Tag Archives: Sahil Makhija

Rolling Stone Metal Awards 2015 at Blue Frog, Mumbai

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RSMA 2015
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Demonic Resurrection announce new guitarist

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Indian metal veterans Demonic Resurrection, who recently parted ways with long time guitarist Daniel Kenneth Rego have announced his replacement – axeman Nishith Hegde, known for his work with Albatross and Reptilian Death has now joined the band. An official announcement was made via the band’s Facebook page along with a clip of Nishith playing solos from the bands last album The Return To Darkness that was released in 2010 on Candlelight Records.

At the farewell concert held at Blue Frog on 19th January 2014, Hegde joined the band mid-way through their set on stage for the rest of the set trading off solos with Daniel while Demonstealer took over just vocals. Demonic Resurrection are currently putting the final touches on their 4th full-length album due for release sometime in 2014. No details about the album or it’s release date have been revealed yet.

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Reptilian Death announce UK debut at Hammerfest 2014

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Reptilian Death have announced their debut appearance in the UK at the prestigious Hammerfest 2014. The 6th edition of the festival which is taking place from 13th till 16th March at Hafan Y Môr Holiday Park, North Wales is being headlined by Kreator and Overkill.

We’re stoked to be playing at Hammerfest 2014. Our album releases 15th October  in the UK and Europe on Old School Metal Records so we know that we need to tour and get as many people to listen to us. Hammerfest is a kickass place to make our UK debut and we hope to follow that up with more dates to promote the new record. I’ve played before in the UK with Demonic Resurrection so I know it’s going to be kick-ass!” commented DemonstealerSahil Makhija.

Reptilian Death’s sophomore album ‘The Dawn Of Consummation And Emergence‘ released digitally on iTunes on 9th September via Old School Metal Records. The physical format releases worldwide on 15th October .

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Reptilian Death inks deal with Old School Metal Records

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Reptilian Death has inked a deal with California-based record label Old School Metal Records. The label will be releasing the band’s latest album The Dawn Of Consummation And Emergence worldwide on 10th October .

I’m really happy and grateful to sign up with OSM. I’ve known Patrick (OSM CEO) for a while now and he’s very passionate about the music and I couldn’t have asked for a better label to release the album on. The album released a while back in India and now finally our fans overseas can get their hands on a copy. We should also be working on some dates to tour UK/Europe in early 2014.” commented Sahil Makhija aka Demonstealer.

Reptilian Death has long existed in the shadows of the Indian metal scene as the side project of Demonic Resurrection frontman, Demonstealer. The band spent their first 12 years making sporadic live appearances and changing line-ups fairly often. During that time, Reptilian Death had an almost humorous disposition, writing little spoof metal epics like ‘5 Easy Ways To Murder Someone‘ and ‘Nursery Rhymes For Satan’s Children‘ while balancing a handful of serious tracks which eventually found themselves on their 2004 debut, ‘Total Annihilation’. In 2006, the band’s direction took a turn for the serious with the release of their EP Intestinal Feast on the Defaced And Split album, which also featured Exhumation, Warface and Narsil.
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The road to the future is paved with ‘Heavy Metal’

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Metal is growing at a rapid rate in India. Most people who are part of the scene today don’t even know what it was like almost a decade ago – from having almost no bands playing original music, no international metal concerts, no album releases, few festivals, lack of good recording studios etc. to what exists today- an Indian Metal scene. We now have bands writing original music, new venues and avenues for bands to play, almost 30 releases a year for metal alone, lots of good recording studios, almost 5-6 international metal artists touring the country every year and considerable growth in infrastructure. The Indian Metal scene is coming of age slowly, but surely.

So the big question is where do we go from here? What is the future of heavy metal in India? The rate at which our scene grows is going to depend on the “support” it receives which means that it lies in the hands of “the fans”. Every scene develops commercially which essentially means that there has to be money to sustain the scene. It doesn’t matter if it is a new trend like Djent or Old school or even the underground Porno grind scene. Whatever the case may be, unless there are dedicated fans who are willing to spend and support their favourite bands, the scene goes nowhere. Let me break it down – when fans pay for the music it enables bands to invest and record that music and then sell it. When a fan pays for a ticket he ensures the band earns money which allows the artist to play more shows, if the artist makes no money from shows he has to earn a living elsewhere which results in lesser shows and maybe ending up playing only local shows when time permits.

The Indian artistes have developed to a point where they are investing huge amounts of money to record their music well, package it into CDs/Digipacks/Boxsets and create a good product for fans to buy. Gig organizers are creating festival properties with international artists and local bands to create a great concert experience. Unless they see returns for the money and effort spent, bands are going to find it hard to continue forward. However this is not all that the future is limited to. Corporate funding and a growing interest in metal has made college festivals the hotspot for international bands to play, which in turn has made India the new touring destination as these festivals pay the bands good money, sometimes even more than they would be paid in the United States or Europe. As a result, there is bound to be a huge increase in the number of bands touring India and playing college festivals. This means kids who dreamt of their band opening for their idols at a concert might actually get to do that for real.

The international interest in India started with Sam Dunns’ documentary ‘Global Metal’ and we have also seen Metal Hammer from the UK take a special interest in India by featuring Indian bands twice in their Planet Metal CD. The reason behind this probably because they believe we have the next big market for metal.

Remember, we are 1.2 billion people. In 10 years’ time, even if we manage to convert just 1 million of them into metal heads, we will have a pot of gold on our hands. But it is all going to depend on the fans and whether or not they support their passion, I don’t mean a fan needs to buy a bands album or merchandise just for showing “support” but if you as a fan believe that it is worth your money and you want to continue to see that band do well 5 years down the line, the future is in your hands. You can start the ‘Heavy Metal Revolution.’

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The Dawn of Consummation and Emergence by Reptilian Death

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Sahil Makhija, aka The Demonstealer, is a busy person. If he’s not busy with his flagship project Demonic Resurrection, then he’s busy trying to rub your funny bone with Workshop. Or maybe (if you’re lucky) you get to be his guinea pig for the day and sample his demonic cooking (damn I wished I lived in Mumbai!) And let’s not forget his solo projects, his guitar and processor endorsements, his endless promotion of the Indian metal scene, and god knows what else! With his fingers in so many pies it is amazing how he manages time to bring out another album for his death metal project Reptilian Death.

Titled The Dawn of Consummation and Emergence, Reptilian Death’s sophomore effort is characterized by some very sleek production, making it a novelty buy for collectors of original Indian metal albums. Even the artwork on the album cover is an eye catcher, and it really does arrest you, though whether you like it or not is a different question altogether. The album name as well as the names of each of the 12 tracks on hand make for good reading too!

The album opens with ‘Primeval’ a short intro that does well to put into place the mood for the rest of the album. Next, ‘Inchoate’ starts off with some very vehement riffing that lays the foundation for Vinay Venkatesh to growl his way through the remaining duration of the song. An enjoyable track, however the Bhayanak Maut mark on the album is already very evident despite it being just the second song. ‘Stimulate, Hike, Impel, Tear’ delivers much the same but the drumming stands out and it lends a lot of high intensity energy to the song. The song’s lyrics too are a delight to read and quite graphic. The next two – ‘Soaked With The Imperfections Of Puerile Blood’ and ‘Emerge, Hatred, Emerge’, are among the better tracks of the album, and especially the latter with its gradual decrease in tempo towards the song’s end. The guitars are tight and they add a lot of texture in conjunction with Sahil’s tight drumming and Ashwin Shriyan’s confident basslines.

By now you pretty much know what the album is all about and you can’t but help find the songs a tad repetitive. The drums sound great, as does the bass, the riffs sound aggressive and the vocals are what you would expect from a vocalist who sounds as monstrous as Vinay. A great package all round, but not too many surprises so far. In fact at this point you’d probably find the song names more interesting than the actual music. Track number 9 is next in line for your listening pleasure, and it is a song simply titled as ‘O’.‘O’ successfully manages to break away from the tediousness that was in danger of taking this album down. Featuring a catchy guitar solo from the guest artiste, Demonic Resurrection’s very own Daniel Rego, this song has a lot of brutality and also that small dose of melody which keeps ringing in your head for days. The variety in texture as a whole makes ‘O’ a pretty decent composition and probably the stand-out track of the album for me. On to track number 10 and ‘Now You Graze Upon Me’ turns out to be another interesting song that also successfully avoids becoming monotonous; with impressive vocals, you almost feel like Vinay is breathing down your neck, waiting to rape you or maim you or something equally deadly. Also impressive is Sahil’s use of the double bass in this track. The album ends well with track numbers 11 and 12, ‘Marvelous Gods – The Apple Of My Eye’ and ‘Emergence – The World, Your Playground’, although the feeling of “been there, heard that” seems to creep upon you again, ever so slightly. But there are parts which make these songs stand out, including another nice guest appearance by Monsieur Rego, whose melodic guitar solo brings this album to its conclusion.

After listening to The Dawn of Consummation and Emergence it is very apparent that its lack of raw viciousness is something which lets this album down. Every top-notch death metal ditty ever composed has a rawness which would churn your stomach and which would blow your brains out on one listen. But the absence of this x-factor and also the very distinct Bhayanak Maut stamp on the album will not endear it to many fans of this sub-genre, especially to the old school death metal lover.

But that does not mean this is a bad album – far from it. What it lacks in the classic raw element, the album makes up by embracing the more mainstream metal aspect. And as pointed out, while the band might not have actually presented a signature Reptilian Death sound, yet there will be many takers for this album, including fans of both DR and BM. So if you love your music heavy and aggressive, if you are a fan of Vinay’s verbal vicissitude, hell, if you enjoy listening to Sahil play havoc on the drums, then you have more than enough reasons to get hold of this album and give it a spin. Chances are you won’t be disappointed, even though the repetitious nature of some of the songs might bog you down.

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Ashmaan at Jamsteady, Princeton Club Kolkata

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It’s interesting to see the number of projects that we find established musicians being involved in nowadays, outside of their main bread-and-butter band. Sahil Makhija is a prime example – Reptilian Death and Workshop are very popular and successful projects, however the Demonstealer shall always be primarily known as the front man of Demonic Resurrection.

Likewise, in Kolkata, many musicians aren’t solely committed to just one band or one music project these days. Sometimes they take the opportunity to collaborate with other musicians – these collaborations are like an adventure into the unknown, where the musician tries to get out of his/her comfort zone to explore different forms of music – something that generally wouldn’t be possible due to commitments with their main band. Sometimes, however, these partnerships end up being for the fun of it or because the musician in question is just plain old bored and needs to spend some time letting flow his/her creative juices, a temporary way to get rid of boredom.

Ashmaan at Jamsteady, Princeton Club Kolkata

How Sukanti Roy of the Kolkata giants Cassini’s Division got involved with Ashmaan is something I have never asked him. Ashmaan’s electro-acoustic sound is definitely a far cry from the alternative/grungy riffs that are so typical of a Cassini’s Division song. And so the question strikes you – why Ashmaan? Is it just some time-pass side project that the guitarist is involved in before something bigger comes his way?

In order to find out the answer to my question, I decided to take in an Ashmaan gig at the Princeton Club on Friday the 31st of May – they were one of the 2 featured bands for that week’s Friday Jamsteady session, and they were the first act up on stage.

Ashmaan at Jamsteady, Princeton Club Kolkata

For the benefit of our readers here, it should be mentioned that Ashmaan are an electro-acoustic duo with Sukanti Roy as the guitarist/programmer and Anushree Gupta the singer-songwriter. Anushree’s vocals are a delight to the ears. Her voice sounds like a nightingale and yet has that very gypsy-like feel to it. Sukanti uses his acoustic guitar and an eclectic mix of electronic music to great effect to paint a very solid backdrop for each song performed. They are a vernacular band and their originals are in Bengali but they also cover a lot of folk music in various Indian languages.

Ashmaan at Jamsteady, Princeton Club Kolkata

An hour’s performance was enough time for the band to mesmerize the crowd in attendance that evening. Their set-list of 10 songs included both originals and covers of well-known Indian folk songs. They started the proceedings with a very soulful rendition of the popular Lalon song ‘Shomoy Gele’, with Anushree’s vocals hitting you at all the right places. This was followed by one of their originals, ‘Ishita’. The combination of the song’s lyrical intensity intertwined with Sukanti’s acoustical arrangements made it a delight to hear – a beautiful original indeed.

Anushree is well-known for her love of roots music and thus the Ashmaan repertoire includes a vast number of popular Indian folk songs – ‘Rangi Sari’ (Haryanvi), ‘Kinna Sona Tenu Rab Ne Banaya’ (Punjabi) and ‘Piya Re’ (Punjabi) were belted out in quick succession and these covers were made all the more interesting due to the trippy, ambient treatment that each of these songs were given.

My personal favorite for the evening was their original ‘Du-paa’ – the musical arrangement and Anushree’s lilting melody hits you, and you can feel the emotion in her voice transport you across a different plane altogether. Add to that, Sukanti’s excellent musical layout provides the perfect backdrop for this song – a song so very simple in its composition and yet projecting so many layers that it touches your heart instantly.

Ashmaan at Jamsteady, Princeton Club Kolkata

Baul music, indigenous to Bengal, has in recent times gained a huge level of mainstream popularity amongst music lovers. Ashmaan too is known for their love of this form of music, and so it was no surprise to see them cover the popular Baul song ‘Motike Gourange’ – that the crowd loved the acoustic rendition of this number was evident by the way they swayed to its earthy melody. It’s difficult to miss the passion in Anushree’s voice when she goes into her Baul zone, and if by now Ashmaan’s music doesn’t hit you then it’s a sure shot that their music – and roots music in general is not for your ears.

A quick turn-around and Ashmaan go electric for their final two numbers. The extremely popular folk numbers ‘Jugni Ji’ (Punjabi) and ‘Morni Bagama’ (Rajasthani) get the electro-Ashmaan treatment and the crowd is dancing now. Sukanti is in his elements with his electric guitar in hand – a riff here, a riff there and with Anushree hypnotizing us one final time, Ashmaan brings the curtains down on a powerful performance that speaks volumes of their passion and commitment to the band.

Ashmaan at Jamsteady, Princeton Club Kolkata

I had a question that was bugging me before I attended this gig. An hour later, I had my answer. To label Ashmaan as Sukanti Roy’s “side-project” would be an insult to not only just Ashmaan but to the musical prowess of both him and Anushree. That Ashmaan is more than capable of standing on its own two feet and making itself stand out amongst all the new projects that are evolving in the burgeoning musical circus that is Kolkata is testament to the hard work, talent and dedication that this duo display. And it also helped me realize that being overly “rock” or “metal” should never stop you from appreciating music of any form. Especially if the music touches your soul, the way Ashmaan’s did. A big thumbs-up to this duo and to their music – based on this evening’s performance I would definitely recommend music lovers to go check them out!

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Extreme Metal Night feat. Reptilian Death, Solar Deity, Albatross at The Blue Frog, Mumbai

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Sahil Makhija once told me “Mumbai is such a fast moving, vibrant city; it has a sort of rhythmic force. I think that’s why we tend to have more metal from sub genres like power groove.” While power groove had pretty much nothing to do with the extreme metal night at The Blue Frog last week, the city did. The Blue Frog has always seemed to me as a sort of a cocoon that nurtures an alternative universe – a different kind of universe every time. On the 19th of May if you entered The Blue Frog, it would remind you of a James Herbert book – the venue looked dark and forlorn, adding to this were two rubber monster-heads on stage looking gory and welcoming at the same time. With a surprising amount of coverage in mainstream media as well as music webzines, this was a highly anticipated gig. Only a city that houses the monotonous drone of a perpetual Monday, can subsequently house a public that is more than ready to release their frustrations in the midst of some musically channeled violence. This is why the Blue Frog Metal Nights are such a hit, and the extreme metal night was no different. Frog was packed with an audience uniformly clad in black band tees looking anxious to devour some extreme metal.

Extreme Metal Night feat. Reptilian Death, Solar Deity, Albatross at The Blue Frog, Mumbai

Death metal band Reptilian Death was opening the gig with the launch of their album Dawn of Consummation and Emergence. Dressed in black gothic priest robes, the line-up sported Ashwin Shriyan , Sahil Makhija, Prateek Rajgopal and Nishith Hegde, heads covered with hoods while Vinay Venkatesh had his face painted black and white. Their set was pretty well-received with moshpits erupting throughout the hour. I’ve heard their single ‘O’ from this album, and was pretty impressed by it; having said that, they didn’t sound as good live. It’s always tough to carry off a new look and people will generally laugh when they see something revolutionary and don’t know what to do of it. Reptilian Death has a great concept and good music, but the live act seemed to fall a bit flat. Vinay Venkatesh, famous for his power packed stage performances with Bhayanak Maut, looked a tad awkward as the frontman – having to act like a conjurer of sorts on a stage with little space can be a difficult task, and the vocalist maestro barely carried it off. Even so, Reptilian Death played a good set winning over the crowd with well crafted songs like ‘Inchoate’, the very explicit ‘Stimulate. Hike. Impel. Tear’ and my personal favourite ‘Emergence The World, Your Playground.’

Extreme Metal Night feat. Reptilian Death, Solar Deity, Albatross at The Blue Frog, Mumbai

Next up was Aditya Mehta’s ‘self titled’ band Solar Deity. Having read a feature about them in Bombay Times that stated “The band is notorious for performing in costume and doing live rituals during concert,” I was pretty excited to see them perform at Blue Frog. Turns out the costume part was true but the rituals began and ended with Mehta drinking (water) from a matka (pot) on the stage. The response to their music was pretty good. There was a good amount of cheering and screaming every time Mehta drank from his pot and there were a few moshes here and there. But Blue Frog was much emptier this time around. This was followed by their song ‘Circling the Moon’. With a fox trot beat that walked the band right into a few gujju-garba jokes, and later a social media showdown between Mehta and the people who cracked said jokes; the live rendition of this song has been the topic of much debate. Their songs ‘Blasphemous Chanting on a Moonless Night’ and ‘Ceremonial Feast at the Black Temple’ were the highlights of their set. The raw thunderous beats in the intro of ‘Ceremonial Feast at the Black Temple’ were evocative of a savage spirit and led to a rush of appreciative horns up. It was a good song to end their set with and I heard many humming the hauntingly melodious riff long after the song had ended.

Extreme Metal Night feat. Reptilian Death, Solar Deity, Albatross at The Blue Frog, Mumbai

The next up was Albatross, and to put it lightly, they owned the night. Some may say it was due to the fact that they had a clever set list with covers of popular songs like ‘Holy Diver’ by Dio and ‘Night Crawler’ by Judas Priest, but it serves well to note that they were exceptionally well done covers. With all their dramatic get ups and on stage rituals Reptilian Death and Solar Deity couldn’t nail the theatrics the way Albatross did. Riju Dasgupta’s moniker materialized, Dr. Hex, could take them all down alone.  Vigneshkumar Venkatraman had some amazing tones in his arsenal and Biprorshee Das’s vocals could be foreboding and releasing at once. The band was a brilliant package. As a hundred odd fists pumped in unison and people screamed and shouted their heads off, you could see this band had just generated a great amount of respect for themselves. They had successfully stirred the frenzy in their audience with the beginning of every song delayed with screams for an encore of the previous one. They made the night worth the hype. It was a pleasure to be present ‘In The Lair of Dr. Hex’ that night.

Extreme Metal Night feat. Reptilian Death, Solar Deity, Albatross at The Blue Frog, Mumbai

The night saw supporters and friends from numerous bands come to witness the onslaught. Some, it turns out, were not allowed entry owing to their age and had to go back. On the whole, The Extreme Metal night at Frog provided the metal community and its fans with what they need most – a platform and an outlet.

Drashti Thakkar

Drashti Thakkar is a Mumbai based writer, a freelance drummer and loves working with lights for live gigs. Her idea of an epiphany is anything that gets through while reading the IPC. Her idea of a good time is a ride on the bike. No, She don't drive.

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Demonic Resurrection at Nazrul Manch, Kolkata

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Jeffy John

Jeffy is 'that metalhead with the beard' at a concert you've been to. Anywhere. He makes sure our PR needs are fed, watered and burped. Well.

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