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An In-Depth Look Into the Indian Metal Scene Featuring Quotes From 15 Bands

Find out who you're missing out on featuring Demonic Resurrection, Skyharbor, Undying Inc, Zygnema, Systemhouse33, Inner Sanctum, Albatross, Kryptos, Goddess Gagged, Noiseware, Eccentric Pendulum, What Escapes Me, Dymbur, Mute the Saint, and The Cosmic Truth…

Find out who you're missing out on featuring Demonic Resurrection, Skyharbor, Undying Inc, Zygnema, Systemhouse33, Inner Sanctum, Albatross, Kryptos, Goddess Gagged, Noiseware, Eccentric Pendulum, What Escapes Me, Dymbur, Mute the Saint, and The Cosmic Truth...

INNER SANCTUM

inner sanctum indian metal

When asked to provide some information about the band we received this hilariously enjoyable response: "We are the world's first erotic death metal band. You watch us live, you'd wanna fuck us. Doesn't matter if you're a dude, a chick or something in between, we're ready to touch your Inner Sanctum." Quite the most bold and delightfully bizarre thing I've heard from these groups yet. As we move on to the questions, you can expect more snarky, tongue-in-cheek answers.

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How would you describe the current Indian metal scene?

It's a scene where metalheads are brown in color and talk lesser shit, because obviously Indians are more intelligent. But jokes aside, that to a certain degree is the truth. Most people here that are into metal, are English educated, hold a college degree, and come from middle class backgrounds or better. An oppressive society that pressurizes young minds to confirm seemed like the biggest enemy when I was coming of age. Metal was such an extreme form of expression that India historically didn't have. So even though culturally, metal has nothing in common with India, a certain part of the Indian educated youth stuck to it. Needless to say, it has grown over the years with loads of international acts such as Iron Maiden, Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Testament, Lamb of God, Opeth, etc. all gracing Indian shores with their heavy sound. It's not the best scene out there, but it could be worse.

What are the pros and cons of being a metal band in India?

Best part about being a metal band in India is that we can growl fuck you to the whole country and no one would bat an eye because it's such a niche pocket of society that the rest of the country couldn't give a fuck. If the conservatives actually found out what we do and what our lyrics say, we'd be dead meat by now. Touring is difficult as there is no circuit. Each major market is far away from the other so the cost of transporting the band and equipment is fairly high. There are small labels that support bands and indie podcasts that show up and die. But hey, at least the weed here is really, really cheap. You motherfuckers can't imagine buying a whole kilo of it for less than $100 can you?

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Has the Western metal scene (US/Europe) affected or influenced your band?

Oh yes, we love to grow our hair, dreadlocks, weed, and have a good time engaging in free thought and all that the Western bands bring to the… oh wait I just realized I was talking about how India used to be before the Aryans invaded 1,500 years ago. So that makes us more metal then the West right, I mean we're just being ourselves really.

Listen to a mean mish mash of thrash and death on "Wake of Destruction" from 2015's Legions Awake below:

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ALBATROSS

albatross indian metalAlbatross began as bassist Riju Dasgupta's solo project eight years ago, but later became a legitimate band with a full lineup. Their style is best described as eccentric and off kilter heavy metal on the lines of King Diamond, Manilla Road, or Hell. Over the last six years, they've released an EP, a split with the American band Vestal Claret, and a full length album entitled Fear From the Skies. Each of these releases have at least one horror story contained within. The band has been included on the same bills as acts like Carcass, Kreator, Wolf, Fleshgod Apocalypse, and Hacride during their India shows.

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How would you describe the current Indian metal scene?

India is a vast country and there are both old and new bands in every part. The scene is primarily driven by extreme metal and modern metal bands with only a handful of traditional acts. But currently it's the best that it has ever been in terms of musical output with bands releasing everything from doom metal to grindcore. There are few opportunities, but bands are driven to make the most of what they have.

What are the pros and cons of being a metal band in India?

Touring culture is non-existent in India. When we release an album, we plot individual shows in different parts of the country and if a festival happens in this duration, we look at getting booked for that. I've been told that the backline, which is provided at every show of ours, isn't a part of international gigs and tours (ie. backline has to be booked separately). I guess that's the only plus. Everything else is better in your part of the world.

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Has the Western metal scene (US/Europe) affected or influenced your band?

Of course. If not for Rainbow, King Diamond, Mercyful Fate, Manilla Road, Savatage, Iron Maiden, etc., I wouldn't have started Albatross. I suppose some of my band members enjoy Indian commercial music/Bollywood, but I've always found myself repulsed by it.

Listen to the gratifyingly eccentric and surprisingly heavy track "Jugglehead the Clown" below:

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KRYPTOS

kryptos indian metalInfluenced by the likes of Judas Priest or Kreator, Kryptos has been delivering old school heavy metal to the masses of India since 1997. The act has opened for Iron Maiden, Exodus, Testament, Death Angel, and many more. Their current discography includes the four albums Spiral Ascent, The Ark of Gemini, The Coils of Apollyon, and Burn Up the Night, the last one was released just this year via AFM Records. The band's festival history includes Wacken Open Air, Headbanger's Open Air, and Hamburg MetalDayz.

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How would you describe the current Indian metal scene?

The scene in India is still in a very nascent stage. There are a lot of bands here, but it's very difficult to get regular gigs since metal is still a very underground form of music here. And given the vast size of the country, which is dominated by Bollywood music, it is always an uphill climb for any band in India. However, each of the major cities slowly seem to have scenes forming within them. Bangalore is known mostly for old school/traditional metal and doom metal, Kolkata for thrash, Mumbai and Delhi for modern metal and more extreme music. Touring in India is also almost impossible since the distances from city to city are huge and there aren't that many venues around the country where metal bands can play at. However, a lot of big metal bands come to India every now and then like Maiden, Metallica, Megadeth, Kreator, etc. so that kind of keeps things exciting.

What are the pros and cons of being a metal band in India?

There aren't that many pros I can think of. Probably because of all of the difficulties bands here face, it kind of makes us a lot tougher. Plus, since we're used to travelling long distances, when we tour Europe it isn't as tough as it might be for some others I guess. Of course the downsides are there aren't any major labels here, just a handful of underground distribution companies who try their best to get music to all parts of the country. Also, it's extremely expensive for bands in India to tour abroad, especially in Europe or the US. We usually have to save all our money for about 10 months in a year to fund a couple of weeks of touring in Europe, so it's pretty hard in that sense. And yeah, since the Indian subcontinent doesn't have major media covering the bands here, a lot of them slip under the radar. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. We also have to deal with the police, shitty government regulations, con artists, thugs, and all kinds of crap. So it's not a lot of fun, but we make the most of it.

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Has the Western metal scene (US/Europe) affected or influenced your band?

Very much so. All of us grew up listening to all the great European and American rock and metal acts of the 70's and the 80's, so it's in our blood. Bands like Priest, Sabbath, Maiden, Thin Lizzy, Accept, Def Leppard, etc. played a huge part in shaping our sound and our general outlook on life. These bands always made us feel strong and gave us a sense of freedom to be who we want to be and do whatever we want to do with our lives. Growing up in India is tough for young kids because society puts a lot of pressure on you to do something with your life. So, heavy metal music helped us break out of that cage and do what we love, rather than just conform mindlessly to whatever society wants us to do.

Listen to a 70's metal throwback anthem on their recently released track "Full Throttle" below:

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GODDESS GAGGED

goddess gagged indian metal

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If you recognize this band's name, you may be thinking of Protest the Hero's closing track off their Fortress LP. The Mumbai-based five-piece group pulls inspiration ranging from 90's rock/metal to present day prog kings like Karnivool and Porcupine Tree resulting in a progressive post-hardcore sound. Back in 2011, their first single, “Visionary”, was released followed by their debut LP, Resurfaces. The band has continued to tour in support of the release til present day.

How would you describe the current Indian metal scene?

A small brotherhood that is slowly growing with people understanding the importance of coming to shows and supporting bands for a healthier and more flourishing scene. The sense of community is strong and I can see a slow and steady growth happening.

What are the pros and cons of being a metal band in India?

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Pros are the sorted backlines at the shows. So, not having to travel with all your equipment and just showing up at the gig with just your instruments. Another pro is that there's not so many bands, so the small handful of good ones do get noticed. Cons are the lack of good equipment. There's no actual touring machinery in place and the huge distances between the cities makes touring by road impossible. Label wise, there are not too many and they don't have the necessary finances to push a band's music/live performance to the next level.

Has the Western metal scene (US/Europe) affected or influenced your band?

Of course! That's where it's all coming from. Bands like Karnivool, Deftones, Dance Gavin Dance, A Perfect Circle, Tool, etc. I would say the Western metal scene is the most important influence on our band and on a lot of bands here that are trying to play this kind of music.

Listen to the moody and atmospheric "Sink or Swim" showcasing their more progressive side below:

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NOISEWARE

Noiseware indian metal

Formed in mid-2009, Noiseware is an experimental metal band from India who have garnered a strong fanbase in the past few years. They released their first single, "G-String," which found decent success on the Soundclick international metal charts. Even more impressive, the group beat the top rock and metal acts of the country at the Mood Indigo Livewire Festival, earning them a position supporting progressive legends, Porcupine Tree. Come 2010, vocalist Aman Virdi of Vyzasa fame joined the band adding clean vocals to their palette. With a new lineup, Noiseware released their debut EP Wake Up and Soar, which won 'Song of the Year' at the Rolling Stone Metal Awards Ceremony for “23.” The band is currently working on their follow-up.

How would you describe the current Indian metal scene?

I'd say it's still fairly nascent as compared to say a more established scene such as the US/Europe. Metal is still a niche genre in India, so the audience is numbered. However, in our time being a part of it, we've seen it grow despite the ups and downs. The audience is not only growing, but also is more educated and informed. It's a fairly DIY scenario with bands doing a lot of the work themselves right from music to the shows to the distribution.

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What are the pros and cons of being a metal band in India?

I'll start with the cons. I'd say the avenues are limited in India and to a certain extent, so is the audience. In India, more often than not, metal is a short-lived phase for a lot of people so the audience isn't steady. Mostly you see that people get into it during their late teens and it sort of fizzles out by the time you're well into working your full time job. I don't see anything wrong in that, to each their own, but it does sort of limit the growth of the music as for every 10 new fans, you possibly have 5 or more who've exited. And because the young crowd doesn't have great spend capability, this results in limited venues, as venues would rather invest in something that generates more bar/F&B sales. So yes, exposure is limited to a certain extent. We don't really have a touring culture here as metal is primarily only in the metro cities and you can literally count the number of cities on your fingers. As for the pros, I'd say because the audience is smaller in terms of size, it consequently also makes it easier to reach out to your fan base and really be able to have that 1-on-1 interaction quite easily. It's a fairly close knit community where everyone knows everyone – bands, fans, promoters, tech crew, etc. I'd say bands also in a way have it nice here as most shows provide a fairly decent backline and setup. In case you're a slightly bigger band, you're able to have your tech rider demands met and you aren't investing or dragging your backline yourself. Also, for a decently big act, in most cases, travel, flight, and stay is also taken care of, apart from the performance fee, which is unheard of in the touring culture overseas.

Has the Western metal scene (US/Europe) affected or influenced your band?

Yes, absolutely. Metal isn't inherently Indian music anyway, so there is a huge influence of Amercian/European metal on all the bands here. Since the internet became such an important tool in the music industry, it really helps you keep a track on what's going on around the world. And there's always much to learn from everywhere, but more so from the European/American metal scenes. We just try and find what works best for us and inculcate it in our music or work ethic as a band.

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Listen to the song "Trollface" from their Wakeup & Soar EP released back in 2011 below:

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