Premiere: Bengaluru Project Moral Collapse Features Necrophagist Drummer Hannes Grossmann
Hear the first track ‘Sculpting the Womb of Misery’ by guitarist-vocalist Arun Natarajan, from metallers Eccentric Pendulum
In 2004, before Extinct Reflections was fully formalized, Bengaluru metal musician Arun Natarajan was part of Moral Collapse. Along with guitarist Sandesh Nagaraj and drummer Kishan Baalaji, the bassist and guitarist would jam for many hours a day. “It was like the first date with music I ever had, so one never wants it to ever end.”
About 16 years later, Moral Collapse is now Natarajan’s new metal project featuring a heavy hitter lineup of collaborations. The self-titled debut album — releasing next month via Natarajan’s own label Subcontinental Records — includes German drumming veteran Hannes Grossmann, who is best known for his time behind the kit for bands ranging from Necrophagist to Obscura and Blotted Science. Over email, Grossmann says he wasn’t fully aware of India’s active metal scene and felt that “few bands from India are known in Europe.”
He adds, “I hope I can contribute to change that, because there is some real talent to be found in your country.” The drummer, who had visited India in 2016 for Bangalore Open Air with metal supergroup Nader Sadek, calls working with Moral Collapse challenging and fun, hailing Natarajan as a “true supporter of the arts.”
Approaching the drummer as a record label, Natarajan — also known for his work with metallers Eccentric Pendulum — added Bengaluru guitarist Sudarshan Mankad for the seven-track album. Helming vocals, guitars and bass to definitively old-school death metal with a hint of tech-metal, Natarajan says, “I have never done music before without physical interaction and explanations, without bandmates. This was in a way a test of my own endurance, how much of perfection I could achieve in a short span of time.”
The opening track “Sculpting the Womb of Misery” off the self-titled debut album features a guest solo from Bengaluru-based guitarist Tony Das (from prog rock/metal band Bhoomi and multilingual pop-rock band Peepal Tree), bringing in a scorching, chaotic leads. “Whatever he touches turns to gold,” Natarajan says of Das.
Kick-starting Moral Collapse and focusing all his efforts into Subcontinental Records (which has a steady run of releases coming up), Natarajan says the project has been a longtime coming. “I needed to act on my own and act fast to satisfy my musical agendas.” The Moral Collapse album will feature thrash and death metal roots (Natarajan names acts like Carcass, Morbid Angel and Gorguts amongst influences) and is informed by Carnatic mridangam as well. Other collaborators on the album include Gorguts guitarist Kevin Hufnagel, death metal pioneers Death’s guitarist Bobby Koelble and more.