Channeling Grammy nominated dutch metal musician King Diamond’s flesh-crawling storytelling, Mumbai metallers Albatross have been narrating skull-crushing tales through their heavy metal since 2009. The brain child of songwriter and bassist Riju Dasgupta, Albatross since have fleshed out two metal books - the cannibalistic debut EP “Dinner Is You” and a collaborative EP with Connecticut-based Vestal Claret ”The Kissing Flies” that sings of a town falling into decay.
The incredibly layered EPs chronicle the multilple plots in both the stories. Along with Vestal Claret, Albatross have also had the good fortune of working with some of the most dramatic musicians - Swedish heavy metal act Wolf’s vocalist Niklas Stalvind, Swedish producer Andy LaRocque from King Diamond. Dasgupta’s accomplices include vocalist Biprorshee Das, guitarists Nishith Hegde and Vigneshkumar Venkatraman (both replaced longtime members Jimmy Alexander and Rajarshi Bhattacharyya) and drummer Jay Thacker.
This month Albatross will be performing two gigs back to back in the city - opening set at the Mumbai leg of Deccan Rock III India tour, Bombay Asylum which will be headlined by French metallers Hacride and Maldivian heavy metal act Nothnegal on June 13 at Club Escape, Andheri. Albatross will also play the west zone of the Wacken Metal Battle alongside Bengaluru metal bands Kyrptos and Bevar Sea on June 30 at United 21, Thane.
We spoke to Dasgupta on Albatross’ upcoming Australia tour and their new ear-splitting setlist they’ve prepared for Bombay Asylum:
Q-1. Post “The Kissing Flies” are you working on any new material? Are you reading or writing anything now that could potentially become a record?
Yes we are. We’re going to be playing a new song, In the Lair of Dr. Hex at the gig this Thursday as well. We’ve already played this song at Blue Frog, Mumbai and Evilution, Bengaluru, and a lot of Albatross fans and supporters have told us that it’s probably our best song yet. At present, it looks like our forthcoming release will be our first full length album. But things can change in an instant at the Albatross camp, since we’re five eccentric musicians with our own whims and fancies.
Q-2. You had a very active 2012 with an EP launch tour and performances at BOA and Harley Rock Riders with Wolf. Share your experience with performing alongside Wolf. What are you looking forward to in 2013?
Wolf is one of my favourite bands of all time, and the experience was absolutely mindblowing. Having Niklas (Stalvind) on stage, singing one of our songs was an experience we won’t easily forget. We introduced Wolf to Old Monk rum, which is probably an experience they won’t easily forget. Not only are they the nicest bunch of guys, they put on a hell of a show at Harley Rock Riders! We’ve already had two sensational shows in 2013, and have the Wacken Metal Battle gig, Thane lined up for later this month after the Bombay Asylum gig. Then we go down under to Australia for our “Wings Down Under” tour. We visit Melbourne, Sydney and Wollengong for a string of pub gigs. We want to do a set of shows around the Australia tour in India, in cities we haven’t visited before. Delhi, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Kolkata are foremost on our list.
Q-3. You’re also performing at Wacken Metal Battle later this month. Will your set be different from the Bombay Asylum gig?
We’re going to be playing the same set which we played in Evilution, Bengaluru for the Bombay Asylum gig. This includes the only time we play a cover of Motorhead’s God Was Never On Your Side in Mumbai. Some material from the first EP, some from the second one, some fun covers. It’ll be a skull-crushing night.
Listen to their version of the song here:
Q-4. You were supposed to play Burning Sea Festival that got canned. Were you distressed with the news?
I can’t speak for the others, but I was nonplussed about the news until it sunk in, about 3 hours after I got the news. When the enormity of it hit me- months of planning going down the drain in an instant, I was personally very disappointed. But thankfully, Dominus Entertainment in Australia has arranged for a three city tour down under, and we’re really looking forward to play to new audiences and garner a brand new fanbase. We have two quality releases out. It’s time for both of them to be spread across as many cities as possible. That’s our main objective at the moment.
Q-5. What are you looking forward to most about playing with Nothnegal and Hacride?
The guys with Nothnegal are very good friends with my friends from Assault (Singapore), and I was going to come for the show to check them out anyway. I think our guitarist Vignesh has checked out Hacride before and is a big fan of the drummer in particular. It’s always fun to share the stage with bands from abroad, and swap tour stories with them. Also, I’m really excited with the potential of Club Escape as a full fledged metal venue in Mumbai. On the 13 we will rise, and bring death from the skies!
- Catch Albatross perform alongside Hacride and Nothnegal at Club Escape on June 13, 2013, 830 pm onwards. Buy tickets here.