02 03 Metal Melancholy: Metal Melancholy: Best of 2014 - Kunal [Transcending Obscurity] Picks 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

Metal Melancholy: Best of 2014 - Kunal [Transcending Obscurity] Picks


Best of 2014 is a 5 piece series where we sit down with artists from across the globe and ask them their favorite albums of 2014. Featured in this final edition, is none other than the man behind TRANSCENDING OBSCURITY – Kunal Choksi!

The man not only runs a successful web-zine, but has one of the fastest growing Indian label along with an amazing Distro, and a world-class PR service for bands and labels worldwide. We sat down with him for a small chat about what to expect in 2015 and his favorite albums from 2014.

MM: 2014 was a big year for the Transcending Obscurity (International) label, with the release of the much awaited The Dead release and Preludium’s spiritual album. What can we expect heading into the New Year?

KC: Hey Vidur! Thank you so much for your interest and continued support! It's heartening to see more and more youngsters writing about metal and spreading the word, which is required. Yes, two big releases happened on the international label, and one of them, Preludium is almost completely sold out within the same year which is a very big deal. The other release, as you mentioned, is of the much awaited The Dead album and it was a very satisfying and well-received one. There, however, wasn't even a single release on the sub-label Transcending Obscurity India.

In 2015, the shit is going to hit the fan. Screams are going to go off like sirens. Underpants will get soiled and mangled. Everyone is going to go broke, including me, especially me haha. We're looking at releases of Norse, Drug Honkey and The Whorehouse Massacre on the international Transcending Obscurity label, both newly signed bands in 2014. There might be another new band joining the international label ranks but we'll have to wait and see.

Upcoming Releases on Transcending Obscurity: Albatross, The Whorehouse Massacre, Norse, Dormant Inferno/ Dionysus Split and Many More!

MM: With Albatross set to release their debut full length in early 2015, any other release planned on the Transcending Obscurity India sub-label?

KC: On the Indian sub-label, we're looking releases of Dormant Inferno/Dionysus, Albatross full length, Djinn and Miskatonic's sophomore full length, same with Chaos, also Grossty. Gaia's Throne, Insane Prophecy and Winter Gate might end up releasing their albums as well in the same year. All said and done, after a gap of a whole year since the first release of Djinn and Miskatonic, there'll be almost a release every couple of months in 2015. People are going to die.

MM: 2014 saw Transcending Obscurity take up promotion and distribution for quite a few Indian bands (Zero Gravity, Gypsy, etc). What convinced you to take this step?

KC: This is a very good question. I'm so happy you asked because I was getting tired of explaining it and its purpose almost every band I meet here. I had to distinguish my activities because I'm operating on various levels. There's the international label and there's the sub-label. It should normally end there but there are a ton of upcoming bands from the region who don't have the professional platform that Transcending Obscurity can offer. But then again, there has to be some growth before the bands working on the distribution level with Transcending Obscurity can avail of the same facilities and pressing figures. For example, a new band like Gypsy can't possibly sell 500 copies or 200 T-shirts. But they still get the same proportion of royalties with the added benefit of worldwide distribution. It's almost as good as a label deal but they'll have to perhaps get more experienced in order to get a higher number of pressing. Most bands on the distribution level are releasing their debuts whereas most bands on the sub-label already have a release out. I'm working with more experienced bands that can take the sound forward as far as possible.

But I don't want to limit this scope only to the Indian bands. This year I'll be starting Transcending Obscurity International Distribution where even deserving and quality international bands can benefit from worldwide distribution and merch deals. The first release on that is of the band The Whorehouse Massacre where we're dealing with a compilation of their latest EPs. The full length however will be on the main Transcending Obscurity label. I've got a couple of announcements to make regarding that, involving new bands too like Affliction Gate.

MM: 2015 will also start with a brand-new website for the label/webzine. What all is in store for the new website? (Return of the forums?)

KC: I have all my hopes pinned on this website which will integrate my activities as a webzine primarily, the label and all its branches, and finally the PR company which, as you know, enables me to help way more bands in a different way altogether around the world. The focus will remain on the store which will have multiple payment options, including perhaps debit/credit card acceptance which will make life easier for all. I'll have less hair loss. I won't be manually processing orders then (hopefully), as that takes an immense amount of my time, and will instead have it automated via the site. People will have to buy instantly and considering the number of bands I'm working with, I'll have to hire a couple of psychiatrists as well.

With my international background and experience, I have come to be a stickler for quality and the same approach will be used even for bands willing to work with Transcending Obscurity be it only for merchandising. The idea is to make it a 100% metal-oriented site, without ads or commercial humbug, focusing on metal from all over and of all genres and having an international readership. Transcending Obscurity as a whole will then be able to offer all kinds of support to international and Indian bands especially, giving them hope and a better future, handled by someone who's experienced in all of this before and can do things without holding a bias, putting music and good interest first, fostering overall growth of all scenes. Now I only wish it were easier.

MM: Your favorite albums of 2014.

KC: In no particular order -

1. SAOR - Aura. Atmospheric black metal with celtic folk touches. It's one of the best albums to have come out in this style since Primordial and Geasa. Stunning record.

2. NORSE - Pest. Dissonant black metal from Australia, now to be re-released on Transcending Obscurity - fantastic, refreshing music which is so rare in these days. I had to snag it. A full length is also due sometime in the future.

3. INCANTATION - Dirges of Elysium. Substance over meaningless aesthetics. Lays waste their infinite clones.

4. WINDBRUCH - No Stars, Only Full Dark. Sublime and elegant black metal in the vein of Agalloch from these unheralded Russian masters.

5. DOMAINS - Sinister Ceremonies. Extremely solid and rifftastic dark death metal from Spain. Astonishingly good.

6. NECROS CHRISTOS - Nine Graves. Better songwriting and coherence than ever before. One of the flag bearers for death metal in today's times, especially pertaining to this dark and mysterious style.

7. BOLZER - Soma. One of the best black/death metal bands in existence using riffing over chaos to make a mark.

8. WOODS OF DESOLATION - As The Stars. Amazing depressive black metal that grows on you with more listens. It's more intricate than it initially seems.

9. MOURNFUL CONGREGATION - Concrescence of the Sophia. Melodies that remain ever so emotive. Best in the funeral doom metal class.

10. ANALKHOLIC - After Party - Shit Stinks. The list can't be complete without some grind and this one is goregrind. Shit-kicking, rauncy and rambunctious.

11. MISERY INDEX - The Killing Gods. Very solid and catchy death/grind. Ace on all levels including memorability.

12. GODFLESH - Decline and Fall. Return to form comeback album. Better than the full length that followed it. Legendary band. Unimitable music of sorts.

13. SUPER FUN HAPPY SLIDE - Drop Your Pants & Grind. Unhinged, caustic and extremely fun straight up grindcore.

14. TORRENS CONSCIENTIUM - All Alone with the Thoughts. Spacey and melancholic doom metal from Ukraine - just sublime in its expression and clean execution. Restrained yet moving.

15. DISTURBANCE PROJECT - Grita Mientras Puedas. Head smashing against concrete kinda grindcore from Spain. Obliterating, intense and volatile.

Best of 2014 – PART 1 – Demonstealer [Demonic Resurrection] Picks: HERE
Best of 2014 – PART 2 – Wilhelm [The Gardnerz] Picks: HERE
Best of 2014 – PART 3 – Sam Bell [Mask of Judas] Picks: HERE
Best of 2014 – PART 4 – Srikanth [Bevar Sea] Picks: HERE

Best of 2014 – Indian Metal [Melancholy Edition]: HERE

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

35 36 37 38