Welcome to yet another exclusive premiere here on UniteAsia.org! This time we bring you the sounds of thrash from the land of Bangladesh. One of the many MANY things that has developed through the launch of this website earlier this year, is being able to befriend amazing bands and promoters from all over Asia to share their stories about the journeys they’ve been on promoting extreme or underground music in their towns and cities. I may not know much about countries like Bangladesh, but the trials and tribulations that bands from all over Asia speak about always ALWAYS sound very familiar.
Hence the name of this website – UNITE ASIA. We’re all in this together…keep reaching out!
Enjoy the second song Demolisher from Surtur‘s upcoming EP.
You guys have been described as a band who are trying to keep your sound/aesthetic as close to the style/sound of 80s/90s thrash metal. What about that genre/aesthetic appeals to you guys so much and how did you get into it being from Bangladesh?
Riasat: The early 80’s saw the emergence of thrash metal in the history of metal. A lot of thrash metal bands used to thrive during that period. In particular during late 80s and early 90s bands were playing faster than ever. That fast tempo, aggressive riffing and the overall attitude of those bands set them distinct from the other genres of music. We find that ‘no bullshit’ attitude of those bands very appealing. For us playing at faster tempo is like having a crazy ride and adrenaline getting pumped up all the time. That has influenced us to play this fast, aggressive kind of music with our style.
And although we are from Bangladesh, metal has set its roots here quite a while ago. Waves were playing heavy metal numbers back in 1985. There were bands like Rock Strata who released their first heavy metal album back in 1990. As there is easy access to sites like YouTube, we can listen to the songs of that time. And if you find likeminded individuals who have the same taste in music, you get to know about the bands they like and you can find out if you like them as well. That’s how I got into these bands.
Tell us about the songwriting/recording process for you guys as you began putting your debut EP together. Once you had some songs down how easy was it to lockdown a recording studio in Bangladesh or was this a DIY recording? If not DIY, are their producers/engineers that are well versed in extreme music that heavy bands can turn to in Bangladesh?
Riasat: All the songs took shape in our rehearsal sessions after Omee had some riffs in his mind and put it together with Rifat in drums to create the skeletons, Efaz handling the bass duties. I and Omee both contributed in the lyrics. We further improvised them putting all of our own individual inputs. At first we thought of putting together a rehearsal demo but weren’t pleased with the sound. Then we thought of hitting a studio and make it a full-fledged EP.
This was not a DIY recording as none of us have the technical knowledge of putting together a DIY recording haha. To be honest, it was not difficult to lockdown a recording studio as there are not many recording studios or producers capable of producing extreme metal. After some scrutinizing, we decided that Sonic Occult Productions would suit our needs the best and booked some sessions there. The drums were recorded in a separate studio called Studio 100 Miles.
I gotta say that Maamar Huq, the sound producer of Sonic Occult Productions, is the go to guy for old school thrash/death metal bands in Dhaka. He was very comfortable to work with and we had some pretty fun recording sessions.
Please do us a favor and tell us briefly what the current metal scene is like (promoters, bands, venues, tour circuit, etc).
Omee: It’s quite saddening that Bangladeshi metal scene is still a bit obscure comparing with the world. The lack of proper promotion probably is the reason behind this. But we have so many talents in almost all the subgenres of metal. Due to scarcity of organizers we don’t have a lot of quality shows here but still they are being organized from time to time and they are pretty fun to go to. Primitive Invocation is organizing some quality metal gigs here where a lot of international and local bands have played already. Organizers like Metal Morgue, Bangladesh Metal Alliance are also organizing some top notch extreme metal shows.
We have bands like Orator who just had a tour in India where they played in Bangalore Open Air with bands like Napalm Death, Inquisition and Belphegor. There were the death metal giants Severe Dementia who are recently going through lineup changes. Then there are bands like Morbidity(they released a killer death metal album named Revealed From Ashes at last year).There are Nafarmaan, Nuclear Winter, Enmachined, Thrash, Warhound, Homicide, Eternal Armageddon, Dissector, Abominable Carnivore, Exalter, Sacrilege, Burial Dust, Necrolepsy, Tyagra and there are other acts who have generated a healthy following in the local scene. Some of them have also toured abroad participating in gigs. Powersurge, Mirrorblaze have also seen mass popularity in the local scene. So, the gist is we have a lot of potent bands. But the lack of promotion in the outside world is keeping them from being heard. I must add that, Qabar PR, our PR agents have taken a great initiative and they are doing a hell of a job. The bands need more able hands like them.
Young bands need necessary stage experience, so more people need to be organizing more gigs. If this thing gets solved, doors will open up for tour circuits .For now there are no tour circuits here.
As a fairly new band, what are you hoping to accomplish with the release of this EP?
Riasat: We want people who have a thing for extreme metal, listen to our record. We are representing our country and scene with our music so if it gets appreciated internationally, it would bring great pride and joy for us. And if even a single person gets inspired to record and release their own material, it would mean a lot to us. And as a band, we are always looking forward to doing a lot of concerts, both internationally andlocally.
Once the EP is out, bands usually hit the road hard to promote the release, thats a little differently done in Asia. What are your plans to promote the record and promote yourselves?
Riasat: It sucks that we can’t hit the road and promote our release by doing concerts. For now, we are taking the help of social media to spread the record internationally and also our brethren from the local scene have been a lot of help by carrying out the words about the release. We are also expecting to do some concerts within Dhaka to let more people know about the release so that they get interested in getting the record. Qabar PR, our PR agent, has taken the responsibility to promote it internationally through online portals, forums and zines.
Lyrically – what are the issues that this releases touches on especially the song “Maggot Filled Brain?”
Riasat: All the songs in the release have a common theme which is standing up for what you believe in and fighting against whatever oppresses you, may it be your own demons or outside forces. We portrayed the songs by putting our own fantasies in the lyrics which we thought gelled well with the musical side.
Maggot Filled Brain was co-written by me and Omee. We are living in a country which has a politically turbulent history and we can see our regular lives getting hampered every now and then because of that. Also the so-called intellectuals and white collar criminals are rampant in our society. Without getting into more details, we can easily say that it sometimes becomes a difficult place where you don’t often find grounds to stand on. This song is an attempt to call out those individuals who are taking advantage of the normal people’s trust in them and using them as they like.