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Bhayanak Maut Soldiers on Minus Guttural Twins

After the exit of vocalists Vinay Venkatesh and Sunneith Revankar, Mumbai metallers will finish their forthcoming EP with help from peers

Anurag Tagat Dec 04, 2017

Vinay Venkatesh, R. Venkatraman,Ishaan Krishna, Rahul Hariharan, Aditya Gopinathan, Sunneith Revankar (from left). Photo: Roycin D'Souza

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Just a week prior to their set at Bacardi NH7 Weekender in Meghalaya in October, Mumbai metal band Bhayanak Maut‘s vocalists Sunneith Revankar and Vinay Venkatesh – called the guttural twins – announced their departure from the band and said this would be their last show.

A few weeks later, drummer Rahul Hariharan is talking to us about how hectic November is for him, with a U.S. tour that’s taking up the whole month. But he emphasizes that there is no giving up on a band that still remains one of the most brutal, creative and intelligent metal artists in the country. The drummer adds, “The four of us feel stronger than ever that we’ve invested a lot of time – blood, sweat and tears, everything in this band – not to give it up.”

Now completed by founder-guitarist R. Venkatraman, guitarist Aditya Gopinathan Nair and bassist Ishaan Krishna, Bhayanak Maut were made aware of Revankar’s decision to leave the band in June. The vocalist, who came on board as the second voice in the band in 2008 and worked on their untitled full-length album [2009], cited that he wasn’t in the same creative space since he’d moved to Bengaluru in 2015. While Revankar did not wish to comment for this article, Hariharan says, “He wasn’t feeling the drive towards the band that we were feeling. The five of us used to meet once or twice a week, but we’d only get to see Sunny at shows and that wasn’t enough to push the band forward, especially at the pace at which we were writing new material.”

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Revankar’s imminent exit from the band led to BM writing material that would be oriented to a single vocalist. Venkatesh, who has been in the band for 14 years and briefly left and re-joined in 2010, made a decision to leave, which surprised the band. Hariharan says, “I wouldn’t say a shock in terms of the decision, but when he decided. Two weeks before Shillong, he dropped this message and told us this is going to be his last show.”

The drummer explains that Venkatesh was more into working as a songwriter and composer than lending his deep growls. “Vinay, has in the past, a year and a half ago, cited that he doesn’t enjoy singing as much as he enjoys contributing musically towards the band. He was, because when we were writing, he would mouth out guitar parts or ask, ‘Can you play a beat like this?’ He can’t play an instrument, so he would do the best he could,” Hariharan says.

Bhayanak Maut being a close-knit unit through the years that made Metastasis EP [2010] and Man [2014], Hariharan assures that there is no bad blood between members and a complete understanding. “We’re mature adults here and we understand giving space.” He adds that it may not be the end of Venkatesh’s involvement in the band. “He’s expressed he wants to come back as a musician or a keyboardist and contribute to the band. But it’s just that vocally, it’s not happening for him, maybe. That door will never shut for either of them,” the drummer says.

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The short-term goal for the band remains releasing the set of songs they worked on in Amsterdam right after the release of Man. He says work on their forthcoming EP will resume in December, featuring friends from the scene that they are currently confirming. “How we’re going to do it live, we don’t know yet. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”

As for replacements, the band says they’re “overwhelmed” at the number of people who have messaged and asked about filling in on vocals. Hariharan says it’s “unclear” if the band needs more than one vocalist at this point, but the more important thing is not just about a “skillset” but about getting to a comfort level with a new member. “In BM, it’s always been about all of us sitting in one room and doing things together.” The band may be starting over in a way, but feels that a new addition will give them new energy. In the meantime, writing new material continues. Hariharan says with a laugh, “We’ll just keep writing and we don’t know who it’ll fit. Maybe in the process, we’ll find maybe one, maybe two vocalists. Ideally, let’s start with one at least.”

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