SINGAPORE - Naming your band after the devil may alienate people and lose you listeners, but local doom-metal rockers Satan! say to take their appellation with a pinch of salt.
"It started out as a joke... it's that excitement you get when you hear or react to something so sick and you'd somehow relate it to cursing and swearing about it... like, 'This riff is satanic! Bada**!'," says the quartet's drummer Zahir Zanosi, in his 30s.
He adds, tongue-in-cheek: "No, we're not satanists or a cult group, nor does any one of us keep ghosts as pets in his home."
The band officially launched their debut album, Kingbreaker, earlier last month. Eight months in the making, it contains four instrumental tracks, which run between nine and 13 minutes long each. The self-funded album cost around $6,000 to record and 200 vinyl copies have been pressed. It is also available as a digital download via bandcamp. So far, the band have sold more than 120 copies of the vinyl.
Says guitarist Rasyid Juraimi of the inspiration behind Kingbreaker, which gets its name from an X-Men comic book story that touches on "great sacrifice and loss": "They're basically stories of struggle, journeys through hardship which do not necessarily result in the best of endings or outcomes."
Marvel Comics characters and storylines also provide inspiration on the album, with Rasyid adding that the villainous characters Dr Doom, Kang The Conquerer and The Black Queen being "keywords to help you out". Formed last August, Satan! comprise Zahir; bassist Joseph Roberts Cinco, 33; Rasyid, 29; and guitarist Axel Serik, 22. The four bachelors got to know one another through mutual friends in the local music scene and being "fans of the bands that everyone was playing in".
Rasyid also plays in local grindcore band Wormrot, Zahir drums for post-rock outfit I Am David Sparkle, and Cinco has played in numerous local acts including indie-rock bands Sherene's Closet and The Marilyns. Rasyid, who acknowledges that his music is brushed with a tinge of darkness, says: "You're deep in the dark, and you think you've found hope, but that glimmer only pulls you deeper into the blackness."
But Zahir interjects: "What is really satisfying from all this is that we get to do what we want from doing our own shows, playing a long setlist and knowing that there are people who enjoy what we do and buy our records."
Currently, Satan! are touring Indonesia to promote their album, with gigs in Bandung and Jogjakarta. Zahir says: "What's important is that the audience has an awesome time and experience by watching us play live, or just by turning up the volume and enjoying the record in their own time and space."
And while he admits that people have told the band that they refuse "to even check the band out because of the name", the drummer shrugs it off.
He says: "We could call the band Angels!, and I'm pretty sure we'd get a different response. But we don't really care about such things... and we didn't start a band to gain recognition or to impress anyone."
Kingbreaker is available at satanxband.bandcamp.com/ album/kingbreaker for US$10 (S$12.60). E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org about vinyl purchases.
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