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Exclusive Stream: Doom/Death Metallers Dusk Trudge Perilously on ‘Eigengrau’

The Pakistan/Singapore-based act will release their album ‘The Imaginary Dead’ later this month

Anurag Tagat Jan 15, 2022

Karachi/Singapore doom/death metal band Dusk. Photo: Courtesy of Cyclopean Eye Productions

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Karachi-origin doom/death metal veterans Dusk have been around since 1995, sometimes in different iterations, monikers and journeying across genres as well. Founder and frontman Babar Sheikh has veered from death metal to prog (their 2003 album Jahilia) and electronic/ambient (Contrary Beliefs in 2006).

Among their latest releases saw Dusk return to stomp around back on doom/death turf, as heard on their 2014 split record with Bengaluru’s Dying Embrace on Through Corridors of Dead Centuries. In 2016, they released a single called “Architect of the Fifth Dimension.” In all of it, across lineups and styles, you can sense there’s always a definitive sound that Sheikh hones in on with his bandmates.

Dusk has been an outlet for experiments for Sheikh, although he rues that there aren’t many extreme metal musicians in Pakistan to work with, which led to exploring different genres. For now and the foreseeable future, the definitive sound of Dusk is doom/death. It extends to the lyrics as well. “Lyrically I always tend to be reflective of experiences and metaphorical interpretations of ideas, maybe that is where the visceral comes in. I draw influences from works of great writers like Tagore and Neruda,” Sheikh says.

With their upcoming full-length album The Imaginary Dead – releasing in 2022 via Bengaluru-based label Cyclopean Eye Productions – Dusk do what they know best. Harrowing doom and death metal make for varying pace and intensity, as heard on their first single “Ancient Shattered Moon.” With the new song “Eigengrau,” there’s an incendiary atmosphere, punctuated by Sheikh’s vocals, bass by Mike Loh aka Mike Bloodcurse and drummer Halim Yousof aka Tremor, both from Singapore. The trio worked remotely, with help from guitarist/synth artist Kashan Admani, guitarist-producer Santiago Dobles and others. Sheikh says he wanted to harken back to Dusk’s first two albums – My Infinite Nature Alone (1999) and Jahilia – which showcased “strange time signatures.” He adds, “I think with ‘Eigengrau’ we somehow managed that, the initial part of the song with its mono synth is a homage to Rush, as you can tell. Some strange parts where you hear a Hammond through the mix is everything the way I had conceived it. The guitar solo on the track is by Santiago Dobles.”

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Listen to “Eigengrau” below.

Vocalist Wajiha Naqvi also injects an eeriness on “Eigengrau,” her melancholy voice appearing almost like a bolt from the blue. “I sent her the song and mentioned the parts where I could hear her vocals coming to life and the first demo she sent me was with her modern rendition of the tarana which fit in beautifully,” Sheikh says, referring to the classical style that was created by Hazrath Amir Khusrau. Naqvi also offers a thumri later on in “Eigengrau,” singing “Yaad piya ki aaye” in a forlorn manner. “The themes that go hand in hand with the lyrics of the song that speak about human weakness and realization,” Sheikh adds.

Sonically and thematically, The Imaginary Dead has been in the works for around two years. While there was a visual accompaniment to “Ancient Shattered Moon” that came about largely due to the insistence of their label, Sheikh says he’s contemplating another video, for “Eigengrau” or another track, “Deconstructing Desire.”

Dusk will follow up The Imaginary Dead with a split record alongside Japanese doom/death veterans Anatomia later this year. Sheikh adds, “We have been talking about this collaboration for a few years and very excited that this might finally become a reality this year. We will also be shooting for a documentary film about Dusk where we trace our influences and struggles as Pakistan’s first extreme metal band. Hoping for the best, fingers crossed!”

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Watch the video for “Ancient Shattered Moon” below.

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