It’s taken several attempts but Indian death metallers Demonic Resurrection have finally landed on our shores and what better debut appearance to have than at Bloodstock Festival. After the success of 2010’s ‘The Return to Darkness’ and a Metal Hammer gong under their belts, Lily Randall spoke to frontman Sahil ‘Demonstealer’ Makhija about Mumbai, metal and meat.
It may have taken over ten years for Demonic Resurrection to get to where they are but it seemed as though everything happened so suddenly. After their release of their third full-length ‘The Return to Darkness’, the band were a part of the prestigious Candlelight records and able to finally tour outside of India. After successful sets at Brutal Assault and Inferno Festival in 2010, Sahil was later informed his death metal five piece had won Best Global Act at the Golden Gods awards, something Demonic Resurrection were not expecting.
“We were actually called by a friend of ours who said ‘come and meet us here’. He’s actually one of the most influential promoters in India, he does a lot of conventions and stuff like that and he had been working with Metal Hammer for something”, Sahil recalls. “He said ‘look guys you’re going to win this award, you can’t tell anyone, go book your flights to England you’re going in ten days’. So the British council was very helpful, they helped us get our Visas and we were just like you’ve gotta be shitting me, this is not real! It was crazy seeing people like Machine Head and Vinnie Paul and Abbath! You dream of this.”
After having to pull out of 2011’s Sonisphere due to Visa issues, the DR are finally here at Bloodstock and playing the SOPHIE tent later on in the day. Demonstealer explains how happy they are to be here and that he “cannot contain his excitement”, as later on they will play to a rammed tent and showcasing their death metal with symphonic tinges. “You’ll see five blokes from India, nothing too fancy, but you’re going to see us play our heart out,” beams Sahil.
It’s not often you hear about bands from the East managing to break out to the masses but this in no way means the scene in India is non-existent. With the likes of Metallica, Machine Head, Opeth and Lamb of God touring over there lately, the metal community is growing. Religion and culture doesn’t seem to cause a collision either and Demonstealer believes it’s because the community is small enough to not get noticed. “I think in India, the metal scene is small compared to the other shit that goes on in our country so nobody really cares, so actually it doesn’t get much shit. It’s only when something could become a multimillion dollar industry that the government and officials would really start to care.” He explains that festivals can cause problems as well, “I mean, we’ve had a few problems but that’s mostly because everything is still very focused on the cities in India. We don’t have a concept of camping and things like that so festivals are still held in the main cities. We have sound curfews because of it but hey, so does London, so I guess we just have to move it outside.”
Makhija explains that although there aren’t that many bands in India compared to elsewhere in the world, the competition is still strong due to a lack of venues and so forth. Also due to the class barriers, the working class have no access to English-spoken music and therefore are loyal to tradition. “I think the bands that are at the top of the Indian scene will realise they need to branch out of India because we’ve maxed out here. There are only so many times you can play the same venue or festival. Once that starts happening I think bands will invest in travelling and then you’re more likely to get noticed and then obviously somebody will pick up on that and everything will become more structured.” Three bands Sahil has told us to keep an eye out for are heavy thrash metallers Kryptos, Mumbai’s metalcore Bhayanak Maut and groovesters Zygnema.
Despite being one of the only bands to break out of India, Demonic resurrection are humble and still feel pressure to do their country proud. Sahil explains how there is a lot of pressure for the band to prove themselves, “Of course you want people to see us and think, if that’s what Indian metal scene is like, then I’m looking forward to it.”
After changing their sound from a more symphonic influenced metal the band continue to slaughter with the blackened death we’re likely to see today. A new record is on the horizon and we hope this calls for a return to the UK. Sahil is sure of it; “As soon as we go back we start the re- production on the new record and hopefully by the end of the year we’ll be done with it. And then plan to release it early next year. We’re hoping to come back to the UK in 2013 and that it will be the year for Demonic Resurrection”.
After playing a fanastic set at Bloodstock and another smaller show in Camden the day after, Demonstealer’s passion for music goes further than on the stage, as he takes it into the kitchen as well. You may have heard of Epic Meal Time and the Vegan Black Metal Chef but you’re missing out if you haven’t checked out Headbanger’s Kitchen. “Well I started out with a production company, the same guy who produced the DR video. I had some free time and I started a food blog on FB and people seemed to like it, so I thought maybe I should do a video of this. At the time Epic Meal Time had just got big and I loved it, so I asked this guy if he’d help me do something similar.” The guitarist is also a passionate chef and takes homemade burger orders from his home in Mumbai, however he managed to find a way to merge his brutal contacts into the mixing bowl.
“Nervecell came to India, so I took advantage and filmed a show. After that it took a while but we got it out in 2011 and then started doing it regularly. We made it a proper show with an interview and a band tasting the food. Then the production company told us we weren’t making any money from YouTube so I thought fuck that I’ll do it myself. I taught myself how to film, bought some lights and did one with a local band called Albatross and more recently Lamb of God. It’s not as frequent as before but I’ve been busy with DR but I’ll keep doing it. It’s my love for food and heavy metal.”
After checking out Headbanger’s Kitchen and watching an awesome set by the Indian guys, we at Soundshock are starving and off to get a pork baguette, deep down wishing it was in fact a bacon bomb.
Feature by Lily Randall. Published on Soundshock.com