Demonic Resurrection: We want to show the world Indian metal bands can kick ass too

A revolution has happened in Indian music, and most people have not even realised it. If I told you that a band had released an album which had top-notch production, artwork by the same man who’s worked with Nile, came in a special box-set with t-shirts and assorted merchandise, and that said band was going to hit European festivals to support it – you could safely assume this was just another month in the life of any international metal band. DevilDriver or Lamb Of God, maybe?

Wrong.

That Demonic Resurrection has been able to do even one of the above is an incredible achievement in itself. That they’ve been kicking heads in for 10 years, teaching every successive generation of Johnny-come-latelys how real Indian metal bands do it, is, quite frankly, staggering. To call their European festival (currently including Infero and Brutal Assault) the icing on their very black cake would be true to the adage, but belies the enormity of the achievement it represents. Little wonder, then, that frontman and axe-slayer extraordinaire Sahil ‘Demonstealer’ Makhija is slightly nervous about his band’s European debut.

“There definitely is a lot of pressure to perform well and kick some ass at the festival, simply because all the metalheads of India are behind us,” he says, “but yeah, we are going to work our asses off, practice hard and make sure that when Demonic Resurrection finishes playing people want to hear us again. We aim to make an impact and show the world how Indian metal bands can kick ass too.”

Sharing the stage with Ihsahn and Cannibal Corpse among others is the reward Demonic Resurrection is reaping for efforts which began in the year 2000, when a young Makhija decided to set up a blackened death metal band in Bombay. As was common with Indian bands at the time, the lineup was extremely unstable, but they still managed to put out a debut album ‘Demonstealer’ within 9 months of forming. It would be another 3 years before the lineup had any stability, and a further 2 before the follow up album ‘A Darkness Descends’ dropped. It was at this point that things really started taking off for Demonic Resurrection – for the first time the Indian extreme metal scene had a band that put out a professionally recorded album that sounded great and came in a jewel case with excellent artwork, and kicked some serious ass live. Arguably, the seeds of today’s unprecedented fame were sown in the 2003-2007 period.

How then, did Makhija manage to keep his band going so long in a scene where even good bands don’t last beyond a few years? “Well I pretty much threw away everything else I had like my education!” he laughs, “I pretty much gave myself no option in life apart from doing this, so whatever I’ve had to do over the years to keep DR going, I’ve done. I’ve been very fortunate to have had the same dedication from Husain (bass) and Mephisto (keyboards) for the last 8 years almost and now with Viru (drums) and Daniel (lead guitar) I feel we got the best line-up ever and have reached a stage where this will be a permanent lineup.”

A penchant for epic fantasy was the final weapon in Makhija’s arsenal as he set about conquering India with lyrical concepts that were, and still remain, entirely unique to the scene. Song titles like ‘Invoking The Demons’, ‘Spirits Of The Mystic Mountains’ and ‘Bound By Blood, Fire And Stone’ have an obvious epic feel, and are woven together by a story of darkness, penned by Makhija himself: “The whole darkness thing started out as a theme with ‘A Darkness Descends’, which was an idea that the world is plunged into darkness and there is a battle between the humans and the demons for its control. The ‘Beyond The Darkness’ EP took that basic story and narrated it through the whole EP and ‘The Return To Darkness’ completes the story. Each song is a chapter of the story and when the album ends so does the story. I’ve always been fascinated by and drawn to fantasy – stuff like Lord Of The Rings, so I like to write about similar themes. And to all this I infuse my personal feelings and expressions, but it’s masked so it’s open for the world to interpret as they choose. ‘Demonstealer’ was about my personal demons, so my anger, frustration, my sadness etc are all in my music somewhere. There is a personal connection for me to each riff I write, or to certain lyrics. I’m sure the older DR songs like ‘My Misery’ and ‘My World Of Sadness’ are pretty self explanatory.”

Nor is Makhija one to rest on his laurels; he’s already planning the next album and has a vision of what he wants it to be like: “I have thought of doing an album called Prelude To Darkness but that won’t be anything related to this story. But I’m pretty sure I want to write about something different on the next album, so I doubt there will be another chapter in the ‘Darkness’ trilogy. We can always start a new story though.”

And that, in a nutshell, encapsulates exactly why Sahil Makhija is destined to take the Indian metal scene even further into uncharted territory. Here is a man who has gone headfirst against the grain, established Demonic Resurrection as arguably the best metal band in the country, set up two side projects in Workshop and Reptilian Death, set up and run a successful home studio, as well as an independent record label, and will soon be spreading the Indian metal gospel across Europe. He could do nothing more and still go down as the first true God of Indian metal, but that’s not Sahil Makhija’s style. Just like with his albums, he’s always thinking a couple of moves ahead in his career. And with all he’s managed to achieve so far, you don’t dare bet against him. The Warrior has returned.

You can buy Demonic Resurrection albums on iTunes, CD Baby or by emailing info@demonstealerrecords.com.?

     

About Abhijeet Ahluwalia

Abhijeet Ahluwalia – I’m a freelance journalist who goes back and forth between London and Bombay. A huge metalhead, but I have an eclectic taste, from reggae to punk. Oh, and Manchester United are the greatest team in the world. Follow me on Twitter or drop me a line via Email.

2 Responses to “Demonic Resurrection: We want to show the world Indian metal bands can kick ass too”

  1. Way to go man, Demonstealer!!

    DR \m/

    DR ROCKED IIIT-H LAST YEAR, THEY’RE RETURNING TO PULVERIZE HYDERABAD AT TORQUE ON 12th FEB 2010. DO NOT MISS IT!!

  2. Could not agree more with you, ‘the warrior has returned’!
    may the winds favor DR’s ships as they anchor on unknown lands…
    hail DR \m/