Saturday, November 29, 2014

Interview with Pictavian Bastards - MANZER

Arka Saha conducted this interview with SHAXUL of MANZER just before putrid ascendancy's year-ending ritual - pictavian necromancy featuring Pictavian Black Metallers MANZER, Kalikshetra Death Hordes NECRODEITY along with Occult Death Metallers - BANISH, Brutish Death Act- OBLITERATING VORTEX, Harsh Black Metallers - GRIM OF CATASTROPHIA, Spiritual Black Metallers - THE INFERNAL DIATRIBES! Check it out if you are interested to know about MANZER as well as about their KVLTKATA invasion! 

1. Greetings from the unholy cult of Putrid Ascendancy! Manzer unleashes its ruthless assault on the Kolkata underground on the 14th of December for the first time. What do you have in store for your followers here and for those faithful to the extreme underground here?

Infernal hails from the forgotten valleys of Pictavia! Our set will be made of classic MANZER headbanging songs along with brand new songs for those craving for more! As we are allowed to play our full set in Kolkata, you can even expect a song from our forthcoming second full length album and some covers too.

2.I personally felt certain influences in your music which are characteristic of bands like Motorhead, Bathory, Exhumer, Venom etc. What assemblage of influences birthed the unholy alliance that Manzer has come to be?

You are right, we are inspired by these bands. We wanted to go back to the roots of Black Metal, and Metal in general, especially the glorious 80's era. I could mention those bands as our influences : VENOM, SABBAT, MOTÖRHEAD, IRON MAIDEN, NWOBHM, BATHORY, JAN DO FIAO, ABIGAIL, KILLERS, ATOMIZER, CARNIVORE, NME, BULLDOZER, IMPALED NAZARENE…

3. Armee de la  mort Records/LO have been going from strength to strength, releasing bands from obscure corners of the world. Followers of the cult would like to know more about the label and why it has taken an interest in nurturing extreme metal from Asian Countries?

The label was born in 2001. I was fed up with all the trends in the so-called western world. People were not even aware of what was going on in other countries or continents. So the concept for LEGION OF DEATH Records is to support bands from underrated scenes, like the Asian continent for example. I always thought that bands out there have more dedication and sincerity in what they do, it's often very difficult to keep your band alive in bad social and economical conditions. While most people in Europe are blasé and bored, there are crazy die-hard maniaks in Asia, or South America etc... Of course there are trends too, they're everywhere, but there are also honest bands offering some killer Metal, full of integrity and respect to the roots and all classic bands.

4. What are your opinions on modern Black Metal?

This is complete crap. This got so far from the original style that it became ridiculous. Inside the whole Metal genre, this is the most infected style, polluted and corrupted by awful trends. Look at all those sub-genres : Religious, NS, Post, Symphonic, Cascadian, etc... We vomit on this circus. But I'm not saying Black Metal is dead, don't get me wrong! The valuable ones are but a few, and they deserve support for surviving among a cesspool of trends.

5. We would like to know about the extreme metal scene in France. How does it compare to its European neighbors when it comes to underground extreme metal?

France is plagued by trends. The difference is that it seems we have the gayest ones in this cunt-ry. I won't mention any names but they are very well-known everywhere. But fortunately there are a bunch of maniaks/bands helping each other out.I support some French bands with my parallel label ARMEE DE LA MORT Records : HEXECUTOR, PERVERSIFIER, ACARUS SARCOPT, KLOOTZAK, VALUATIR, CHARNIER, ANGMAR, BREIZH OCCULT, QUINTESSENCE, ANKRISMAH, CARNYX, ANNTHENNATH, HYPOKRAS... And let me also mention KILLERS (gods), PERFECTÖ, GOATVERMIN, NUCLEAR ABOMINATION, THE BOTTLE DOOM LAZY BAND, TORTURE THRONE, THE LAST TOMB, SILVER MACHINE, DESILLUSION, SANCTUAIRE...You're talking about Europe, I recommend the Spanish and Italian scene, they have incredible newer bands emerging. The audience is small at underground gigs in Europe because huge festivals are killing them little by little, unfortunately.

6. I am personally a huge follower of early Deathspell Omega. We would love for Shaxul to reminisce in short with our followers about his time, back in the day, with Death Spell Omega. What do you think of their music?

There is nothing interesting to say on this subject, really. I would like people to concentrate on MANZER instead of this abomination of a band but there's nothing I can do as it seems, I will always get questions about that subject in every interview. There are so many better bands around man, open your eyes and ears! I'm still proud of what I did but it was just another studio Black Metal band, with guys who finally jumped on a trend. And I mean, "follower of early DEATHSPELL OMEGA"? There's nothing to follow as I've left the band on bad terms in 2002, that's 12 years ago. All re-releases have been done without my agreement. Nowadays, GAYSPELL OMEGA performs Christian Post-HardCore music for hipsters, so it is obviously not of my interest.

7. How did Manzer take cognizance of the underground metal movement in Kolkata? What does Manzer have to say about the music emanating from the region?

Damn, my memory fails so I don't remember well who is the first guy I got in touch with haha (Desecrator, Valafar, Ayush?!) but let's say I've been interested in Death Metal hordes like NECRODEITY and PURGATION as soon as I've heard about them, and we began exchanging mails. Friendly and dedicated people, all hails! I know there is also Thrash Metal with ARMAMENT. We hope to discover more bands! It's great to see people like Desecrator from NECRODEITY organizing gigs for great bands, it's very healthy for the underground and it's the way things should work. A scene with good bands, supporting each other and sharing the stage together, spreading the plague. But I've heard some jealous people in Kolkata spread rumours and bullshit about devoted people who work hard to bring international bands and support the local scene, this is a complete shame and a very childish behaviour.

8. Tell us if you guys have heard enough of Indian bands, if you did, what bands appeal the most to you?

The first band that comes to my mind is DYING EMBRACE obviously, as my second release on LEGION OF DEATH Records in 2002 was their 7"EP. And I re-released their discography on CD/LP in 2013. As for the best Indian bands, I would mention BEVAR SEA, PURGATION, NECRODEITY, DHWESHA, DJINN AND MISKATONIC, KRYPTOS, ALBATROSS, MILLENNIUM, SOLAR DEITY...  We would like to wish all the beAst to the scene in Kolkata, keep the flame burning!

8. What are the lyrical themes embellishing Manzer’s music? What messages do you want to convey to the masses by your music?

I don't know if "embellishing" is the best word for this hehe... Basically we shit on all forms of religions/politics. So our main themes are Satan, alcohol, sex, Pictavia, blasphemy. We hope maniaks understand they must think by themselves and not follow any dogmas are fashions. Sometimes the lyrics are very direct, sometimes symbolic. We also tell stories and legends from our region. Some songs are sung in Parlanjhe, our dying local language so it's a way to tell it's important to support local and ancestral cultures. This is also why we love to travel and tour the world by the way, we enjoy discovering cultures very much!

9. How would you respond to the parasites feeding on extreme metal music by drawing from it and corrupting it with other influences?

I have no time to lose with such pathetic people insulting the eternal Metal cult. It won't change a thing unfortunately so the best is to ignore them. I don't believe in any kind of "purity" either, as we all know that evolution in Metal has been very strong all over the years, but for sure it makes me puke when some people try to create some avant-garde or modern bullshit by mixing shitty musical influences with Metal.

10. Traditionally, we ask all featured bands to enlist five of their all time favorite albums.

The infamous question about fave albums haha, really difficult... Well, it's not really a definitive answer but let's go :
IRON MAIDEN "Powerslave"
SABBAT "Envenom"
VENOM "Black Metal"
KILLERS "Fils de la Haine"

11. It has been a pleasure featuring Manzer on our web-zine. Looking forward to your set at Pictavian Necromancy and an alcohol infused after party! Leave us with a few last words. Hail!

The pleasure is ours! 666 thanxxx for the support and we'll meet you all Kolkata maniaks soon!!! Great to know there will be an after party hehe, prepare several barrels of the best Indian ale for us please! All hails from Pictavia to Bengal! Cheers!!!
A çhés fàetes,
Shaxul (29/11/2014)

MANZER Pictavian Black Metal :

Snail Mail : LOD Records / BP 21 / 86210 Bonneuil-Matours / France.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Yawadwipa Purveyors of Apotheotic Hymns, Omnipotence and Death - An Interview With EXHUMATION (Indonesia)

With a name as seemingly prosaic (at least in the context of death metal) as Exhumation, this Indonesian trio is in contrast quite a breath of fresh air, especially considering they hail from Indonesia, known for more straightforward and outright brutal death-metal type of acts. Exhumation instead presents a rather matured and remarkable brand of death metal, with their ear for structural dexterity and compositional architecturing, showcasing a knack for the placement and embedding of melodicity in a most tasteful manner subtly invoking their eastern roots and sensibilities, while combining this with an orthodox death metal mould taking cues from the likes of Morbid Angel, Hate and Vader, with an addition of guitar wizardry to the creative potpourri. However, even the band name's etymology and its premise, as well as the thematic explorations of the band are far more shrouded in underlying profundities and a sagacious vision that isn't immediately inferred, but understood with a little more scrutiny. 

Exhumation's founding member and axe-man Yoga G a.k.a Grave took the time out to sit down for an interview with Putrid Ascendancy (with correspondent Achintya Venkatesh providing the line of questioning) and discussed a variety of topics surrounding the band. The interview follows below —

Greetings from the Putrid Ascendancy horde, Exhumation! It’s an honor to have you on here. Could you briefly tell us how and when the band was formed, and how the current line-up came to be?

Grave: From hall up high greeting to you my friend, thank you for having us. The band was formed not a very long time ago, precisely 6 years ago when we're still in a very young age, innocent, fragile, and being outside of the world. As the ideas appear, it was me Grave and our past member Kusnan who build this vessel at the very first time. Then we found Bones as vocal in 2010, then it just so natural when and J both agreed to join our dominion. So here it is, Exhumation are Ghoul, Grave, Bones and two live sessions hordes and J of Headkrusher.

What are the etymological origins of the band’s name? Is there a particular reason you chose the name Exhumation?

Grave: The name is entirely about digging our own grave. Within its power and energy, Exhumation sincerely deliver the reflection of our liberation as an artist to dig and dive deep its idea. The name that derives a true heart who lives in their own world, own law, own path, and own role. The name that the echo of its fury would forever aflame. In one form of our language and sound, Exhumation could portray here some where, where we end up like everything needs to have a certain purpose.

What was the primary premise behind the formation of the band? What were your primary musical and artistic motivations or visions that drove you to embark on this project?

Grave: To let ourselves embrace the ultimate power of its fire. To let ourselves embrace the infinite energy of our heartwork. To feel the world as we see it. To free our will then translate it into haunting sound and words!

Could you elaborate on the primary influences of the band that have influenced the stylistic leanings and overall sound of the band? Which are the bands that have helped forge your own sound the most?

Grave: Our hearts. Our diverse personal experience toward our essence as Exhumation. Those the only things that real for us even more influence us, it make us solid in many ways, when we can deeply understand our own diversity and capability on our musicianship or whatever, as humble as we appreciate the way we see things, perceive things and gather it to one, Exhumation. And we had to be honest each of us is possessed by the band that are really diverse to our musical direction yet it also influence us in many ways. Since we know, we never limit our capability in the process of it, writing material. We let every core and role of death and dark music infiltrate our vein and blood. On other hand, no introduction needed when super tiny band like us are heavily raised from band such Morbid Angel and stuffs.

Is there any specific literature that inspires the band’s lyrics, or are the lyrics wholly the handiwork of the band itself? What are the inspirations for the themes employed by the band?

Grave: Regarding to our debut, Hymn To Your God, those words are based on our handiwork and we don't elevate those words into our music but the words itself, from the depth of the depth that surround us, expressed in infinite ways. Further, from the devotion and dedication to a power that is just beautiful, our next material would be based on some neoclassical stuffs, inspired by most words of John Milton.

Onto the discography of the band, you initially had a demo called ‘Dunia Buta’ in 2009. Why didn’t this ever see the light of day as far as being released on a physical format is concerned? Also, I notice it isn’t listed as part of your official discography. Why is this the case? Has the band expanded stylistically after this demo, or did Exhumation stick to its root sound even for ‘Hymn to your God’?

Grave: Thank you for asking this. As you know, Dunia Buta is recorded back then in 2009, and it's behind us. Dunia Buta is already sit between its core of ours, our progression as a band. And Whatever comes to our progression, everything we do is very based on one idea, one vision, one root, ours. I hope everyone would notice this. And if people still try to wonder where's the song actually? we would say the song is already buried deep there, in our heart.

The band’s debut album ‘Hymn to Your God’ was released in 2012, and I have to say the arrangements on the album are fantastic. Fairly unconventional, with heavy doses of sensible melody with an almost classic heavy metal sense of tonality, with many segments that are more mid-paced and riff-oriented, rather than the usual continuously blasted indulgence. Could you tell us a bit about the typical song-writing process of the band, and how compositions eventually fall into place?

Grave: Fairly unconventional, you say so? Thank you for your kind words, all hearts! Well through years we tap into different creativity as human being, our song-writing process are so natural for real. It should come with no surprise, where the songs are start with one riff and rhyme, we feel it, swallow it, so be it. Then it just come from one word, each of us asking why how and what we write this, what is mean to each one of us, what you can you say about this, how do you feel? We would love to feel every core of the song that written in our paper is a way to start our path to being there, being one with our songs indeed.

The album artwork for ‘Hymn to your God’ is also very vivid and detailed, and the sepia tone makes for a very appealing effect. Who was the artist behind this artwork, and did the band have anything to do with the conceptualization of it? What does it represent with regards to the music of the album?

Grave: The artist behind this artwork is Bayu Putrasangfajar. Blast from the past, when we asked him to do this artwork "just draw a man with tree, one tree" feel the connection between its song and lyric, and be inspired of it. Well he's so talented in many ways, certain way. Our artwork genuinely means everything to us, a very magnificent artwork who deliver a message of evil music and haunting sound. The artwork itself become our vehicle to translate everything we do as Exhumation. It is our expression towards the divine, light or dark. Then we take as a hymn as our true voice to sing and praise as if there's a energy that lives in our heartwork, our own world.

The band’s first official release seems to have been the split with Goddess of Fate and Nocturnal Kudeta. Was there any specific motive behind the release of this split (given that it features two songs that are also on the debut album), and what do you have to say about the bands that participated in the split alongside Exhumation?

Grave: It's been our honor to work with them, they're extremely good people in many ways, it always is. We have shared experience a lot together, did a tour with them last year and plus Headkrusher was one of our massive experience that ever written in the history of Exhumation. We feel like we have a new world that each of us taking role in it.

The band’s debut was re-released by Dunkelheit Produktionen in February ’14. How did this alliance with the label come about, and have you seen, perhaps, a surge in exposure since? Is there any difference between the 2012 and 2014 release?

Grave: The attraction and its adoration of the album that says all. Our reissue album would include the cover of canadian cult Blasphemy for the song Ritual.

Songs like the title track of the debut album also have more eclectic elements atypical for orthodox/traditional death metal, such as traditional instruments and female vocals. Will we see more such subtleties and experimentation in forthcoming Exhumation releases?

GraveSure thing! That's the last song that we're dive into anyway. That song is the actual reflection of our debut, Hymn! If you able to feel the song and aura in it. Its content, essence, presence of the hymn itself, an absolute track which greets and pave our way on artistic level. As we growing older and wiser, all I can say is we can't get enough to make something like this and that, we would make every song means something on the second opus. Something that really you can feel, something that you can draw on your walls, something that actually you were there, you will be the part of that.

<br />YogaThe band hails from Yogyakarta. Could you tell us a bit about the scene for heavy music in the city, and how receptive audiences and aficionados have been towards the music of Exhumation?

GravePretty much great I would say if some people could throw away the blueprints and stigma about our music/scene/circle/world/or whatever. So far I can see there's strong acts that emerged recently in our shore Yogyakarta, even more they've build something new, something that could change their own world, something that is visible and it is a must to some people to dive into. For years before we released our debut not so many people noticed that we're still alive here and it take some time for them to know us, realize that we're exist as a band and understand our reasons what we are doing in Exhumation, even more go inside to our world. Back then, our debut was released two years ago, maybe yes maybe they shift their perception about us, Exhumation. Who knows? we don't care though. What we care is as time goes by, we would continue to refine our creativity in art and in one form or another, we walk to dissect the world with our music as well.

The ties between Indonesia and India is an ancient one, going back to the times of the Ramayana, where ‘Yawadwipa’, the traditional name of Java is mentioned; or the connections the country had with the Pallawas, Cholas and other dynasties. The very name Yogyakarta is derived from the city ‘Ayodhya’ from the epic Ramayana. Also, the Sanskrit influence in Indonesian languages and culture in general is undeniable. In light of the same, what are the prospects for an invasion of Bharat by Exhumation? What have you heard about the scene for heavy music here?

GraveWell spoken my friend, I adore how you put it into words. As I can see there's a deep connection within it, it ours, eternally. Well then I would put the term adoration here if we reach can your shore, since I know the bands like Necrodeity, Dhwesha, Dying Embrace, and so on. Their attitude, devotion, dedication towards their music so understandable for us plus those bands make sense to us. Very inspirational bands in many ways.

Where can fans outside of Indonesia obtain the debut album from? What are the physical formats it is available in?

GraveOnly CDs are available, cause the tapes are already sold out. You can update everything you need to know about us, well down this link;

Finally, what are Exhumation’s plans for the near future like?

GraveWork more, second opus, tour, would be done this year! and to see the world on fire!

Thank you for taking the time do this interview. It’s been an immense honour. If you have any closing words for the Indian hordes and beyond, please do go ahead!

GraveWe've had the most surreal for years! We really had to say a massive thank you for listening our music, thank you for being there. See you on the road. HYMN OF DEATH! 





Friday, January 10, 2014

REVIEW: Nafarmaan - Quayamat Lullaby [EP] (Bangladesh)

Band – Nafarmaan
Release – Quayamat Lullaby
Type – EP
Label – MTD Productions
Origin – Dhaka, Bangladesh
Date of Release – 2014
Number of Tracks – 4
Playing Time – 27:03
Genre – Black/Death Metal

1. Quyamat Lullaby
2. Bloodsoaked Revelation
3. Leashed Silence
4. Godless Messiah
From the very inception of human civilization in this vast geographic area that has over time been the melting pot of a various racial types, ethnicities, cultures and religions, South Asia is a region that has been subject to vast socio-political, cultural and demographical changes at large since time immemorial. The ancient kingdom of Angadesha has in particular been swamped with such changes over the course of history, and has been split into two wholes courtesy of the two dogmas that perpetually seem to divide man – politics and religion. Nafarmaan is yet another mighty force from the other half of this land – Bangladesh. Having formed in 2008, the etymological origins of the band name derive from the Arabic and Farsi fraction of Urdu, denoting the most harrowing and vilest of curses in Islam, connoting the ultimate deviant and blasphemer, also bringing under its purview the adherents of all ‘false’ religions – in essence, the despised and detested in the context of Islamic orthodoxy. Quayamat Lullaby is the debut EP of this Bangla horde, a brief release with four songs. The word Qayamat denotes the Day of Judgement in Islamic theology. The first thing that comes to mind when one comes across a black/death metal band is that you either expect outright Blasphemy worship, or the band takes the conventional route of the two other variants of this hybid genre – the more atmospheric and sonically dense variant and the more acidic, grinding and melodicity-laden brand of blackened death metal.

However, Nafarmaan presents a very different aesthetic from what you’d expect from a band in this niche genre. The manner in which the band blends the two genres is fairly unique, with no qualms apropos dabbling in melody and other off-beat elements such as clean guitars, traditional chant-like dirges and the like. Comparisons to Weapon with regards to similar amounts of sensible melody will inadvertently arise, although the two ultimately sound quite different from each other. What furthermore makes the assessment of this EP a difficult task of sorts is the fact that each track presents a unique orchestration of the same dynamics relative to the track that precedes it. Make no mistake however, this isn’t some sort of stripped down black/death metal release conveniently hiding behind opaque vagaries of song-writing – all the elements of the bestial black/death metal are very much present here, with the signature successive phrases of devastation injected with an inherent sense of thunderous recursion being more than evident. Riffs flow atop a blasting structural skeleton, gashing out in an unrelenting manner, evolving within a brief phrase, alternating between racing formations of tremolo-picked chords with a concomitantly black metal sense of euphony and the cumbersome sense of syncopation-driven, riveting rhythmic formation  that has come to characterize death metal.

The basic riff idea here are all fairly derivative of the larger realm of black/death metal, being the juxtaposing of lengthier tremolo-picked mono-rhythms with muffled death metal riffs which are illuminated by a blasting percussive background that helps to accentuate the riff ideas, while ushering in some tempo changes in itself. Nohttzver, well known for being a founding member of and the man behind the iconic logo of Weapon dishes out some really fantastic fills, and the percussive dynamics as a whole courtesy of his adept drum chops are very gratifying. The tone of the drums is especially menacing while still being technically adept and well thought out, without descending into any mindless savagery. This, in addition to bringing into the mix, song-writing elements that would otherwise be considered surprising, perhaps even abhorrent in the context of a black/death metal band, such as the incorporation of some bombastic but rather enjoyable grooves, as the opening and title track ‘Quayamat Lullaby’ reveals. Marhoum’s bass truly shines through in these brief phrases. The guitar solos indulge themselves in a sense of tormented atonality (although not overwhelmingly so), coiled around emotive leads, and as already mentioned, the axe-attack of the guitarists (Agnee Azaab and Nohttzver who serves as an addition studio guitarist) itself has an innate sense of emotiveness and a certain intensity. Many segments within songs have phrases that have a candor and simplicity of sorts that presents an inherently ‘eastern’/Oriental sensibility, almost as if these very melodies could be played on a more traditional instrument, such as the Ektara.

Thematically, the band invokes an iconoclasm of sorts that goes hand in hand with the emotional quotient and story-telling ability of the melodies. The title track for instance chronicles the advent of chaos during the Day of Judgement. Such themes in turn effectively paint abstractions of misanthropy and a certain epiphanic disillusionment. The clean guitars on a track like ‘Leashed Silence’ attests to this, as do the vocals of Imam Iblis, a stressed, thunderous and hoarse attack with has a heightened degree of enunciation which reinforces this prudent nihilism. Back up vocals of a more histrionic nature are provided by the ever versatile Nohttzver, as is the case in 'Bloodsoaked Revelation'.

The production of the EP on the other hand is a litle murky, perhaps taking away from tracks that would otherwise truly stand out in a well produced mix. While all the instruments are perfectly audible, there is an innate sense of jarring that results in an atmosphere that impression on one as congealed and perhaps even a little sterile. But of course, given this is merely a debut EP and the band may well have been working with both limited time and resources, one can look past this for the most part, especially if one is used to listening to bands who purposely opt for a low fidelity aesthetic (which most seeking out this EP would have, assumably).

In essence, this is a very admirable effort by Nafarmaan, and is slightly brought down due to its production values, although the song-writing ideas still manage to shine through. This isn't an avenue for immediate appeasement, but instead grows on you due to its inherent off-beat approach, laden with native sensibilities and a non-conformance apropos traditional blackened death metal. The charm of this release is in the distinctive yet subtle touches that the band adds to their aural canvas, with an admittedly arcane eastern allure to it, be it the chanted and spoken word passages, usage of cleaner tones or of ambiance-inducing sound samples. I for one look forward to more from these Banglas, who've surprisingly managed to forge a new approach in this largely derivative sub-genre, much like their (originally) fellow compatriots and sonic relatives in Weapon.
Rating – 8.8/10
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