Tag Archives: Yonsample

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

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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.

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Yonsample And What Escapes Me At Jadhavpur University, Kolkata

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Rajdeep Chandra

Rajdeep Chandra is a photographer and bassist who likes to keep his girlfriends jealous.

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Of clenched fists and a Drive through the Parkway at Nazrul Manch, Kolkata

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Saturday, 17th of December: Reaching a venue to find out that the sound check is still on is not encouraging, but we were looking forward to watching the Aussie metal titans Parkway Drive live! After a rather long and painful wait, the gig finally started at around 6 p.m. instead of the scheduled time range – 2 to 3 p.m.

First up, was local metalcore band What Escapes Me who kick started the gig with ‘End of Heartache’, a cover from American metalcore band Killswitch Engage. The song was neatly executed, much to the delight of the metal-hungry crowd. The band then launched into ‘Pseudo Showcase’, ‘Killing Tomorrow’, ‘Unnamed’ and finished their set with ‘Section 66: Part 5’, all originals. ‘Pseudo Showcase’ had an interesting mid-section where the guitarist broke into a mature guitar line that pointed a glaring finger at his musical finesse. Guitarist Sayan Ghosh showcased guitar tones that packed quite a punch and were surprisingly innovative while vocalist Shourav impressed the audience with vocals that deserved a special mention. ‘Killing Tomorrow’ and ‘Unnamed’ had sick grooves/fills by the drummer Sambit who displayed impressive dynamics. ‘Section 66: Part 5’ ended the band’s set; this particular song had amazing drum-fills on the cymbals and the snare-rim and had a delightful chorus coupled with twin guitar lines. The song also had a section that was very heavy and darkened by its aggression.

Of clenched fists and a Drive through the Parkway at Nazrul Manch, Kolkata

What Escapes Me was followed by Chronic Xorn, one of Kolkata’s oldest existing metal outfits. The band faced some technical problems with their sound and had to take a few additional minutes for a second round of soundchecking which made the crowd slightly restless. A few minutes later, they set the stage afire with an original and drove the crowd into a frenzy. It was a pity that the sound problems continued to plague them; it affected their overall mix. Nonetheless, the band showed experience and maturity by taking it all in their stride and refusing to falter. The twin guitar attack of their guitar players Suvam and Biswarup was quite the entertainer and the bassist Angshuman raised his fists in the air in between songs. At this point we were informed that we’d be able to interview Parkway Drive and had no option but to miss the rest of Chronic Xorn’s set for the greater good!

Of clenched fists and a Drive through the Parkway at Nazrul Manch, Kolkata

Anticipation gripped the crowd, who started chanting the next band’s name; Kolkata’s most promising metalcore act was up next and the crowd waited with bated breath. Once known as Moshpit, the band took a break during which they went through a lineup change; the band’s reincarnation is what is now known as Yonsample. The set was inaugurated with ‘Breaking Through’, a popular original of theirs. The song also happens to be from their EP Paraphernalia and has all the makings of a great modern metal song with amazing guitar tones, crushing bass-lines, pummeling drums and really strong vocals.  It felt amazing to see such a great response to the local heroes, who have gone from strength to strength with each performance, proving the mettle of the Kolkata metal scene. The second original ‘Espial Abyss Afloat’, a brand new song, was lapped up by the metal audience – a special mention goes to the incredible bass tone. Raising hell alongside the bassist Ani was Jojo on guitars – armed with a very heavy and crunchy guitar tone – supported by the fabulous Pupai on keyboards. Vocalist Arka and drummer Tuhin showcased a surprising variety of range and rhythm that left us awestruck. The band then embarked on ‘Passage’ and ‘My Victory Ride’. The former boasted of a very hooky riff, with Arka ripping it apart with his ferocious vocals. The latter was yet another impressive track. The crowd was left wanting more, but the band had to make a hasty exit owing to time constraints.  However, their short set was enough to stamp their authority and raise the bar for the upcoming metal bands from the city.

Of clenched fists and a Drive through the Parkway at Nazrul Manch, Kolkata

Perhaps the biggest screams and applause were reserved for none other than the Aussie metal titans, Parkway Drive. The entire venue was bathed in darkness, to set the mood for the band that would take the stage next. Before we knew it they were onstage and we were bathed in the relentless energy that the band members seemed to emit as one. They started off with ‘Unrest’ from their latest album, Deep Blue, that featured some awesome drumming with very interesting breakdowns that make the song really stand out. From there, the band launched into a seething tirade of angst with their original ‘Bone Yards’. The man behind the drums, Ben Gordon, executed precise blast beats that opened up the moshpit. The next song‘Deliver Me’ is also from Deep Blue and boy does the band truly deliver on the live version of this song!

The band started the next song ‘Idols and Anchors’ from their album Horizons. The song started with a surprisingly melodious guitar line and throughout the song the melody and the customary Parkway Drive aggression coexisted, making it a fantastic listen.

Of clenched fists and a Drive through the Parkway at Nazrul Manch, Kolkata

The next song ‘Smoke ’em if ya got ’em ‘, was from the album Killing With a Smile .The song is definitely one for the mosh lovers; it seemed to spell that very word in bold letters; the all-too-impressive guitar harmonies were courtesy Luke Kilpatrick and Jeff Ling. The circle pit turned more vicious with the onslaught of the song and it definitely made the Aussies appreciate the crowd.

The band went back to Deep Blue, their latest album, with ‘Sleepwalker’. Interesting hooks and very well placed vocals added to the splendour of the song. It ended with a brilliant guitar solo/melody line and according to us, Sleepwalker was definitely one of the highlights of their set.

‘Karma’ started off with an awesome drum-roll, which sounded more like machine guns in a war! Another highlight of the song was its guitar solo. 

‘Carrion’ from Parkway Drive’s previous album Horizons again reflected the more mature and melodic side of the band. 

Of clenched fists and a Drive through the Parkway at Nazrul Manch, Kolkata

The five guys from New South Wales jumped, ran and skidded over the stage. The energy was infectious and the crowd, which seemed to feed off the energy from the band, was all charged up. The band looked ecstatic and clearly taken aback by the crowd’s reaction. As the show came to a close, it was time for the curtain to drop but the metal hungry crowd was far from satisfied and, despite being completely exhausted, the band came back for another song. By this time the crowd was on the stage and the band members had to huddle beside the drummer on the podium. Surprise of all surprises, maybe a first in Nazrul Manch – the guitar player did his bit of crowd surfing!

After the gig ended, the WTS team took a walk back home, high on adrenaline and on Parkway Drive. Kudos to Metalbase India and Damage Inc. for organizing a gig like this and pulling it off quite well!

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Paraphernalia by Yonsample

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The first time I heard of this band, I’ve to admit it, I was a bit amused by the name. But, then I learnt the ‘yon’ is short for the English word ‘yonder’ and has nothing to do with the Hindi word and breathed a sigh of relief. Yonsample’s (erstwhile Moshpit) music, though, is nothing to laugh about. This 5-piece metal band from Kolkata kicks some serious ass with their debut self-released EP Paraphernalia. Genre-wise they can be pegged as metalcore/post-thrash/groove metal with abundant djenty riffs and synth thrown in as spicing.

The 5-track EP starts off with the slow-ish ‘The Instauration’. It is the shortest track with a mellow beginning with nice SFX, progressing into djent-laden riffs which carry us directly into the next track,Passage. The song progresses at a nice tempo, a very headbangable material. The versatility of the vocalist shines through as he does growls, screams and clean vocals with equal elan. The keyboardist, Pupai, provides good atmospheric keyboards which don’t get overwhelming. The album really gets into form in the 3rd track, ‘Reincarnation’. It starts off at a brutal pace with drummer, Tuhin, beating the shit out of the skins. This track also has the best facemelting solo (courtesy of the axe genius, Jojo) on the EP, one which makes your eyes dilate in wonder. ‘Chaos Theory’, as the name suggests, is a bit chaotic with the guitars going crazy and it isn’t as melodic as the rest of the tracks. My least favorite track of the EP, although by itself it is quite good. I just love the intro of the next track, ‘Breaking Through’, and I wish it was stretched a bit more, but it would’ve made it a bit more black metal-ish (weird, eh?). The synth lays a perfect ambient backdrop in the entire track. Like in ‘Passage’, clean vocals feature a bit more in this one. The track ends with chug-chug riffs reminiscent of a Lamb of God and it takes a few moments to return to your senses.

Whoever was minding the knobs has done a great job producing this album. However, I wish the guitars had a little bit more crunchier sound. Overall, Paraphernalia is a stellar effort and should rank among the top albums of 2010 in India. Yonsample couldn’t have asked for a better debut EP. A very promising band, we have higher expectations from them in the future. Bravo!

Rating: 4/5

 

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