Sahil Makhija told me to publish this review on or after the tenth of May, and I received my copy of the album on the 5th. Today is the 17th, which has given me more than enough time to spend with the album before writing this. I don’t think I want to spend any more time with, honestly.
But before I get into reviewing the new Reptilian Death, I think I’d be better off putting all my cards on the table. I am not a fan of The Demonstealer. I’m not a fan of Demonic Resurrection. I’m not a fan of Workshop or Hellwind and I’ve never been a fan of Reptilian Death, either. I could go on in more explicit terms, but I don’t want to pull another Cain Pinto on everyone’s ass, if there are still people around who remember what that guy did. And yet, it should be said that all of Sahil Makhija’s music till date has been afflicted with a mediocrity that only gets worse with each new release, transmitting also to every new band he forms. The last Workshop album was worse than the first Workshop album. The third DR album was worse than the second DR album. And Reptilian Death hasn’t redeemed itself from that old ‘5 Easy Ways to Murder Someone’ with the “amazing new release” that is The Dawn of Consummation and Emergence. Also, I wonder if it’s just me or does that title sound more pretentious than is reasonable?
The Demonstealer’s last release was Made Love to the Dragon, Workshop’s sophomore effort. Thankfully now, Makhija puts the brakes on his largely unfunny ‘comedy metal’ routine and instead rolls out Reptilian Death, his death metal vehicle of 11 years; or at least he intended for it to be death metal. But it’s not. At least not at a level that hits me right in the guts and makes me jerk my neck like a badass mofo. Like how Workshop was supposed to be really funny but isn’t, Reptilian Death doesn’t have nearly as much muscle as a death metal band necessarily should. The ‘listenability’ is consequently upped, sure, but largely at cost of what makes death metal listenable to those who listen to it seriously.
“Inchoate” is the title of the second track on TDOCAE. “Inchoate” means something that is tentative, not fully formed, undeveloped, foetal, embryonic. “Inchoate” is the appropriate adjective to describe the how this album sounds. Perhaps it’s because Reptilian Death has never quite been at the absolute fore of Makhija’s musical output, or that it’s not quite a band in the sense that Makhija’s other bands are bands, but an “inchoate” album isn’t what one expects from someone who’s been writing music for fucking ages, and the extended superstar line-up that now comprises the live format of Reptilian Death all just seems like a bunch of hype that the album doesn’t live up to.
Listening to The Dawn of Consummation and Emergence is like playing a game in which you’re constantly trying to figure out what band Reptilian Death sound like. But Reptilian Death doesn’t sound like anything, mainly because they don’t even sound like themselves. The Demonstealer may be the most recognized face in “the Indian metal scene”, but he isn’t the most recognized sound.