Imagine Charles Manson and Anton LaVey teaming up with a band of fake Hare Krishna cult members speeding towards Kathmandu in a run down VW bus along the dusty Hippie Trail in 1966. That may give you the idea what Swedish band Nepal Death are all about.
The lyrics of the nine album hymns form a forbidden traveller’s guide to Hindu witches, love magic, death rituals, and worship of the almighty Kali Ma. They may appear sinister and serious but in the next moment they are sparkled with twisted dark humour.
This is Eastern tinged heavy psychedelic rock at its very best. Angst ridden vocals on top of a compact wall of fuzz guitars, heavy bass and ritualistic drum beats all backed up by hindi chants, religious bells and flutes, freaky backward sounds and eerie India tanpura drones.
Nepal Death´s style draws from seventies heavy rock bands such as Hawkwind and Blue Öyster Cult. Psychedelic rock in the vein of Amon Düül II and Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats are other strong influences along with traditional musical vibes from nations like Turkey, Afghanistan and India. Occult references mixed with Hindi mysticism are also prominent in the band's lyrics and aesthetics.
The Nepal Death music collective is based in Malmö, Sweden and features veteran musicians from bands such as Agusa, Jämmerdal, Technicolor Poets and Texas Motherfuckers. According to anonymous core cult members the band name is inspired by Danish poet and psychedelic pioneer Eik Skaløe. The former singer of Steppeulvene dreamed and sang about Nepal but went tragically missing in action close to the Nepalese border in 1968. The song Dead in Nepal released on vinyl single in 2020 is all about his demise.
Nepal Death have crafted something of a loose concept album revolving around a fictive journey on the hippie trail to Kathmandu. All songs are blended together by short musical bridges creating the sensation of talking to mystical locals, visiting secret shrines and temples, smoking hash from ornamented water pipes and writing doubtful poems.
The front cover depicts a demonic incarnation you may encounter when performing the ancient Buddhist Himalayan rituals of ”Chöd” and has been created by artist Toby Jörgensen of Studio Dzyan (the art collective responsible for the groundbreaking artwork for both Mercyful Fate and King Diamond back in the eighties).
The album is released by Swedish psych/progressive label Kommun2 and features guest appearances from members of bands such as Agusa, Coph Nia, Yuri Gagarin and Rymdstyrelsen.
This one band is ready to go and meet the universe on stages everywhere! Please step right up and get ready to leave in a haze of smoke and steam on a trip towards a glorious end in Kathmandu, Nepal. Namaste!
The Nepal Death collective is:
Anders Hallberg - Vocals
Magnus Könberg - Drums
Johan Luyckx - Electric Guitars
Markus Mannberg - Electric Bass Guitar
Ana Marega - Chants and Theremin
Tobias Petterson - Electric Guitars