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BESTIAL COLONY – “Sordid Decay” album premiere & exclusive interview

Bestial Colony Black

It was a Saturday in 1990 when four teenagers in Singapore with no musical experience decided to start a metal band. Inspired by local extreme acts like Nuctemeron, Dread, and Crucifucktor they recorded a demo tape, and upon listening back they came to a realization — they needed to practice. The project lasted about a year before it faded away and the members moved on.

Thirty-some years later, one of those teenagers — Nefarious A.K.A. Khairil of the band Vrykolakas — revisited his early work and wondered what it would sound like if those songs we re-recorded today. The result is Sorid Decay the first full-length album from Bestial Colony! These eight tracks hearken back to the days when extreme metal was in its infancy, showcasing the roots of thrash, death, and black metal in a way that should ignite the passion of metalheads everywhere!

Sordid Decay will be available April 26 2024 on CD and digital formats. Prepare for the fury while you can!

Bestial Colony Cover240421

TRACK LISTING

  1. Into The Sordid
  2. Mutilated Death
  3. Slow Torture
  4. Very Disturbed
  5. Eternal Punishment
  6. Universal Decay
  7. Hallucination + War of the Unseen
  8. Resurrection

ARTIST: Bestial Colony
ALBUM: Sordid Decay
LABEL: Morbid And Miserable Records
RELEASE DATE: April 26, 2024
GENRE: Thrash metal / death metal / black metal
FORMAT: CD and digital

RECOMMENDED FOR FANS OF Celtic Frost, Master, Morbid Angel

PRE-ORDER: https://morbidandmiserable.bandcamp.com/album/sordid-decay

Hi Nefarious! You started as an underground band in Singapore back in 1990, and after a short time you disbanded. Then, after more than 30 years, you breathed life back into BESTIAL COLONY. What happened to you that led you to the decision that you had to do something with the very old stuff?

Hi Zoltan! First of all, thank you for considering BESTIAL COLONY for this interview on your publication. The first interview BESTIAL COLONY was in 1990 in a xeroxed fanzine from Malaysia named Immortal Zine. I am honoured that you keep aware of our short history. I was satisfied with VRYKOLAKAS’ 4th album titled „The Necromantic Revocation” which was kind of a project album where we recorded our old songs written between 1992 to 1995. They turned out great and we even got attention from a few labels for proper releases. So I asked myself whether this could be done for BESTIAL COLONY’s songs as well. We had a 5 songs demo titled „Universal Decay”. Just before we disappeared into oblivion, we had 3 songs written. I still remember the basic structure of the songs when I was playing drums and since the songs were very simple, it was easy for me to remember the riffs of the songs. I started working on the recording from September 2022 and one year later, I managed to get all the instruments tracked. Initially, I had wanted the vocalist from CEMETERY (another Singapore which existed around the same period as BESTIAL COLONY, and whose vocalist helped us a lot back then) to do the vocals but he was busy. If I could summarize the reasons, it was because back then when me and the original members started the band, I had so much hope in the band. When I moved on to VRYKOLAKAS, I always felt that I didn’t complete the plans for BESTIAL COLONY as well as I could. I am very glad I decided to start and complete this album!

Are you currently the only member in BESTIAL COLONY? Compared to your teenage self, how different would you describe yourself?

Looking at the pool of metal musicians in Singapore currently, I decided that it would be more efficient to maintain the current style and to carry on as a one-man-band. Compared to my teenage self, I believe that I am more objective now, and more able to plan out what I want to do based on a purposeful intent. Back then, I was foolishly dependent on the original members despite them displaying the lack of commitment to the band’s plans. I chose to start a project band, VRYKOLAKAS, which became my main band because of BESTIAL COLONY’s demise. But, I am satisfied with how things are turning out for both bands now.

What were those 90’s like for you? Why did you start playing a musical instrument?

The 1990s, especially between 1989 – 2000, were the best years of my life as a teenager growing up as a metalhead in Singapore. I started playing a musical instrument on BESTIAL COLONY’s first rehearsal session. I chose to play drums because I though it was cool. I had to learn very slowly. It took me a few months before I could play any proper patterns and fills. But I never reached the level where I am confident enough to record an album. After VRYKOLAKAS’ first demo in which I played drums, I decided to search for a better drummer. I then learned how to play bass and then the guitars as I became the main songwriter for VRYKOLAKAS. Back to my life back in the 1990s, it was a good decade of discovering many great bands around the world; writing letters to them and receiving replies from bands during their formative years which within a few years became major bands in the scene worshipped by the metal scene until today. It was easy to make friends with fellow metalheads as we believed that our scene is too small and we had to support each other instead of competing unnecessarily with each other to the point of forming cliques with unhealthy philosiphies and mentality. We already had a few record stores which also distributed international tapes and vinyls, and then later CDs. There were a lot of bands to check out, we looked forward to gigs which really started in 1992.

The re-recorded versions of the songs created in the “old days” will be released on the 26th of April. I think that’s a very good thing, since you were dissatisfied with the sound anyway. What would you say about the 2024 versions?

I personally enjoyed how they turned out. I intentionally modified the drum patters to maintain the 80s metal vibes. I was really studying the bands which fell into the difficult-to-categorize genre, for example – EXORCIST, CARNIVORE, POST MORTEM, CRUMBSUCKERS and then when I listened to the final but unmixed versions, I thought I had achieved the VENOM and CELTIC FROST sound. I felt excited and wanted people to listen to the songs. I listened to the whole album again and again for a few months and slowly sent promo kits to labels which may be interested in this album’s sound and style. And soon enough, I got a reply from Morbid & Miserable Records stating their interest to release this album.

What can we know about the support provided by Morbid And Miserable Records? How is it that you found each other so well?

To continue from the previous question, I sent an email to Morbid & Miserable Records with a short history of the band, a link to the full album and a proposal for a release under the label. The label replied within a few days indicating their interest and casually decided on a simple deal over the email. Brandon the label owner is a very professional and logical person. He proposed a plan which was logical. Why I used the word „logical”? The label fulfilled all the planned tasks according to the set timeline. I am just very glad that the label is willing to release BESTIAL COLONY’s album for many reasons. This album took such a long time to materialize and it happened all of a sudden due to my curiosity of the outcome. It was timely for an American label to release this album because back in the 1990s, within the short duration of our existence, the band’s name has never reached the American continent. Morbid & Miserable Records, as the name suggests, releases bands which I considered out of the norm, so to be chosen is a great honour. The label worked on the artwork and layout which would bring listeners back to the aura and vibes of the late 1980s and early 1990s – the golden years of metal music.

How long have you been planning to publish this material? Is it an old dream come true?

There was no plan. It was a sudden curiosity on my part and I had the space and time to start and complete this ad hoc revival project in between VRYKOLAKAS’ album writing and recordings and preparing for live shows. But it was definitely a long lost and almost forgotten dream come true for me personally. I am truthfully proud of the fact that, with the help of Mr KK Wong at TNT Studios and Morbid & Miserable Records, this album’s sound and packaging could bring listeners back to the time when I was discovering metal bands.

What’s next? Do you think there will be new compositions? Can we expect new releases in the future?

The curiosity continued… after many years of writing death metal songs, am I flexible enough to write songs in BESTIAL COLONY’s style? As we speak, I have written the basic composition for 10 songs. There will definitely be a 2nd album within the next 1 or 2 years. I am working hard to arrange the songs with the 1990s vibes. I do believe that as a songwriter, it is important for me to take a break from writing songs in the style of VRYKOLAKAS only. The plan for now is to start writing a BESTIAL COLONY album after the completion of the recording of VRYKOLAKAS’ next album and so on.

Do you think a concert is possible in the near future? Do you feel like it’s feasible?

I have enough friends who could cover the line-up for a live show. I am relieved that I decided to keep the songs simple but memorable such that the live musicians could focus on enjoying performing the songs rather than having to show off intricate skills and musicianship. I am envisioning a BESTIAL COLONY’s live show to be similar to the vibes of a VENOM concert. But I definitely have to plan this carefully as the sessionists I know are also members of very active bands.

Anyone who knows you at least a little bit knows that you are also active in another band. Can you tell us something about this band? What is the difference between BESTIAL COLONY and VRYKOLAKAS?

I formed VRYKOLAKAS with another member in July 1991, 3 months after BESTIAL COLONY released the „Universal Decay” demo. Within that 3 months, I noticed that the other members started losing passion in BESTIAL COLONY. The guitarist always looked like he was forced to play metal music. The vocalist was always suggesting forming this project band or that project band to play the next genre he was interested in. The bassist was more interested in his girlfriend. Therefore, when VRYKOLAKAS was formed, the first difference was the passion in metal. VRYKOLAKAS’ original guitarist also did a fanzine named NECROPSYCHOSIS ZINE. It was good for me because I get to discover more international bands through the promos he received, bands such as MORTUARY DRAPE and IMPALED NAZARENE when they just started out, just to name a few. The next difference is definitely our level of musicianship as we were both slightly more experienced as we were rehearsing more frequently. Finally, the biggest difference would be the music style – BESTIAL COLONY was more primitive, a blending of thrash and maybe heavy metal while VRYKOLAKAS started with a more blackened death metal style which evolved to brutal death metal and now simply a mix of American and European death metal styles. Also, since VRYKOLAKAS was formed to replace BESTIAL COLONY back then, VRYKOLAKAS became more prolific in our discography compared to BESTIAL COLONY.

Who would you recommend your music to?

At this moment, I would recommend BESTIAL COLONY’s music to the Malaysian underground scene who was the first group of metalheads that learnt about BESTIAL COLONY’s existence. Unfortunately, the band was mediocre in quality back then. It would be good to show them the true potential of the band they once supported without bias. I would also recommend the music to listeners who were looking something simple, something easier to understand and something different than most bands today. I believe the songwriting and production of this album would pique the curiosity of the metalheads who have been around since the early 1990s, the era of retro-thrash in early 2000 and those who realized they have been stuck with the same genre they tthought they enjoyed and now wants something different. Among the hundreds and thousands of bands which produced polished, technical and intellectually challenging music, I believe BESTIAL COLONY would be considered a „perversion”!

Please tell us a little about the metal scene in Singapore? How different is it compared to the underground metal scene in Europe?

To be brutally honest, the metal scene in Singapore now is worrying. The metal scene was growing stronger and stronger since 1990 with many bands formed and recording and releasing either demos or rehearsal demos and tapes. All thanks to bands like NUCTEMERON, DREAD, CRUCIFUCKTOR and ABHORER for paving the way for the rest of us. Between 1999 until 2015, better bands appeared from all subgenres of metal with quality releases and live shows. However, since 2015, there were fewer new bands and more worryingly, few younger metalheads to carry on the passion. We are relying on old metalheads to revive and continue their old bands. The very few new bands are more interested in playing shows and releasing their material digitally and even then they would stop at EP length releases. The younger generation need to learn that metal is a very visual endeavour. This is why we have t-shirts, metal shows and festivals, printed fanzines, tapes, CD and vinyls, patches and stickers, all things visual to remind us the band, the fanzine, the label, they exist. The standard of living the Singaporean government created made us give up on all our passion in order to survive. Singaporeans cannot survive on passion and art. We need day jobs, we need qualifications, we salary raises, etc. A lot of great bands ceased to exist because important members have to switch their focus and efforts to something else for survival. You can conclude that the existing metal bands comprise of metalheads whose jobs or businesses allows them time and space to continue pursuing metal music.

Hail to the underground!

Bestial gratitude and appreciation to Zoltan and Kronos Mortus for this interview! Publications like yours will keep or spark the continuation and propagation of the underground scene. The metal scene allows listeners to correspond with the bands. If anyone is keen, contact us at vryko@hotmail.com. We hope our music finds its way to many listeners all over the world and also hope it is enjoyed. We are the sordid \m/

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