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Bhayanak Maut on Their Twisted New Album

The Mumbai band combine horror stories and heavy duty riffs for their third album

Anurag Tagat Aug 18, 2014
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Vinay Venkatesh, R. Venkatraman,Ishaan Krishna, Rahl Hariharan, Aditya Gopinathan, Sunneith Revankar (from left). Photo: Roycin D'Souza

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

Compared to their metal peers like hardcore band Scribe and ex­treme metal band Demonic Resur­rection, Mumbai metal band Bhay­anak Maut [BM] have given away very little about their new album. Their upcoming third album, the follow-up to their 2009 un­titled album and the three-track 2010 EP Me­tastasis, contains 12 tracks, which serve as a companion to 12 short stories written by the band’s vocalists Vinay Venkatesh and Sunneith Revankar.

It’s taken four years for Bhayanak Maut to complete the album. The band chalks this down to the members’ work commitments and the absence of a permanent bassist, which was resolved when Ishaan Krishna joined the band last year. When we catch up with the band just after they’ve finished recording the album at drummer Rahul Hariharan’s studio and jam room That Studio in Mumbai, it’s just another weekend meeting for the six members. Jokes Hariharan, “I think we’ve almost become like uncles now. When we meet next, we’ll play bridge.”

The addition of Krishna on bass also meant a new pair of ears listening to the band’s new material. Says Krishna, “I was just getting into heavier music and then this [joining BM] happens.” When the time came to finally play their new songs, at their first gig in over a year at Mumbai’s Blue Frog in March, the band says Krishna wanted to push the new songs. Says Venkatesh, “He [Ishaan] was like, ”˜Fuck you guys, I’ve been in the band for a year now and I want to play the new songs.’” Apart from the hits such as “Ranti Nasha” and “MNS Messen­ger,” Bhayanak Maut played five songs from their as yet untitled album, including “I Am Man,” one of the earliest songs written for the new album. The song, along with “PrincessT” [which was not a part of BM’s Blue Frog set in March], was first performed in 2011. The other new songs include “Genosis,” “Perfect­ing The Suture,” “For Science” and “All Glory To The Beard.”

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Vocalists Revankar and Ven­katesh started writing sto­ries based on horror plots covering everything from bes­tiality [“I Am Man”] to murder­ous visual artists [in the story ”˜Creation:Destruction’] and film­makers [”˜Unicorn Man’] and pe­dophiles [”˜Peckish’]. Says Ven­katesh, “The brief we gave ourselves was, ”˜Let’s just make people very uncomfort­able’.” Gopinathan says it wasn’t too difficult to write riffs keeping a concept in mind, be it key changes or chord progressions. The gui­tarist, however, adds, “Even if you take them completely out of context, these are 12 really strong songs, which is what we’ve been going for even before we thought of a concept or even an album.”

The new material places more emphasis on brutal riffs and the band has done away with gimmicky breakdowns. Says guitarist R. Ven­katraman, “We don’t to pick up a song and say, ”˜The breakdown in that song was nice’.” Fel­low guitarist Aditya Gopinathan adds, “We’ve made an album with good songs, not with stuff that [you’ll listen to] after four years and say, ”˜Oh my god, I hate that fucking song.’”

Venkatesh says he’s tired of fans ask­ing BM to play even older material, such as the more metalcore-leaning “Invitation to Bleed” from their debut 2004 album Hell Is All People. Says Venkatesh, “We’re like ”˜Fuck you.’ The old stuff is gone.” Bhayanak Maut make it very clear that this album is for them. That justifies why it has taken them four years and still, there’s no fix on the album release date.

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The band commissioned visual designer Reuben Bhattacharya [from Delhi groove met­allers Undying Inc] to design three T-shirt designs based on the short stories. Venkatesh says there will be separate artwork for the album and for the book of short stories, which is being done by another artist. Krishna sums it up as “brutal,” while Venkatesh jokes, “We’re all going to jail.” But the vocalist gets more serious when he says it’s always been about good art for the band ”“ from the Rorschach blot-filled untitled album to their several T-shirt designs. Says Venkatesh, “It’s an expression of who we are. I want a 17-year-old kid to look at this (album) and say ”˜What the fuck is going on?’ This (album) is for us and it’s always going to be like that.”

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

Watch Bhayanak Maut’s rehearsal video for “All Glory To The Beard” off their upcoming album

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