Mar 262012

Earlier this month, Andy Synn passed his 18-month anniversary as a writer for NCS. His first post was a review of Dimmu Borgir’s Abrahadabra album. In all that time, Andy has rarely mentioned that in addition to writing about metal, he is also the vocalist for a UK metal band called Bloodguard. Maybe it’s that famous British reserve, or perhaps it’s because Andy is a gentleman and a scholar in addition to being a writer and a howler. I, however, am not limited by good manners or any sense of humility, and I have some news about Bloodguard that needs to be spread like the plague.

First, the band have now set the official track-listing for their debut album, Patterns In The Infinite, and this is it:

1. Eye Of The Paradox
2. Vanguard
3. Footsteps (Of The Dead)
4. Our Lady Of The Flood
5. Black Math Ritual
6. Panopticon
7. Final Prayer
8. Bridgeburner

After the jump, you’ll find an album preview video that will give you a taste of what the songs sound like in their unmixed form, although the order of the samples in the video doesn’t match the track-listing. But first, there’s even bigger news, because I’ve discovered from Andy the identities of five guests whose talents will be enhancing Bloodguard’s new album — and it’s quite an exciting list: Arthur von Nagle (Cormorant), Michiel Dekker and Ivo Hilgenkamp (The Monolith Deathcult), Seth Hecox (Becoming the Archetype), and Demonstealer (Demonic Resurrection). Continue reading »

Mar 082012

(In this post, Andy Synn interviews The Demonstealer (Sahil Makhija), frontman of India’s flagship metal band, Demonic Resurrection. As you’ll see, he has a lot of irons in the fire.)


Your last album The Return To Darkness was released back in 2010: it’s had amazing staying power and continues to attract new fans and positive reviews even now. Stupid question, but just how proud are you of what you have achieved with it?

I would say I’m quite proud of what we’ve achieved with it. We got signed to Candlelight Records to have it released, so that was kind of the biggest payoff for us. Musically, we’ll obviously aim to better what we did. We’ll probably say the new record is our best work to date (which musician doesn’t? :P). So yes, I’m quite satisfied with the way it’s gone, but there is a long long way to go yet.

What was the compositional process for the record like? How do you write, either individually or as a group?

Given the instability of the band’s lineup I’ve always remained the primary songwriter in the band and Mephisto has been the second key contributor musically.  I started writing songs in 2007/2008 for this record and that was about the time Virendra Kaith joined us as a drummer, so jamming with him had a huge influence on my riff playing because while our previous drummer was more straight-out death metal, Virendra bought a different style of drumming to the table, which was influenced by bands like Meshuggah, Sikth, Textures. etc., and we had to kind of get him up to speed to the death metal style. So I think that’s how we got most of the sound for the record.

Daniel Rego joined us in 2008 as a lead guitarist and he contributed mostly the solos and some riffs on the record. His lead playing in my opinion was absolutely stellar and exactly what we needed. So the songs were written and then jammed on and edited and changed around til we got the best possible result. We tend to record everything and then we have about 5-6 versions of each song and there is an evolution process involved with the tracks so we can get the best out of it. Continue reading »

Feb 152012

Demonic Resurrection (India) and Satyros (Germany) are two bands we’ve been following for a while at NCS, and they both have some recent news I thought was worth sharing, in part because they’re further examples of how the business of metal is changing.


I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that DR is currently India’s best-known and most popular extreme metal band. They’re been riding a wave of deserved recognition that has been surging since the release of their third album, The Return To Darkness, in 2010.

On February 8, the band announced their goal of making a self-financed music video and soliciting financial help from fans. Other bands have been using the Kickstarter or Pledge Music web sites as vehicles for raising money for projects such as videos, the recording of new albums, transferring releases to vinyl, and even buying vehicles to make touring possible. Those sites weren’t ideal for India-based DR because they collect funds in dollars and require payment by credit cards (which many DR fans don’t have). So, DR partnered with a local music webzine called India Music Revolution to run the project.

They set a goal of raising 100,000 Indian rupees (about $2,000), and offered various reward packages depending on the level of commitment. Just a little more than 48 hours later — 48 hours — DR announced that they had met their funding goal. That speaks pretty loudly about the dedication and support of DR fans. But people can still donate to the project, and DR is now offering further inducements to keep the pledges coming in. Continue reading »

Dec 302011

(The Indian metal scene is vibrant, multi-faceted, and loaded with talented bands waiting to be discovered on the international stage.  In the vanguard of the movement are Demonic Resurrection and their frontman The Demonstealer.  As a songwriter, a musician, the manager of Demonstealer Records, the host of a heavy metal cooking show, and much else besides, he’s a busy dude, but he made time to answer our request for a list of his favorite albums from 2011.)

Considering I haven’t heard much music this year it was very hard putting this list together. Had I heard a lot of the other albums released this year I might have had a different list. Either way, given a choice, this list would be in no particular order, but since we do this thing, here is my list in order.

1. Fleshgod ApocalypseAgony – Oh my god this was my surprise discovery for 2011. I found it thanks to where there was a drum cam video of Francesco Paoli playing the song ‘The Violation”, after which I saw the music video and had my nuts blown off!! I immediately got the album and it’s been in my player ever since. Continue reading »

Dec 222011

It was a good morning on our metallic island. The day here in the Pacific Northwest is dry and bright, I enjoyed BadWolf’s immensely entertaining interview with Arthur Von Nagel (Cormorant), and I’ve been filling my head non-stop with good metal — some cathartic black death from A Hill To Die Upon, a sampling of grindviolence courtesy of Alex Layzell, and a few head-wrecking tracks from Condemned.

I thought briefly about continuing my painful efforts to whittle down the list of most-infectious-song candidates into something less than 100 songs, but decided to put that off a while longer (“Procrastination” being one of my middle names) and instead check out news from the 5,000 bands I follow on Facebook. Turned out to be a wise decision, because in doing that I discovered some extremely high-quality concert video of the mighty Demonic Resurrection performing at the 26th annual Independence Rock festival in Mumbai, India, on November 26.

And by high-quality, I mean (a) it was filmed with about 100 cameras from about 100 different angles (including, like, just underneath the hand of DR’s keyboardist so you get a close-up of his fingers in motion), and (b) it sounds fucking awesome. Also, the stage is festooned with color and smoke and lights and looks killer.

As for the music, it’s over the top. Despite the fact that “Apocalyptic Dawn” is a single song, it almost sounds like a medley (even more so than on DR’s 2005 album, A Darkness Descends), with elements of symphonic black metal, death metal, power metal, and folk metal all effectively fused together — plus a heavy dose of hardcore vocal violence added by guest singer Sunneith Revankar of another Indian band we love around here, Bhayanak Maut. Continue reading »

Oct 302011

On Friday night (Oct. 28), Metallica was scheduled to play a concert in Gurgaon, a suburb of Delhi in India. It was to have been the first stop in Metallica’s first tour of the sub-continent. Tickets to the show were priced between the equivalent of $34 and $57, and the concert had drawn fans from cities across India as well as countries such as Bangladesh, China, Nepal, Indonesia and Singapore. Unfortunately, it never happened.

After more than 20,000 fans waited for more than 3 hours at the venue (including a two-hour delay in being allowed inside), an announcement was made that the show would be postponed to the following night due to “technical difficulties”. News reports indicate that Metallica (or their representatives) were unhappy with the audio systems and the adequacy of the security barricade that would separate fans from the stage. It also turns out that the tour organizers (from an outfit called DNA Entertainment) had over-sold the 25,000-person capacity of the venue.

Many of the fans didn’t take the postyponement news very well, particularly when it was learned that Metallica was taking part in a press conference at the same time. Although most left the venue calmly when asked to do so, others rushed the stage, damaged equipment, and some even attempted to set fire to banners. And that led the organizers and Metallica to cancel the Gurgaon show altogether.

Early Saturday, police arrested the “operational head” of DNA Entertainment and three other company employees, charging them with fraud and cheating. (more after the jump, including video . . .) Continue reading »

Jan 212011

One week ago, we posted a piece by NCS contributor Siddharth Darbha introducing us (and many of you) to an Indian metal band called Scribe. You can read Siddharth’s article here. Siddharth noted that Scribe’s 2010 album, Mark of Teja, had been nominated for Best Album at the 2010 edition of The Jack Daniel’s Rock Awards.

By way of background, this is the sixth year for those awards, which are organized in association with Rolling Stone (India) magazine. This year, 280 entries were submitted for the 16 award categories, including Song of the Year, Band of the Year, and Album of the Year. The editors of Rolling Stone whittled the list down to five nominees in each category, and those were then presented to a nine-member jury of judges. The award winners were decided by a combination of weighted jury votes and popular votes on a specially created web site. Bear in mind that the nominees for each award came from a range of genres — not limited, for example, to extreme metal.

Last night, the awards were announced at a live event at The Hard Rock Cafe in Mumbai. And guess what? Scribe pretty much ran the table, winning the Popular Choice awards for Song of the Year (“1234 Dracula”) and Album of the Year, as well as the Critics’ Choice Awards for Song of the Year and Band of the Year. Scribe’s Srinivas Sunderrajan also won the Bassist of the Year award. For all the results, go here.

Congratulations to Scribe for carrying the flag of Indian metal to the top of the heap — and congrats also to Demonic Resurrection for winning the Popular Choice award for Band of the Year. Pretty damn cool to see two metal bands like this being named Band of the Year against competitors from “more accessible” genres.

And along the same lines, did you know that on Monday of this week none other than Watain‘s album Lawless Darkness won the Swedish version of the Grammy award for “Best Hard Rock” Album of the Year? It did. “Hard rock” clearly means something different in Sweden than it does in the U.S. Holy shit.

Jan 022011

As of yesterday, we’d finished rolling out, in no particular order, the first 10 entries on our list of 2010’s most infectious extreme songs. (For a full explanation of what we mean by “most infectious”, read this.) So far, here’s what we’ve got:

Byfrost: “Desire”
Evocation: “Sweet Obsession”
Keep of Kalessin: “Dragon iconography”
Living Sacrifice: “Rules of Engagement”
Kataklysm: “Suicide River”
Kalmah: “Bullets Are Blind”
Finntroll: “Solsagan”
Eluveitie: “Thousandfold”
Coliseum: “Blind In One Eye”
Kvelertak: “Blodtørst”

Today, we’re starting on the next 10. Does that mean we’re stopping at 20? Not necessarily. We’re still futzing with our list. If we had to place a bet today, we’d bet the final list will be closer to 30. Just depends on whether our naturally lazy natures succeed in stopping us from trying to shave the list down to something shorter.

Today’s additions to the list begin to draw us into black-metal territory — but trust us, they’re damned infectious.  Stay with us after the jump as we roll out songs by Demonic Resurrection and Sargeist. Continue reading »

Jun 232010

More than two months ago we stumbled across a band from Mumbai, India, called Demonic Resurrection whose music hit us upside our blunt foreheads like a stout, low-hanging limb. We can’t remember what snagged our attention, though it may have been the news that Candlelight Records had agreed to handle the worldwide release of their third album, The Return to Darkness, which the band had originally self-released in January.

Whatever the reason, we were quite taken by a song from the album called “The Unrelenting Surge of Vengeance”, which the band had featured in a music video, and we wrote about it here. Eventually, we tracked down a copy of The Return to Darkness, and it blew us away.

We acknowledged back then that we were probably late-comers in our admiration for DR, and now we’ve got proof — because over the last week they’ve won a couple of notable awards, signifying that lots of other people paid attention long before we did. And we’re pretty fucking happy for them, and for the many metalheads who’ve been devoted fans of DR for a lot longer than we’ve been. So, we’re here today saying congratz to Demonic Ressurection.

And by sheer coincidence, we also just learned that another band we’ve been hot about — Shining — have won a righteous award of their own. So this post is a congratz to them, too.

And, last but not least, we want to say congratz to some other Indian bands we’ve admired from afar — Infernal Wrath and Bhayanak Maut — who also won recognition at one of the ceremonies that handed out awards to DR.

And because all these bands are on our minds, we’re going to remind you about them by serving up a collection of songs for you to hear, just in case you weren’t hanging around this site back when we first got up off our lazy asses and took notice of them.  (all that shit is after the jump, of course . . .) Continue reading »

May 022010

We’ve got so damn much new music to hear, it’s ridiculous (and so much of it is ridiculously good). At the same time, we’re also trying to explore new metal horizons — and in doing that, we continue to discover that extreme metal is truly a burgeoning global phenomenon. A case in point: Metal from India.

Not so long ago we stumbled across a couple of really good bands based in Mumbai called Demonic Resurrection and Bhayanak Maut, and wrote about them here and here. In response to those posts, we received lots of comments and e-mails from NCS readers in India, not only praising those bands but also recommending others. We’re still working our way through those recommendations as time permits — and we definitely need more fucking time!

One name popped up continually in the tips we received — Infernal Wrath — and once we hit that music on the list of bands to check out, it brought us to a full stop. And we went back and listened again. And again. And again.

Their 2009 album Inside of Me is a remarkable blend of musical styles and traditions that’s a real attention-grabber. It’s a serious, meticulously planned and superbly played work that by turns is exotic, beautiful, headbangingly compulsive, and brutally heavy. Trust us on this — it’s definitely worth your time.  (more after the jump, including a song to hear . . .) Continue reading »