Tag Archives: Lamb of God
Day 1 of The GoMad Festival 2013 at FernHills Palace, Ooty
While not filled to the brim with mystery as last time, the lineup at this edition of The GoMad Festival was interesting and so was the approach the organizers had decided to take. This time bands had one-hour slots with half-hour soundchecks between performances! As the morning chill dissipated slightly on Day 1 with the arrival of the tardy and patchy sun, the festival kicked off with the rather interesting band from Chennai.
The F16s were a perfect pick-me-up for people who made it to their set at the Blubaloo stage at 11 a.m. While we werent surprised that they claim to gain influence from bands like The Black Keys, The Arctic Monkeys, Jet and The Strokes they do manage to make it interesting. Nuke was played early on in the set and while it is one of their lesser catchy tunes, it served well as a prelude to the sort of sound we were to hear and boy, were we impressed. They went through their set with ease and minimal banter and the smattering of a crowd was visibly enjoying. My Shallow Lover is a real body jerker, by which we mean it makes you twitch in time with its cutesy rhythm and slightly incomprehensible lyrics a requirement in this sort of musical corner, we think. Light bulbs is a really interesting song as well and all in all we were the better for staying throughout the bands set that morning. They were our dark horse for the day. What a great start!
In our elephantine memory, Girish and the Chronicles has never disappointed and if they ever manage to in the future, itll be a dark day indeed. They were the first band on the Calaloo stage and they set the bar real high. The weather and everything synced to create a wonderful atmosphere that the band thrived in playing originals and covers with very apparent ease. Girish did jokingly comment that he was reluctant to play his own originals because they were too hard to sing. Led Zep and AC/DC covered to perfection on a beautiful Friday morning at a hill station – you couldnt ask for much more.
The Down Troddence, Bangalore/Kerala based Groove metal band, the first metal band of the festival of the six lined up in total, took the Blubaloo stage next. The festival , which had just one metal act (Kryptos) last year, had decided to cater better to metalheads by adding more metal bands to the roster. We believe that listening to some great metal in the morning is the best way to wake up and stay awake, and TDT delivered in spades. With tracks like KFC and Muck Fun Mohan (go back and read that again), they set the foundation for what was to be an amazing day. One song that stood out in particular was Naagavalli, a track named after Malayalam actress Shobanas titular character from the thriller Manichitratazhu. Incidentally, Shobana and her dance troupe would be the last act we would see at the Festival. TDT ended their set with crowd favorite ‘Shiva’ and we hastily made our way through the woods to catch DeSat who up next at the Calaloo.
Though it was still quite early in the day for heavy music, DeSat, Bangalore-based Prog metal group, did not seem to show that in the least bit, brimming with energy from the first track Run Too, an arabesque tune with generous helpings of heavy guitar riffs. Another track that stood out was Power, which had Srikiran doing some amazing work behind the drums. Their set also included a well-executed cover of Lamb of Gods ‘Laid to Rest’.
Meanwhile, Blubaloo was occupied by Sean Roldan and Friends. They are yet another act emerging out of Chennai that has a folksy Tamil soul with generous dollops of western instrumentalization layered on top. The music’s infectious, likeable and something that can easily be a crowd puller. Their set though, was fairly early, and at the outset didn’t have much of a crowd to really build the kind of madness that one has come to expect from them. The jazzy, funky, basswork of Mani fits in brilliantly with Praveen’s percussive section and provided a solid rhythm section for improvisation on the slide as well as Sean aka Raghavendra’s impressive vocals. An attempt to infuse some rap into proceedings began interestingly but ended up crowding the sound and messing the vibe up. Mayakura Poovasam, probably their most popular song was by far the pick of the setlist with an encore being performed once the crowd had built up. Other picks for this writer included ‘Inbai Velai’ and ‘Mandira’, which had a nice old Tamil film song vibe to it. All in all, it was an interesting setlist that could have used a little more energy from the performers as well as the audience.
There were more amazing riffs to be unleashed at the Calaloo as Blind Image, a Chennai-based Groove metal band, was up after DeSat. They got right into it with Paroxysm, a track which shows off frontman Noble Lukes ability to growl almost endlessly. They were very tight and were performing as one unit, which did not come as a surprise really. Glitch in the System, a socio-political number, saw Noble using the delay on his vocals to great effect, aided by Siva on bass wielding a Spector bass. Our usual metalhead refrain of Needs more double bass and guitar solos didnt apply because we just didnt feel that way with Blind Image. They felt just right. For the next track, ‘More Than Human’, Noble showed us that he could actually sing clean vocals quite well. As you may gather from the title this track was about Transhumanism (the first time we are ever using this word), quite a deep subject, and had some great lyrics as well.
Over at the Blubaloo, Clown with a Frown were all set to be a whirlwind of energy. Their energetic vocalist can pack a punch with her voice and her onstage presence. They made a slumbering audience rise and march to the frontlines unasked and it was all thanks to Abby who was pushy enough to be cute and didnt overdo it. CWAF played it old school. They played their hearts out and the audience automatically gravitated towards the front. They had a four-piece brass section playing with them and that only served to enhance their already sharp, tight sound. OCs Cool Machine, Escape and Dirty Paradise warmed the crowd up plenty and just when another original, Dreams, was getting interesting, the sound cut out. The band continued playing and earned several esteem points because they didnt miss a beat. The vocalist even got the crowd to sing along! ‘Groove Machine’ is by far their most entertaining song; the chorus hits the nail on the head and the well-timed break before the catchy bassline really shows practiced timing and a genuine interest in being entertaining. They ended with a couple of covers Gnarls Barkleys Crazy and James Browns I Feel Good.
Blues Conscience were over at Calaloo. Dressed in dapper matching suits with top-hats to boot, the Chennai-based band were the first blues band to grace Calaloo on Day 1. Their set was a mixture of blues standards and originals, mostly taken from their debut album Down and Dirty (and were mostly about sex). They played a cover of Hoochie Coochie Man with some improvd lyrics about drummer Neil Smith thrown in for good measure. Morning After, a song about well…the morning after, was next. Vocalist Anek claimed that people usually had sex after watching a BC gig, though empirical data from this writer suggests otherwise. Their OCs revisited standard blues tropes but they did so with some panache and verve. Creams ‘Strange Brew‘ segued into a Buddy Guy song before they performed the not-so-subtle Big Bamboo which was about what youd usually see in your emails spam folder. The song was choc-a-block with bad euphemisms but provided the crowd a chance to giggle at the groan-worthy anatomical references. Anek even walked amongst the audience making impromptu verse about a few male members (no pun here) shortcomings. Innuendo!
Parvaaz is a band that is quickly becoming the talk of town. Their brand of Kashmiri/Urdu psychedelia has found several followers and for good reason. At the Blubaloo right after CWAF, Parvaaz began with a longish sound check (as did several other acts to be honest). Vocalist Khalid’s power was apparent right at the outset with Marika. A constant throughout Parvaaz’s set was Fidel’s understated, steady and solid bass playing that fit in tightly with Sachin’s kick drum. Crowd favourite Itne Arse ke Baad followed with quite a few people singing along. The sound mixing was horrible though (to be fair, the mixing was off the mark for most of the acts), and Sachin’s delicate touches on the otherwise excellent Long Song were barely audible. Parvaaz’s shortish set list ended with a song off of their upcoming album. All in all, Parvaaz have been evolving with every gig we’ve seen, and the rhythm section is particularly strong. While the textures added by Kashif’s bluesy guitar playing and other ambient guitar sounds are interesting, a strong sound system, probably aided by a sound dude at the console who understands the intricacies of Parvaaz’s sound may just do the trick in the future.
A neat little coincidence – Blues Conscience had an ad-libbed verse in Big Bamboo (yes, that song) about a lady in black in the crowd. She happened to be the gorgeous Tanya Nambiar who was the vocalist of Delhi-based alt rockers – Gravy Train, the next band on stage. Ironically they began their set with a song called I Dont Want to Be Here. GT played a couple of covers as well – a sultry version of The Police hit Roxanne as well as a misfired rendition of Lenny Kravitzs Are You Gonna Go My Way during which the guitars were totally off. Money Man – an original, lead to some self-effacing humour and Delhi jokes from the bassist Akshay. One noticeable aspect of the band was that their live act seemed manufactured which also, in our opinion, contributed to the lack of tightness of their sound. They played a few more lackluster originals to close out their set. Fizzle.
All the good bands are from Chennai, man! – overheard at MAD. One wouldnt disagree after Grey Shacks powerful performance. This 4-piece from Chennai turned it up all the way to 11 in their noisy set at Blubaloo. Drawing from influences such as AC/DC and Jet, Grey Shack believe in pure, unadulterated rock. Driven by Vikram Vivekanands riffs, GS bought the house down with great arena-rock originals such as She Bites, the Hunter S Thompson inspired Gonzo and also Beautiful Man, which had a neat little reggae bridge. Beyond the halfway mark, their songs did get repetitive with similar sounding chord structures and vocal lines. Their set infused some energy, which the audience carried forward till the nights end. I hope no whammy bars and wah-wah pedals were harmed during this gig.
After the success of their single You Say, Black Letters, an energetic post punk/alternative band from Kerala has generated a lot of attention and curiosity. The sun had already set a few minutes ago, and the early dusk was rife with anticipation. The band seemed to already have garnered a large following, and these fans were cheering right from the start of the short set. Black Letters music is distinctly new American, with vocals delivered in flawless style, true to their chosen genre. The sound, however, was below par, but they managed to do a tight and entertaining set. Watch out for their album launch, which they claim is around the corner.
Of all the acts on Day 1, the most incongruous was probably 1001 Ways. Helmed by an a kindly looking gentleman named Tobias Huber with impressively tweaked facial hair and an almost incomprehensible accent, we didnt know what to expect when he came onstage at the Blubaloo. Sean Roldan and Friends and were playing with him and that tempered things for the positive slightly but all that went away quickly. To expect technical proficiency from this bad or lyrical prowess for that matter is folly. You could tell from Tobiass beatific smile that this band was more about the message – spreading peace, love and (non-musical) harmony than the music. To be fair, it did make for an eclectic mix of the tabla, the drumset and the layering of the violin over it, not to mention some very interesting plaintive violin solos. The song ‘Gandhi’ boasts a backing track of the Mahatmas voice and had some nice elements of world music as did the other songs but the simplistic lyrics, unimpressive singing and seemingly roughshod effect overall fell short of pleasing as much as the rest of the performances in the day. Especially when the raucous sounds of what appeared to be unadulterated fun found its way over from Live Banneds set at the Calaloo.
Live Banned has quickly become one of the more entertaining acts on the scene and for good reason – especially at a music festival with a large-ish, fairly ‘happy’ crowd. Taking over the reins on the Calaloo stage at a fairly prime slot, Live Banned had the crowd grooving in no time. Their mix of infectious poprockmetalbollywood, terribly funny lyrics and abysmally brilliant costumes (complete this time with Pandava style ‘kiritas’) is a fairly well-oiled machine and didn’t fail to elicit a smile and a guffaw or two (to say the least). Their set was especially energetic, with an emphasis on their ‘social issue’ themed originals. Large swathes of the crowd were jumping up and down throughout their set and first-time listeners lapped their act up with glee. Highlights of the set were their originals Auto Tune and Hey Mama as well as the usual multi-genre mashup to close out proceedings. While there tends be a bit of sameness once you’ve seen Live Banned a couple of times, they justified their slot and billing this time around.
The last act on the Calaloo stage on day 1 was Amayama, a Spanish quartet showcasing some Spanish and North African folk music. The crowd was at the pinnacle of excitement at the end of a long day of nice music. Amayamas set should have been scheduled earlier during the day when the audience were in a better frame of mind to appreciate the nuances of an outlandish music genre. As things transpired, they played a beautiful set to a fast thinning audience.
Closing out the proceedings on Day 1 at the Blubaloo and having the job of following a truly mad set by Live Banned, Sabelo Mthembu was the polar opposite of the dance-mosh madness that everyone had just witnessed. Hailing from South Africa, singer-songwriter Sabelo performed his Afro-Soul compositions as the day drew to a close. Singing in Zulu as well as English, Sabelo has this incredible calming texture in his voice. He, along with his backing band, performed originals like – Lay Me Under and Darling Why. The songwriting was simple and pure without any unwanted embellishments. One could see the influence of Gospel music in the lyrics as well as the instrumentation. They covered the Tom Petty classic, Free Fallin and got the appreciative audience to sing along as the dwindling crowd slowly made their way back to the their tents in the Ooty cold (oh lord, it was cold!), retrospecting Day 1 and shivering from the cold and anticipation of Day 2.
Metal Wave at Xtreme Sports Bar, Hyderabad
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Lamb of God at Clarks Exotica, Bangalore
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!)
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.
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.
Lamb of God in Bangalore(2012)
Lamb of God performed in Bangalore, India for the second time in India this year. WTS brings you a video montage capturing the fans’ almost palpable excitement at watching their Metal heroes live and live footage of the band performing the song, ‘Desolation.’
Videography: Om Prakash & Ishan Vartak
Interview with Lamb of God at Clark’s Exotica
What’s The Scene? caught up with the members of Lamb of God, the American heavy metal band from Richmond, Virginia before their performance at Nokia aLive 2012 and here’s what they had to say about performing in India, their music and more…
WTS: When you guys started out way back in ’94 in Richmond Virginia, did you in your wildest dreams imagine you’d play to a crowd of over 40,000 in India someday?
Randy: No, no not at all!
John: When we started we were a garage band happy playing to crowds of 100-200 people, this is something we didn’t foresee it’s also something that we don’t take for granted. It’s exciting for us to see so many guys turn up for our show.
WTS: Were you overwhelmed by the response that you guys got the last time you were here?
John: Absolutely, no doubt about it!
WTS: Coming to your new album Resolution, the general opinion has been that compared to the raw sound of your previous albums, the sound in the new one is a lot more polished. Was this a conscious band effort to do something different?
Willie: We’re a heavy metal band, and we write music that we love and what makes us happy and what makes us proud to be here today. Me and Mark bring in riffs and bring in songs that both of us have spent timeless hours cracking in order to make the best of what we can. I don’t like repeating what I’ve done in the past because what I’m trying to do is reinvent what I’ve done prior to what I am doing now. There are times when I want to absolutely branch out and do something a little bit different, but at the same time without straying much from what I do best which is play metal, heavy metal.
WTS: You guys have be on the road for 18 years now, and with each passing year or with the release of each album the expectation from fans just grows, does it affect your song writing in anyway?
John: No, no fan expectations don’t really bother us, we try making the record we want to make or at least we try making the record we want to make and maybe we’ll get better at doing it in time.
Randy: I don’t know, I don’t know where I am right now. We’ve had only about three hours of sleep in the last 36 hours. I mean I don’t know with every record we try and expand, and I’d personally like to see a crazy expansion. I mean something entirely different. We’re a metal band sure, but you can only do so many things so many times, I’d like to see us go somewhere else, I don’t know we just finished this record so we aren’t thinking of whether or not it’ll meet the expectations.
WTS: What’s your take on the layoffs at the Roadrunner records?
Randy: I don’t know what goes around competition wise, but as far as I am concerned personally, it was a huge bummer to me as I became friends with many people at that label over the years. Even before we were ever on the label you know they were always really cool people to us and I hate to see a bunch of them lose their job and these weren’t people who were “corporate record owner” kind of people man, they were just regular music fans who happened to have a job in the business, and they did their best.
WTS: We heard that the process of songwriting for Resolution started during the Wrath tour. Is this a common practice?
John: Yeah, Mark started working on his laptop. This is the first time it has happened then really as soon as we got off tour he started recording himself, then we all came together to put this record together we already had a bunch of material to work with so we got to work right away and that led to more and better developed songs.
WTS: You guys are widely considered as the pioneers of this “new wave of American heavy metal” what do you have to say about that?
John: That’s really the media that was defining that.
Randy: It’s kind of over isn’t it? Nobody says that anymore.
John: Yeah. As we came up playing shows further and further away from home we found all these other bands were doing the same things like God Forbid or Shadows Fall. We played basement shows with these guys for years and then all of a sudden we’re called the new wave of American heavy metal. We were sitting around drinking and suddenly it is called the new wave of American heavy metal. It is journalists putting a label, which is fine as it gives them something to talk about. It is flattering to be considered the pioneers of it, but we live very much in the bubble.
WTS: What do you think about metal as a form of social and political expression in a country like India?
Randy: We don’t know!
John: Yeah, I am not very sure about the thing in India but as far as just the art form is considered it’s a great way to express uh…
John: Yeah, it’s very aggressive and it can be very cathartic. It can be a very channelized way of showing aggression but it can also be raw negative aggression without any focus.
The Lamb of God Press Conference 2012
WTS was at the pre-concert press conference of Lamb of God. Watch it to see what transpires at a heavy metal press conference!
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.