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Arts

   
 

Metal gig of the year happens today

It’s the first metal gig of the year! SIV Hela Renaissance will take place at Shine (formerly Clancy’s) today from 4 p.m onwards and will feature the bands Fallen Grace, Karmic Sulphur, Funeral in Heaven, Merlock and Cannabis and a one off set performed by the defunct Siblings of Hatred in what is a launch of the Sri Lankan Heavy Metal Compilation. The Sunday Leader speaks to Fallen Grace lead vocalist Sohan Ratnaike about the gig, the band’s first studio recording and the challenges facing metal today.

By Kshanika Argent

Q: Rumour has it that Fallen Grace is going to disband after this gig

A: After being in it for five long years and looking back at the hardships and disrespect that we’ve had to endure, we’d be a bunch of sissies to quit now. But I won’t dispute the fact that there was talk of us breaking up. When you play in a band egos are bound to collide.

 Although the band is like a family we always argue and have disagreements because —  hey, these are five very different personalities contributing five different styles.

And when you come to the point of merging all of these styles into one, if a band doesn’t have disagreements, there’s something to worry about! And the thing is we don’t hide to show our feelings, be it anyone! So I guess some timid individual might have started this rumour to stir everyone up. No big deal. 

Q: You just recorded your first single for your debut album – how did it go?

A: It was much better than the last time primarily because we had better equipment at our disposal. However we did take quite a while because we wanted to achieve the closest sound to perfection. Just to tune the drums we took a whole day.

That’s because unlike the trend we see now, where so many bands are doing quick recordings for the sake of it — just to brag about — we want our effort to be as professional as possible. I know more sincere bands or even artists of other genres would agree with what I say because a listener expects a certain degree of quality at the end of it all.

And I think the listener deserves it. And this is only our first full-length album so we have to ensure that quality is preserved. But special mention should also be given to our producer Rogger Schalles (Expounder/Funeral in Heaven) who always knows to get the best out of us. The track was recorded and mastered at Empyre Studios. Art work was done by Milinda Salpitikorala our official art director.

Q: Who/what has inspired you guys to record this album?

A: Should make initial note that we finished the song writing process for this album a year back. Due to mainly a lack of financial backing and some other minor factors, we stalled it. But getting back to the album, the inspiration comes by the environment itself around us. Social injustice, conflict, bigotry and the ever-contentious issue of selling God to earn a quick buck are some of what we fervently speak about in the album.

This is why we aptly decided to title it Heresy Unveiled (Do We Believe?). We also hope to include a couple of fresh tracks we have composed solely for the album which won’t be performed live before the launch of the album.

Q: You guys have signed up with some record labels and been interviewed in a foreign metal magazine. Tell us about that.

A: Yeah, but only for distribution. Foremost mention should be made about Hela Distribution & Promotions, which is headed by two of our really close friends Chathuranga Fonseka (Funeral in Heaven) and Kelum Niroshana. These guys are doing amazing things for the metal scene in the country. Their first endeavour is the Sri Lankan Heavy Metal Compilation, which comprises tracks from all the renowned Sri Lankan metal artists.

This will be launched today at the Hela Renaissance gig. They have also tied up with numerous metal labels in mainly European countries for distribution. We have tied up with Legions of Death Records in Sweden and Negativity Records in France for distribution of our album once completed.  

Q: There’s been a drop in the number of metal/rock gigs lately, is the credit crunch hitting the metal scene or is it just dying out?

A: As dumb as it may sound yes it is the credit crunch! Not that I’m saying that Bernie Madoff has made a direct impact on the metal industry in Sri Lanka but companies are now looking to cut costs heinously, resulting in the drastic slashing of advertising expenditure. The other blow was when alcoholic products including beer were barred from advertising. They were our biggest financial backer. But I should mention that the bands who are serious about their music are still organising and playing gigs as regularly as they can. And that is highly commendable.

Q: What’s the band’s main musical influences? Do you gather inspiration from different genres?

A: We’re a Melodic Death Metal band and we are influenced by other Melo-Death bands, which include; Dark Tranquillity, At the Gates, Arch Enemy, Carcass and Opeth. Beyond the genre we are highly influenced by such early greats as Iron Maiden, Rush, Motorhead, Celtic Frost and Death among many others. And in reply to your question regarding being influenced by other genres, well yeah to a certain extent, I think everyone is, even though most wouldn’t accept it.

Q: Tell us about the gig today

A: Well it’s a very special gig. Especially because it’s the first metal gig of the year and second because, today we hope to launch the Sri Lankan Heavy Metal Compilation. It starts at 4 p.m. Taking the stage in addition to us will be Psycadelic/Doom rockers Karmic Sulphur, Prog/Thrash act Merlock, Sludge band Cannabis and our brother band Funeral in Heaven, Sri Lanka’s Hela Black Metal giants. To make the gig even more memorable, now defunct Siblings of Hatred has reformed to play a one-off set. It’s going to be too much to handle.

Q: Sohan, do you miss your (long) hair when head banging on stage?

A: Yeah I do. No question. But you know it’s a change and I am embracing it. But I plan on growing it back. But for now I’m liking it.


Book Review

A valuable handbook for couples 

TEN SIMPLE STEPS TO MAKE A MARRIAGE AND FAMILY LAST – A Guide For Intended And Married Couples 

By Gerard Dilhan Muttukumaru

Book Review by Celine Nilanthi Arasaratnam, Counselor, Family Services, Sri Lanka

Available at Barefoot, Odel, Godage

Before reading, I expected this to be just another book on the subject of ‘Surviving a marriage.’ However as I began to read, I found it extremely difficult to put it aside. The writing is simple and the contents undoubtedly come from the author’s heart, rising through his own experiences. It goes without saying that “experience is the best teacher!”

The book covers a comprehensive study and analysis of the different aspects of marriage, the inevitable problems and gives light to dealing with such situations.

The chapters, ‘The celebration of life and marriage,’ and going onto subjects like ‘It takes two to tango,’ ‘Being best friends,’ ‘Never argue,’ ‘Respect for each other’ etc. cover a wide area of living a happy married life.

The personal reflection and discussions between the two partners given at the end of each chapter is a wonderful guide, not only to prospective marriage partners, but especially to those who are married and seek enrichment in their marriages.

 The chapter on ‘The problem with religion’ is quite an eye opener, especially the questions for personal reflection given at the end of it.

The chapter on ‘Sex and marriage’ deals with a very realistic view of the problems in our culture. The suggestions given at the end of the chapter are critical for the pre-marital stage and something that all parents should consider before making a decision to end a marriage due to sexual incompatibility or discord.

As the writer clearly indicates in his introduction, ‘Western or American cultural invasion in Asia has indeed been an influence on couples of different cultures.’

The collection of case studies given in the final chapter highlights this fact. The story of Deshika from Sri Lanka is a common one in Sri Lanka where many women suffer silently, wanting to be loved but unable to achieve it. The traumatic experiences she has undergone through loss of love and even abuse, is the very reason she refuses to recognise the possibility of finding fulfilment in her second marriage.

She is afraid to trust her new husband and open her heart out completely to him. She finds comfort in trying to help others  instead of looking into her own situation. Thereby she misses out not only on the chance of finding happiness in her marriage, but ends up neglecting her own family. 

Again in the story of George and Clara from the USA, it is not unusual to see people immersed in religion, not so much out of faith, but simply as a means of finding comfort, when they do not find it in their own marriage. Instead of trying to look into the depths of the problem in the marriage, we see people being led into escapism through religion. 

 It was also very encouraging to read how the writer has recognised the impact of stress at work, on marriage, family and work performance.

“As a person who has taught and counselled individuals, managers and executives from virtually every corner of the world, the author has some knowledge of the impact of their personal and family lives on the workplace and their individual work performance.”

The work performance of the employee, who is pressurised and depressed in his work, drops drastically. Meanwhile he comes home to face further challenges such as financial difficulties, lack of time for recreation, socialising and is unable to spend quality time with his spouse and children.

All this affects not only his work performance in his career, but also his family relationships. The author, having recognised the danger of this situation has clearly addressed the management gurus with respect to this problem, in this chapter. 

This concise but comprehensive book is well written in a very simple form and is worth its value. I would definitely recommend it to parents, married couples, those intending to be married, organisational heads and managers, doctors, counsellors and in fact almost every individual. It would be a valuable handbook to possess. I would also recommend couples to regularly assess their relationship with the aid of the personal reflections and discussion topics given at the end of each chapter.

I heartily congratulate Gerard Muttukumaru on compiling this book which I consider a great achievement on his part, and a gift to society as a whole.


Excellence competes at Jetwing Accommodation Challenge

Hyacinth Gunewardene, General Manager The Beach is seen with Alex Edirisinghe, General Manager, Blue Oceanic Hotel and Resident Manager of The Beach, Imran Naufal during the Accommodation Challenge held on tuesday. Nine Jetwing hotels participated in the challenge which was aimed at picking out the best of the best. 


25 years of public speaking

Toastmastering for Teenagers

Celebrating 25 years of public speaking leadership in Sri Lanka, The Colombo Toastmasters Club announced the award of charter to The Colombo Toastmasters Gavel Club by Toastmasters International, Inc., USA. The Colombo Toastmasters Gavel Club was extended by The Colombo Toastmasters Club to create opportunities for teenagers and young adults to gain the benefits of public speaking and leadership skills which are taught at the Gavel Club meetings.

The Colombo Toastmasters Gavel Club consists of young people from diverse backgrounds and different ethnicities, representing different educational establishments. The club meets every first and third Tuesday of the month to develop its members’ communication and leadership skills. Those interested in joining the Gavel Club can call Chanil on 077-315-8595, Janith on 077-652-4164, or email at ColomboTMGavelClub@gmail.com.

Commenting on the charter award, Colombo Toastmasters Gavel Club President Chanil de Silva, explained, “Effective oral communication is essential for success in life.  Some are natural communicators and find it easier to acquire these skills than others. But it is a skill in which everyone can improve. As our power to communicate improves our self-confidence grows and our relationships with others improve and deepen.

All that it takes is patience, preparation, an open mind to receive constructive feedback, the ability to learn from others and one’s own mistakes, the courage to try, a lot of practice, a sense of humour, and perseverance. And for those who find oral communication easy there is always room for improvement.”

President, The Colombo Toastmasters Club, Yukthi Gunasekera, observed, “The Gavel Club paves the way for a generation of new leaders not only with the ability to express themselves clearly, sincerely, and convincingly, but the Gavelliers’ experience also gives our future leaders the power to communicate with others effectively, develop their thinking faculties, be open to new ideas, listen actively to others, acquire a vast store of general knowledge, develop an interest in current affairs, further enhance their vocabulary, inspire an active imagination, connect with any audience, and build self confidence and poise.

“In short, the Gavel Club provides the ‘ingredients of success’ to our future leaders. We are delighted to receive the charter in our silver jubilee year. The founding of the Gavel Club also fits in perfectly with our theme for this year: ‘The Colombo Toastmasters Club — creating people of value for our nation’s progress.’”


 

 
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