Preview: Wacken Metal Battle, Mumbai Edition

Providence, Atmosfear, Devoid and Orion will go to war for a chance to play at Wacken Open Air in Germany tomorrow. Albatross, Kryptos and Bevar Sea to headline gig

Pop Team June 29, 2022

In it’s second edition in India, the great Indian metal audition to perform at Wacken Open Air Germany is underway. Out of 170 applicants, 12 bands have been battling it to gain a pole position to perform at Bangalore Open Air on July 6, 2013. After concluding the east zone and south zone auditions, the final Wacken Metal Battle (west zone) will be held tomorrow, June 30, at United 21 Thane. Supported with performances by Kyrptos, Bevar Sea and Albatross - the competing bands include groove metal band Providence, death metallers Atmosfear, thrash metal act Devoid and prog death metal act Orion. We pitted the bands against one another to give you a low down on what each band’s chances of winning the battle are. Enter the ring.

Picture: Akhila Shankar

BAND: Devoid

LINEUP: After a few lineup changes, the band is made of vocalist and guitarist Arun Iyer, lead guitarist Sanju Aguiar, bassist Abhishek Kamdar and drummer Shubham Kumar.

SOUND: Active since 2005, the thrash/death metal act are one album (“A God’s Lie,” 2010)and one EP (“Invasion,” 2012) old. Synonymous with their signature track Beersong, the band’s ever-evolving sound has gone from straight-up mid-tempo thrash (Black Fortress, Hate Cult) to performing conceptual material (“Invasion”). Drummer Shubham Kumar took home the prize for Best Drummer at the recently concluded Rolling Stone Metal Awards 2013. The band is currently working  on new material. Vocalist Arun Iyer says that the band is “concentrating on writing full fledged songs that contain verses, choruses, bridges and such and not just one riff after the other. When we were writing for “The Invasion,” we were pretty much doing just that and with that done, we are totally looking forward to putting the new material out. There is the best of both thrash and death metal in the new songs and the vocals are spitfire-y which is so much fun. I can’t wait to play it live.”

AT THE BATTLE: After playing a pummeling set at Rolling Stone Metal Awards 2013 last Sunday, this Sunday Iyer describes the band’s crisp 25 minutes to be completely different. “We have 25 minutes to play our set and it includes setting up and line checking. It won’t be anything like what was at RSMA. A short set that we’ll have to blow through. Haha, I said blow,” says Iyer.

WATCH: The official music video for Brahma Weapon from “Invasion.”

Picture: Tushar Dhanawade

BAND: Providence

LINEUP: The two-year old groove metallers are guitarists  Shezan Shaikh and Charan Singh Pathania, bassist Shrikanth Rao, drummer Aaron Pinto. The band’s had two vocalists in this short span - Sunneith Revankar (Bhayanak Maut, Limit Zero) and Karan Pote (Abraxas). At the Wacken Metal Battle, the band will be taking stage with Revankar.

PLAY: Formed in 2011, Providence have been often critiqued to have a “different, fresh sound.” The freshness could be attuned to their groove-friendly riffs. Ask them to describe their sound and you’ll get the most random description.  ”Providence is a vile blend of old-school groove and modern brutality. Armed with sludge-laden riffs backed by cheap booze, and a bludgeoning assault of speed and groove, the quintet is known to deliver a sound that matches very few,” according tor their Facebook page. Cheap booze or not, you’ll rarely come back from their eight-string, hammering set without having wobbled plenty. The band released their debut EP, “Vanguard” in 2011 and went on to win multiple honours at Rolling Stone Metal Awards, 2012 including Best Album, Best Band, Best Vocalist and Best Album Art.

AT THE BATTLE: Providence competed at last year’s Wacken Metal Battle, Mumbai zone. This year, we can expect a spit-fire, chugging-happy set from the band. We are praying for new material.

LISTEN: Watch Providence perform Prosthetic live

BAND: Atmosfear

LINEUP: In their six-year-old career, Atmosfear has gone through numerous lineup changes affecting their sound almost every year. Since 2010 however, the band has had strong, consistent members with founding member, vocalist and guitarist Bruce Mckoy,  drummer  Mayank Sharma and bassist Roshan Samuel.

PLAY: The death metal band have had a difficult first few years with multiple lineup changes. The original band was formed of Mckoy, Sharma (Zygnema), Ulhas Baliga, Frank Pawar (ex-Devoid) and Shezan Shaikh. The band grew out of Iron Maiden jams and a need to pen socio-political lyrics. Soon members would leave and new musicians would board ship. The band suffered a personal tragedy in it’s formative year when new bassist Vince Pereira passed away. Nonetheless their sound grew to more melodic tones with Visions Of The Beast and Slavery Lives. In 2009, the band was working on putting out their debut EP that never saw the light of day. Currently the band is working on a full-length album.

AT THE BATTLE: We last saw Atmosfear perform at Domination- The Deathfest V, earlied this year in renewed form. We expect they will bring the same energy to the battle. We are waiting to be amazed.

LISTEN: Atmosfear wrote Visions Of The Beast in memory of Pereira, who was often referred to as The Beast:

BAND: Orion

LINEUP: The four-piece prog death metallers are bassist Anshuman Bhattacharya, vocalist and guitarist Vigneshkumar Venkatraman, guitarist Ashwin Kulkarni and drummer Pritesh Prabhune.

PLAY: Around for six years, Orion got a new lease of life when guitarist Cain Pinto left the band and Prabhune and Kulkarni joined last year. The small metal fraternity is critique averse as Orion would find out the hard way when a negative review by Pinto caused Orion to be nearly blacklisted by programmers across the country. Three years post the incident, Orion got back to gigging and making music with their debut EP On The Banks of Rubicon. The band’s sound has gone from death metal to more progressive primarily due to the change in vocal lineup. Bhattacharya’s sharp growls have been replaced by Venkatraman’s more subdued, melodic singing.

AT THE BATTLE: During Orion’s 15-minute set, the band plans to play two songs from their EP. Our money is on Oh Sweet Ebulltion.


Headbangers Merchandise presents Wacken Metal Battle - West Zone Qualifiers on June 30, 2022 at Hotel United 21, Thane. Details here.