(In this new interview Comrade Aleks spoke with the Bangladeshi death metal band Kaal Akuma, who have already made a very strong favorable impression with both their 2021 debut album and a new EP released this past April by Nuclear Winter Records.)
Kaal Akuma appeared in one of the March Seen and Heard issues here – the death metal band from Bangladesh with a new EP Turiya released in April by Nuclear Winter Records. Their fierce, savage, and chaotic full-length In the Mouth of Madness (Dunkelheit Produktionen, 2021) didn’t pass unnoticed either, but this band needs wider exposure and so we do what we can.
The last known line-up is Rivoo (vocals, bass), Ah Puch (drums), and Akif (guitars), and this trio surpassed the rawness of uncontrolled anger embodied in the debut and made Turiya not only authentic but a more dangerous and focused entity. Just three tracks grant a 21-minute experience of macabre death and madness. Let’s learn more what Kaal Akuma hide behind these songs.
(We thank Nathan Birk (Suspicious Activities PR) for organizing the interview.)
Hail Kaal Akuma! How are you? What’s going on in your lair?
Hails! It is going pretty good so far. Really stoked about the release. We are going through some changes with the lineup. Meanwhile, continuing to write new stuffs.
Really? How soon do you expect to complete another album?
As mentioned, we are going through a change in our line-up. We are also occupied with sharpening our skills as well, to write and play more new and fierce music. So we will probably complete another album within two years.
The band is relatively new, so can you tell about its origin? How did you manage to start playing death metal?
Kaal Akuma was formed in late 2018. We are a band from Dhaka, Bangladesh. Though Kaal Akuma is pretty new, we were playing together from way back. The three of us had a thrash metal act before Kaal Akuma — the band was called Invictus. We always wanted to play some nasty death metal even while we were playing thrash metal. We used to listen to a lot of death metal stuffs and loved the music. So, with time we slowly started to make death metal music and grew into the sound. Then we decided to dissolve the thrash metal band and started playing death metal wholeheartedly.
Which bands helped you to shape Kaal Akuma’s sound? Can you tell us whether you were highly influenced by others or did you search for your own way?
There are numerous bands that we loved to listen to and still do. Among the local bands, Nekrohowl, Orator, Warhound, and many others really pushed us to pursue death metal. When it comes to international bands, we listen to a lot of Incantation, Immolation, Dead Congregation, Blood Incantation, old Slayer, Morbid Angel, Bolt Thrower, Grave Miasma, and Obliteration, to name a few. These bands have some of the major influences when it comes to our songwriting. But, with time, we tried to focus more on having a fresh and original sound while keeping the bite of OSDM intact.
By the way, what does the band’s name mean?
“Kaal” means “Time” in Sanskrit and Bengali. “Akuma” means “Devil” in Japanese. Kaal Akuma refers to a devil controlling time and space.
Is it something from local folklore or your own imagination?
It’s definitely not something from our local folklore. It’s more of our own creation. We tend to have our own curved characters and mythologies. Imagination you could say. Whom we consider as a very serious pillar of our compositions and the way we approach our compositions.
How much of local influences do you see in Kaal Akuma? How do you see the band’s own identity?
We have some local or eastern classical influences when it comes to our note selection and in drum lines. Other than that the band’s identity, sound, and philosophy is very much personal. We have some black metal sounding riffs and some doom and psychedelic approach too. Some people like to call us psychedelic or doom death. But for us we do just death metal from a very personal space.
Kaal Akuma is the first band from Bangladesh which I have interviewed. Can you tell a bit about the local scene? How is it? What kind of opportunities do you have regarding gigs, studios, etc?
We have a solid extreme metal scene here with a lot of bands doing really good music. Among the local classics there are bands like Orator, Warhound, Nafarmaan, Nekrohowl, Thrash, Abominable Carnivore, etc. There are also other bands like Infuscation, Trainwreck, Karmant, Naad, and Torture Goregrinder, to name a few more who are killing it.
There are about 6-10 extreme metal gigs a year in Dhaka. Outside Dhaka the number is lesser. But we do have gigs in cities like Chittagong, Rajshahi, Sylhet, Khulna, etc. When it comes to recording facilities, it is quite limited. There are not many places, and to most engineers this type of music is quiet alien. So, bands struggle to put forward regular releases. As a result, many bands opt towards a DIY approach to save the trouble.
And what about metalheads and their attitude? How do these rare gigs go? I know that situations when bands play mainly for other bands’ members and some accidental spectators are common in many parts of the world.
Metalheads are awesome and absolutely extreme especially in these rare gigs. That’s what we love about small rare gigs. But we tend to have many crowds who would listen very carefully to what we are playing. We find it very appreciative. And we do get band members and some accidental spectators too. That’s not an issue I think.
Your first album In the Mouth of Madness was released by the German label Dunkelheit Produktionen in 2021. How did you get in touch with them? Was this collaboration successful for you?
We are quite happy to see how the debut album turned out. It had very positive feedback and was pretty well received internationally and locally. Getting in touch with them was straightforward. We mailed them our demo after recording and heard back from them quiet fast. They liked our music and we wanted them to move forward with the release. They were a huge support for the music to spread. We are quite pleased with the outcome.
Did you feel people’s feedback when the album was released?
We were very much surprised by the support and feedbacks from people. From old fans and new. We didn’t expect much, as we did this from a very personal space. We didn’t even think of what could be the support we might get. We are happy to share extreme sounds and grateful to these extreme metal listeners.
The album was named after a killer movie with Sam Neill. How would you sum up your songs’ lyrics? Was it all about horror and gore?
The lyrics of In the Mouth of Madness is inspired from the movie and the book. But it is more of a personal take. It has some gore in it, but it mostly talks about the horrors in our minds and slavery to our thoughts. The other songs like “Feast on Mortals” and “Black Death Sacrifice” have a fair share of horror and gore infused in them.
I see that your lyrics are tagged also as “Lovecraftian horror”. Do you accept this definition?
It’s partially “Lovecraftian horror”, numbers like “Black Death Sacrifice”, “In the Mouth of Madness”. But definitely not all of it. We have many compositions from our personal philosophy and very much originally Kaal Akuma.
How and where did you record the album? What was most difficult in that recording session?
Both of our albums were recorded in Studio Baksho, Dhaka. The first one was more of a challenge compared to the second release. There was a lot of experimentation along the process. The most challenging part was finding the right sound. As it was our first studio experience, we had quite a steep learning curve. Also, we opted for live recording on that record, which turned out to be quite challenging.
Was it your decision or an offer of the sound-engineer to record In the Mouth of Madness live?
Yes we decided to record that way. We wanted to keep our nasty horror sound absolutely intact raw.
Your new EP Turiya is released by Nuclear Winter Records. How did you manage to change the label?
We were signed to Dunkelheit for one album. We always wanted a release or two with Nuclear Winter Records as there are many bands in the roster that we listen to. So, after the recording was done, we mailed NWR and came in contact with Anastasis. We were really stoked to get his reply regarding the release and decided to move forward with it. He has shown great support throughout the release process.
How did you work over this material? Did you set some goals before the band when you started writing Turiya?
Recording Turiya was a very spontaneous process. We did not plan much. We were making music and wanted to make something that sounded good to us. We experimented with the sound and song patterns and the songs turned out to be quite different than our first release. We also have a lot of fun playing them.
Do you have an opportunity to support the release with a series of gigs or a small tour in your area? How do such things work there?
We are definitely interested to follow the release with some gigs. But, it will take some time as we are having a change in the lineup. Besides, stringing simultaneous gigs is a challenge. The extreme metal community in Bangladesh is small, making the organizers and bands very close knit. Usually, the organizers hit up the bands they want to play in their gigs and that is how it happens. The gigs beyond the borders are also organized by mutual contacts, friends, and well-wishers.
Are you meaning that you have already played abroad? Where did it happen? India? I’m wondering if Myanmar is an option too…
We headlined in India. Kolkata to be specific. The show was “Dead by Dawn”. Earlier we had plans to tour a few countries in South Asia but due to the pandemic it wasn’t possible. But surely we would love to do more gigs abroad. Also Myanmar could be an option too. Definitely positive as long as it’s extreme metal and with no perfume, haha.
Thank you for the interview. Did we skip something? What are your plans for the rest of 2023?
Thanks a lot! The plans for the rest of the year consist of making more music, playing some gigs if possible, and having fun while doing it! Cheers!