Heavy metal is one of the most universal forms of expression on the planet. While the underground keeps the metal code pure, social network sites like Twitter and Facebook continue to connect metalheads around the world.
The invention of internet has been both a blessing and a curse to the music business. File-sharing has put an end to traditional music packaging and recording companies are scrambling to keep pace; on the flip side we have more music available at our finger tips than ever before. I often wonder is this really a good thing? Established acts have name recognition to fall back on but new groups really have it tough. Record labels may have the funds and connections to promote a new act but the current climate makes that investment dicey. More often than not new groups resort to self-promotion to get their music out there.
As a journalist of a metal ‘zine’, I’m regularly exposed to up and coming acts from around the world. I like to think of myself as the ‘first line’ of success for aspiring bands. It’s my job to wade through the musical redundancy, laughable lyrics and poor quality productions then highlight the groups that deserve to get noticed. Such is the case with the country of India. To be honest, India is not the first place I think of when I think of heavy metal but having seen Iron Maiden’s documentary film Flight 666, I had an idea of heavy metal’s impact, but I never could have imagined the diversity of metal India offered.
Consider this article as your introduction to ‘Indian metal’. I’ve tried to highlight groups worthy of notice. The underground is about being different, being the first and getting noticed, I truly believe all of these groups fit that bill, enjoy!
A technical death metal act from Mumbai/Maharashtra. They’ve been active since 2001 and released their 2nd full length album, The Dawn of Consummation and Emergence, last year. Reptilian Death plays a high-speed musical assault reminiscent of Virginia’s Lamb of God. The gritty vocals of Vinay Venkatesh are a definite highlight, this guy can definitely ‘evil it up’ with the best of them.
Hailing from Mumbai, Albatross plays a macabre style of heavy metal dubbed ‘horror metal’. The group has been active since 2008 and has had an EP produced by famed King Diamond guitarist Andy LaRocque. Needless to say the promising guitar work of aspiring axe masters Vigneshkumar Venkatraman and Nishith Hegde will definitely keep your interest.
Djinn And Miskatonic
A memorable name for a doom metal act from Bangalore. Down-tuned guitars and harsh vocals that occasionally border on death metal make up a unique blend of music heavy with atmosphere. Stylized lyrics enhance an offering worthy of repeat listens.
A Bangalore-based progressive doom metal act, Bevar Sea has the magnetic power riffs of Black Sabbath and their dreamy guitar solos really improve the offering and take the music to a level of it’s own. Uncommon vocals and powerful riffage complete a concept not to be missed.
An experimental, ambient metal group from Calicut / Chennai. Their music has a worldly vibe and incorporates native sounds and instruments. The arrangements and music are very impressive, reminiscent of hardcore ambient groups like ColdWorld or DarkSpace.
A four-piece hard rock band from Chennai. Formed in 2007, this group understands the meaning of a hard rocking formula. Pattering their style after classic rock groups like AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Steely Dan or Jimi Hendrix, their music is well-executed and heavy on the blues!
Kryptos is a thrash act hailing from Bangalore/Karnataka. Active since 1998, Kryptos is the first band from India to play a full set at Wacken Open Air festival which they just did in 2013! Their high speed thrash metal assault is reminiscent of bands like Kreator, Destruction or Trivium but Kryptos isn’t afraid to slow things down. The slower catchy riffs of Nolan Lewis and Rohit Chaturvedi remind me a lot of 80s Judas Priest. Kryptos is considered by many to be the best heavy metal band to come out of India and it’s easy to understand why.
We are living in an exciting age where the Internet has ‘connected the world’. Metalheads now have round-the-clock access to each other in addition to the music they desire. The underground is open but do not be fooled, social media networks are now a vital ingredient to a growing act’s success. Metal fans are embracing this new pipeline of music and I equate this development to that of a giant melting pot. Aspiring musicians might be lumped together and are definitely listening to each other, many finally realizing they sound the same.
I think these groups from India are on the right track, a lot of the music I was exposed to can’t be categorized, which is definitely a good thing. The time is ripe for a new style to dominate and I wouldn’t be surprised if that music was birthed in India from this new budding scene. \m/
More of the bands:
Reptilian Death: Facebook Twitter Bandcamp
Albatross: Facebook Twitter Bandcamp
Djinn and Miskatonic: Facebook Soundcloud Bandcamp
Bevar Sea: Facebook Twitter Soundcloud Bandcamp
Rat King: Facebook
Grey Shack: Facebook Bandcamp
Kryptos: Facebook Twitter