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Features :: The New Wave Of Indian Heavy Metal

By The Ironman

Ideas that fall under shadows
Of theories that stand tall;
Thoughts that grow narrow
Upon being verbally released
The Philosopher,
You know so much about nothing at all

Elephants. Jewels. Taj Mahal. Curry. Religion. Bollywood. These are a few of the words that come to mind when India is seen through the layman’s kaleidoscope. Words such as sitar, flute, tabla or maybe even Indipop come to mind when the country is looked at through a musical perspective. Now, looking at the nation through a rather ill-fitting rock music filter, the only things that might come to the mind of a global layman, are perhaps the cover of the classic Jimi Hendrix album Axis: Bold As Love, or maybe the fact that artists such as George Harrison and The Doors were fascinated by ‘eastern music’. But heavy metal bands comprising Indians? Now, now, you can’t really be serious! Is it April Fool’s already?

When it’s time to feed,
To fulfill the need to consume a breath
Some will rise standing tall,
Breathing out all the breath from
The voice of a soul

The ignorant ones will always be bound in their cage of blatant closed-mindedness. But for the rest of us, well, broad minded music lovers, let’s look at India through that rock music kaleidoscope again. Words like Myndsnare and Kryptos begin to appear. Shake the kaleidoscope a little more, and you see other words like Acrid Semblance. Words like Bhoomi. Pin Drop Violence. Shrapnel. These are much more than just mere words, for they signify the new crop of musicians, for whom, heavy music isn’t just another fancy phrase, but a way of life. A way of life, in which millions of people worldwide deeply believe in. The fact that they happen to be Indians, can be attributed to sheer coincidence, more than anything else.

Expectations that shined through the doubt
That soon would turn into the price,
Of what a word will be worth
When tomorrow comes to be;
And we are left, standing on our own
And seeing what is real …

2004 will see the aforementioned acts record or release full length albums. Here’s a look at what the year ahead has in store for the followers of heavy music in India:

Bhoomi: Winning twelve rock competitions in a row is no mean feat by any stretch of the imagination. Especially if you’ve won them playing all original setlists. Dead Time Stories is scheduled for release in the first half of 2004. The band is currently finalising details such as album artwork, etc

Acrid Semblance: This is perhaps the only band in India, to have released a self produced EP during the first two months of its existence. Headed by the extremely talented and level headed Anubhav, they are sure to go places. Although the production on their Soul Corrosion EP was shoddy, to say the least, they are scheduled to come out with a full length album sometime this year with some very new, very different tracks. And this time around, the production will be “ten times better,” says Anubhav.

MyndSnare: Once you’re hooked onto Myndsnare, there’s really no looking back. The band recently released a three song EP, aptly titled A Preliminary Quest, copies of which are currently selling like cigarettes outside a rock show. A full length release is due this year. Let’s hope everything goes to plan, and we get to listen to more of their brilliant music.

Kryptos: One of the best heavy metal bands in the country, a full length album release was inevitable. Spiral Ascent will feature nine of their best songs, including the superb Forgotten (Lands of Ice), Clandestine Elements, and Descension. Most of the recording / mixing / mastering has been completed, and it’s just a matter of time before the album is out in stores. Expect some major surprises.

Pin Drop Violence: They have decimated arenas and clubs nation wide with their ultra-intense, wild, wild stage act. And now they are all set to enter your living rooms. Their debut album Compose Oppose Dispose should be out on Sony Music sometime in the next month.

Shrapnel: One of Bangalore’s new, young metal bands, Shrapnel hits studios sometime in March to record a nine song album. The title hasn’t really been decided as of now, but fans can expect some real crunchy numbers.

Filtering out the bad that holds us back…
Take hold of what is true to your hunger
A hunger that will not go away
Plans for tomorrow, they will remain

Yeah. Heavy music has finally arrived in India. And it’s definitely here to stay. Perspective really does play the strangest tricks, doesn’t it…

Yours Ironically,
The Ironman

(All lyrics – Chuck Schuldiner)