Originally published in the Hindu Metroplus on August 17.
“We’re playing here on the eve of India’s independence day. You all know who we won against,” says Demonic Resurrection frontman Sahil Makhija, as the crowd at a small live bar in London begins to get the joke. “But we still love you guys!” Makhija adds.
In a room full of 50-100 people, Demonic Resurrection (DR) played their second show in the UK – a free show – after their main performance at Bloodstock Open Air festival on Sunday. The band were featured in the same festival line-up as metal’s biggest names – including Machine Head, Sepultura, Hatebreed, Alice Cooper, Dimmu Borgir, Nile, Behemoth and Mayhem.
“It’s a completely different vibe from Indian festivals,” Makhija says. He adds as an afterthought, “It was actually a very tiring experience.” Regardless, he says the vast choice of bands to watch and the food to eat made the festival a great experience for them. “All I can say is – thank God the bathrooms were clean!” he jokes.
Daniel Rego, the lead guitarist of the band agrees on the issue of bathrooms, but adds more seriously, “When you are at a festival (outside India), not only are there (different) people, but the culture also comes with it. That’s the biggest distinguishing factor for me.”
At Bloodstock, DR played to a different audience, over 200 in attendance inside a tent. The band was given a performance time slot when no other band was playing on the main stage, thus diverting all the crowds to get into the tent.
“I had a good time on stage, and the crowd reaction was awesome. We got the pit going. We’re always a little paranoid about how audiences outside India will react, but it was good fun.”
Makhija gushed between songs during their Bloodstock set, profusely thanking every hand involved in bringing the band to the UK after their last attempt was unsuccessful due to visa issues.
Even then, British magazine Metal Hammer and Candlelight Records – the band’s Europe record label – have probably played a big part in ensuring the band has a UK date. Makhija says: “It’s awesome to be promoted on the same scale as a lot of big bands. That’s a really great feeling – when people are acknowledging the hard work that we put in. So I’m stoked about it.”
Rego points out that they were meant to play at the Sonisphere festival last year. Since they couldn’t come down then, this gig has built anticipation. “A big part of the expectations is that Demonic Resurrection is finally coming to the UK.”
Makhija doesn’t think the band has a special advantage in being picked to play at Bloodstock. “There are a lot of Indian bands that are probably more famous than us in India. I would say it’s just that we one of the most hardworking bands. Just writing good music or being great live is not the only way to make it. You really have to network and send out demos and slog.” He hopes that their performance will generate interest in the Indian scene and in the band as well.
On their way to the live bar in London, Daniel and Viru almost forget they have extra songs to play, but they play a shortened set, having to exclude their biggest hit ‘The Unrelenting Surge of Vengeance’ due to time constrictions. The crowd is disappointed, but they are happy to have witnessed the band perform. Later on, fans wait for their turn to be photographed with the band members, as Makhija hands out a sticker which reads ‘I witnessed Demonic Resurrection conquer U.K’.
In terms of metal, Demonic Resurrection are doing something different (as much as critics back home have expressed otherwise), because you don’t get to play in Europe three times in two years just because you are from India. Although Makhija received loud applause from the London crowd when he said, “We are just five guys from India who love metal.”
As for future plans, the band says they will be in the studio next week for pre-production of next album, due to be released next year, possibly in March or April. Makhija hopes DR’s next international gig will be in Germany.
“We’ll go wherever people want us to play, but we want to play at Wacken, Summer Breeze or one of the German festivals for sure. Maybe even Hellfest in France; that would be awesome.”
For now, if their performance didn’t prove it, if the band’s unwavering enthusiasm didn’t convey it, they were happy to have finally visited the UK.
What they are taking back from the country? “Couple of extra kilos,” says Makhija, while Rego adds, “A couple of T-shirts and a much lighter wallet.”