Bhayanak Maut on their new track 'Shoreline', exit of two core members: We make music on our terms
Around 2017 when Bhayanak Maut's vocalists Vinay Venkatesh and Sunneith Revankar left the band, fans wondered how the remaining members decided to continue.
In the last eight months, there have been three new Bhayanak Maut songs with Pune vocalist Aman Virdi (from metallers Noiseware) taking the mic.
With the three Amsterdam-inspired songs out of the way, the band is on to working on the next set of songs for release.
Their latest release, Shoreline, perhaps features more vocal variation than fans have ever heard before.
Around 2017 when Mumbai metal band Bhayanak Maut’s two vocalists — Vinay Venkatesh and Sunneith Revankar — decided to leave the band, many fans wondered how the remaining members had decided to carry on without their “guttural twins”.
Guitarist Aditya Gopinathan Nair says, “The easiest thing to do would have been fold up the band after two core members, basically the face of the band decide to leave. We had certain plans regarding finishing off the album with a few members of the ‘scene’ but unfortunately that fell through as well. Eventually we decided that this is our legacy, we do it our way, on our terms and conditions. A giant middle finger to all.”
In the last eight months, there have been three new Bhayanak Maut songs – 'Pindakaas', 'Attack of the Roachsmokers' and last week's 'Shoreline' – with Pune vocalist Aman Virdi (from metallers Noiseware) taking the mic. Including their first ever performance in two years at the Bacardi NH7 Weekender in Pune in December and a Mumbai club show at Antisocial earlier this month, Bhayanak Maut have more than proved to be as reliable as ever. Virdi is taking on the role of two vocalists with the existing material – 2014 album Man and their 2009 self-titled/untitled album – but the band’s guitarists Venkatraman R, bassist Ishaan Krishna and drummer Rahul Hariharan are also joining on vocals. “Venky (Venkatraman R) has always had a mic on stage with Bhayanak Maut. So between the three of us, we decide which part is possible for us to sing and play live,” the drummer says.
As for Virdi’s entry into the band for the most of 2019, Hariharan calls him “extremely dedicated and proactive”, while Venkatraman jokes that they’ve “successfully managed to keep him on a strict McDonald’s diet that is a must for every metal vocalist”. The band notes that bassist Ishaan Krishna – who joined in 2013 – is still subject to ‘new guy’ jokes.
Always a tight-knit unit, their most recent releases originated from a band trip to Amsterdam. While 'Pindakaas' (peanut butter in Dutch) and 'Attack of the Roachsmokers' played to their strengths, 'Shoreline' perhaps features more vocal variation than fans have ever heard before – there’s clean vocal portions and synth layers but also arena-sized sing-along hooks. Nair tells us, “We needed to aim for the biggest chorus/singalong chorus in Indian metal history.” Venkatraman notes, “Aditya was clear that we needed a big singalong chorus for 'Shoreline' and we kept trying to crack it for a while before the chorus came through. We ended up writing the lyrics for the chorus first and then the rest of the song kind of fell in place.”
While it might be referencing war and “bloodletting”, the melodic death metal-borrowing track has a message that’s “positive and forward looking”. Venkatraman explains, “It was inspired wholly by Ed Yong’s 'I Contain Multitudes', a book that talks about how we are shaped by the microbiome inside us.” Through bludgeoning rhythmic breaks and swerving riffs, Bhayanak Maut deliver a catchy new song that’s likely best heard on a big stage.
With the three Amsterdam songs out of the way, the band is on to working on the next set of songs for release. Nair notes they have ideas for about five songs which they’ll figure out through the course of 2020. Hariharan adds, “We have a bunch of songs ready, and just need to figure out vocals before recording them. We’re hoping to release a few more singles very soon.”
While it wouldn’t be remiss of some fans to think about the quirkiness of 'Pindakaas' and feel like it was a good transition from the writing style of their previous vocalists, Venkatraman notes that sometimes it’s just about being “dark and funny” with their lyrics. Nair adds, “Chocolate cake with any icing is still gonna be chocolate cake.” We’ll take that.
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