All rise for Sacrament | Daily News

All rise for Sacrament

The Sri Lankan Rock and Metal Scene is full of talent and potential at the moment, ranging from iconic bands in the Sri Lankan metal scene to upcoming young talent . It is a pleasure to see more young blood showing up at metal concerts, and their talents are incomparable.

On today’s T&C, we meet a progressive metal band which has its own unique style when it comes to music. Enter ‘Sacrament’ which hails from Colombo, one of the most popular Sri Lankan metal bands which established its name within a decade. The idea of putting the band together came sometime around 2010, but it was only in 2011 that it finally came out.

They have officially released two singles, the first single titled ‘The Perfect Apocalypse’ released in 2013 and the second single titled ‘Ephialtes’ which was released in 2019. ‘Ephialtes’ was a song which focused on spreading awareness on depression and other mental health issues, which is one of the most important subjects on today’s society. They were quite taken by surprise when it was announced that their tunes had been streamed from 14 countries with 35 listeners, and two of their published tracks were made available in 2020, on Spotify and other streaming platforms. The band also performed live at the Wacken metal battle, adding another feather to their cap of talents.

They are currently in the process of recording two new singles for release this year and hope to release their debut album along with a follow up album, as they have, according to Dan M.J van Dort, Frontman ,Sacrement ,a ‘’plethora of tune’s left. The current line up consists of Gimantha Upasena (Guitars), Yohan Siriwardena (Bass), Allan Barthelot (Guitars and keys) , Kanishka Mendis ( Keyboards, synthesizer, samples, backing vocals and producer), Hafzel Preena (Drums and percussion) , and Dan M.J van Dort (Vocals, lyrics and guitars ). The band had their past members as well such as Sesath Dias Bandaranayake- Keyboard and piano (2011 - 2012), Farhan Booso - Keyboard and piano (2014 - 2015) and Zayaan Fiasal - Guitars (2015 - 2017).

Excerpts:

Q: How are you guys progressing these days, especially with the present pandemic situation?

Yohan: The pandemic has been and always is a learning curve for us all. It had its own pros and cons for us to progress with our music. Currently, we are in the process of getting our tracks recorded whilst concentrating on studio practice sessions every week. We are hoping to release 2 new singles soon before we start working on the album. It's always a treat to jam in the studio while adhering to safety protocols.

We played our first gig at 'Rockdown' after coming out of lockdowns and we look forward to playing more shows in time to come. We were thrilled and satisfied with playing a live show after a long time. This was the first time in 7 years I played bass for a heavy set and my first gig with the band.

Q: Tell us how Sacrament began.

Dan: The idea of putting this band together came sometime around 2010 by Gimantha. Some of us were already playing in other metal bands which was also fairly new but Allan & I wanted to venture into new territory musically. Hazel had just started drumming and desired to play in a metal band during that time and eventually joined us. However, it was only in 2011 that our inception came to light while we were still in school. We were eventually joined by Sesath on keyboards and Kanishka on bass a few months before we played our first show.

The band was heavily influenced by a lot of thrash metal, death metal and groove metal when we started out. Our trajectory since our Genesis was always fixated on creating original music when we were not jamming to Stigmata or Lamb of God tunes. But whenever we were in the studio jamming out covers we would always find ourselves gravitating towards tunes from Lamb of God albums “Ashes of the Wake” and “Sacrament”. The band was eventually named after Lamb of God’s album “Sacrament” for 2 reasons. The first reason being for the lack of coming up with a better name that resonated with us and the second reason because that album represented the genre of music we wanted to flesh out ourselves. However, over time as we learned and worked on our craft we ended up composing songs that transformed into something entirely its own that would best be described as progressive metal although we like to mess around with different styles - this includes metal core, deathcore, heavy metal, thrash, neo-classical and djent. It’s a long and tedious process but like every band before us we keep coming close to a sound that is sincere, authentic and that works for us.

Q: When you do a new song release or a tune, what are the themes you mostly focus on?

Dan: Hmmm… We have been able to use music to shapeshift sound into messaging that effectively addresses important themes such as awareness on mental health, spirituality, misanthropy, philosophy, social issues and matters of the heart which do stem from personal experiences. Most of the lyrical themes do have a tendency to be holistic. But being the lyricist of the band I do find myself inking out my own viewpoints and experiences.

Q: Have you performed in any overseas concerts?

Dan: We had hoped that 2021 would be the year we would get the opportunity to tour and perform overseas given that we had also planned to perform for many local shows in 2020 which did include local music festivals, our underground gigs and our first local tour. Regrettably that did not see the light due to the implications of Covid-19. Nonetheless we are still undeterred and when we strongly feel that when the time is right we will proceed in due time.

Q: Who would you follow as your Rock and Metal idols?

Gimantha: If you consider the band as a whole there are many artists and bands which have inspired and influenced each of us. But bands like Lamb Of God, Nevermore, Tesseract, Dream Theater, Opeth, Pantera, Whitechapel, As I Lay Dying and Gojira have heavily influenced the way we write music. Regarding following someone, we focus on just being as unique as possible and prefer to go on our own path.

Dan: I think that from day 1 we definitely knew we would want to follow our own path in the likes of Lamb of God, Stigmata or any other band that styliscally influenced us but in a short time it became something more than that to us. We want to carve out our own identity and create music that we enjoy playing rather than being in the shadow of our influences. One fact worth mentioning is that we are not only inspired by rock and metal. We are vastly inspired by other genres of music, film, art and literature. One common and fair misconception about us metal head musicians is this that we absolutely cannot stand to appreciate and respect any other genres but in fact some of us do consume other styles of music as long as it’s of substance and value.

Q: Looking back at Sacrament’s music journey, how do you feel?

Gimantha: We have definitely come a long way for the past 10 years. It is quite fulfilling to know that we have many great originals which we have performed and that crowds had moshed or grooved to our tunes. We are very excited to be working on the album right now and we would like to thank everyone who had supported us throughout but, if we were to thank people specifically it would be our beloved family, friends and fans.

Dan: It’s been one hell of a journey so far but it’s far from over when in fact it feels like it’s still the beginning. We are thrilled and stoked to be working on music and look forward to releasing them soon. We would like to thank you for this interview, our friends, families, our fans and everyone who has helped along the way and believed in what we do.