Tag Archives: Black Label

Nokia aLive feat. Lamb of God and Skyharbor at Clark’s Exotica, Bangalore


May 26th, 2012 as many diehard metal heads had predicted was brutally EPIC. You would have had to be extremely daft to expect anything less from a lineup that read – Escher’s Knot, Bhayanak Maut, Skyharbor and finally Lamb of God. Thanks to the new government rule which prohibits Palace Grounds from hosting any further gigs, the concert took place at Clarks Exotica, which looked like a rather serene resort till the Metal gods took to the stage and tore the place apart. The venue was by no means a letdown but comparing it to the Mecca of heavy metal in India, Palace Grounds, would be extremely unfair (to both Palace Grounds and Clarks Exotica). The location being 30 kms away from the city didn’t seem to pose a problem to the 6000 plus people that showed up but mineral water bottles being sold at an exorbitant fifty rupees a litre did. Unwilling to move from their vital vantage points, the water shortage soon turned into a mini crisis for the fans upfront. The enduring fans however were soon rewarded as the guys from Bhayanak Maut were kind enough to throw their own bottles to the thirsty crowd.

Nokia aLive feat. Lamb of God and Skyharbor at Clark's Exotica, Bangalore

First up on stage (starting sharp at 5 pm) was the experimental metal band from Chennai Escher’s Knot, who played an extremely tight set, playing a lot of their new songs including ‘Reciprocity’ which seemed to have struck a chord with the crowd. It was a pity a lot of fans had to miss out on this enlivening opening act as most of them were either waiting to get inside or were stuck in Bangalore’s famous traffic jams. From playing in the pre party gig for the Lamb of God concert in 2010 to opening for them in 2012, this band has come a long way and is destined to scale more heights.

Nokia aLive feat. Lamb of God and Skyharbor at Clark's Exotica, Bangalore

By the time Bhayanak Maut (who were up next) took stage a sizeable crowd of close to 5, 000 had gathered, and in true BM style they brought it that evening. Their set was a healthy mix of some old and new songs – their brand new song ‘I am Man’ along with with some of their older songs like, ‘Perfecting the Suture’ and ‘Ranti Nasha’. The guttural twins Sunneith and Vinay were specially brutal and with the double guitar attack of Aditya and Venky, teamed with Rahul on drums and Swapnil on bass they prepped the crowd perfectly for the mayhem to follow (though Sunneith’s vocal levels on the PA was quite low for most part of the set) It took them no time to get the crowd going, and the two gigantic circle pits on either side of the stage were testimony to it. Randy Blythe in particular seemed to take a liking for the band, he was spotted clicking pictures of the band whilst their set was on and later went on to make a personal dedication to them when Lamb of God was playing.

Nokia aLive feat. Lamb of God and Skyharbor at Clark's Exotica, Bangalore

Next up on stage was Keshav Dhar’s much anticipated live act with his band Skyharbor; going live for the first and probably (hopefully not) the last time with Daniel Tompkins. Though Lamb of God was the headlining act, I personally know a lot of people who came down just to watch Skyharbor’s set. The band has been creating a lot of buzz, for all the right reasons post the release of their first album earlier this year, Blinding White Noise: Illusion and Chaos, which also features Marty Friedman (ex-Megadeth) in a couple of songs.

Nokia aLive feat. Lamb of God and Skyharbor at Clark's Exotica, Bangalore

After the insanity of BM, Skyharbor was an invigorating change with their breezy vocals and intricate guitar riffs. You’d be forgiven to think that the recently moshing crowd was replaced by an opera audience (dressed in black metal t-shirts and combat boots though). Their set featured songs from Illusion and their sound was awe-inspiring to say the least. Keshav was his usual legendary self, and it was so refreshing to watch him just stand there smiling at the crowds while playing some of the most mind-boggling stuff on his guitar effortlessly, while Devesh Dayal from Goddess Gagged supported him beautifully. Dan’s poignant vocals melted perfectly with the sound of the band and it’ll truly be a pity to not watch him sing a ‘Celestial’ or a ‘Catharsis’ live again. Although I must say, it would have been awesome to see Sunneith on stage creating some ‘Chaos’ with the band, considering he was just around the corner.

Nokia aLive feat. Lamb of God and Skyharbor at Clark's Exotica, Bangalore

Up next on stage for the second time in Bengaluru was the headlining act from Richmond, Virginia, Lamb of God. They came on stage to thundering applause and started their set with ‘Desolation’ and ‘Ghost Walking’ from their brand new album, Resolution after which the entire crowd of 6000 plus metal heads walked with Randy in Hell. The band thankfully played a lot of music from their earlier albums which had a more raw sound compared to the polished sound of ‘Resolution’.

The crew filming for Lamb of God’s upcoming movie must have, without a doubt, got some spectacular shots of wave after wave of head banging metalheads I literally had goose bumps when the entire crowd sang Something To Die For’ along with Randy. The band followed it up with crowd favorites, ‘Hourglass’, ‘The Undertow’ and my personal favorite, ‘Omerta’ which all led to two of the most massive and wicked circular pits I’ve ever seen. (People moshing had nothing to worry about; there was an ambulance on standby!)

Nokia aLive feat. Lamb of God and Skyharbor at Clark's Exotica, Bangalore

They belted out some more classics like ‘Contractor’, ‘The # 6′ and another crowd favorite in ‘Laid to Rest’ before going off stage for a bit giving the audience a chance to comprehend the insanity that had just hit them. But before any sanity could sink in, the band was back on stage with some of their most characteristic songs like ‘In Your Words’ and ‘Redneck’ before sort of calling a premature end to the night (considering it only 9:30) with yet another crowd favorite ‘Black Label’, arguably their most popular song till date.

Nokia aLive feat. Lamb of God and Skyharbor at Clark's Exotica, Bangalore

The party however wasn’t over for the 6000 plus metal heads who had gathered at Clarks Exotica just as yet, as Overture India decided to play Santa Claus to them by announcing that, “the booze is on the house”. That pretty much sums up how epic that night was. Was the concert better than Lamb of God’s first coming on May 15th, 2010 at Palace Grounds? Well, you don’t compare two great concerts; you just have to be there to enjoy them.


The Pit V.5 : Rising Fists at Tapan Theatre, Kolkata





For the past few years Kolkata has been playing catch up with the rest of the country’s metal scene. A complete lack of opportunities for the city’s metal bands due to a combination of uncooperative venue owners and event management groups unwilling to host metal gigs, non-existent media coverage, and a huge apathy towards metal in general had led to the metal scene in this city having a very retarded growth. Until, that is, a few bands decided to take matters into their own hands. And so was born the concept of ‘The Pit’ –  Kolkata’s very own metal festival. The PIT was not just about a few bands and metal-heads getting together and having a good time. It was about promoting music amongst the youth of Kolkata and developing awareness about the heavy metal genre amongst Kolkatans in general.

Till date, four PITs have been held in Kolkata. And each version of the PIT had been a resounding success, with the crowd count growing exponentially. Plus it had also helped quite a few city bands show off their ‘wares’ to the metal loving Kolkata crowd. The Pit v.4 was held on the 20th of October, 2010 with a turnout of 850 – a turnout totally unprecedented. But the PIT management team always had bigger expectations for PIT v.5, and when plans for the 5th version of Kolkata’s one and only metal fest were announced, the city’s metal community went crazy.

The theme for this edition of The Pit laid stress on the fight and struggle that the Kolkata metal community was making to get their voices heard and to have their music accepted by the masses. And the phrase ‘Rising Fists’ emphasized how local metalheads would not bow down and be controlled by the rest of the city’s music circuit just because their choice of musical genre was not at the top of the popularity charts. So, with news spreading around town about the PIT like wild-fire, tickets started selling like hot-cakes and it was quite obvious that the PIT v.5 would bring about the biggest and baddest turnout for any metal show this side of the country!

And so it was proved – on the 19th of April, 2011 a crowd of approximately 1500 music lovers turned a quiet neighbourhood in the Chetla area of South Kolkata into a veritable sea of music lovers -hardcore metal-heads and new converts alike. And the venue Tapan Theatre was bursting at the seams! Never before had such a huge crowd turned up for a metal show in Kolkata, to show their solidarity for the improvement of the metal scene in this city. And this unity pumped up each of the 8 bands that performed on this fateful day to produce one scintillating performance after another.

A word about the bands – there were 8 bands lined up and it was a combination of both the young and the experienced. Two bands, Dark Rituals and Burnout Syndrome, had been selected through a rigorous audition round, while 2 Kolkata veterans, Sinful Oath and Noyze Akademi, were making comebacks at The Pit with new line-ups. Also on the list of performers was What Escapes Me, the young pretenders to the Kolkata metal throne. And to top it off were the current three heavyweights of the city’s metal scene: Evil Conscience, Chronic Xorn and Yonsample. The crowd certainly had a lot to look forward to.

Dark Rituals were the opening band for Pit v.5. The gates had just been opened 30 minutes before their performance, so the crowd was still settling down when they went up on stage. But this did not deter the young band, as they belted out a set-list which comprised of 4 originals and 2 Lamb Of God covers. For most people in the crowd, this was their first taste of Dark Rituals’ brand of music, and they certainly were not disappointed.

The comeback kids Noyze Akademi were next on stage. This band was one of the founding members of the Pit group and they had a short but successful stint before their initial break-up, their RSJ pub-rock performance being a definitive highlight. This new avatar of the band had only one original member left, plus there were rumours about the band experimenting with a new sound. Well all questions were answered and emphatically so. Noyze Akademi blew the crowd away with their short power-packed stint on stage – 4 OCs and 1 cover by the deathcore band Impending Doom and the crowd did not know what had hit them! The moshing had truly started by now and even an impromptu wall-of-death followed suit. Which led to the arrival of the third band on stage.

Burnout Syndrome, although fairly new, was playing their second Pit (having also featured at Pit v.4) – the crowd knew them and so they had no problem warming up to the band, especially after the performance of their set-list which included a mix of originals and covers by bands like Threat Signal and Veil Of Maya. It was interesting to see that the original compositions by Burnout Syndrome had a distinct djent texture to them, and it looks like they are gradually making a shift from their metal-core roots, an interesting approach indeed!

The day’s second band on the comeback trail, Sinful Oath, was the Pit’s 4th band on stage. Although being regulars at each Pit version, Sinful Oath had been inactive in the Kolkata metal circuit for a very long time. A string of line-up changes had led to the band introducing a practically new and unknown line-up apart from 2 previous members. And although their set-list was short (comprising of 4 covers and 1 instrumental), a bout of nerves did take a toll on the newer members. But they did manage to recover their poise and delivered a solid performance, much to appreciation of the audience.

Half of the bands on the list had played their part for the Pit – but things were now moving at a break-neck pace because it was time for the second half to commence. And Evil Conscience was ready to kick-start the evening’s proceedings with their set-list of originals and metal covers, their performance being enough to ram the crowd into a brutal submission. Evil Conscience played a total of 7 songs -4 originals and 3 covers, and the brutality of their musical assault left the crowd feeling like they had been smashed with a sledgehammer. Especially so, when they played their popular original ‘Your God Is Burning‘. The moshpit by this time had become a war-zone, which suited the band just fine.

But the audience had no time for a breather, because Evil Conscience was followed by Chronic Xorn! After the very successful release of their EP Death.Destruction.Sermon, the popularity of this Kolkata band had increased by leaps and bounds. And this was evident from the amount of cheering and sing-a-longs to their songs. The metal-heads in the front row were now indulging themselves in a hefty bout of stage diving and crowd-surfing, and the band seemed to love it! Each song performed by Chronic Xorn was met by a huge round of applause and their vocalist literally had the crowd eating out of his hands! For the record, Chronic Xorn performed all the songs from their EP as well as a new single ‘Bleeding‘ and a re-worked version of an older single ‘Valentine Of Nightmares’. And as always, the band ended their set with a Lamb Of God cover (on public demand!) – ‘Black Label’, which drove the crowd wild!

The event was fast approaching its end – but not before Yonsample got their chance to blast the crowd! The current darlings of the Indian metal scene, Yonsample has been getting rave reviews for their newly released debut EP Paraphernalia. So with that in mind the band gave a heavy duty performance of each and every song on this EP of theirs. And when Yonsample performed their crowd favourite ‘Breaking Through‘, a 1000+ voices broke into song singing each and every line of chorus much to the amazement and also to the immense satisfaction of the band. It was a breath-taking moment indeed and one of the highlights of the entire Pit v.5 event.

Closing out Pit v.5 was What Escapes Me, a band which had been sweeping, left and right, the first prize at most college band competitions this season, including top honours at the IIT Kharagpur fest. Unfortunately due to time constraints and due to the un-cooperative venue management, their set-list had to be cut short to just 3 songs – 2 originals and a cover. But for all those who were witnessing them for the first time, they did get a taste of their sound and also a listen to their most popular OC, ‘Section 66 Part 5‘ – a song which has already become a metal anthem in the Kolkata circuit in these last few months.

And so we came to the end of Pit v.5 – another glorious day of metal in the City Of Joy, leaving everyone in attendance totally wasted, completely exhausted but extremely happy. Rightly so too, because the crowd response was beyond belief and it proved once and for all that the Kolkata metal scene is alive and kicking, and that the metal-heads of the city are willing to stand up against the step-daughterly treatment meted out to them. This version of the Pit would, of course, not have been possible if it weren’t for the sponsors who lent a timely helping hand: Lizard Skin Tattoos and Vibrations – The Music Store. And hopefully more companies and organizations will come forward to lend their support to the Pit so that the metal scene in Kolkata may grow further. The future of metal in Kolkata indeed seems to be bright, all thanks to the success of the PIT.