Indian Black Metal Scene

Black Metalgenesis

We have been there where we were told that black metal was first done by Black Sabbath. But then we were also told Black Sabbath is the reason behind every other genre that ever happened. I for once do not agree to this, without taking away the credit from Sabbath for their contribution to metal. What is called the first wave of black metal that included Venom, Hellhammer, Bathory, Celtic Frost, and a significant Brazilian band Sarcófago just put forth the ground work but then what followed made it clear that even the aforementioned bands weren’t what was to become of black metal.

a church in Norway

A significant period in the history of a genre that righteously goes by the name black metal includes the early nineties. The place being Norway. Nothing ever remained the same. Now I saw myself getting dragged to the kind of songs being made under this genre mainly because of the complacency it gave me. But the truth remains that after being introduced to it, I went about the internet educating myself with the facts that lie behind the dark genre. After my exposure to the church burnings, and my research that led to my introduction of the real people behind the Norwegian era, the perception just became stronger. Here it was not some non-fictional stuff I had encountered, but something that was done, and went along with black metal. How much of it was done due to real hatred towards the cross or for the horned deity is a mystery but then no one would go take the risk of doing illegal activities at an age that could be too early to screw up things in life.

Black metalThe Indian scene

When I began writing this, there was no research required. Early nineties in India means no metal. To include something here I got reminded of only a few acts like Indus Creed, Parikrama, Dying Embrace, Bramha and maybe a few others that I do not want to even mention as they suck. So when the foundation of a genre was being laid in Norway there was just Parikrama jamming back home. Funny thought but ironically true! I will tell you some other time why exactly Pari-trauma should not be opening for Iron Maiden and now that they have done that twice how I want to sink the band and leave no trace. There was no metal in India for the longest time then talking about a major sub-genre would only add salt to injury.

Fate’s 2001 release

The earliest traces of black metal in India in some way can be related to Fate, Demonic Resurrection, Arcane Ritual – although they could be considered non-existent. But then they were away from the true definition of the genre. Whether it was conscious or not, they did lack the genre-related elements in their music even though they did claim to be black metal bands. Fate released an album in 2001 titled Lead Us To Darkness. With DR changing their style to play what they want to and not what they began playing, Fate and Arcane Ritual vanished without leaving behind just enough for other bands to carry the baton ahead. And then somewhere 1833 AD happened in 2004. And have been the longest running Indian black metal act I respect. I don’t have a choice but that does not take away 1833 AD‘s continuous prominent contribution.

1833 AD logo

There has not been any kind of impact, nor we have had any murders or controversies for the spark of this genre. Nothing significant enough to make heads turn in the direction. Sadly for our nation, even though there are hordes of followers of this genre, there aren’t any acts. There are none that can dominate in a discussion. Dark Crucifix from Kerala released Chapters of Damnation, a three song demo that was noticed. 1833 AD are still active and going strong with an album scheduled this year but then a single band for a vast genre, in a nation that has more humans than there is place is extremely poor.

There is also a band that goes by the name Mogh. I would not be surprised if you have not heard the name, but i would surprise you by stating that they have released four albums till now. And I have seen them cover Mayhem and Nargaroth at some mall in Pune. I was impressed. Now I do not hear of them, though I so want to.

mogh live!

Another notable band that was formed out of Disembodied Corpse was Cosmic Infusion. Cosmic, although not active anymore were as close to the roots as was the need. Covering Mourning Palace and I am the black wizards they managed to capitalize on the lack of good covers. They had prettyimpressive originals and personally i was a fan of their live shows banging my head in the first row. Hope they bounce back and fill the gap. Of the new lot there is Spiked Crib who have been around for quite a few years and are constantly enhancing their presence.

Having mentioned the current state of affairs, India cannot be on the global map for their contribution to black metal unless there are bands that mean business. Maybe there are other black metal acts that haven’t been noticed but then that is where the respective bands are lacking. Hoping for a phase where we have a significant change in the Indian scene concerning this genre that is always considered underground but is a success nevertheless. Mauling down a religious establishment could be a good start, anyone?

Check out this article on the newly launched Flaming Skull E-Zine here : The Flaming Skull E-Zine : May 2010 issue

Also read :

category : Interactions/Interviews

category : Recommendations

category : Album Reviews

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About Itihas Shetty

Is a verbomaniac. And a human being. And that's where the problem begins. View all posts by Itihas Shetty

91 responses to “Indian Black Metal Scene

  • G

    Good article Itihas… Very informative !

  • The Demonstealer

    You missed out Anupam Roys solo black metal venture called GREY in 2004 or 2005. It had 1 track released on the ‘Resurrection’ compilation CD. That was about it for them though.

  • praveen

    dude you missed out on a lot of bands…specially bands like Sledge,Gnarl,Wreckage etc from hyderabad. Before talking about global recognition,let us atleast try to recognise Indian bands in India first.

    • Itihas Shetty

      Dude I am sure I have not missed out on any thing that really needed to be included.

      Sledge? – We are talking black metal here.

    • Varg Vikernes

      LOL at Hyderabad fans who think the only metchul to come out of the city is Black metal. Sledge is a decent Thrash band, but how can you confuse between black and Thrash. I really hope they do not embarrass themselves when DT comes to Hyderabad.

  • The Demonstealer

    @Praveen – Neither Sledge or Gnarl or Wreckage played black metal so why would they be included?

  • jits

    @ praveen..

    Sledge is more of an old skool thrash metal act from hyderabad..A veteran of the metal scene out there..Nitin Rajan fronts the band & is based in bombay..They have 2 albums under their belt & Vanquish was the latest record they released last year..They are more like old sep meets six feet types..

  • Crudus

    Good read. It’s always good reading your articles. Spiked Crib started off as a Black Metal outfit and covered bands like Dimmu Borgir and Cradle of Filth in its amatuer days. We have reworded our lyrics now since we didn’t relate to the Black Metal scene. However, we still have a touch of Black Metal to the sound.
    Thanks Itihas.

  • Afaque

    “The earliest traces of black metal in India in some way can be related to Fate, Demonic Resurrection, Arcane Ritual”

    someone kill me , NOW!!!

  • Husain B

    I think most bands you’ve mentioned are more death metal than black metal as you’ve showcases in the beginning of the article. I really don’t think we’ve had a true black metal band like the ones in Norway, in terms of music to dressing to band idealogy

    • Itihas Shetty

      True.

      But musically 1833 AD comes close to being a very expressive black metal band. They have a unique sound. But considering the other factors you’ve mentioned we don’t have any.

  • Indian Black Metal Scene « Absurd History | Today Headlines

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  • Morbidillusion

    Nice Article. But accept 1833 n mogh there’s barely any scene left in Indian BM. Most of bands claim them selves BM, but they’re actually just melo death. I can name quite a few… but yeah i mite just get killed if i do.

    LOL @ praveen 😀 … u better think before making a comment like tht, Itihas’s knowledge in BM is pretty kickass 😀

  • gauravburzum

    The topic itself is a non-starter, Indian Black metal scene is as non existant as hair on a bald man’s head :P.

  • The Demonstealer

    I think 1833 is a cool band but they don’t have their own sound from any angle.

    Black Metal hasn’t really taken off anywhere in the world apart from Norway. There are loads of American BM bands and some in Australia and UK etc but none of them have really gotten anywhere. Simply because everyones sound is too derived from the original Norwegian sound.

    • choronzon333

      As a knee-jerk reaction I would tend to agree about Norway, but upon reflection I recall amazing scenes and bands emerging from Greece, France and all over Eastern Europe right around the same time.

      Euronymous was friendly with and took quite a bit of inspiration from Brazilian bands, and I’m sure the feuds with Greek, Israeli and Finnish bands helped fuel the black flames.

      I wonder how the anti-christian aspect which is central to Blackmetal can be generated in parts of the world that haven’t been affected by the genocide, destruction of culture, inquisitions and oppressive influence of Christianity to the same extent of Europe and South and North America. (Or has it? I would appreciate being enlightened with history here…)

    • Schillachi

      I think you forgot Sweden, Germany, Finland, Brazil n many more…. Bathory who are considered to be the pioneers of Black Metal were from Sweden. Bands like Sacramentum, Watain, setherial, Dark funeral, Dissection, & many more all hail from Sweden. Norway undoubtedly is the prime centre of it but lets not forget many others who contributed to this hell of a genre…. Recent bands mostly do it for the attraction n value and have completely commercialized it and in the process have sunk its Glory. But lets hope another COUNT will rise and resurrect the true Black Metal scene \m/ And Euronymous was another hypocrite and Varg did what needed to be done….
      1 more important point is that ,many people have the misconception that Black Metal is anti-christian. Its not like that. There are many black bands whose lyrical theme is based on nature, war, destruction, death, ancient and so on…. Anti-Christianity might have been the reason for its instigation but that is not the only reason \m/

  • Kaushik Chatterji

    Can’t talk about the music but a mere glance at the demographics of our country and it’s obvious why the sub-genre is non-existent.

  • Kaushik Chatterji

    On second thoughts, you can always go and try your luck in Kandhamal.

  • Kaushik Chatterji

    thought*

    Damn, I need to organize my thoughts.

  • Eshaan

    All black metal sounds the same atleast 90% of it like everyband might have just one unique factor and not the whole sound.

    • Schillachi

      Try listening to Mayhem, Dissection, vinterland, Urgehal, Setherial, Tsjuder, and maybe then you’ll get some idea on Black Metal, its bands, its ideology, and your “unique factor” \m/

  • Madhav

    Rat King has loads of old school black metal influences! If you trace down the genres, you’ll find that they are industrial/ambient/avantgarde/progressive/black metal.

    And my old band (with Rat King’s Murari) used to cover Immortal’s Damned In Black and Dimmu’s Mourning Palace. But I doubt any of you ever saw us live. 🙂

  • shreyas

    I’m wondering does Black Metal exclusively have to be Anti-Christian? I mean , India is mostly Hindu , and I wonder that would a group of atheists form a band to make Anti-Hindu Black Metal.. but I dont see that happening since our generation is very disconnected with the religious idealogies of Hinduism or Islam or Christianity. I mean , there are so many myth beings to rip on , but the extent of imagination is so far-fetched that any attempts at tarnishing it will be a mockery of itself. Then again , my band (Eximius Dominus) [which is btw , NOT EuroFolk even tho our artwork and sound speaks otherwise :p ) dwells on these very Myth possibilities , lyrically to drive our band. Hmm.. cant imagine a band singing about Rakshas (Demons) and Devas (Gods) … stuff like that. Nevertheless .. the darker elements in Indian Subculture are more black than anything EuroBlack could offer , just that.. no one wants to dig deep. :p

    • choronzon333

      That is a point. The darker elements in Indian Subculture would be a rich ground for someone to mine. As someone who deals with esoteric and occult themes lyrically, I can see many creative possibilities just from my slight knowledge.

      And now Dissection and and Maha Kali are brought to mind:

      Some Luciferian occultists I know are studying the darker side of Hinduism as a way to explore that imagery and currents without having to drag the baggage of xtianity along.

      • Itihas Shetty

        That would be interesting to know. Everything has a dark side and that is the best part. Also we need to have another round of interaction where I would love to explore your esoteric and occult side. 🙂

        And Dissection happens to be one of my all time favourite bands. \m/

  • shreyas

    When I was in school , I took a lot of interest in history , and we had these chapters about Indus valley , and post vedic Hindu era , and the dark stuff I came across .. was way worse than any satanic rituals. I mean , Indian Dark arts do not dwell on magical incantations , they rather dwell on chemically abrasive capabilities , and using actual sciences to bring the fragility of human form in most grotesque manners. To top it all – they (ones who practice) consumed the remains of their sacrifices..human sacrifices. Even to this day , the cult ‘sadhus’ consume human flesh , not of sacrifice , but of the already deceased. That’s how Black Metal should sound :p

  • Fern Trent

    Very awesome article. Honest!

  • Ivy Taylor

    Very great writing. Honest.

  • Courtney Arroyo

    Very awesome post. Honestly!

  • Herbert Law

    If only I had a quarter for every time I came to absurdhistory.wordpress.com.. Great post!

  • V.Ganesh

    Nice article and quite an eye opener with regards to the band Mogh, am wondering if you could provide any links to their music, agreed Fate, Arcane Ritual and Dark Crucifix are part of the Indian Black Metal scene but don’t agree that Demonic Resurrection was Black Metal. Grey’s track on Resurrection was kickass

  • V.Ganesh

    Thanks a lot Itihas for the link I visited that site first through Google but doubted whether it was the same, quite surprising that Mogh don’t have a MySpace link

  • cam mozaik

    You really took time to explain every little bit.
    Thanks again…

  • alekosoul

    Very interesting article!

  • McCleod

    The church burnings are nothing more than a juvenile expression of rebellion against authority/religion, but thats just my 2 cents about that aspect of the Norwegian scene. Mogh’s getup was interesting though!

    I agree with Shreyas, we have scarier shit to show to the world. I’m guessing Rudra’s already doing something on those lines, though they’re death.

    • Itihas Shetty

      I differ on the juvenile part. And there are enough reasons to believe that it was anything but a juvenile expression. Ok a very recent one and easy to get hold of, watch the documentary ‘Until The Light Takes Us’ – it takes you through all of this and you have to agree because I woudn’t want anybody else telling me about the Norwegian scene than the ones in the documentary.

  • Electrified

    Arcane Ritual is back!
    Hopefully it will last really long this time.
    http://www.myspace.com/arcaneritual

  • arun

    nice article dude …even i dont agree why Black Sabbath is always taking credit for every metal songs…do u think that if church burning and all stuff were worth…

  • ShohaibThanks Bud

    I like your blog, I prefer Black more than any other genre thanks again for Mogh link.

  • Bhaskaran Iyer

    wat i feel is black metal is more of a feeling and agression than just music…. nice article…..
    i did see someone telling in this post abt the anti hindu BM and the darker mythology of us, Indians. let me put it this way, according to our mythology every god has a darker side. lord shiva for example is our creator and no1 knows wat will happen to the world if he opens his third eye….. goddess kali also reflect the darker side. so for us, the Indian bands we shud include our mythology into the music that we create. we are indians and we can never create black metal music thinkin that we will write abt churches and burn churches, wen we never faced with the issues that they faced with. for us to play black metal has become more of a status or a league that we wanna show, in which we actually dnt belong to.

  • arun

    taking into account what bhaskar and shreyas said, we shud concentrate more on Indian black music rather than copying the Norwegian black…..
    as far as the anti Hindu BM goes, we have been brought up in a family where we are totally satisfied with all the religios rituals that we follow. so anti hindu black metal is totally out of question. so the theme for black metal in india shud be on the darker side rather than bein anti christ or anti religious or just being a show off.

    but to be very frank there are so many practical issues that we Indians are facing. I think its time we shud deal with them first through music….

  • Morpheus

    What bloody nonsense. There was nothing black metal about Fate, Arcane Ritual or any of those other bands you mentioned. Mogh and 1833 are probably the closest we’ve come to black metal. The rest is just shit.

    Just because Fate and Arcane Ritual had vocalists who screeched a bit over lame generic heavy metal riffs does not make them black metal.

    India does not have a black metal scene and never will. The entire basis of black metal is anti-christianism, which is practically non existant in India since Christianity is much farther down the ladder than Hinduism and Islam. If black metal’s basis is anti christianity then what sense does an anti-hinduism band calling itself black metal make? It’s a joke, just like the jokers and scene kids who populate the black metal scene.

  • Cypher

    Arcane Ritual are

    Vocals: Vishal (Count Vishak)
    Guitars: Anand (Lord Andy)
    Guitars: Ashutosh (Lord Daroth)
    Guitars: Chinmayi (Druidess)
    Bass: JP (Frater Perdurabo)

    Looks like Morpheus was right.

    • Itihas Shetty

      hehe .. then lets get Count Vishak himself here .. he would be the right person to comment on this ..

    • Count Vishak

      What is right and wrong is a question that all of us here need to ask. I believe everyone one of us have a right to expression. If Morpheus and Cypher think we are shit so be it. I will leave it to people to decide what Arcane Ritual is. For me personally, it is expressing ones thoughts. Arcane Ritual was always conceived with an idea of story telling. If we are Black metal or not…this is something i don’t want to get into, simply because the way i view black metal is different than the traditional thought. I cant write songs one after the other…about pulling Jesus of his cross. Personally dint make sense to me. There is so much out there to be inspired from. I am not sure why Afque wants to die. Anyways i think we need to support each other and get out of this genre rifts. I have personally know many of the musicians mentioned here. Shail,Afaque,Roshan(Fate). I think all these guys plus the others are all good musicians. Keep supporting Metal in what ever way you can people. Please lets not fight. If you don’t like some band or some genre of metal that is fine. No need to really push your opinions down everybody’s throat. Thanks & Peace.

      • Itihas Shetty

        well said, Vishal .. waiting for the new Arcane Ritual stuff!

        • Count Vishak

          Thanks Itihas….sure in the coming months you would hear more from us. To start with we are playing in Bangalore at Brutefest on the 17th of October. Be there if you can. We are playing an all original new set. A lot of bands to be watched out for as well.

          Bands Performing:

          Abandoned Agony (Brutal Death Metal)

          Blind Image (Technical Thrash/ Groove Metal)

          Gorified (Deathgrind)

          Corrode (Melodic Death Metal)

          Arcane Ritual (Epic Black Metal)

          The Mechanix (Technical Groove Metal)

          A U (Goregrind)

          Dark Desolation (Black Metal)

          Blood Orchid (Progressive Thrash)

          Nekronym (Brutal Death Metal)

          Entry: Rs.200

          For more details-

          Contact Sumeet: 9731340101

          • Itihas Shetty

            kickass! .. that seems like an insane line-up and I doubt if I can be there but I sure as will spread the word .. I am sure you’ll will start playing everywhere and I’ll catch you guys soon .. all the best to Arcane Ritual .. \m/

      • Schillachi

        @count- I think you have wrote the most sensible words here… I dont understand why is it so necessary to define music or bands and their genres…. We keep on arguing about which bands are black or not… But is it that important??? Lets keep our opinion to ourselves and enjoy the music!!! \m/

  • Shreyas

    Its true that there are more serious issues to deal with then anti-religious sentiments , and black to me is dark/morbid/gloomy and raw. Themes are endless , but the talent to carry them off is scarce. I think , in Indian Metal , the bias is against this ‘Death-Thrash’ concept , which recedes a lot of budding musicians.

    I see still , in the upcoming scene , hints of Melodic Metal taking shape. Bands are taking templates from the Scandinavian Scene and actually doing something with melodies.. i think its a good sign.

  • Electrified

    I think at the core, the issue is that India was left out of the whole Rock/Metal revolution, which isolated us in being part in flesh and blood, which IMO is why it left a lot of people here not clear about the ideology and intent behind the music.
    which is evident, when Morpheus says black metal’s basis is anti-christianity. Black metal is no different than any other sub-genre of Heavy metal. The core ideology being glorification and/or embracing what society/Religion condemns etc.
    All religions at their core are the same, so why cant we sing about the dark side of religion in our country!?
    Rudra are doing a damn good job at it already.
    As CountVishak said making music is not a conscious effort, so this whole genre conventions are pointless to me. Rock was formed to counter the pop culture including song structures and such and how it has become a victim of its own creation!
    /rant

  • munz

    thanks you for writting this….\m/

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    • Itihas Shetty

      Stark Denial is sounding good and doing great Sanjeev. Although I haven’t had the opportunity to see them live many times they are handling it well by playing more often than other bands that sound like black metal. There isn’t any real black metal going on around us, but Stark Denial is truly active.

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  • Vinit

    Hey,
    I believe this is a very old article. Just stumbled accross it while reading the Metallica gig review in your site. If you remember they had a few singles which they released, ‘CRY’ being one of them. I heard that track a few years ago and believe me it sounded good. It was raw and it held promise. Sadly the band faded out. Chetan was one hell of a vocalist and had it in him to lead a BM band. Anyways, good article and very well written. Brought back some old memories.

  • Post Gorgoroth

    @ Itihas Shetty.. Great job man, but Black Metal started in action at prior (I am referring here to series of church burning at Norway, tales of theirs viking ancestors and the resentment towards Christianity), and the music came latter by. Yes, I agree that India is new to the BM scene and some true Black Metal acts is going on here for past some time now.. But in my personal opinion I believe that until we have a established atmosphere here for this extreme genre to deepen its roots, we have very small to gain. And I believe, that will happen in the course of time as because people here are off late in opening to new things.. Hail Metal.

    • Itihas Shetty

      Thanks man! With your opinion intact, I’d like to say that a deeper understanding of music, which is black metal here, tells me that the resentment towards christianity happened because the real people who belonged to Norway saw this new religion pollute their land to an extent that they were all armed to wipe out everything their ancestors had created. Hence came the revolution that a few youngsters thought could be expressed through music. As for the church burnings it was pure hatred and more about getting back at ‘them’. Black metal is not directly related to only the anti-christianity factor. There definitely were a few out there who just loved making such music. Like me, who does not give a fuck about christianity, or religion, but still I thoroughly enjoy the genre. But when you say there is a need for an established atmosphere, I do not agree. Many political issues have happened, many religious confusions have occured but that does not mean bands are formed just because chaos is in progress. Also, I’m sure the bands that are playing black metal today, in India, are doing it simply because they enjoy the genre.

  • Lightbringer666

    Nice article.but,DR is a melodic death metal.

  • Nitish Bhardwaj

    There is a scene coming out in a grounded genre…
    YEARS OF SILENCE…
    it is a Depressive suicidal black metal band from new delhi…
    i myself as its vocalist assures you that there’ going to be a huge improvment in indian black metal scene..
    and we promise some real good black music…
    nice article by the way…

  • Mrityu

    The so called “Indian Black Metal scene” is nothing but a joke there is no Black Metal scene in India. 1833 AD sucks D.R SUCKS!! nothing but a sorry excuse for a Black Metal band. People were not even interested in B.M before Satyricon’s gig in India ..Indian “Black Metal” band lacks originality ,passion,feeling and ATMOSPHERE, I think they dont take Black Metal serious like Norwegians(or rest of the world) do I mean we have BLACK METAL bands who play in goddamn MALLS *coughs* mogh *coughs* lol how can you expect us to take them serious?

    Indians have potential to make good Black Metal music they got the mythology,the music,history,hatred everything hopefully we are going to see some GOOD and REAL Black Metal bands in the near future.

    Cheers.

    • Raul

      Are you sure you have listened to “all of it”? Yes they play in the mall, but have you actually listened to Mogh ? Listen to their tracks before you criticize sunny boy !
      And by the way, this is fucking India, you have to play wherever and whenever to be recognized or to even run the goddamn band. Where do you think all the money for the recordings come from ? They were doing it the hard way and you should appreciate that.

      About DR and 1833 AD, they have their own defined genre, and you should not confuse it with black metal. Like the author said, its just close to black metal, and they should be appreciated for the effort rather than being tagged “sucks”. No, I’m not a DR or 1833 AD fan, but people like you PISS ME OFF.

      About the black metal thing, why don’t you go and grab a copy of Alien God’s Lunar Blackened Death or Heathen Beast’s Ayodhya Burns.

      • Mrityu

        Yes I have heard of Mogh I have seen their live performances and I have even shared emails (via youtube) with the band and money ? recognition? LOL since when Black Metal was about money and popularity? last time i checked B.M was all about “the lesser fans the better for B.M” (forget about B.M who the fuck is going to pay attention to an extreme metal band IN A MALL) lol , B.M NEVER needed a fan base/fan following or “recognition” see that is the problem with most of you 3rd wave dweebs you know nothing about B.M and B.M Ideologies please do your homework before you even try to make a point

        Ok Issue of D.R and 1833 AD being B.M . Lets not debate about D.R because even Sahil said that D.R is not B.M (thats a different thing that they have been using “black metal” image for popularity since day one) 1833 AD ..the band itself been moaning on their web page and youtube channel that they are the pioneers of Indian Black Metal lol what the fuck are you talking about? (again do your research son).. I have heard of Heathen Beast and they SUCK their lyrics are based on pure mass-garbage just bunch of Americanized oafs who know nothing about history or anything trying to too hard to make “Indian Black Metal” sound. I have no interest in the so called Indian “Black Metal” fact that most of them are bunch of cyber nerds with no lives.

        Take Solar Deity for instance. The front man of Solar Deity runs a website mehtakyakehta(dot)com and he actually posted a review and lyrics of his own band on his own website on top of that dude made bunch of fake screen names to post positive comments about his band when i left a negative comment on his page he blocked me from posting comments and cloned my screen name and posted a bunch of nice comments about his band and their lyrics (under my fake screen name) HA! this is what Indian Black Metal is all about nothing but a bunch of posers ,Americanized imbecilic chode suckers

        but its amusing to see that you get “PISSED” so easily over someones opinion (on internet) explains why you are a Mall-Metal cheerleader 😀

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  • shining

    We need a groundbreaking record like ‘Wolfs lair abyss’

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