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Dying Out Flame: Spiritual Healing

Do death metal's core values coincide with Hinduism? Dying Out Flame think so...

In case some of you were still wondering (like, really?) a solid quarter of a century after it had exploded in everybody’s face, death metal has become a worldwide phenomena. Check the Metal Archives website and you’ll see that it has spread like a plague – even some black metal bands from Mongolia, of all places, are listed there. So in a way, it should come as no surprise that even Nepal has proudly joined the death metal revolution. Yet besides its bludgeoning music, a quite frantic mix of Morbid Angel and Nile with its own twist, it’s really Dying Out Flame’s spirituality that really set them apart. There have been instances of extreme bands dipping into Hindu ideology, but ironically so far it has been acts coming from countries where Hinduism is far from being the most popular religion – such as Singaporeans Rudra or Necros Christos from Germany. But Dying Out Flame are the first proper band for which spirituality is part of their every day life, even before they first picked up an instrument. And far from being defined just by its unusually positive lyrical content, their debut Shiva Rudrastakam is just one damn good and solid death metal album. Plus no matter how much enlightenment their bass player and vocalist Aabeg Guatam hopes to convey with his music, the man remains a proud metalhead…

Just a couple of hours prior to publishing this feature, a massive earthquake hit Kathmandu as you now all know and swept clean the city, claiming the lives of over 8,000 people in the process. For about a week, Aabeg was MIA and thus we decided to put the feature on hold until further notice. Thankfully, Dying Out Flame's frontman gave some more than welcome life signs after eight days, explaining that he had been taken to the hospital after one of his home's walls fell on him during the tremor. Now homeless, he nevertheless has lost none of his drive to play death metal and has even started working on his solo project...

You can donate to the Disasters Emergency Committee here.

First of all Aabeg, could you give us a bit of background on how and when Dying Out Flame formed? 

"I’ve been listening to metal for a long time but death really struck a nerve with me, it has a unique atmosphere and such an extraordinary skull-crushing energy that I knew I had to play it myself. As a result, Dying Out Flame was put together in late 2011 with myself on vocals and bass and Prachanda on drums. Our goal was plain and simple: to play fast, loud and extreme music without restrictions or limitations and fuelled by our undying passion and respect for extreme metal. Until then never played together, we had been good friends for years and always toyed around with the idea of creating something dark and obscure together, and since we had been both bands for a year then, the timing was perfect. 

"The first 12 months were a bit rough though as we went through a bunch of potential guitar players until we settled down with Saujanya at the end of 2012. For about five or six months, we remained as a three-piece and played a bunch of shows locally, but soon we realised something was wrong as we sounded way too much like the rest. It had become quite trendy to play this kind of music here, so we decided to try something new, something more positive while still faithful to our roots, hence our concept of mixing Hindu mythology and philosophy, Vedas and eastern classical music."

Are you the first proper death metal band to come out of Kathmandu? From what you’re telling us, it doesn’t seem so...

"Exactly, we’re not the first. I mean, as a band, we’re only four years old and the Nepali underground scene has been witnessing many death metal bands for over a decade now. On the other hand, we are the first band here to fuse this music with Vedic themes, hence our ‘Vedic death metal’ tag. Plus our spirituality also means with we have a certain image that also isn’t the norm."

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