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Inner Sanctum Prep for Debut Album

The Bengaluru death/thrash metal band are recording the long-awaited follow-up to 2009’s ‘Provenance’ EP


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Inner Sanctum Abhishek Michael, Abhinav Yogesh and Chintan Chinnappa in Bengaluru (from left)

Inner Sanctum
(from left) Abhishek Michael, Abhinav Yogesh and Chintan Chinnappa in Bengaluru

If you’re a metal band, it would be a given that you’ll brag about having a fol­lowing in Germany, arguably the world’s metal capital, not just because of its pres­tigious rock and metal festivals such as Rock Im Park and Wacken Open Air, but also be­cause some of the greatest forerunners of thrash, death and power metal are from this country. Bengaluru death/thrash metal band Inner Sanctum toured Germany and Europe in June last year, making a big mark among promoters. The reason they’re not packing their bags and heading back for a tour this summer, like several other bands, is the lack of funds. Inner Sanctum, who formed in 2006, are currently preparing to enter the studio to record their debut full-length album and the follow-up to 2009’s four-track EP Provenance.

The band will head into the studio this month to record an eight-track album with German producer Lasse Lammert, who mixed and mastered Provenance. It’s a first for an Indian band to fly down a produc­er and record with him, but Inner Sanctum seem to have made the most of good timing. Lammert, who has previously recorded with bands such as Scottish heavy metallers Al­estrom, is visiting India to also help produce one track with winners of band competition Wacken Metal Battle India. Says Lammert, “The entire recording process is going to take about two weeks. I’ll then take the raw record­ed tracks back to my studio in Germany where I’ll take care of the mixing and stuff.” The yet-to-be-titled album features songs that Inner Sanctum has been playing for the last four years, the oldest being “Tainted Soils.” Other heavy hitters being re­corded include “March of the Wound­ed,” which nods toward French metal band Gojira, the blistering “Realms of Oblivion” and groove-heavy death metal riffs on tracks such as “Guardian,” “Reflections of the Past,” and “Legions Awake.”

German producer Lasse Lammert

German producer Lasse Lammert

Both Lammert and the band want to cap­ture Inner Sanctum’s live, energetic sound, which features monster grooves and punish­ing double-bass drumming from Abhinav Yogesh. Says bassist Abhishek Michael, “If you really want to get into the details, we’d be post groove, progressive, pussy driven, death/ thrash.” As was the case with recording Prov­enance, Michael says the band never found someone who “understood what we wanted” in terms of a record engineer and started look­ing outside India. Lammert adds, “This album is definitely not going to sound polite. Inner Sanctum’s live performance is extremely ener­getic and their new songs are even better than the old ones… so if we manage to capture that on the album, I’m sure people across the globe are going to bang their heads.”

The band’s guitarist Chintan Chinnappa says the songwriting process has changed over the last five years, when he used to write most of the riffs and drum parts. Says Chinnappa, “I started involving Abhinav in the song writ­ing process and I shifted base to the jam room. Though this method was a lot more gradual, the songs turned out a lot more organic and the process has been a lot more symbiotic and satisfying.”

Their Europe tour last year was a defining moment and the band agree that their eight-city tour brought them closer as a band. Says Michael, “I think every semi-serious Indian band needs to tour at least once in their lifetime.” With the album slated to release in September, Inner Sanctum are plotting an India tour as well as a Europe tour to promote the album next year. Says Michael, “I’ve already started talking to people and just figuring out all our options, so hopefully we’re back in Europe in 2015 for a much bigger tour. I know our booking agent can’t wait to get our brown asses back there.”

 

This article appeared in the June 2014 issue of  ROLLING STONE India.

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