Tag Archives: Undergrind Fest

Undergrind Fest at Kyra, Bangalore

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Dev Ambardekar

Dev is a music photographer based out of Bangalore. He has been documenting the music scene actively for almost two years during which he has shot several Indian bands and a handful international acts. His expertise ranges from multi-day music festivals to pub shows. While he is not behind the camera, Dev is an Architect and occasional writer. You can follow him at @DevAmbardekar.


Trendslaughter Fest 2011 at Kyra Theatre, Bangalore





The Trendslaughter Fest was held on Saturday, 19th March 2011 at Kyra Theatre, and was organised by Cyclopean Eye Productions in association with Undergrind Productions and Gigbox. A lot of the crew for Trendslaughter seemed to be the same as that for the Undergrind Fest in January and it’s remarkable how gigs are organised by them with little regard or none as to how many people will come to see or like the acts and preference being given on keeping the lineup extreme and having only those bands play which they themselves would like to see. Headlining this fest was the straight-forward Death/Thrash Metal act from Dhaka, Bangladesh, Orator whose music deals with the occult, the Left Hand Path (Vamachara) philosophy of Hinduism.

Bevar Sea took the stage first. A relatively new band with a bunch of chilled out guys with a sound like they put it “No bullshit stoner-doom with an old-school heavy rawk foundation”. Their influences of a Black Sabbath sound rings through and you in some way cannot help but fantasize being in a time capsule, taken back to a time in Birmingham when metal was raw and majestic. Ganesh on vocals gave an edge to the slow, grinding and chugging guitars. Their infectiously catchy number ‘The Smiler’ was the first on the list. A new track titled ‘Mono Gnome’ got its first live play. They also covered a Black Sabbath song. Like their earlier show, each song was matched with catchy artwork and beer can treats to head bangers who could the catch attention of the band.

Back to the future, Culminant geared up to play next. However during sound step up, there were unexpected technical difficulties with guitarists Pranay and Anup’s gear. With a little help from the Dying Embrace and Gorified, both were armed with different guitars again and the show was all set to get a notch crazier. A very well played cover of ‘Heartwork’ by Carcass was the teaser sound check. After which followed a set of their original compositions which included a new track and a hell raising ‘Reign in Blood’ cover. The band headed by Bharad commanded a tremendous sonic presence, and drove the moshpit, which pulled in quite a crowd. We later learnt that technically the sound was not at their usual settings. However, the technical issues were not a hindrance to putting up a great show. This goes to tell why this band has been picking up attention in the scene lately.

Warhorse Chained from Cochin were also supposed to play at this fest but it couldn’t happen since their drummer was unavailable due to his exams.

Dying Embrace, with absolutely sick bloodcurdling growls by Vikram “Sik Vik” Bhat and a sickly bright and thick guitar tone by Jimmy Palkhivala, was probably the most loved act of the night. On drums was Deepak Raghu of Bevar Sea and Rat King. Their brand of Death/Doom Metal has a creepy feeling which you are engulfed into but at the same time has an ecstatic one as well due to the heavy metal Black Sabbath-esque vibe in their music. Autopsy is one of their prime influences and a cover of ‘Twisted Mass’ was done. They ended their set with an improvisation to their song ‘Daagda : The Time Has Come’ with Jimmy churning out a facemelter of a guitar solo at the end. And while most rock/metal musicians would be parting with their drumsticks or guitar plectrums if at all they wanted to give anything to the audience but the Dying Embrace guys went further as they gave out copies of their 2000-released Grotesque EP especially re-issued for their 20th anniversary as the Trendslaughter Fest special edition. Surely a treat for the fans who were lucky enough to get one.

The Gorified boys, Charlie and Ganesh, with Holi around, were totally in the mood of playing it with blood. The familiar drum recordings rolled on and as they went about with the soundcheck it was great to see that the sound was going to be better today than it was at the Undergrind. A little more hiccups with the sound as they started but as it went on they displayed no mercy as Charlie belted out his roaring abrasive vocals and Ganesh lashed out his ear-grinding guitar attack as the monster called Gorified slashed, devoured and committed several other heinous acts upon the populace (especially on those of the fairer sex). The sickos in the audience had plenty to headbang and mosh to and they did, ensuring that there was open space among the audience, with the sound being good enough to satisfy most of them.

Orator comprises of Amit on Vocals and Guitars, Cezan on Bass and Partho on drums. As they started their set, sound volumes were found to be low and even after raising the levels up the sound wasn’t at its best. There were some complaints about Amit’s guitars not being audible at the back. Performance-wise, the band hit spot on though. Comparing it with Western Metal, think of theirs as some of the unholiest; with Satan arriving in all his fuming glory and bringing destruction along with him. But perhaps a better way to describe it would be as if you and all your surroundings are being vaporized as Kalagni (the flame of time) attempts to consume every manifested being and object. But before that happens, what would be ensured is that your skull would be thoroughly crushed as the nerve-pounding drums, the thundering bass and riffs after riffs of melded metal keep piling on top of you. One of their songs ‘Samhara Tandava’ is dedicated to Shiva, the Lord of Destruction. Mayhem ensued and mosh flowed freely as the audience were left enthralled and spellbound by this death/thrash metal madness.

Looking at this fest overall, it provided immense satisfaction for the extreme metal cravings. Bangalore extreme-heads and those who attended the gig from other places are thankful to Orator for coming all the way from Dhaka to do a show here. Kudos to the organisers for promoting extreme metal, giving such bands a chance as well as for giving the fans exposure to them.


The Mighty Riff at Alliance Francaise, Bangalore





Recently, there’s been a lot of DIY-ism when it comes to metal gigs in Bangalore. The Mighty Riff was one such gig, organized by the musicians themselves, with a very spacious hall at the Alliance Francaise de Bangalore being used as the venue and an entry fee of just Rs 99. The bill consisted of CulminantBevar SeaInner Sanctum and Pillbox 666.

The venue seemed great. First impressions are often the last ones and we got a great impression of how loud and strong the sound could be, when Culminant started off. They started with one of their OC’s, covered Slayer’s ‘Raining Blood’ and followed it up with two more originals. The volume given to Bharad’s vocals seemed a bit low but the other instruments seemed perfect in the mix. Next up, they were covering Death’s ‘Misanthrope’ which was going perfectly until a technical glitch stopped them in between. Another attempt at the song, and the same result. They went on to perform another original and a third attempt at ‘Misanthrope’ resulted in the same glitch, which is where they decided to end their set. However, despite the technical issues they had made their mark and it was already a great start to the fest.

Bevar Sea, due to performing in a bigger venue, seemed less bassy this time and they were as good as they’ve always have been, if not better. Their set list consisted entirely of originals, which was great because they already have some very formidable compositions. Their set was lengthy, but had a flow of its own. They started with their often-used opener ‘The Smiler’ , followed by the Bangalore debut of their new song ‘Sleeping Pool’ , which managed to bring in loads of doom, especially in the last few minutes of the song. It was followed by the very catchy ‘Abhishtu’ , the upbeat ‘Universal Sleeper’ and the heavy set crawled to it’s finish with ‘Mono-gnome’ . Their sound always seems impeccable. Finding flaws in their set is like finding a needle in a haystack, and it was the same case in this gig as well. Another noticeable part was the crowd joining in on ‘Abhishtu’ something very rare in the Indian metal scene.

Inner Sanctum was the next much-awaited act, evident by the surge of crowd before their set, and the drop in numbers afterwards. Before the band got on stage, the artwork was on display, which was very impressive, to say the least. Shortly afterwards, the band took control of the scene, every song being as hard hitting as the previous one, with the sound seeming just right. Inner Sanctum has developed a dedicated following among the younger metalheads in namma Bengaluru, the mosh-happy kids expecting a mosh-worthy performance every time these guys play. This gig was no different, they delivered and how! The limited space in the hall was well exploited, with the crowd going berserk over their set list. The last track intensified their act with a Wall of Death which, though miniature, saw a good number of arms flinging around, kids thrown around. Now isn’t that just sweet? As it turned out, this was to be Rajeev the guitarist’s last gig, as frontman Gaurav Basu informed us that he’d be leaving the country for higher studies. This of course came with serious objections from the crowd, flipping the finger at the mention of ‘studies’. Rajeev was pulled off the stage for a crowd-surf by the fans (again a first, for any gig here!). A final group hug by all the members of the band and they were off! 

With covers of their “Gods” done “as they should be”, Bangalore’s new supergroup Pillbox 666 was the last band to take the stage. Their set list remained the same as their debut gig, but with an addition of Metallica’s ‘Whiplash’ Black Sabbath’s ‘War Pigs’ was also included, which had been skipped at their previous gig due to a broken guitar string. They started off with Black Sabbath’s ‘Black Sabbath’ followed by Slayer’s ‘Black Magic’, Black Sabbath’s ‘Electric Funeral’, Metallica’s ‘Whiplash’, Candlemass’ ‘Dark Reflections’, Autopsy’s ‘Ridden with Disease’, Black Sabbath’s ‘War Pigs’ and Motorhead’s ‘Overkill’, each cover ranging from great to magnificent. The guitar tone had that old-school raw edge and the bass was extremely prominent. The growling by Vikram Bhat provided chills, especially on songs like ‘Black Sabbath’, and ‘War Pigs’, and the drumming was absolutely perfect (Mr Raghu hasn’t disappointed us with any of his other projects, has he?). And it wasn’t just the tight covers. Pillbox 666 are an amazing live act, with Vikram Bhat clearly at the helm of affairs. Ganesh was on the vocals for ‘Whiplash’, (surprise!), the song itself a reminder of how Metallica was the band we all loved! Sigh. The TSF/UG crew (you know who you are!) deserve a special mention here, their controlled recklessness having fueled many a gig here in Bangalore before, and Pillbox 666′s set had them at full strength.

Apart from the live music, the fest did great with merchandise. All the four bands came out with t-shirts. At least four such poster designs could be seen for the fest, all of them with great artwork, two of which were put up for sale before the fest. CDs were also on sale at the merchandise stall and it’s always great to have something like that at a metal fest.

A great turnout despite the rains had proved that the metalheads inBangaloreare always up for a good gig, come rain, come shine. As we walked out of the venue with our necks aching and our ears still ringing from the onslaught, the only question on everyone’s mind was, “So, when’s the next one?”