YouTube cooking show. And so, through two decades of activity in the often-fractious metal “community” he has not only survived but often thrived, and is probably India’s best-known figure in its heavy music landscape.
Of course, those two decades weren’t all smooth sailing. “Smooth sailing” is a foreign concept in the world of extreme metal, where fans are fickle, money is always scarce, and failure rather than fortune tends to be the dominant narrative. Yet despite all the obstacles, Sahil is still working at what he loves, and we have a new Demonstealer EP to show for it. Its title is And This Too Shall Pass, and today we’re bringing you the premiere of one of its four death metal tracks, presented via an official video, in advance of the EP’s release on December 11th.
Almost three years have passed since Demonstealer’s last album, The Last Reptilian Warrior, which included collaborations with Kévin Paradis (Benighted, Svart Crown), Romain Goulon (Necrophagist), Kerim Lechner (Septic Flesh, Decapitated) and David Diepold (Obscura), among others. And we’re more than three years on from Demonic Resurrection‘s last full-length, Dashavatar. Ironically, it was the COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant lockdown in India that provided the inspiration for Demonstealer’s return. Those factors also probably have something to do with the fact that this time he’s going it alone, performing all the instruments and vocals.
Like the EP as a whole, the song we’re premiering today — “Systemic Failure” — is a lyrically dark one. It expresses the will to revolt against systemic oppression in a world where humanity has failed — but concludes with a sign that resistance has come too late to save humanity from itself. But as dark as that concluding lyric is, the music expresses defiance in electrifying fashion.
The song’s main rhythmic drive is a hard-charging gallop, which suits the savagery of Demonstealer’s growls and screams, and the feverishness of the seething and darting riffs. But as this fiery song unfolds, it reveals other facets, from bullet-spitting drumwork to impassioned (and infectious) singing, from spurts of quivering and rapidly slithering melody to spectral shimmering reverberations that gave the music a glorious, exotic feeling. The song builds to blood-pumping crescendos, but it’s a thriller from start to finish.
And This Too Shall Pass was recorded by Demonstealer at Demonic Studios in India, and it was mixed and mastered by Hertz Studio in Poland. The eye-catching cover art was created by Adi Dechristianize. It’s recommended for fans of early In Flames, Behemoth, and Kataklysm, and it’s available for pre-order and pre-save now. Along with today’s premiere we’re also including a stream of the previously released song “This Crumbling Earth“.