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Reptilian Death Plot New Album

The Mumbai death metal band gets new recruits and a groovier sound


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Reptilian Death. Photo: Roycin D'Souza

Reptilian Death. Photo: Roycin D’Souza

Of all the bands that played at the fifth edition of metal festival Domination – The Deathfest in Mumbai in March, Reptilian Death gained an edge for not just playing death metal, but looking the part. What the audience certainly didn’t expect was four robed men – three of them [drummer Sahil Makhija, live guitarist Nishith Hegde and bassist Ashwin Shriyan] in black hooded masks – and vocalist Vinay Venkatesh, with his face painted black and white, carrying a yellowing Bible. As the band broke into “Emerge Hatred Emerge,” a great pick for an introductory track from their upcoming album The Dawn of Consummation and Emergence, even the ballsiest metalheads stepped away from the stafe, in dare we say, mortal fear. 

Reptilian Death, formed in 2001, performed with cocky self-assurance that proved why they are a supergroup and not just another side project. The band powered through the opening set perfectly despite Hegde’s guitar amplifier being off for a while. Venkatesh ended their four-track set with the words “Ah, the sweet smell of fresh death,” dropping the mic before walking off.

The band’s evolution from a spoofy, five-song death metal project [“Grasp Of the Anaconda” from Defaced & Split, a 2006 compilation featuring four Reptilian Death songs] to serious, groovy death metal is much more refined. Venkatesh admits that it wasn’t as smooth as it looked. “Everyone was a bit nervous before the show – this is something not done before, and certainly very open to ridicule, but I don’t give a shit about it,” he says. A band that started out as Makhija’s solo side project, Reptilian Death was in a state of flux for years. Active between 2001 and 2003 and again in 2005 and 2006 with different members, Reptilian Death became Makhija’s experiment in turning discarded Demonic Resurrection [DR] songs into heavier death metal tracks. “I never stopped writing. After Defaced and Split [a 2006 compilation featuring four Reptilian Death songs], there were always bits and pieces that don’t fit into DR and a bit too extreme for DR. Around 2011, Vinay got involved and started writing lyrics,” says Makhija.

For now, Reptilian Death’s plans include a tentative May release for The Dawn of Consummation and Emergence, with a launch gig in the works. Knowing Makhija, he’s ready to play to any audience, but on his own terms: “When you do such a theatrical thing, you don’t want to settle for that average college show which doesn’t have the resources to pull it off.”

This article appeared in the April 2013 edition of Rolling Stone India

Reptilian Death launch their album on May 19th at Blue Frog, Mumbai. Also performing are Solar Deity and Albatross. Entry: Rs 250. Event details here.

 

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