Reptilian Death’s Debut Album Releases Worldwide
Members of the Mumbai death metal band overcome injury and canceled gigs to sign an international record deal for their debut album
At all the three gigs Mumbai death metal band Reptilian Death [RD] has played until date, even diehard metalheads stand unusually motionless, save for a few consenting nods, preferring to maintain a distance from the stage and the masked five-piece unit that is RD.
That’s not what the band wants at all, though. They really don’t expect anything. In fact, vocalist Vinay Venkatesh [from Mumbai metal band Bhayanak Maut] and drummer Sahil Makhija [aka the Demonstealer from extreme metal band Demonic Resurrection] began work with an open mind when they started writing for The Dawn of Consummation and EmergenceÂ in late 2010. Says Venkatesh, “We went into this without any expectations. The whole purpose of this project was that I wanted to keep myself busy. The last two and a half years has just made me very happy. Because I’m doing something different and I know I’m doing it in the way I like to.”
Their debut full-length album, The Dawn of Consummation and Emergence, which released in 2013, is now being readied for an international launch. Says Venkatesh, “When Bhayanak Maut [BM] was on a break after the Metastasis EP in 2010, I wanted to write during that time. There were thoughts in my head and I didn’t know what format I should put them in. I went to Sahil and asked if he had any music I could write [vocal parts and lyrics] to. He had 12 songs ready with Reptilian Death. It wasn’t even as though I had joined the band.” Venkatesh wrote the lyrics to The Dawn of Consummation and Emergence ”“ the story of how evil manifests itself in a human being, how he transforms and in time creates 10 children. “The first album ends with these children going out into the world after being baptized in a church by their father,” says Venkatesh.
Makhija handed over all songwriting duties to Venkatesh, who unflinchingly let loose his darkest lines yet in the album. Says Makhija, when he came across lyrics to “Stimulate. Hike. Impel. Tear,” “The line that actually struck me the most was, ”˜You’re gonna suck me, and I’m going to fucking come all over your fucking face.’ When he (Vinay) first sang it, I thought, ”˜Oh shit, what have I done?’”
To begin with, Makhija concentrated on the music, writing guitar, drum and bass parts for the album. The band was put together later with Makhija recruiting bassist Ashwin Shriyan [who also plays for Demonic Resurrection, joking that RD “was like an audition band for DR”], guitarists Nishith Hegde, the shred wizard from heavy metal band Albatross and Prateek Rajagopal, from experimental metal band Chronic Phobia and, more recently, the newest recruit for death grind band Gutslit. Shriyan , Hegde and Rajagopal [both 18 years old] are a fun bunch, joking around and cussing each other out. While Shriyan joined to record bass in 2012, Hegde joined for the band’s live debut in March, adding Rajagopal to the lineup in May.
The having-no-expectations approach has been both good and bad for the band. The good ”” getting picked up by Universal Music in India, DarzamadicusÂ Records in Macedonia and Old School Metal Records in all other parts of the world. The bad ”” playing just three gigs in six months because of a streak of rotten luck ”“ from a mix-up in the dates for their June launch at Blue Frog, New Delhi to Venkatesh’s accident in June which puts him out of performing until the end of the year. For their last gig at the fortnightly metal series Bombay Asylum in August, Makhija had recruited DR drummer Virendra Kaith to fill in while he took over Venkatesh’s role as a vocalist, but Kaith too threw out his back following an accident, leaving Makhija to perform both drums and vocals.
Venkatesh, who attended the gig, despite not being able to perform, says, “They were brilliant. It wasn’t just the vocals, they were fantastic. There’s something about RD, with the facepaint and everything that none of it looks silly.”
While there are talks of a music video to coincide with the worldwide album launch by Old School Metal Records on October 10th, the band will try to carry on without Venkatesh, looking for gigs until he recovers. They know for sure that they will continue to play without any expectations. While Venkatesh’s schemes include letting a goat loose into the moshpit at their gigs, Makhija says the last thing you can expect from RD is stage banter. “At least we’re not saying, ”˜Open this pit up’ and no one’s doing anything. It’s actually quite fuckall if you say, ”˜Let me see those hands in the air!’ and one guy’s got his hand raised.”Â
StreamÂ The Dawn of Consummation and Emergence
This article appeared in the September 2013 issue of ROLLING STONE India.