Love it or hate it, there’s no ignoring it. If you were a 90’s kid growing up in any of the major Indian metros you’ve most likely found yourself at a ear splitter of a metal gig or a even a full-blown festival of some sort .
In this “sanskriti”-obsessed country of ours, how exactly did such a boisterous, rebellious genre come to life, that too, in a relatively short length of time? Somewhere down the line we seemed to have realised that rock music’s younger, tantrum-throwing brother just couldn’t be ignored. But that still leaves the question, who defined the genre? Who were the true metal pioneers in India? As I delved deeper into the topic it increasingly felt wrong to restrict to one name or label for that matter. So here’s my list of five genre-defining heavy metal acts to come from our country:
1. Bhayanak Mauth: One of the titans of the Indian metal scene, Mumbai-metallers Bhayanak’s Maut’s studio output has been far more limited of late but the band have been taking the live scene by storm. The group’s in-your-face style has been responsible for numerous youngsters taking up the genre head-on. Recently returned from their first international show at the Inferno Festival in Norway & having their song ‘Habemus Papam’ featured on the soundtrack of Anurag Kashyap’s Shaitan has seen them take their act to the next level. Looking forward to much more from this.
2. Kryptos: Back when the metal scene was restricted solely to back rooms of shady bars and the number of metal bands could be counted on one hand, Bangalore-based Kryptos had been leading the way for metal acts to follow. It was their second studio album ‘Ark of Gemini’ which sealed them as lord of the Indian underground scene. Their latest album ‘Coils of Apollyon’ (2012) also went onto achieve critical acclaim and garnered a fan following for them both domestically as well as internationally. They’ve opened for a number of metal legends (Kreator & Testament to name a couple).
3. Inner Sanctum: The next-gen metal band to look out for, Inner Sanctum may be infants compared to the first two names, but they are carrying the genre forward into a new age. Formed in 2007, they’re a Bangalore-based Death metal band that is perhaps the most electrifying metal act to look out for this year. In 2010, RSJ nominated their independent EP ‘Provenance’ (2009) one of the top ten EPs of the decade.
4. Slain: One of India’s finest melodic progressive rock bands, Slain has performed at over 200 concerts thus far since their formation in 2007, performing alongside the likes of metal-heavyweights Iron Maiden. In 2009 after the release of Before Beyond, Slain performed with Bangalore’s The Concordia Choir which making for a unique show given that it was the first time an Indian metal band was accompanied by a classical choir.
5. Grimmortal: A Deathcore band from Navi Mumbai formed in the summer of 2009, Grimmortal plays a heavily down-tuned, groovy and technical but melodic style of extreme metal, basically combining the band members’ various influences ranging from Death Metal, Grindcore, Slam Death, Metalcore and some more thereby resulting in heavy, neck-breaking head-banging and some major mosh.