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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.

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gig review : Summer Storm Festival 2010 featuring Lamb of God

Before I go ahead and bare it all, those of you who missed this gig must already be feeling the punch. You could have avoided being an emo by attending the Summer Storm Festival presented by Overture India where groove history was made on our land when arguably one of the best metal bands in the world right now played for us.

Putting aside all the shit that happened at the Summer Storm pre-party gig the previous night which I shall write about soon, I was trying to avoid any lame reasons that could ruin the biggest day in Indian metal. I reached the venue at around 5 p.m. Getting in was not an issue at all, thanks to the crowd turnout that was way below expectations and the security check was a breeze.

My main issue was my disinterest in the openers as I wasn’t interested in watching them open for LoG. Somehow consciously or unconsciously me and my 15 other friends were delaying the trip to Palace Grounds. When we entered we got to know that scribe had just got done with their set, and from what I heard they kicked ass. Scribe is a bunch of really talented musicians and with the kind of experience they have i’m sure they did make the most of this. Scribe was the only Indian band that I wanted to watch.

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Anyways now that my concern about wanting a worthwhile band to open for a Lamb of God is out of the way I can proceed. I do not have any complaints as such because I do not have bands like LoG playing for me every other weekend. Had to make a point that me and many others for whom metal matters like a lot felt. Its not about being against Indian bands playing but about bands that are opening for such a name. The message is we have better bands. Just for the record, the opening bands were Bhoomi, Boomerang, Scribe and Extinct Reflections.

The last Indian act was Extinct Reflections. They were tight and all, and were spread out all over the stage but then personally they aren’t one of my favorites in the Indian scene. Wish Scribe had played last. But then I could wish the whole opening line-up was different. I am getting over this now.

So by 6:45 the Indian bands were done. Now we did not expect LoG to hit the stage at seven and then go on playing till like ten. It was announced that they would not come for the next forty-five minutes or so. It was getting darker and everyone was growing restless. People around had started loosening up by exercising and doing fake mosh. We had some drunk fucks trying to ruin things around. I love drinking and I call them drunk fucks because a couple of them passed out and that too half an hour before LoG hit the stage. Alcohol cannot be insulted more.

Now what follows would be me trying to explain something that cannot be expressed. With people in a couple of rows in the front gasping for breath, the organizers had to ask the crowd to move their asses a bit towards the back. The crowd did because the organizers did not intend to begin before that. And it was almost that moment. I was trying to blink as much as possible before they came on stage. With LoG chants in the air, all of us heard The Passing. And that was it. Everyone slapping their foreheads with that feeling, turning at their neighbours and bellowing the f-word. I was standing towards the left of the sound console. A flash of light and there they were. Mark Morton, Willie Adler and John Campbell have started playing In Your Words. Chris Adler could not be seen but then he could be felt, like really felt. Randy entered and it was a bedlam. And then the crowd automatically made space as they had to form their own mosh-pits. Everyone shifted around to adjust. The setlist included a mix of old and new tracks. The band did skip a few tracks that were very much expected, but then all of their creations are first rate.

Setlist –

The Passing
In Your Words
Set To Fail
Walk With Me In Hell
Now You’ve Got Something To Die For
Ruin
Hourglass
Dead Seeds
Blacken The Cursed Sun
Descending
As The Palaces Burn
Laid To Rest
Contractor
Vigil
Redneck
Black Label

Randy‘s interaction with the crowd was a bit cold as compared to what we have been subjected to in those DVDs we watched. Of the little he spoke, something that surprised all was Randy talking about Gandhi being a punk rock guy, and then followed it up with The Contractor from their latest album. Randy even mentioned his contentment after looking at the response and said he would pass this message to his friends and other bands around, not to forget his promise of coming back themselves.

The gig got over before nine p.m. But complaining would not take this anywhere as only  after I came back to my senses did I realize that actually played sixteen tracks. When I went about finding out what could have made LoG cut down on time, Arpan Peter (from Overture India) told me some of the prominent reasons were the difficulties that the attendees had to face in getting transport to commute back after 10, and non-availability of food as most joints are shut after 10. Valid reasons but they could sideline these on this day. Nevertheless it was a very well organized gig, and considering this was Overture India’s first attempt at organizing a gig at this scale, it was a success. Whatever anyone has to say I personally want to thank Overture for making this happen. You guys did what no-one else could. Period. Only thing that disappointed me was the turnout which was said to be around 7k. I expected more. A lot more.

This gig would well be a turning point for the Indian scene and I hope the big four of thrash find their way to India soon. As for the rest of us who were present at Palace Grounds, we finally lost our virginity and what better than being banged by five Virginians. At the end of it all everyone around was heard saying, “We survived the Wrath, we lived through Lamb of God” and I could not agree any less.

[ All pictures included in the post – courtesy of Rohit Pereira (P-Man) and Jared Creado (Indian Rocket) ].

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