death metal, bombay style


SAHIL MAKHIJA, the band’s songwriter, guitarist, and chief growler, formed Demonic Resurrection at a time when extreme metal was unknown to the sub-continent. Albums by bands like Cradle of Filth and Cannibal Corpse had to be downloaded at a snail’s pace from dial-up chat rooms in the late ’90s and early ’00s. India’s exposure to metal and hard rock was limited to the mainstream acts showing on MTV, like Metallica and Guns N’ Roses. Makhija wanted to launch his own brand of metal, but DR was too weird for record labels here. So Makhija, who dropped out of college in 2002, started his own: Demonstealer Records, after the metal moniker he, then 19, had given himself and still uses today. While starting a record label is generally regarded as a very ambitious venture, in Makhija’s case it was entered into in a spirit of DIY, with the first edition of the band’s first album, Demonstealer, put down on Kodak Gold CDs that he purchased for Rs40 a piece. His mother helped him assemble the CD sleeves and casings so that he could peddle them at the Strawberry Fields festival held at Bangalore’s National Law School.

more from Michael Edison Hayden at The Caravan here.

a very still life


A man in a coma lies on his back, with his bare, wrinkly feet sticking out of the bedcovers as he slides head first into the dark, gaping mouth of a blindingly white skeleton. On another canvas, a man reduced to raw sinews and bones is engulfed by flames, his eyes turned heavenward like Jesus on the cross. In a third, a kneeling man has had his brain and his spinal chord removed; they hang suspended by chains near him. Half his body has turned to limestone: his healthy right hand holds his shattered, dismembered left. His face — like the viewer’s — wears a shocked grimace. The paintings are the work of none other than Jack Kevorkian, the late Armenian-American pathologist, philosopher, assistedsuicide advocate, and convicted felon otherwise known as Dr. Death. They are strikingly well executed. Unlike the works of other improbable painters — Adolf Hitler’s multicolored bouquets and elegant nudes or Winston Churchill’s pastoral sceneries — Kevorkian’s canvases are markedly obvious and gruesomely, almost risibly, literal. And the man in the coma, the man on fire, and the man with the brains by his side look a lot like the auteur himself.

more from Anna Della Subin at Bidoun here.

Ethnographies of Value in a Not So Secular Age


Such a view of enchantment as bound to erode with modernity underpins not only the by now much critiqued paradigm of secularization but is also lingering on, albeit less explicitly, in more recent studies. Charles Taylor’s seminal work A Secular Age (2007), which has played a key role in reframing the contemporary study of religion, is a case in point. Taylor has noted that religion in modern societies is subject to transformation rather than simply “vanishing,” or “returning” after a period of repression. In other words—and here Taylor’s perspective resonates with Talal Asad’s position outlined in Formations of the Secular (2003)—secularization and disenchantment transform modern religion instead of abolishing it. Not only does Taylor use secularization and disenchantment interchangeably, thereby linking the privatization of religion to the decrease of spirits, he also suggests a development from belief in spirits, which he associates with premodern, enchanted societies, to a quest for spirituality in the secular, disenchanted age.

more from Birgit Meyer at The Immanent Frame here.