This last decade a force has been rising in the East. That force is the Indian extreme metal outfit Demonic Resurrection who have recently released their latest incredible opus, The Return To Darkness, worldwide through Candlelight Records. We put some questions to the Demonstealer himself, Sahil Makhija, in order to find a little bit more about Demonic Resurrection and Indian metal in general...
The new album is absolutely phenomenal, about as close to perfection as I think a metal album can get and I know the response has been extremely strong since its release in January. Are you surprised at how well received the album has been received?
I think I'm more relieved than anything else. ;) But yes, I am really happy with the overall response to the album. We did get 1 or 2 bad reviews but I guess you can't please everyone and we are happy with what we put out and the fans have given us their approval so that's good enough for us.
Many people have now been introduced to Demonic Resurrection due to you winning the Metal Hammer Golden Gods 'Global Metal' award. What did this award mean to you?
For us it's a huge deal. I grew up reading Metal Hammer which I bought from the used paper mart and then one day I finally convinced my dad to pay for a subscription and 10 years down the line I'm at the golden gods collecting a fucking award so yeah its awesome man, surreal almost.
How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard you before?
I would say we are a healthy mix of melodic death/black with symphonic and power metal elements. We like to call this concoction of ours 'Demonic Metal'.
What's the story behind the name, Demonic Resurrection?
Well, there actually is no interesting story, I just wanted a dark, evil sounding name that fit the kind of music I was writing when I started the band and I managed to come up with Demonic Resurrection and thankfully there were no other bands with the same name and there still aren't. ;)
Artwork for The Return To Darkness was done by the famous Michael 'Xaay' Lorac so you must have had high expectations. Were you pleased with the artwork? Who came up with the concept?
Yes, we had high expectations of Michael 'Xaay' and I think he did a fantastic job on the artwork. We just sort of gave him a brief of the concept of the album and what we were looking to have on the cover and then he did his magic on it. It's been a real pleasure working with him and we will probably get him to do some more art for us in the future.
Now you've completed the Darkness trilogy, what's next for Demonic Resurrection?
Honestly we are not sure ourselves but our immediate goal is to try and tour as much as possible to promote this album. We've already got some idea's down for the next record, but nothing really concrete with regards to the lyrical theme of the album and things like that.
The video for The Unrelenting Surge Of Vengeance is pretty cool. Why did you choose this song? Did the video take long to produce?
For us it literally was about picking the shortest song on the album for the video and between this track and Bound By Blood, Fire And Stone we picked this one. The video took us a day to shoot and I think our editors finished the edit and post production in a week or so. So yeah it was a pretty quick job.
The Return To Darkness has recently been released worldwide by Candlelight Records. Was this an important step in increasing awareness of Demonic Resurrection? How did this deal come about? Will they be making your earlier albums more readily available?
I think this is one of the most crucial steps for the band being signed to a major metal label. While its been great releasing DR's music through Demonstealer Records my reach as a label out of India is very limited and with Candlelight we know we are on a great label along with some really great artists. This is definitely going to help us a lot to take the band to the next level.
What is your favorite track from the new album? Which song gets the best reception live?
I think the song that gets the best reception live is The Unrelenting Surge Of Vengeance, but my personal favorite is A Tragedy Befallen.
You did a couple of festivals in Europe this year, what was that like? Did the European audiences react differently to Indian audiences? Can we expect a European tour in the near future?
We just did Inferno Festival Norway and Brutal Assault in Czech Republic and they were both amazing festivals. We really didn't know what to expect, but we got a great reception from the audiences at both festivals. As compared to Indian audiences they were a bit tamer actually, but maybe that is because most of them were listening to us for the first time so probably just soaking in the music whereas in India we are well known so once the first riffs is played the fans know the song and the mosh pit is in progress. But we had the time of our lives at both festivals and yes, we hope that next year we have a European tour on the cards.
You've probably been asked this a lot but how much of an impact did being included on the Global Metal DVD have for Demonic Resurrection?
Well, it definitely got us noticed by people from different parts of the world, I can't honestly say I've been able to measure how much further these events have taken DR with respect to get the attention of labels or booking agents or getting us tours etc, but I'm pretty sure we got ourselves a bunch of new fans and that's always a good thing.
I think most metal fans would be surprised that there is a metal scene in India, but the passion for this music in your country was shown in the likes of Iron Maiden's Flight 666 DVD. How would you describe the scene in India? Any other Indian bands which you would recommend to check out?
I think people are definitely surprised to hear about metal from India, but it's a bit lesser now compared to say 3 years ago because we had Maiden, Textures, Opeth, Lamb Of God etc all come to India and play and every band I meet wants to come play here, so India is definitely opening up as a new market for metal. The scene in India is growing really fast and things are really looking up, if I got into details about it I'd need a few pages, but in short it's looking good. As for other Indian bands to check out I'd say Kryptos, MyndSnare, IIIrd Sovereign, Albatross, Devoid, Bhayanak Maut, Scribe, Undying Inc, Exhumation etc etc. The list goes on. ;)
How did you first get into metal? Can you remember the first album you bought?
Does Aerosmith 9 Lives count? Hahahaha.... Well, I got into metal because a bunch of guys at school gave me some Metallica and Maiden albums to listen to and after that I was hooked and around that time the internet was making an appearance in India and I got hooked onto download songs (in my defense none of the bands I listened to were available in India, I however did buy whatever was available on CD here). I think the 1st metal CD I bought was either Metallica or Iron Maiden, I can't remember which one. But I know Aerosmith 9 Lives was the 1st CD I bought with my own money when I was in school. ;)
In your opinion what are the five most important metal alums ever? What was the album that inspired you to want to play in a metal band?
Oh man this is a tough one. I'm going to go back to the first bands that influenced me for this even though I don't play these albums as much.
Strapping Young Lad City this just blew me away it was the most insane music I had ever heard and I was so happy to introduce everyone I knew in India to this band and the genius of DEVIN TOWNSEND.
Iron Maiden Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son The best IM album ever IMHO!
Metallica Ride The Lightning Definitely my fave Metallica album of all time.
Pantera Vulgar Display Of Power I was a huge Pantera fan and I couldn't believe how fucking heavy they sounded. I loved Dimebag's guitar playing and tone.
Sepultura Chaos A.D. This is the Sepultura album that did it for me.
I got to add one more album though!
Fear Factory Demanufacture I was hugely influenced by Fear Factory and I wanted to sing like Burton C Bell. I even had a huge poster of him in my room.
What was the last album you discovered and did you enjoy it?
Oh, I'm still going nuts over the new Soilwork album The Panic Broadcast it's just an insane album, epic production, great melodies, great songwriting. I'm also loving the new Keep Of Kalessin album Reptilian.
If you could choose any band to tour with, which would it be?
Well, I'd love to tour with Cannibal Corpse, because they are the nicest bunch of guys I've ever met! However their fans might just eat us for breakfast so musically I'd pick the chance to tour with Dimmu Borgir who I'm also a huge fan off, but I've never met them so I don't know if they are nicer than Cannibal Corpse or not.
How are things going with Demonstealer Records? How did this label come into being?
Well, since the time I started the band there was really no scene in India, so to speak off, there were no promoters, no labels etc. So basically I said fuck it I'll make my own label. I unofficially started it in 2000 with DR's 1st release, but when we released A Darkness Descends in 2005 I said what the heck lets sign on some other Indian talent and since then the label has been working hard to promote Indian extreme metal. The label is doing ok, we just about make ends meet, but look forward to better things in the future. We've got 2 releases coming up in September and the October we release the new Dimmu Borgir album in India so am looking forward to that.
I read that you handled the Indian release for Behemoth's Evangelion album. Any other big names in the pipeline?
Yes, DSR released Behemoth in 2009, it didn't do too well. Indian fans aren't really accustomed to buying music, but I hope to do better with the Dimmu Borgir release.
As someone who is running a label, what are your views on music downloads? Also, do you think social networking sites such as Myspace, Facebook and Last.fm are a positive or negative thing for the development of metal?
Social Networking is positive because it's a cost effective way to advertise, connect with fans and promote what I am doing. For a small label who can't afford paid advertising this is really a boon. As for music downloads it's a losing battle, I've made my peace with it, I believe fans that really care will buy the music eventually and for now I'm just glad you can't download a T-shirt from the internet.
Thanks very much for taking the time to answer these questions for Ice Vajal! I wish you all the best for the future and hope you guys are touring throughout Europe again soon!
Thanks a ton it's been my pleasure!
Cheers & Stay Demonic
Hopefully a European tour won't be far off for Demonic Resurrection and I for one will be hoping that they play somewhere near me! Keep checking their MySpace page for details!