Unrelenting Aggression. That’s perhaps what describes Bhayanak Maut best. A constant barrage of vocal assaults by Vinay Venkatesh and Sunneith Revankar, eardrum-splitting drumming by Rahul Hariharan, angst-inducing guitar play by Amidstya and R. Venkatraman, and heavy, heavy bass lines by Ishaan Krishna later, it is absolutely no surprise that this one band manages to evoke a hundred reactions, especially when they perform live. Two albums and one EP old, Bhayank Maut have also given music for a Bollywood movie, “Shaitan.” The band is in the process of recording their third album that we are hoping will release by the end of 2014. The band are also ending their 13-month no city gig abstinence this weekend as they prepare to take charge of the stage at Blue Frog’s monthly metal series on March 2, 2014. While the band are being secretive about their new music and are not open for interviews yet, we decided to pore over every brutal thing about Bhayank Maut as they reach another milestone of finishing 10 years together this year.
We spoke to some people from the metal scene and compiled this list of ten good, brutal memories that have made for some pretty kvlt moments in the life of the Bhayanak Maut fan.
Formed in 2003, the band have always had this absolute sense of hostility that they seem to exert on their audience every time they play. Whether you’re a metalhead or not, you are going to feel the thrust of an assault, at least headbanging into a sense of unconsciousness, almost. That is the amount of insanity they pack into their set. Chronic Phobia vocalist Pratika Prabhune says, “I’ve always headbanged like a motherfucker to Bhayanak Maut, and sang every song from my stomach, every time. Never missed a BM gig in Bombay since, I don’t know, 2010.” When they play live, there is no way you are not left gaping at them from time to time. Of course, then you are pulled into the mosh. And from there begins another story.
THE MOSH PIT
Ask any person who regularly moshes and he/she will tell you that the ferocity during a Bhayanak Maut pit is much more than most other Indian metal bands can ever command. Scenester and an Indian metal encyclopedia unto himself Shaurya Valmiki states, with a twinge of nostalgia “My very first gig was Bhayanak Maut at I-Rock 2009. And it was my very first pit experience because I was down with a broken nose. Killer times.” But that only encapsulates half the madness of the pit during their set. Prabhune adds, “Vinay once gave me the mic and jumped into the mosh pit from stage, and I sang Ranti Nasha with Sunny and the band. This was at B69, sometime after their album launch.”
“DAARU LA PEHLE, FIR CHAKNA MAANG“
If you have ever been for a Bhayanak Maut gig, you know that the band never forget to blast stage. All of the violence that they bring to their set is always underlined with loads of humour and audience interaction. Sense Of Tumour vocalist Arbaaz Khan recalls, “This one gig at the Blue Frog, somewhere around when “Metastasis” had released, everyone was eagerly waiting for Chakna for Church and everyone was chanting for “Chakna” and suddenly, the crowd went silent and I screamed “Chakna mangtay” and this Vinay looks at me and says “Madarchod daaru la pehle, fir chakna maang. Everyone had a good laugh.”
There are no two ways about it. Venkatesh has to be one of the maddest frontmen in the country- think about it: his beard has a Facebook page of its own, and his onstage capers are what legends are made of. Metal journalist Aditya Rao tells us so. “This one time at Hard Rock Cafe, at the music launch for the movie “Shaitaan,” the band came on stage to an already perplexed Bollywood listening crowd and there were like some 10 metal heads there. So Vinay wasted no time and kicks off the show saying ‘Good evening HRC, we are Bhayanak Maut and we are here to tear you a new asshole.’ That was epic.”
While their stage personalities are intimidating to a degree, metal colleagues will always testify to the fact that the boys of Bhayanak Maut “are really nice guys.” From personal experience, Hariharan and I had an easy while waiting for a gig to start. Providence’s Shezan Shaikh gets a bit nostalgic. “I was travelling in some local train to some place. I saw Vinay in the same compartment and I was like “SHIT VINAY!” So I went up to him, made small talk and Vinay just went, ‘We are looking for a guitar player, you should come try out,’ and I gave the most sheepish smile ever and laughed out. He was the nicest guy at that point and some eight years later, I think, he’s still the nicest guy in the scene. He’s like a total gentleman. I don’t know if Vinay remember’s this little tale but today, he’s one of the guy’s from the scene I really respect and look up to. Being able to drink with him across the table is also win-max.”
Bhayanak Maut are one of those bands that make the most use of social media to connect with and stay in touch with their fans and followers. Their current set of vines during their in-studio production of their album will have you in splits. Music journalist Akhila Shankar recalls more random shit though. “This one time Vinay Tweeted to the Pope about Bhayanak Maut. Then, there was the time they made Sunny’s dog wore a scarf and the picture said ‘Mere mard ko Bhayanak Maut ke log le gaya‘. And there was the time they added Riju Dasgupta (from Albatross) into their band photo using Photoshop saying he is their new bass player.”
BREAKING HARD ROCK CAFE
Now it’s no surprise that Hard Rock Cafe is not a venue for metal at all. It has been one of the “strict no-no” rules of the pub ever since it began. So, you gotta wonder what they were thinking when they called Bhayanak Maut to play there. Rao reiterates “I guess it was one of those Channel V or MTV shows. So, the elims were at HRC and I guess the crowd at HRC had never witnessed a metal show before. BM came up on stage and ended up destroying the place, and as far as I remember, I guess it was the first and last time HRC witnessed a mosh pit.”
Shezan Sheikh is one guy who seems heavily indebted to the guys from Bhayanak Maut, and it comes as no surprise when he says “Sunny has been my bro for donkey’s years, and there’s nothing I can say about him that you already don’t know already. His favourite words are “fuck this chatty cunt.” Apart from that he’s the best frontman in this whole goddamn country. While we were recording “Vanguard,” Venkatesh was cool enough to let us have his guitar for the entire process. And fuck, I’ve also shared the stage with Rahul once, where he sat behind the kit during the Pantera tribute night, where we played Domination with him.”
BONE CRACKING ENERGY
People sure do seem to lose any sense of physical limitations when Bhayanak Maut are performing. Khan says, “At one of the I-Rock gigs, I sprained my fucking ankle in the pit. I limped to the back, and as soon I reached a comfortable sitting spot they played MNS Messenger Live. There was this whole adrenaline rush and I ran back to the pit, literally pushing down a few bystanders After that, I had to sit my sorry ass down for a week. But it was totally worth it.”
NO BAND SPLIT
All of this said and done, Bhayanak Maut, without a doubt are one of the most of most loved and admired bands in the city, the country even. So when the band announced they would continue without Venkatesh, a whole lot of the band’s followers felt disheartened. Prabhune says, “It was a sad moment at Marimba, when it was Vinay’s supposed last gig. The sorrow.” Luckily enough that didn’t happen, and it was another celebration altogether.
- Bhayanak Maut shall be playing Metal Night at Blue Frog, Lower Parel on March 2, 2014. Providence and Chaoskampf will play at support acts. Enty Rs. 250. For more details, click here.