Tag Archives: Anathema

Anathema, Bevar Sea, Heretic, Family Cheese, Clown with a Frown at IIT-M’s Saarang 2013

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At 5 PM on the 12th of January, finding my way through the forested IIT Madras campus during their fest Saarang to attend the rock show, it occurred to me that the one phrase I should definitely not use is ‘rumble in the jungle’. When I reached the venue, the fest was in full swing with stalls hawking bags to deodorant to scooters, making people debase themselves for trinkets. In the midst of this melee could be heard a dull sound emanating from the Open Air Theatre (nobody calls it that – it’s always the OAT) that most people chose to ignore. I headed there.

Clown with a Frown were already on stage – gleaned only upon entrance. They’ve been on a roll recently, winning, inter alia, Strawberry Fields (the NLSIU rock show), a slot at NH7 Weekender’s Bangalore edition, and now at Saarang. I caught only the end of their set, but was nonetheless impressed at their improving dynamic with each passing gig. There’s an infectious delight to their music, and it’s clear that there’s an unbridled energy and sense of fun while they’re playing, even when to a paltry crowd. Neither necessarily means their music is any good, but it’s not bad, and they have the trumpet-y thing going that yields the priceless ‘more brass on my monitors, please.’

Next, the first of the billed bands, were The Family Cheese. They had an interesting sound, but technical issues – ‘plagued’ is the word for it – never really let them get started. They had the musical chops, but also a tendency towards self-indulgence, though it’d be unfair pass judgment based on this staccato set. One thing must be noted – they were playing to a measly crowd who couldn’t make up their minds whether to applaud or boo, but the biggest cheer was for their last song: ‘Comfortably Numb’. Engineering students, I tell you. They spent the downtime between the Family Cheese and the next band cheering a sexually-charged advertisement on the stage screen. Engineering students, indeed.

Around when The Family Cheese finished, the sun had started to shrink away and I looked behind me to see a sight that warms the black, filthy, withered cockles of any band – a legion of black t-shirted masses, perched at the sides of the amphitheatre, roosting together in an impromptu The Birds-themed flash mob. The students had left their halls for the OAT.       

Heretic rode this black tide with elan, rousing the crowd with their nu-metal (I don’t mean that as a slight) inflected high-energy hard rock. The singer was particularly adept at varying between growling and smooth vocals, and they’re definitely one to catch live. Reliably, the partisan crowd displayed their highest regards when the band cut into an interlude of ‘Urvashi’ from Kadhalan.

Bevar Sea was my highlight of the night. Their viscous riffage sounds fantastic when unleashed on a large stage, and it brought a giddy grin to my face when the crowd sang along to ‘Abhistu’. Also, the number of people in Bevar Sea t-shirts far outnumbered any other band, including the headliners. Their set, curtailed by time constraints and consisting of just three songs, reminded me of a quip: Did you hear about the one-hour King Crimson gig? Yeah, they played half a song. As vocalist Ganesh put it, they are bevarsea, and so are you.

After they cleared out, the headlining act (predictably) took the stage. Anathema has been around for over twenty years, and I quote their Wikipedia page: “Beginning as pioneers of the death/doom sub-genre, their later albums have been associated with genres such as alternative rock, progressive rock, art rock, new prog, and post-rock.” Tellingly, there is a flag saying additional citations needed for verification.

When Anathema started up (with ‘Untouchable I’ and ‘Untouchable II’), my jaw dropped. This band was full of love and no blackness! They were crammed to their gills with inner nobility of character. They spouted Tamil and flashed the V-sign instead of the Devil’s Horns, and not in the British sense of ‘up yours’. You could practically feel Vince Cavanagh, their lead singer, reaching out to comfortingly embrace you.To sum up, if Anathema were a Captain Planet element, they’d be Heart.

Still, the crowd was into it. I’d ventured up to the cheap seats and was watching the now-sizable crowd bounce in unison when something spectacularly hypnotic was wrought from the depths of this fiery love – a mosh pit of group hugs. It looked like the oscillating mouth of a sea anemone. But everyone was just jumping up and down and having an oh-so-good time.

I headed back to front and centre, still reckoning this band with suspicion. I don’t think it’s solely a question of proximity, but when up close, it was really quite moving. Their older tracks were just better, and when Cavanagh emotes while singing, it felt like he was speaking to me, and simultaneously to every other person there. This was either the single most emotional performance I had the privilege of attending, or the stupidest thing I’d ever seen. Probably both.

Curiously, the mood of the crowd turned. They’d already befuddled the band with an incessant chant of ‘Haska lakala laka laka laka OOH AAH OOH AAH’ (a common motivational mantra heard during cricket matches at Chepauk stadium) – one that started as a voice of appreciation, but soon veered into boorish impoliteness, breaking out even between songs, and then morphed into a downright rude chant of ‘We want Meh-Tuhl’.

The band, to its credit, ignored it and chugged on, which was a practical application of their entire state of existence. They sang of numbed emotion (‘The Storm Before the Calm’) and showing the way (‘The Beginning and the End’), and by the end of it, hitting the home stretch with ‘Empty’, ‘One Last Goodbye’ and‘Fragile Dreams’, the crowd had been won over once more, proving decisively the power of love and letting the credits roll while the band were freeze-framed in victory.

Life can be simple.

Varun Rajiv

Varun Rajiv has tinnitus. The first band he adored with all his heart was Boyzone.

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Metal Wave at Xtreme Sports Bar, Hyderabad

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For all the headbangers in Hyderabad, Metal Wave at Xtreme Sports Bar brought an evening of metal music which made for a perfect Saturday on the 19th of May 2012. Xtreme Sports Bar along with MetamorphiK and Tooth & Nail Productions had the stage set for metal bands from Hyderabad and this time around, there were new bands formed by the coming together of seasoned musicians sharing the platform with one of Hyderabad’s most popular bands and the headliners for the event – Skrypt.

Metal Wave at Xtreme Sports Bar, Hyderabad

Four Clover, a group of experienced musicians, who have played for accomplished bands like Sacred Groove and REALMS, came together with the objective to show that music is something that each and every individual can relate to. With progressive influences from bands like Pagan’s Mind, Pain Of Salvation and Hard Rock influences from bands like Blackstone Cherry and Alter Bridge, Four Clover kicked started the show with the groovy ‘Cochise’ by Audioslave. With Vocals by Ashok, Eddie on the guitars, Praveen on the bass and Rohit on the drums their music has progressive and hard rock elements along with some groovy tones. ‘Linoleum’ by Pain Of Salvation followed next and Ashok got the crowd into the groove. Four Clover gave its own touch to Alter Bridge’s ‘Before Tomorrow Comes’ with a bass intro. The entire band pulled the crowd in with Foo Fighters’ ‘My Hero’. The final was their first composition – ‘Dawn of Day’. The clean vocals, classic guitar tones, crazy bass and drums, and the fact that it was Four Clover’s first major gig made it just the right start for the evening.

Metal Wave at Xtreme Sports Bar, Hyderabad

Perpetual Void formed in February 2012 is a 5-piece thrash death metal band, the line-up of which includes Swaroop (Ex-Cerebral Assassins) on the drums, Roshan (Ex-Cerebral Assassins) and Chaitanya on the guitars, Kenneth on the bass and vocals by Pranav. They opened with ‘F**king Hostile’ originally by Pantera, which is one of the favourite bands of most heads. The rest of the set list included their original ‘Ministry of Death’, Opeth’s ‘Leper Affinity’, Lamb of God’s ‘Walk with Me in Hell’ and concluded with another original ‘Apostasy’. Their compositions were good with heavy riffs and lot of double bass drumming, and growls that reminded me of Underoath.

Metal Wave at Xtreme Sports Bar, Hyderabad

For all the fans of Shock Therapy, Insidious might turn out to be their next favourite since the band was formed by Jay (Shock Therapy), Aniketh (Shock Therapy) and Sumeet (MetamorphiK Productions). With vocals by Rahul(Shock Therapy), Jay and Santhosh (Cadent Slaves)on guitars, Sumeet on bass, and Aniketh on the drums these guys are influenced by bands like Slayer, Testament, Death, Motorhead, Judas Priest, Morbid Angel and Kataklysm. This was Insidious’ debut gig and they played a rather short set with Motorhead’s ‘The Game’, Slayer’s ‘Seasons in the Abyss’ and Kataklysm’s ‘Blood in Heaven’. With unusually deep growls, and influences ranging from heavy metal to death metal, their musical style is a mix of various subgenres.

Metal Wave at Xtreme Sports Bar, Hyderabad

This gig was the first of its kind for Skrypt especially because this time the lineup featured a few guests. Due to an unfortunate accident in which he fractured his forearms, the current lead guitarist, Joel, was unable to play. However, the show did go on with ex-guitarist of the band Ramya back on the lead. The rest of the lineup had Scenic on vocals, Ravi on the guitars, Abbas on the bass, and Rajiv on the drums, coupled with Alan (Pandora’s Box) as a guest guitarist and Ananth (Ex-Negator) as a guest vocalist.

Artifice’ from their EP Discord was their opening piece that was followed by other originals like ‘Constructing the Absolute’, ‘Anathema’ and ‘Supremacy’ also from their EP Discord. Their compositions are mostly thrash metal with elements of progressive and death metal. Their covers included Gojira’s ‘Clone’, Pantera’s ‘Mouth for War’, Slayer’s ‘Raining Blood’ and, on popular demand, Pantera’s ‘Cowboys from Hell’. While playing ‘Clone’, the band pulled up a guy onto the stage to headbang with them, who later dived back into the crowd. For ‘Mouth of War’, Alan played the guitars and for ‘Raining Blood’ and ‘Cowboys from Hell’, the vocals were handled by both Scenic and Ananth. As always, this was yet another entertaining performance by Skrypt.

Metal Wave at Xtreme Sports Bar, Hyderabad

There were quite a few glitches with the sound especially when Insidious played and a few slips here and there with the other bands. However, that did not stop people from enjoying the concert. The crowd went wild head banging, moshing, and diving from the stage into the crowd. All the four bands kept the enthusiasm of the crowd on a high throughout the concert.

Four Clover’s groovy musical style attracted the crowd, moving on to heavier music by Perpetual Void and Insidious and on to Skrypt – the perfect transition for an evening of metal leaving everyone with high spirits and a stiff neck caused by some extreme head banging!

Vini Lilian

Vini works with an ad agency. She's a metalhead who can't play metal so she writes about it. She loves tattoos!

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W.O.R.M.E Fest 2011 South Zone Prelims at One Flight Down, Hyderabad

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For new bands with talent wondering how to go forward and showcase their music within and beyond their cities, here is W.O.R.M.E. – World of Rock, Metal and Electronica. W.O.R.M.E. is a platform where all the independent musicians in the Rock, Blues, Jazz, Fusion, Metal and Electronica genres across India meet professional artists, sponsors, music labels and music lovers to get opportunities, recognition, growth and exposure at a national and international level. W.O.R.M.E. Fest 2011 is an initiative held in cities across India, where bands and other artistes compete to play in the finale held in Delhi.

W.O.R.M.E. Fest 2011 Prelims in Hyderabad was held on the 18th of November, 2011 at One Flight Down, where 5 bands from Hyderabad and around showcased their talent. The headlining band and judges for the evening – thrash metal band Skrypt from Hyderabad, was evaluating bands on the parameters of technicality, lyrical style, how interesting or catchy their music is, and crowd engagement.

W.O.R.M.E Fest 2011 South Zone Prelims at One Flight Down, Hyderabad

The opening band for the evening was -1 Degree from Ahmedabad. A young and dynamic 4-piece band, they play hardcore punk, alternative and post-punk. Their lineup includes Hait on the guitars and lead vocals, Yax on the lead guitars, Abhijeet on the bass and Siddharth on the drums. They song list included Offspring’s cover of ‘The Kids Aren’t Alright’, originals like ‘My Girlfriend’s Wedding’, ‘When I’ll Be Rich’, ‘Up and Higher’ and ‘Axe up my Ex’. With clean vocals and some heavy riffs, the opening band had a little slow start but got the crowd pumped up by the end of their stint. Their music was good but the vocals sounded a tad raw.

W.O.R.M.E Fest 2011 South Zone Prelims at One Flight Down, Hyderabad

The next up was the Chennai-based progressive metal band 83 MPH a.k.a 83 Miles Per Hour. With Kenny on the Vox, Peter on the Drums, Aldrin on the Keys and backup vocals, Rishikant and Raemus on the Guitars, and Harshit on the Bass these guys stole the show. They played originals including ‘The Rizky Chronicles 1.0′, ‘Hold On’, ’83 mph’ and ‘Drunk’. With Priest-like vocals and intricate music, this band kept everyone on their feet. These guys by far were the best that evening. Their music was quite technical along with the vocal harmony blending perfectly. The band’s performance as a whole was tight. They were in my opinion the best in the competition.

Eagle Riders from Hyderabad are a contemporary rock band whose members are Praveen on Vocals and Rhythm Guitar, Sunil on Lead Guitar, Vijay on Bass and Bobby on Drums. With heavy metal influences, they played a cover and two originals – ‘Bring It On’, ‘Murder by Pride’ (Stryper cover) and ‘Depression Anger Pain’. Their old school vocals and modern day tones were a refreshing combination. 

W.O.R.M.E Fest 2011 South Zone Prelims at One Flight Down, Hyderabad

When you see the band, the first thing that hits you about Last Ride Home is their hairstyles! The alternative metal band from Mumbai not only worked on their hair but equally on their music. The band comprises bassist and vocalist Deep, lead guitarist and backing vocalist Shubham, rhythm guitarist Yashish and Drummer and backing vocalist Dev. Switching between clean and harsh vocals, their  playlist consisted of  ‘West You’d See’, ‘Face Your Fall’, ‘Scream Your Name’, ‘Unholy Confessions’ and ‘Toxicity’ . I must admit that more than their music, their hairstyles stole the show. Their music was good overall, but is still developing. However, they did know how to engage the crowd.

The final band to compete was Pandora’s Box from Hyderabad. Their genre is progressive/ thrash metal and their lineup includes Alan on Guitars/Vox, Benjamin on the Vox, Rohit on the Guitar, Aditya on the Bass and Andrew on the Drums. Their vocal styles switched between clean and harsh vocals. One of Hyderabad’s favorites, these guys played only their own compositions – ‘Trepidation’, ‘We meet again’, ‘Zorn’. The music was pretty intense. However, their clean vocals sounded better than their growls.

The evening ended with Skrypt taking the stage – Scenic on the vocals, Joel and Ravi on the guitars, Rajiv on the drums, Abbas on the bass. Their opening piece was ‘Artifice’ from their EP Discord after which they played ‘Scarred’ that got the crowd in the groove. Their latest composition ‘Oceans Alive’ was a crazy 14-minute piece which was very melodic and very technical. Joel’s insane solo in this piece made jaws drop. The rest of set list was ‘Anathema’, ‘Beyond Conflict’, ‘Supremacy’ and finally ‘Constructing The Absolute’. It did not end there. On public demand, they covered Pantera’s ‘Cowboys from Hell’.

W.O.R.M.E Fest 2011 South Zone Prelims at One Flight Down, Hyderabad

Throughout the competition the crowd enjoyed the performance of different bands. However, when Skrypt began to play the crowd went berserk. Though the turnout was not phenomenal, they made up in the intensity with headbanging and moshing especially for Pantera’s cover.

Two bands are selected from each city. The winners from Hyderabad Prelims to share the stage with other bands in Delhi were 83 MPH and Pandora’s Box. The perfect way to begin the weekend for metalheads in Hyderabad, W.O.R.M.E. Fest not only gave musicians a platform to present their talents, but also give another reason for metal lovers an evening to remember.

Vini Lilian

Vini works with an ad agency. She's a metalhead who can't play metal so she writes about it. She loves tattoos!

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