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festival review: Demonic Resurrection live at Bangalore Open Air, 2013

sahil makhija demonic resurrection india bangalore open air 2013 absurd history

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It was at Bloodstock Open Air last year that I saw India’s Demonic Resurrection play for a multiethnic crowd, and I wanted to see how accepting the audience is. And having seen them in our country for the last ten years I must say the response was as good as what I must’ve seen at one of their best gigs in India, if not better. This, when Paradise Lost were on the main stage.

mephisto demonic resurrection india bangalore open air 2013 absurd history

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Welcome to the Ronnie James Dio stage where Demonic Resurrection – the oldest, one of the the biggest and darkest Indian band that kick started this year’s Bangalore Open Air festival, but in broad daylight. Nevermind. Unfortunately the only Indian band to have been invited to play at the Bangalore festival (as the rest couldn’t for various reasons), Demonic Resurrection braced the audiences with their brand of demonic metal. Demonic metal, which I would say is a concoction of symphony, progression, speed, death, black metal with a slice of technicality is today very mature than what we have heard from them over the years.

daniel rego demonic resurrection india bangalore open air 2013 absurd history

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The set list consisted of tracks from their previous two albums, A Darkness Descends (2005) and The Return to Darkness (2010), out of the three that Demonic Resurrection has released till now. Sadly, since they were the first band to open Bangalore Open Air post the Wacken Metal Battle the audience was only a handful who treated themselves to a cocktail of some complex extreme metal. A sound that is one of it’s kind in our sorry ass nation, and a band that made its way to the top through sheer fortitude. While many tried to bring them down, the band retaliated with more hard work, thereby setting an example in the minuscule history of metal that India has.

ashwin shriyan demonic resurrection india bangalore open air 2013 absurd history

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Frontman Sahil Makhija, a friend and a good musician, shouldn’t have called out the name of some guy from the audience as that, for me, does not add to the stage act. Crowd interaction is a must for entertainers, and Demonic Resurrection being the torchbearers of metal itself in India does not do it any less. The audience would be a lot happier if there is more interaction in general, than pointing out names. We are at a festival and in the audience there could be anybody from any place on the planet. That being said, Demonic Resurrection is tight as a tick, musically. Thanks to the ensemble star cast that comprises of guitar prodigy Daniel Rego, bass-nailer Ashwin Shriyan, impossible-to-match drummer Virendra Kaith and synth-lover Mephisto.

All set to release another album this year, Demonic Resurrection made sure they do not give the listeners a sneak peek of their yet-to-be-titled fourth album. If you are a fan then you’ve got to wait and watch out for their new sound, which according to guitarist Daniel is, “much more evolved than what we’ve composed in our earlier albums, in every department that DR delves into“. With a live performance like that, and an album in the pipeline I wish DR all the very best for their future.

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[ Pictures – courtesy of Khushboo Sinha. Everybody head over to the link to check out more of her work here: Khushboo Sinha’s tumblr page ]


Metal Decade for India

Prelude –

Coming December would mark the last month of the decade and such things have never elated me. But this year it would be different. I have been a part of a movement, I have seen it all happen and I feel proud. Rounding up an epic decade for the Indian metal scene are some bands that had to be watched before resting in peace.

Two Thousand and Seven : The Penetration –

Although the first half was sulky it was 2007 when Iron Maiden decided to seal each of those person’s ass who thought metal does not exist in India. It was Rock in India’s first gig and it turned out to be a massive gig that got down metalheads not only from our nation but the neighbouring ones. I was infact almost crushed in that hysteric crowd. In 2008, they followed it up with another gig that marked the start of a world tour of the kind even they had not done before. And this brought all the remaining and much needed attention to India. Everything was noticed and things got to the other side of the world too. Thanks to Sam Dunn. Since then Maiden has played thrice in India. Both times I attended Bangalore and had missed the Bombay one. Sepultura did a three city tour in two thousand and seven itself and are yet to make their second trip.

Back in 2006 Great Indian Rock had invited Enslaved to Delhi and I was not as fortunate as the ones who saw them then. That ofcourse is history now. And we owe a lot to the first Maiden concert.

Since then we have had a spate of international gigs featuring bands that had made us pull out our hair and left us frustrated for not being blessed enough to be able to watch them. But now when I look back and think about the 3 years that have passed by I realize that a lot has happened around me. I no longer feel negative about the fact that I was born in India. If I chronicle the bands that arrived with their gears to perform in India I read a whole bunch of names – Iron Maiden, Megadeth, SepulturaLamb of God, Opeth, Satyricon, Ensiferum, Amon Amarth, Enslaved, EluveitieSahg, Machine Head, Hammerfall, Nervecell, TexturesRudra, De Profundis. Totally not bad.

Two Thousand and Eight –

In 2008, Dave Mustaine and troupe hit India to play a one-off gig following the release of United Abominations. This was the second edition of Rock in India and they were going strong. The only band out of the big four to have played India, Megadeth have not returned yet so I haven’t been given a chance to make up for my mistake of not going for their 2008 Bangalore gig. American band Machine Head had played alongside Megadeth. Although I had not heard more than one album of Machine Head before their gig, I did have the hangover of missing the whole event.

The same year India got a taste of how a live Norwegian black metal act looks and seems when they perform live. Satyricon headlined GIR-2008. I remember posing as a fake journalist and roaming around the lobby of this hotel they were put up in. Sick days. Saw Frost and did not get scared. Drank beer with King and even felt like one. Heavy doom band Sahg had supported Satyricon for the tour and I had comfortably made it to the front row for their set as only a few were interested. Thanks a lot, Amit Sehgal. Two months from then Ensiferum took the stage at this event named Livewire which is a part of a popular annual festival Mood Indigo hosted by IIT, Bombay. Along came some folk/viking music and many around me did not have as much as a clue of what this genre is. But they sure did dance to the tunes. It was the last song when a twenty-something me jumped the barricade, climbed the stage, headbanged and even exited with them. Good fun.

Two Thousand and Nine –

Opeth played the Saarang fest at IIT Chennai (early-2009), Hammerfall played the same venue in early-2010, Rudra played at ISM Dhanbad in March-2009. I missed all three of these gigs as they happened at godforsaken places. Rudra played at Dhanbad, Jharkhand. Really? But Rudra had played Bombay and Delhi in 2001, something I did not of and The Demonstealer did.

Swedish-band Amon Amarth headlined Deccan Rock Festival ’09 and melo-death came to India from where it should have come from. Also sharing the stage were progressive metal band Textures.

Two Thousand Ten and onwards –

By far 2010 has been an eventful year. Folk metal band Eluveitie travelled from Switzerland to IIT Guwahati’s annual festival in February. Rock in India organizers with a metal history paid Backstreet Boys to perform on the same platform as Iron Maiden and Megadeth. To overcome this serious blow Overture India debuted with an event as big as Lamb of God for the Summer Storm festival, Bangalore ’10. And it’s not been long since Nervecell‘s Preaching Venom India tour. I can wait for the next international act as my culture has taught me to wait. 2010 even saw Indian bands DR, Scribe and Kryptos finally breaking the mould when they went international. DR played a dream gig at Inferno festival Norway along with Scribe. Then DR played Brutal Assault festival Czech Republic. Kryptos left for a short European tour and have their dates booked for gigs next year too. All this happened in this very decade.

In the coming two months we have a lot of super gigs lined-up and I am totally kicked about them. Dates for Cynic, Meshuggah, Enslaved and Katatonia’s gigs are fast approaching. Maybe work commitments would not permit me to attend each one of them but then this is what is the state of Indian metal scene in the initial few years of it getting noticed. Don’t I have a lifetime to attend all the concerts that are definitely going to happen in India? Finally I have something good to say about our nation.

And the article would be incomplete without mentioning Katatonia separately. Totally my kind of music and so damn abundant. Hats off to the people who know of such music’s existence and are getting them down for us. There might be a tepid response for Katatonia but that would not in any way reduce the significance of this milestone event.

I would again say all this is just the beginning. It’s been just three years and bands are eager to make it to a new destination – India and fans here say they were always as loyal as they are now. Cheers!


IRMP3 releases Indiean Volume 1

All those of you who wanted to support Indian music scene but could not for some reason, here is your chance to do so. Friend and IndianRockMp3 owner Santhosh Lobo along with his crew has come up with an initiative to release an online compilation album gathering together tracks by some of the best metal/rock/alterative acts India has produced, and all this to celebrate the second anniversary of IRMP3. With the most original name I have heard in a long time the compilation is named Indiean – Volume 1.

Now we all know what the website IndianRockMp3 has been doing for the scene, so this is payback time. There is no buying involved here and that should be enough to get most of you going. The compilation was scheduled to release today but due to heavy demand and the compilation being given out for free as stated before the release was pre-poned by a couple of hours. So all you need to do is to go download it and spread the word regarding the same. Click here to get to the download page. Get going.

The tracklist as given below also doubles up as a poll and there should not be any trouble figuring out that its the trackname followed by bandname. Vote for the tracks that would be your reason to download this compilation. Multiple choice as always.

Also browse :

category : Poll

Remembering Ronnie James Dio

category : Film / Documentary Reviews


The Flaming Skull Podcast

tfsp logo

I would start the post by giving you a little trivia. The word podcast was not Apples Inc.‘s creation, considering everything that has a pod in it reminds me of them. But we did get the term through one of its products, i.e. iPod plus broadcast made it podcast. Whatever it is, podcast was never a masses-term in India. You either have heard the term or you do not care enough to know about it. Now you don’t have to swell your eyeballs, as I am not talking about you. There are exceptions everywhere. Things would have been different if you had an Indian-podcast you could boast about. You know what I am getting at.

2009 saw a revolution in the name of The Flaming Skull Podcast. What started-off as a medium to feature Indian metal bands, more so those you knew about, has now become a benchmark. A judging criteria for a band’s music. If you play metal and if you are good at it, then you ought to be on this very podcast. Tighten up !

The Flaming Skull Podcast (tfsp) is the brain-child of Malcolm Soans who was an ardent follower of metal-podcasts and wanted to see his own so that Indian metal is heard. Transforming this dream into reality was not going to be easy. It required a team that needed to think alike in terms of what has to follow. After all its not always that everything falls into place. The greatest advantage for the members of tfsp has got to be the fact that maximum of them knew the scene inside-out. They knew what exactly is working for the scene and what is not. Who need to be out there and who need not.

Tfsp is a team of 9 members that includes Abbas Rizvi, Aditya Rao, Akhila Shankar, Ashwin Sharma, Arun Iyer, Ayan De, Malcolm Soans, Roydon Bangera, Sean Pereira. Four of them can drink like a fish and still ask for more but we’ll discuss that some other time. The podcast is recorded at 2 studios – MotorG Studios and Studio72.

team tfsp

The latest move by the team is The Flaming Skull Rockcast wherein bands that play bearable rock music are featured. Now the listeners also have an opportunity to be on the voice-cast by simply recording the review of any gig they attended and mailing it to tfspodcast@gmail.com. You can also place your advertisements on the podcast. 8 episodes down and still going strong with new plans everytime, I will take the liberty of saying that the tfsp team is satisfied with the way their efforts have been received. With the only difference being now they are in a demanding position. It is very clear what I mean.

Also from where I see it, the podcast came as a savior to those metalheads who always say they will buy a new album later. Reason – because they know the very next episode will have atleast one track from an upcoming release. No seriously. Now that is really innovative. India has premiers for almost anything that sells, including an ugly duckling choosing a husband on primetime television. But whoever cared about premiering a metal album. Tfsp made every new release even more special. Whether it was Bhayanak Maut releasing their Untitled, Infernal Wrath coming out with Inside Of Me or Devoid showcasing a single from their upcoming debut album.

poster for the most recent 8th episode

Following a chest-swelling response over a period of time made them bother about the scene in a couple of neighbouring nations. Honestly, if not for the podcast I would not have even heard metal from Pakistan. I am saying that considering the fact that I download metal from places where traces of humanity are yet to be determined. Featuring Communal Grave from Pakistan, Funeral In Heaven from Sri Lanka, Chromatic Massacre from Bangladesh was an encouraging move atleast for the featured bands. Wonder what Shiv Sena has to say about this !

Like every other thing around, even this podcast has lot of scope for improvement. After my interactions with a lot of listeners, and I personally also feel that our host Malcolm needs to be a little more spot-on. Sometimes it does give a feeling that its script reading, but then there also has been improvements since the first episode. I’m sure Malcolm will make his listeners stop bothering on this issue pretty soon.

I wish all of you at The Flaming Skull Podcast all the very best. Featuring a band like Casket Garden makes it clear where they are headed. Lets aim for a day when Lamb Of God asks you to feature them. Yeah Roydon ?

Just a pricking thought, branching the podcast into a Rockcast was awesome but I hope there won’t be any temptations to start a pop-cast, considering some faggots are making their presence felt soon.

[For any details regarding the podcast visit their official site here : Flaming Skull official]

also read :

The Flaming Skull Forums – a writeup

album review : DR – The Return To Darkness

Burzum – Spell Of Frustration


…and I will not be Resurrected

Tonight, all metalheads in Bombay will head to Marimba Lounge, or let me put say this way. Tonight all sensible metalheads will head there as

resurrection IX

Resurrection IX is going to have its final gig and this is not just another gig, but one where Exhumation is going to play some serious brutal death. And you do not see them playing at every other gig.

As is clear from the post name, I will not be a part of this metal celebration. There are a lot of reasons for which I would have wanted to be present but then I am not going to be resurrected anyways. A lot of shit is happening with me post my decision of moving to Chennai so I could continue earning my bread and liquor.

Resurrection has always been something I never missed. All the previous ones happened when I was in and around Bombay. But then there are many things that happen for the first time in life and that is exactly what has taken place. The first resurrection that I attended was the fourth edition when DR had released their debut album.And no I did not review it. Sharing the stage with them were Exhumation, Myndsnare and Kryptos (3-piece one). That gig seriously kicked ass as it was a different time altogether for metal in Bombay.

my first resurrection - IV

But tonight is also going to kick ass as this is yet again a different time for the Bombay metal scene. All the 3 bands for tonight – DR, Exhumation and Bhayanak Maut – are tight live acts.

One interesting thing to watch out for tonight would be P-man or Rohit Pereira playing bass for Exhumation. And even though I know I am going to really miss Exhumation‘s performance, there is a little something else too that I am going to miss – free booze. A couple of days back my friend and Exhumation vocalist Aditya Mehta held a contest on his blog asking everyone to post about the new bass player for Exhumation at the resurrection gig and I for once knew the answer as I was told by Aditya himself. Posted it for fun, only to realise that I was entitled to unlimited supply of any beer I want on this very night ! But then I just got to know that all the free booze is going to pass through my other friend Aditya Rao‘s humongous tummy. Wonder how he is preparing himself for this one.

Now I needed some reason to convince myself for the fact that I am missing this gig. So guess what I told myself – the gig is not happening at Razz nor the regular Marine Center, so its ok. Well that was just a passing thought. The ones making it tonight, a weekday could not have been better.

also read :
album review : DR – The Return To Darkness

album review : 1833 AD – pre-album teaser

album review : Soulmate – Moving On

album review : Workshop – Khooni Murga

Burzum – Spell Of Frustration


Deccan Rock Festival 2009 gig review

poster

I had never heard of Deccan Rock Festival before I read about it on Rolling Stones India website. A small article that read Textures and Amon Amarth would come down and play for us. I had that sudden rush of blood moment when it finally began to sink in that Amon Amartha band i’ve been listening to for 5 years now – is coming to India. Some weeks down and the poster for this confirmed gig came out, and it featured some real good Indian bands apart from the headlining ones. The entry fee – Rs. 450. woah !

And then it was 5th December. It was the festival day. Even though I wanted to settle inside the venue at the mentioned time of 1 pm, i had this natural instinct of not getting there on time. I reached 2 hours late and i still had to wait for an hour and a half. Talk about mismanagement. The entry began at 4:30 pm. The organisers had hired only a part of the humongous Palace Grounds. I entered and proudly looked around. It was a big day for me and my fellow listeners of metal. But it didn’t look big with just maybe 100 people around me. Comeon it is supposed to be a metal fest. I took time to go around some stalls selling cds and official Textures and Amon Amarth merchandise.

frenzy !

The opening band for the event, playing here after winning some competition was Eccentric Pendulum.  This Bangalore-based band with an Ep out showed just how much they deserved to win that so-called competition and be here. They played an all original set ending with my best track of theirs The Sculptor of Negative Emotions.

The enthusiasm among the crowd was still in infant stage. The energy levels around were not too high, with everyone just roaring

Inner Sanctum

and raising their devil’s horns in appreciation towards the end of Eccentric Pendulum‘s songs which is the least any crowd could do. But it took an Inner Sanctum to create mayhem. The mere mention of the band’s name was enough to ignite the pit. This band has made quite a name for themselves with every organiser wanting them to play at their event. I can’t say if all these big events happening only in Bangalore helps. Inner Sanctum‘s stage presence with each member knowing exactly what to do is what makes them connect. They opened with Eye Of The False and followed it up with tracks from their Ep Provenance.

It was Undying Inc from Delhi next. It was more of a progressive metal day what with Eccentic Pendulum and now Undying Inc. I had only heard them on record but it takes a live act to leave your mouth open. This 4-piece death metal band was so fucking tight that

Undying Inc

it showed just how carefully the bands have been picked to play here at this event. They deserved a standing ovation. Yes, some douchebags were sitting like they have been forced to come here. Undying Inc with their undying spirit came back strong after each original track and left the crowd wanting for more.

Bhayanak Maut is known to create pits and hurt necks everytime they play. For some reason the band was being booed off. Until they began playing ofcourse. Bhayanak Maut has been gigging a lot post their album release in August this year but I happened to miss out on all of these. Watching them live after almost an year made me feel even more lucky. It took 6 members including 2 vocalists to re-create the mosh. Playing tracks from their new album they were majorly appreciated. A special mention to Anupam Roy on the sound console. He was the reason the bands came across to the crowd the way they wanted to.

By now it was dark and the crowd had grown from 100 to maybe 1000. I wanted to see more. A lot more.

With my favorite Indian band Kryptos playing next, I pitied the food stalls behind coz the bands ust weren’t letting me leave my place. Its become common to see Nolan carrying a Liverpool scarf everytime Kryptos is on stage.

Kryptos

They began and I was already swaying to their metal. Everytime they play my belief is re-inforced that they are a near perfect band. Close your eyes and its like hearing them on a player. With 5 tracks ending with Descension it was a treat.

Next up were Demonic Resurrection. They were setting up and i overheard someone saying these guys are funny it seems as they do not play seriously. And i got reminded of DR 6 years ago when it used to be utter confusion on stage. Today they are the most sought after extreme metal band from India. For rural metalheads with limited or no internet access, DR is playing at the Brutal Assault next year with the likes of Corpse, Bodom and My Dying Bride. DR was the most unlucky band of the evening with time for just 3 songs, one of them being their new track The Unrelenting Surge of Vengeance. They promised to be back in January with their new album The Return to Darkness.

Now it was time for THE bands. Crew members from Textures took around 20 minutes for the setup. I really wanted to get into the All Access area. I sneaked in and managed to stay there till the end. All thanks to my friend Madhav from Road Crew Records. So when Textures took the stage i was right under them. Textures hailing from Holland carried forward the progressive metal act. They started off with the track One Eye For a Thousand.

Textures

The enthusiasm and presence of the band on stage showed how much they were enjoying. It was really a big deal for me to watch Eric (vocals) doing the aggressive growling and clean vocals with such finesse. The technicality of the band was something to watch. Stef Broks (drums) was flying. I needed another pair of eyeballs to really understand what he played .They played everything the crowd wanted – Storm Warning, The Sun’s Architect, Laments of a Icarus. It was followed by the favorite Awake and they concluded with Regenesis.

Then came the moment I was waiting for. Videos of all their tracks started playing in my head reminding me of the synchronized headbanging by the members. Setup was quickly done by the crew. The stage was ready to grace Amon Amarth, and their entry was quicker than I realised. They already began playing Twilight of the Thunder Gods before I could let the feeling sink in that the monstrous Johan Hegg was growling in front of me. I was lost banging to their songs. That feeling cannot be expressed, sending the crowd into an absolute frenzy. I was actually witnessing one of my favorite drummers Fredrik do his thing. Perfection right there. Johan was giving a brief intro before each of their songs conveying just how strong the band’s viking roots are. The band went on to play the mesmerizing tracks which included Runes to my Memory, Asator, Guardians of Asgaard. Their set ended with that 1 track everyone wanted – Death In Fire.

Amon Amarth

It was madness. I did manage to get hold of Olavi Mikkonen’s (guitars) pick. Their 1 hour set seemed like just 20 minutes. So wanted them to go on playing. But then it was already past 10 pm. Damn they couldn’t play Cry of the Black Birds, Pursuit of Vikings.

This is one gig that is going to be etched in my mind for a really longtime. It was all about metal. As was rightly put by Johan Isn’t life all about metal..? Oh yeah absolutely..!

p.s. : All the pictures included in the post – courtesy of Madhav Ravindranath (Roadcrew Records).

Also read :

gig review : GIR XIII Bangalore 2009


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