Visions of a golden god.

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As a voice over the telephone, Sahil Makhija sounds like the gentlest, sweetest person to have uncomplainingly travelled the Mumbai suburban railway.
Put him on stage and he will transform into a frighteningly different avatar; that of the `Demonstealer'. "All the big metal musicians have a stage name to differentiate their real and metal lives," explains Sahil whose independent record label bears the same name.
"I guess Demonslayer would have been too stupid, so this worked. I was 16 then," he says in his defence.It's ironic that for a person with no interest in mythology or the classics, Sahil and his band have a profound `demon fixation'.
"From stuff we play to the food I cook, everything has a `demonic' twist to it. My `demonic' omelettes are legendary," he boasts. Beyond the quirkiness, it has proven to be an excellent marketing strategy for his band, Demonic Resurrection.

Unofficially India's top extreme metal act, Demonic Resurrection (DR for short) recently received official gratification from Metal Hammer, one of the top metal magazines in the UK and Europe. DR received the Golden God Award 2010 for Global Metal, the first time an Indian band, metal or otherwise, (Iron Maiden, Slipknot and Anthrax are previous recipients) has won an international award without a recognised record label. "Are you kidding us?" was their first reaction, after which the disbelief subsided on a flight to the awards ceremony in London, "The British Council helped us fly to London when they heard of the award and our financial situation."

Perhaps the only thing that might have lifted their spirits higher was Metal Hammer's statement, calling them the international act they `scoured the entire globe and think that you need to hear.' This year is significant, not just because DR started a decade ago when a 17-yearold commerce drop-out decided to convince his parents that "music is viable as a full time career in 2000." It is significant because DR has been signed on by Candlelight Records (UK), reputed as being amongst the top five labels for metal globally. "I released Behemoth's album in India through my label for Candlelight Records. I sent them a demo of our third album, Return to Darkness, and they called back.

Now it's available in music stores everywhere!" he gushes. Favourable reviews are tumbling in everyday on metal forums across the Net. Incidentally this is the first time an indie Indian band has been signed on by an international record label not based in India.
Armed with a golden statue of Stonehenge with a skull being pierced by a sword, and a record label, DR returned to India. Did the awards fetch any money? "I don't think you get money with a Filmfare award either!" retorts Sahil, "It's now up to us to capitalise on this and make it financially viable, as a band and as extreme metal pioneers in India."

Whether they pioneered extreme metal (a conglomerate of death, symphonic, black and any other type of metal you find is heavier) is debatable. That they strongly stuck to playing only originals from when they were "an amateur band who really didn't sound great" to this day is commendable. "After 2006 crowds wanted to hear our own music and stopped screaming for covers. Now unless you're a cover band at Hard Rock Café, nobody will listen to you," he says.
All of DR's albums are tinged with the theme of `Darkness.' "After the band split in 2002, it was like we had to make it back from a dark void. And we found the dark theme fit us perfectly with our demonic tag," explained the man who is the sole survivor of the original DR line-up. survivor of the original DR line-up.

Though Sahil plays for several bands, he still holds fort with a job at Furtados, which retails music gear. Guitarist Daniel is a student at St Xaviers', while Viru (drums), Hussain (bass) and Jitesh `Mephisto' Menon (keyboard) work in Menon (keyboard) work in advertising and media-related concerns. "We're hoping that in three years we can all quit our day jobs and make music full-time," he says looking back at the band's decade long journey, "From having a different member for every show the first year we performed, to opening for Opeth and Cannibal Corpse, it's been a dream."

With a stint at the Norwegian Inferno festival behind them and a slot playing alongside Children of Bodom and Fear Factory at the Czech Republic's Brutal Assault Festival in August, DR are hoping to play at the legendary Wacken Fest next year.
However far their dreams may extend, their heart lies closer home, apparently "We started the Resurrec tion Fest in 2004 and we're planning to make it the biggest metal fest in India promoting only local METAL talent," stresses Sahil. Only metal? "Well there's plenty of support for the rock and jazz and blues bands so I'm happy to do my bit for Indian metal, so there!" -daniel.thimmayya@gmail.com

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