Mumbai’s death metal outfit Reptilian Death are on a roll. The band recently announced that they will be performing at UK’s metal carnival Hammerfest VI, in March, 2014. The fest has earlier seen massive performances by Opeth, Saxon, Sepultura, Tesseract and more recently, Anthrax, Hell and Amon Amarth. At this volume of the Hammerfest, some of the biggest bands playing include Kreator, Soilwork, and Over Kill amongst others. When we asked founder member Sahil Makhija his take on the upcoming gig, he told us that along with Hammerfest, the band might also be doing a few club shows. Nonetheless, Makhija does mention that he is most excited to be sharing the stage with Soilwork and Cypher16. Any clues as to whether Reptilian Death would be doing a Demonic Resurrection-esque road-trip gig tour were met with no concrete reply, owing probably to the fact that the band has so much going on for it at the moment. But that’s a good six months away.
This would be the band’s second international break, the first being the worldwide launch of their sophomore album, “The Dawn of Consummation And Emergence”, on October 10, 2022 via label Old School Metal Records. Makhija say, “For me, getting a proper release worldwide was very important. This meant that the album would be available in stores across the UK and Europe. It would allow fans from any part of the world to get a copy of the album hassle-free. The ultimate aim, obviously, was to release the album and tour and support the release. My personal aim is to tour and sell enough records so that I can do this for a living.”
For a band, whose roots lie in starting out as a kind of a mock side project to satiate Makhija’s drumming desires, their recent spurt on the global map is testament to their evolving sound.
The lyrical theme of “The Dawn of Consummation And Emergence” chronicles the protagonist’s metamorphosis of a mortal into a reptilian manifestation of evil; evil in its incarnate, infinite forms. The thematic progression also provides a strong backing to the album’s musical styling, as each song deliberately increases in terms of tempo, aggression and seemingly organized chaos as the songs in the album progress. Vocalist Vinay Venkatesh ’s intermittent use of intense chanting and eviscerating guttural growls has the ability to provoke a strong and dissenting, almost apathetic sentiment in the music and tonality of the album. Though a technical death album, “The Dawn of Consummation And Emergence” has an underlying black metal-eqsue feel and periodic thrash elements, with unnerving riffs and blast beats that render it extremely mosh pit-friendly.
Makhija’s drumming also seems to have vastly improved over time, which is good for the album’s sound; a worthy punch is delivered through his drum play, although for the genre of music, a few might point out that it’s not as fast and powerful as death metal demands. The album artwork has been worked on by Michael Loranc, and possibly is among the most impressive album arts the Indian metal scene has seen in quite a while. Makhija says, “The project really was always on the sideline until about 2010, when I got done with the third Demonic Resurrection album. Around this time, I started working with Vinay on the material. I had written pretty much the entire album post the “Intestinal Feast” EP in 2006, so I had about 10 tracks, and then worked with Vinay on this for almost two years, and we got the album together. Ashwin (Shriyan, bassist) joined us before the recording and he just slammed down those bass tracks, and Daniel K Rego (guitars) did two guest solos as well. I wanted to step up the professionalism on Reptilian Death as a whole and bring it on par with what I was doing with Demonic Resurrection and Workshop. It’s great to see the album getting good reviews world over.”
Reptilian Death is among the most recognizable bands in Mumbai, their onstage portrayal replete with a pseudo-corpse painted vocalist and hooded members. The band consists of Mumbai metal icons Bhayanak Maut’s vocalist Venkatesh on vocals and Makhija on drums, guitars and vocals, with a bevy of masked musicians joining them for live shows. Ever since the band’s inception at the start of the millennium, death metal quintuple Reptilian Death have seen constant progression in terms of members, musical style and intensity; over time, the solo project became a full blown band, the element of humour dissipated altogether from the music, and Reptilian Death’s band member evolution still continues.