For most people reading these words the island nation of Sri Lanka is at least half a world away geographically, and many worlds away in its history, culture, and the roots of its internal divisions. Life Is Suffering, the forthcoming third album by the Sri Lankan black metal band Dhishti, is conceptually based upon ancient traditions and practices that still exist in the country, and current ills to which they are connected. Even the band’s name invokes ancient beliefs. Here is the explanation we have been provided:
“The name Dhishti is a Sinhalese term which holds the meaning of demonic possessions. In the ancient times the people of the small Indian oceanic island of Sri Lanka believed mental illnesses are in-fact demonic processions caused by evil spirits, or Dhishti, and conducted various occult rituals and ceremonies (Thovil) to treat the effected….
“The album speaks about these beliefs, rituals and prophecies which are still to this date followed by certain groups of people…. The album’s lyrics are written in an older form of the native language, which originated over 2000 years ago. The language was selected specifically due to these rituals being originally carried out in the language of Sinhala, and to translate it into any other language would take away its originality and authenticity.”
In the early years of their existence (which date back to 2009), Dhishti described their style as “atmospheric depressive black metal”, but as the band’s lineup changed and they worked on the songs on the new album over a decade-long period, the music evolved. What we have for you today is the premiere of a song that expresses some of the changes.
Dhishti have provided texts that describe the subjects of all the songs on Life Is Suffering. For the song we’re now presenting, they say this:
“මරුදැපවිල්ල (Marudepawilla) is a ritual of sacrifice done in the name of the demon ‘Reeri’ or ‘Maru Reeri. A human sacrifice is offered to the demon during a ritualistic dance. The cadaver is then later wrapped in a reed mat and taken to the wild to be decomposed”.
From the very beginning, “Marudepawilla” towers and sweeps, creating an atmosphere of bleakness and grandeur. Those feelings grow increasingly deranged and despairing as the song unfolds. Turbulent drums and terrorizing shrieks underscore the emotional upheavals, and Dishti also bring in huge thrusting riffs and wild ululating screams separated in the channels. There’s cruelty in those sounds, and dementia.
As the drums hammer and the low end movements gouge and rumble, a glittering and wailing guitar brings in elements of traditional Sri Lankan melody, accompanying the ancient words expelled in savage growling tones. The music sounds mystical but also unnerving — it’s undeniably a dire and daunting experience, and moods of anguish re-surface in the guitar leads and in the chilling wails of the vocalist.
As viscerally powerful as the song is, it soars again in panoramic flight, expanding to a vast scale of heart-breaking calamity.
Dhishti make clear that they “do not support suicidal, anti-life, pessimistic, Nazism ideas or self-mutilative, killing-yourself trends”. They do not believe that suicide is “the answer to the despicable behaviour of humanity”.
The texts that Dhishti have provided for the other songs on the album provide interesting insights, and we’ve included all of them below, including an explanation for the previously released first single from the new album, “මරණාශෘති (Maranashruti)” — and below you’ll find a stream of that song too.
Life Is Suffering will be co-released on May 19th by Satanath Records (Georgia), Australis Records (Chile), Slava Productions (Thailand), and Tragedy Productions (Chile.: They strongly recommend the album for fans of Shining, Forgotten Tomb, Silencer, Bethlehem, and Dissection. The album was mixed and mastered by Ashane Silva, and features cover art by Aghy R. Purakusuma.
CONCEPTUAL ABSTRACTS FOR THE SONGS (PROVIDED BY DHISHTI)
“Kannalaua” is a demonic invocation chant used in the demonic rituals or “Thovil”. It speaks of the names of different demons and invites them to accept the sacrifices made in their name and to heal the affected human being.
“Maranashruti” speaks about the impermanence of life and the assurance of death being common to all beings of this universe. In the lyrics, it is mentioned as the wind blows out the flame of a candle death is owed to everyone. Upon the birth of all beings, the only certain factor of life is death and nothing else. Like the line drawn in water, like the morning bloom and a strike of lightning, all life is impermanent. Like the sun rising every day death is certain to come to all of us.
“Sooriya Wansha Kala Sajhayana” literally translates to the dark chants of the solar dynasty. It is a prophecy mentioned in Buddhist philosophy with regard to the end of the world. It speaks of a place in future where there will be seven suns which will burn the earth to ashes. It affirms that even though the sun the moon and the elements of nature seem eternal, even they are subject to decay and destruction at one point. Dhishti speaks of a ritual during which a single demon appears on the mortal plane in the form of various animals, finally manifesting its true form; that of a demon, hundreds of feet tall. The demon is offered sacrifices which would enable the initiator of the ritual to obtain riches in exchange.
‘Neecha Paapa” is a ritual of sacrifice where a demon is summoned to punish those who have sinned. The song describes how the demon would torture its prey by pulling out the skin and eyes and letting the perpetrator bleed to death and finally satisfying the bloodlust by beheading its prey.
“Akshidhara” literally translates to “Tears”. This song speaks of the origin story of the most famous demon in Sri Lanka, the legendary Mahasona. The song is written from the point of view of the wife of the demon. How she grieves his death and the conversion from a human to a demon, wishing for her death so she will be reunited with her late husband.
“Marudepawilla” is a ritual of sacrifice done in the name of the demon “Reeri” or “Maru Reeri”. A human sacrifice is offered to the demon during a ritualistic dance. The cadaver is then later wrapped in a reed mat and taken to the wild to be decomposed.
Good stuff. Dark and cold, and a bit mesmerizing sometimes. Thanks for all the background info. Very interesting.
Thank you devil. It is indeed dark, cold, and a bit mesmerizing, and I’m very glad the band provided the textual info about each song.