Before continuing with the rest of our Nepal journal, we are proud to announce our band (CAUCHEMAR)’s European tour dates – which we have worked on for several months! We are extremely excited to finally play in Europe, and the shows promise to be really killer!! We’re going to play four new songs from our upcoming album – songs that we have written a little bit all over the world.
- Apr. 20 – Berlin, GER – Blackland
w/Evil Spirit & Serpent
- Apr. 25 – Nuremberg, GER – Kunstverein
- Apr. 27 – Lauda-Königshofen, GER – Keep it True festival
w/Portrait, Witchcross, Oz, Anvil, Whiplash and a shitload of killer bands
- May 1 – Leipzig, GER – Black Label
- May 3 – Copenhagen, DEN – Heavy Days in Doomtown festival
w/Killer stoner-doom metal bands
- May 4 – London, UK – Old Blue Last
w/Amulet (Destroyer 666 after-party gig!)
- May 11 – Brussels, BEL – DNA
- May 12 – Valenciennes, FRA – Long Live Metal!! VI festival
w/Warhammer, Necrowretch, Bottle Doom Lazy Band
- May 13 – Paris, FRA – Le Klub
w/Northwinds, Children of Doom
- May 16 – Rennes, FRA – Mondo Bizarro
w/Children of Doom
- May 18 – Toulouse, FRA – Amanita Muscaria
w/The Grand Astoria, Goat River, Nuit Noire
- May 19 – Torreilles, FRA – Le Bistroquet
- May 20 – Barcelona, SPA – El Prat de Llobregat
- May 21 – Marseille, FRA – L’Enthropy
- May 22 – Lyon, FRA – Le Moko
- May 25 – Bologna, ITA – Atlantide
- May 26 – Bergamo, ITA – Live Keller
w/Black Oath, Caronte
- Jun. 2 – Alvesta, SWE – Muskelrock festival
w/Manilla Road, Hell, The Devil’s Blood, Grim Reaper, Enforcer, etc..
Tour shirts, CD’s and picture discs (limited edition) of “La Vierge Noire”, as well as Hellbent for Cooking books will be available at every show.
For more information about CAUCHEMAR and the “Rites Lunaires” tour: www.facebook.com/cauchemarmetal.
After kicking back for a week in the lake and mountain-side town of Pokhara, visiting the living museum town of Bhaktapur was a welcoming change. Located about 45 minutes by bus (30 cents!) from Nepal’s capital, as foreigners, we had to pay quite a hefty sum of 13$ to visit its old streets… but we made it worthwhile by spending a few days there. The atmosphere of the town itself was very charming, and you often see locals hanging out on the side of the streets, laughing together, the women knitting and the men playing games… it was really fun walking around and getting lost in there!
The city was founded in the 12th century, and has suffered quite alot during a huge earthquake that devastated the Kathmandu valley in 1936. Nevertheless, Bhaktapur has been since restored to its glorious past state, and has now been declared Unesco world heritage. (Oh man, I wonder how many Unesco world heritage sites we have visited so far on this trip….)
There are tons of animals that live side to side with local people. Dogs, cats, goats and chickens are the most popular… and make sleeping a little hard at night (you hear dog fights in the night and roosters crying out in the mornings!!) They are some of the cutest in Nepal though, here are what they look like:
Apparently, Bhaktapur is also the place in Nepal where there are the most temples… every morning we saw people doing offerings and people worshipping their many many gods. School children, even when alone, would tap on some god’s image and then bring their hand to their head in an angelus posture. Hinduism is alive and well here! Perhaps even more than in India!!
And speaking of love organs, the temples here (like some in Kathmandu) have some pretty primitive love sculptures. Some scholars say they are a how-to guide, but others mention that they are there to prevent Muslims from destroying the temples (because they apparently loathed erotica and kept away!)
And on another note, the town has its own sacred waters and cremation ghat. Just like in Varanasi, people are getting burnt to dust in public, and then their ashes are being tossed in the water… we sneaked in and I got to take this photo of a burning man and his mourning family. On the higher resolution photo, you can see a foot sticking out! Morbid huh?
Two particular things make Bhaktapur absolutely unique to the rest of Nepal. The first one being its …yogurt! The city is known for its creamy thick yogurt called The King of Yogurts, which tastes like sour custard. It cost less than a dollar for half a litre, and it was truly to die for… a great way of starting up the day:
The other thing that was quite particular here is a long-time-ago trend, which forever scarred women… leg tattoos! You mostly saw women in their 60’s sporting them; apparently they were meant to be sexy. I thought they looked really cool and I tried catching a few of ‘em on film:
Bhaktapur is also home to a very particular window, make in the shape of a peacock. It is considered a landmark of Nepalese architecture, and you can buy replicas of it to put on your walls. A bit useless if you ask me, but the original thing was pretty cool:
Right beside it was a chicken window, which was way more lo-fi:
Bhaktapur might be expensive to get in, but fortunately they had cheap food, which we totally indulged in. The restaurant we visited the most often was a hole in the wall, but had the yummiest, cheapest Nepalese food around… here’s a photo of one of our epic lunches!
We also had a very typical Newari meal, which consists of beaten rice (very hard on the teeth!), potato curry, soy beans, mutton fry, salad and egg. It was a new taste and I really enjoyed it!
After our three days, it was time for us to move back to Kathmandu for a few days before we head to our next destination…
Kathmandu (part II)
Returning to Kathmandu felt as if we were going home. It’s kind of sad when spending more than a week somewhere makes us feel like home haha, I guess moving around so much makes us appreciate it a lot when we stay in a familiar place.
We had pretty much only one goal left to do in Nepal… To go to a metal festival called Nepfest! For that occasion, I met up with a friend, Vishal – who brought his own friends along. Vishal plays in a grindcore band and he is a dedicated banger who digs in scenes from all over the world to find killer death and thrash bands. It was really cool to finally hang out with locals – especially ones who share metallic interests!
We then followed the group to the venue… we walked 30 minutes, and then arrived at the entrance of some old school amusement park. They had DIY games (to win bags of chips and cookies) and a really cool hand made haunted house!!!
The gig started around 2PM, and we got there on time to catch the first band, FRACTALS. Unfortunately, they were way too modern for my tastes; they played some kind of metalcore, which I didn’t appreciate at all…
After this was THE EXORCIST, a Cannibal Corpse worship band which I wasn’t into either, and then came GARUDH – probably the best band of the day for me. They played Scandinavian style Black Metal, which reminded me a lot of old SATYRICON. If they had no keyboard, they would have sounded really evil, but unfortunately they had to have really loud keyboard on each song!!
Next was 11, a “slamcore” band, which I wasn’t into either (good musicians, but really not my cup of beer), so we indulged in metal momo’s and beer. You could get a huge plate of buffalo momo’s for 90 cents, and they were really killer. We ate three of them hahaha
A little bit later was KALODIN, which were Cradle of Filth style metal, with heavy heavy heavy keyboards. Not my style of stuff either! Then played ANTIM GRAHAN – Nepal’s oldest extreme metal band. They had some good riffs, and the crowd reaction from them was really strong!!!
The fest finished with X-MANTRA, which sounded too modern for my tastes. There was really cool light effects though!
Overall, the sound quality was very good, and the bands were quite tight, but the music they played weren’t the best – or most original… Nevertheless, it was really fun to be there and to get a feel for the Nepalese metal scene!
When the gig was over, we walked back to Thamel, and passed for one last time in the streets of old Kathmandu… walking there in almost complete darkness was really fucking cool. We passed in front of a huge demon god, which I absolutely needed to take a photo of:
Right now, I’m sitting in the sofa of our Barcelona hostel. In two days, my parents are going to fly and stay with us for two weeks! It’s going to be their first time in Europe so they are very excited!!! We’re spending a week in Barcelona and then a week in the French Pyrénées. After that, we’re flying to Berlin where we will stay with a friend for a few days and then meet our CAUCHEMAR band members to rehearse for our tour… OK, gotta go explore the local record shops. Hear from us in two weeks!!!