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Dying Embrace Release First New Material in 10 years

The Bengaluru death/doom metal band, formed 22 years ago, will launch
split CD out in February

Anurag Tagat Jul 14, 2014
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Dying Embrace - (from left) Deepak Raghu, Vikram Bhat, Jimmy Palkhivala and Pritham D’Souza. Photo: Dhruva Suresh

Dying Embrace – (from left)
Deepak Raghu, Vikram Bhat, Jimmy Palkhivala and Pritham D’Souza. Photo: Dhruva Suresh

It’s not an uncommon sight to find metal heads in their black tees tucking into a quick meal at Ullas Refreshments, an Udupi restaurant in the heart of Bengaluru. Last July, members of American prog metal band Animals as Leaders and Norwegian prog metallers Leprous showed up at Ullas with local metalheads after stirring up a storm at the Bangalore Open Air metal fes­tival. Vikram Bhat, frontman of Bengaluru doom/death metal band Dying Embrace, is the reason why metallers make a beeline for Ullas. Bhat owns the place and part of the income from the restaurant has gone into recording new material for his band ”“ a seven-track EP titled Through Corri­dors of Dead Centuries ”“ their first in more than a decade. Dying Embrace features on four tracks ”“ three originals and a cover of American death metal band Autopsy’s “Twisted Mass of Burnt Decay” ”“ while Pak­istani doom metallers Dusk have contribut­ed three tracks to the split CD.

Dying Embrace, one of the earliest metal bands in the country, formed in 1991 disbanded in 2001 when their drummer Daniel Marc David and bassist Jai Kumar moved out of Bengaluru. The band re­leased their debut EP, Grotesque, just be­fore David and Kumar quit. In 2011, Dying Embrace regrouped to include original gui­tarist Jimmy Palkhivala, drummer Deep­ak Raghu [also part of stoner/doom band Bevar Sea] and bassist Pritham D’Souza. Bhat and Bevar Sea forged a bond in 2013 when they set up Bangalore Doom Syn­dicate, a group of organizers to promote old school metal in the city. Bangalore Doom Syndicate launched gig nights such as Echoes From Beneath and Doom Over Bangalore last year. Says Bhat, “I knew [Bevar Sea guitarists] Srikanth [Pana­man], Rahul Chacko and Deepak from the days we used to rib on each other on online forums such as Gigpad and Hypnos.” It’s a close-knit old school metal community in Bengaluru, according to Bhat, who is also friends with veterans Kryptos, who played at the sec­ond edition of Echoes From Be­neath in December. Bhat’s role as an or­ganizer, however, was questioned late last year, with other metal gig organiz­ers in the city claiming he was trying to jeopardize other shows in the city. Bhat de­fends himself, saying, “I’m not a Mahatma or an NGO here to give a chance to just any band. When we are organizing gigs, we will only consider a certain set of bands who will best appeal to the audience. Having a mixed lineup [of old school and modern metal bands] is risky [for gig organizers].”

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With a new release coming up, Bhat will continue pushing Bengaluru bands and also ensure his own band gets a slot to promote the new release. On Through Corridors of Dead Centuries, the band continues their old school doom sound, on songs such as “Ascen­dance of Namtar,” “Disciples of Despair” and “Horns of the Divine.” Says Bhat, “We didn’t feel like we’d been away. It’s still up to date with the extreme metal scene right now since we all still follow that scene.”

The four tracks were recorded at Pana­man’s home studio, The Doom Cave. Bhat recalls how their their self-titled demo was recorded at a poky studio in Bengaluru’s Shiv­ajinagar area in the early Nineties. Remi­nisces Bhat, “Luckily, there was a produc­er there called Prabhu Samuel who had an idea about the kind of sound we wanted. He was into Seventies rock and Black Sabbath, but did not expect growling vocals.” So when Bhat stepped into The Doom Cave, he was really surprised at how the recording process has transformed over the years. “It’s an all new learning experi­ence,” says Bhat. But just like his music, Bhat is old school at heart. The frontman still wants “that an­cient, analog sound” from days when they recorded in unknown studios. Says Bhat, “People who went back and heard our stuff actually complimented the raw sound of the production. They’re im­pressed by that ancient sound.”

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The EP, which was originally slated to release in February at the fourth edition of international under­ground metal gig, Trendslaughter Fest (TSF), was available last week, at the second edition of Doom Over Bangalore.

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

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