Initially formed in 1999 and then reformed after a split-up, in 2012, the old-school death metal band UgraKarma is the first extreme metal act of Nepal. In 2015 they released their first – after the reformation- EP ‘Mountain Grinders’ (Legion of Death Records). On March 2nd they will unleash their “Himalayan Metal of Death” at the Nepal Deathfest V (5th Anniversary).
What was the reason for the split-up and is UgraKarma the same since 2012?
Original members included Aayush, Subash and Prateek and me. in 2002, after releasing our album and playing a few gigs, Aayush and I emigrated to the US and so the band kinda split. I continued playing death metal in the US (Blood Havoc, Anthrovore, Lost Lady Saloon, Shroud Of The Heretic). After returning to Nepal in 2012 to reform UgraKarma, Prateek joined me on guitar and vocals. Since Aayush and Subash are both living abroad, we recruited brother Bikram and Bijay on drums and bass. It’s been the same line up of Prateek, Bikram, Bijay and I since 2012.
You state that the band is directly influenced from the extreme metal scene which bloomed during the 1980s. What is your opinion about the evolution of these primal genres since then?
Obviously I love the older stuff from the 80s and early 90s. That’s what I grew up listening to. I also like some of the newer bands that have pushed extreme metal to new levels of brutality and speed like brutal death metal, bestial/war metal and other sub-genres that have evolved in more recent times. However I am not quite fond of the super-clean plastic sounding production and this new trend of using -core in extreme metal. Goregrind and slam death were interesting in their early days but now every band sounds the same with unlistenable triggered drums and effects laden vocals. I prefer my metal to be gritty, abrasive and fast.
It is mentioned that you are the first Nepalese death metal band. How would you describe the metal scene of Nepal?
Metal scene has changed drastically since our early days in the late 90s. Nepal has a vibrant metal scene now. There are lots and lots of metal bands these days. Quite a few death metal, thrash and grindcore bands. Black metal, however, seems to be quite rare now in Kathmandu. Lots of gigs happening in Kathmandu on a regular basis. Even smaller towns in Nepal have started to produce metal bands and organize metal gigs.
is UgraKarma considered an underground band, and if so is it because of the kind of music you play?
UgraKarma would definitely be considered an underground band. Mostly because we play death metal and the fact that it isn’t of the trendy variety. An old-school death metal band with blasphemous lyrics and an aggressive presence will always be underground in Nepal or anywhere else.
Which are the main lyrical themes you write about?
Death, Nihilism, brutal customs, blasphemy, death, death and more death.
Except from the original bands which have influenced you, what other bands do you listen to?
Too many bands to mention but mostly old school death metal, bestial/war metal, thrash metal, grindcore/deathgrind.
On March 2nd you perform live at Nepal Deathfest. Is this your first time in a festival like this? What can the audience expect from you?
We’ve played Nepal Deathfest twice before. It was a great honor for us to to play with Defiled at NDF 3. We played Trendslaughter Fest 3 in India. A few other international festivals in Nepal like Silence Festival with Behemoth, Nepfest with Decapitated etc. People can expect the same from us… growls, grunts, headbanging, thrashing, and intense aggressive death fucking metal.
Do you have plans to also play aboard?
We’d love to play anywhere whether it’s 20 people or 20,000. Nothing beats the high of playing live. We have a month long tour of India in May. We are also planning to play in other places beyond South Asia.
Thank you for your time! Close this interview as you will!
All Hails to the metal hordes of the world!!!
Hail Himalayan Metal of Death!