DORMANT INFERNO / DIONYSUS | Aristocrazia Webzine


Band: Dormant Inferno / Dionysus
Translation: Elisunn
Line Up Dormant Inferno:

  • Sunny Bhambri – Guitars and Bass
  • Gautam Shankar – Vocals
  • Lenin Kharat – Keyboards
Line Up Dionysus:
  • Umair Ahmed – Guitars
  • Sheraz Ahmed – Guitars and Drums
  • Waleed Ahmed – Vocals, Guitars and Bass

Aristocrazia takes on a double interview: our guests are Dormant Inferno from India and Dyonisus from Pakistan, two bands that worked together for their split "Beyond Forgotten Shores".

Welcome on our website, how are you?

Sunny [Dormant Inferno]: Hello, I am doing good and things are good here in Mumbai!

Sheraz [Dionysus]: I played a killer last saturday named Mentally Murdered so I am still recovering from the post gig fatigue! [laugh].

Usually we start by giving our guests some room to introduce themselves, so please anything you want about your bands…

Sunny: Yeah well I play guitars/bass for Dormant Inferno, we take our Death-Doom pretty seriously.

Sheraz: I am Sheraz Ahmed from Dionysus. Dionysus is a Black/Doom band from Lahore, Pakistan. I also have some other side projects on the side. (Grind/Thrash/Funeral Doom).

Dark and Doom-like sounds, but enriched by some influences coming from Death and Black, how did you get in touch with this world? Which were the albums that opened you the gates to this music?

Sunny: Well the list is big but right off the bat, Iron Maiden's "Killers", Metallica and Slayer's "Show No Mercy" were my first metal albums. And a few years later, after experimenting with a thousand metal genres, I happened to chance upon Novembers Doom's "Amid Its Hallowed Mirth"… and I knew instantly this was what I was looking for! There has been no looking back since.

Sheraz: The album that got me into doom/death/black was Asphyx's "Last One On Earth" and Dismember's "Indecent And Obscene". That was the gateway for me and I never looked back since then. Bands like Katatonia, Anathema, Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride etc also formed a big part of my musical journey.

The split is very varied, how did you make it? Who had the idea to do something together?

Sunny: Yes it is varied, it has something for every type of listener but the songs are quintessentially dark and mysterious. Myself and Sheraz were both interested and happened to decide on it one day. Back then when we started there weren't any other doom bands in India or anyone playing such dark music that we liked. So we kind of connected well with Dionysus and its great that we completed what we set out ot do.

Sheraz: Sunny had been thinking about doing it for a long time since I was hooked to Dormant Inferno and Sunny like Dionysus as well. We didn't know how to release it and that's when Kunal Choksi from South Asia's biggest metal label Transcending Obscurity took the matter in his hands and made this possible! I am thankful and glad that we have people in the metal circle who are as enthusiastic and hardworking about promoting our music as we are when we make it!

The limited edition with your first works is very useful to understand the way you are evolving, listening to "In Sanity" and "A Hymn To Dying" today which are your thoughts?

Sunny: Your observation is very correct, our sound has definitely evolved since the release of "In Sanity". That could be because of the three year long hiatus that we faced… before we returned to play gigs and release "Beyond Forgotten Shores". We were listening to a lot of music during this time and a lot of ideas came to us, that I was just waiting to execute as soon as Dormant Inferno resumed again. And that's what we did, we spit out all the ideas, thoughts and feelings of these three years into the tracks on "Beyond Forgotten Shores". I'd say our debut release had more of a raw sound, which was intended; but we are very happy with new and refined sound we have on this split. We don't deny but welcome change, as it keeps things interesting. What's the point of writing the same and predictable music? You know what I mean.

Sheraz: We were learning a lot of things when we recorded "A Hymn To The Dying". But that release taught me the aesthetics and ethos of being an underground band and releasing your music through a credible label and promoting your music in the right crowd. It was the start of my musical odyssey and it'll always be closest to my heart. Not to mention recording "A Hymn To The Dying" was some of the best times of my life.

How do Dormant Inferno and Dyonisus write their songs? Which are your inspirations and how much are you influenced by anything surrounding you?

Sunny: Oh well yeah, all the songs are very personal for us. Having said that we accept whatever music comes out from within ourselves, since it is so personal and emotional. We do not limit our writing process based on our genre, even if some idea or piece of music is out of the doom realm we always try to work on it and see where it takes us. Instead of being rigid, you know, like most bands are. It is normally me writing the initial few riffs and then we build up on it slowly and steadily till we have content we have a song.

Sheraz: Our main influences would be Esoteric, Skepticism, My Dying Bride, Desire, Tiamat, Morphia, Pantheist etc. Apart from doom I think all three of us are very much into ambient and progressive music. You know Opeth, Steven williams, Ihsahn, Karl Sanders (solo), Fates Warning, Neurosis and so on. Umair and I usually start working on a song and then we send it to Waleed so that he can add his parts since we were living in different cities when this split was recorded. About influences I go with the flow and try to let the music come out naturally without forcing anything. I am open to any kind of music If one day I wake up and feel like writing a power ballad or a glam song, I'd do it without a second thought. Because I play music for myself and the crowd is least of my concern!

Kunal, who also worked on the graphic side of the split, and his Transcending Obscurity are very active about promotion and production, how did you get in touch with him?

Sunny: We know Kunal since a long time, since Diabolical Conquest days. But we happened to work together for the first time when we got signed to Transcending Obscurity. It is good to have a label that gives us total creative freedom, it just shows how much TOI believes in our music. Needless to say the label are very good at the promo activities they do and also the distribution activities. We look forward to many successes with Transcending Obscurity in future!

Sheraz: I got in touch with Kunal; through a friend named Sarfraz Nawaz. Apparently these guys knew each other from way back on the internet and Sarfraz was the one who told me about Kunal and Kunal reviewed Dionysus "A Hymn To The Dying" after buying the copies released by Salute records at that time. That's from where it all started.

Will your future releases be supported by his label too?

Sunny: Yes like I already mentioned, we are very much at home with Transcending Obscurity and we would like to achieve a lot more with them.

Sheraz: He has released my other bands as well. He recently released Multinational Corporations' "Jamat Al Maut" cds and tees. My other doom project Irritum is also fitting to release its album through Transcending Obscurity so yeah, future Dionysus releases will be through Transcending Obscurity as well!

If I asked you to describe the musical scenes of your countries, which ones would you choose and why?

Sunny: The extreme metal scene is good in general. The audiences have always been welcoming to our music even though most people are unaware of Doom metal. Things are improving, all bands are writing orginals these days, which is great. We are having international bands play here every few months as well.

Sheraz: There is not many metal bands in Pakistan playing live these days. But we are trying to make it better and hopefully live shows will be more frequent in the future. If you wanna discover Pakistani music, check out bands like Dusk, Multinational Corporations, Marwolaeth, irritum, Flaw and Lohikarma.

Do difficulties, limitations and intolerance still exist for people who play these genres in 2016? How does this passion influence your life?

Sunny: Well there are not many venues or sponsorship for metal gigs here, and sometimes turnouts can be an issue. But things are rather okay as far as promotions and awareness is concerned, thanks to social media. But for us personally the music influences/effects us in many ways, Dormant Inferno is more like a portal for us to throw out everything thats going on in our hearts and mind in the daily grind of life. Writing down some lyrics and turning it into a song is like a cathartic experience that leads to great relief and you feel like a new person everytime. We are not here to be some rockstars, but to write the most unadulterated dark & crushing music.

Sheraz: There are not many difficulties except the total dearth of live shows. But we've managed to pull a gig every five-six months or so. The music has a huge effect on my life and I don't even know where to start answering this question from [laugh].

Do you play live often? Do you have any scheduled date for the next months?

Sunny: We have played just four gigs I think, since Gautam Shankar has moved to the U.S.A. I did try to have a new line up in 2013 with members from Stark Denial and Varcas but it could not last. So we just made a conscious decision about this being a studio project and not worrying so much about shows. As writing music is our main goal. We can look for shows whenever Gautam is in India.

Sheraz: Not very often but we've managed to find a venue and hopefully we'll be playing more! Dionysus isn't playing live a lot these days because the vocalist is busy in some other endeavours but we do slip in two or three Dionysus tracks whenever we play live with my other doom band Irritum.

Globalized communications, Internet allows your music to be listened by an amount of people which wasn't possible in the past, it also allows people to send you comments immediately and it gives you the chance to work with very distant, but the Internet world is not all a bed of roses. Which are the pros and cons of this extreme multimediality?

Sunny: Yeah we released our first EP "In Sanity" up for free download and the response was just fantastic. I mean the reach of music can be definitely a lot more due to the internet, and we are getting to communicate with listeners and also the musicians who we look up to. We have recorded Gautam's vocals in the past via the internet and also a new upcoming single has been done the same way. Ofcorse its a two edged sword, with all the downloading phenomenon the record sales are low. But i guess we jsut have to face the reality.

Sheraz: The pros: more people get to know about you; you can make music with person sitting in the other corner of the world; there is an endless sea of music and the problem of accesibility is now reduced to zero. The cons: there are so many options these days that people are not getting their head in all kinds of music without paying it the attention it deserves; any person who doesn't even how to play an instrument can upload a demo or an ep on the internet and start parading as a song writer in the internet world when in reality he wouldn't know jack shit about it.

Physical album vs digital album. The first represents the passion and the pleasure of having the work in your hands and the chance to appreciate on many levels, the latter is convenient and easy to get; I won't ask you which one you prefer, but what would you recommend to a young boy who is discovering the music world and doesn't have too much money? Would you tell him to buy what he likes to enjoy it as much as he can, or to use the Internet to take advantage of sites like Bandcamp?

Sunny: Digital album, hassle free and way of the future.

Sheraz: I use bandcamp to discover new underground bands myself and if i like their music i buy the CD or vinyl or a tape, whatever they have up for sale. Basically, I think buying digital music is alright but people should prefer buying physical releases because its a whole different experience and when you buy it you listen to it from start to the end!

Doom Metal has been having a long moment of glory in the last ten years, what allowed this "underground" genre to be known by more and more people? Among the recent bands, do you have any favorite ones?

Sunny: Hmm there plenty of newer bands that are doing some fantastic stuff; bands like Ahab, Ophis, Methdrinker, Dread Sovereign, The Ruins of Beverast, Mourning Dawn etc are some of our favorites. We also love Abysmal Grief from Italy, that's the kind of music we like!

When will you release your debut albums?

Sunny: We have already started working on two new songs as of now, we will like to give our first full legnth the necessary time it needs. Since we will be writing/changing rewriting alot on this one. But we are working towards a 2016 end or an early 2017 release.

I think it's enough, thank you very much for your kindness; You can leave one last message for our readers…

Sunny: Thanks for the interview, a pleasure answering your questions. We hope the Italian metalheads like "Beyond Forgotten Shore". Dormant Inferno can be contacted through Facebook. cheers!