Over the past few years, the satellite town of Thane has become the homeland of metal in Mumbai. One of the first metal gigs in the area goes back to 2006, when a now defunct annual property called Junkyard Jam brought quite a few metal and hard rock bands to the same stage. United 21 is a more recent edition to the Thane venue space and now owns the onus of being the only such venue that hosts occasional metal gigs in the city. Thane has been witness to some pretty mad metal properties like the mayhem that is Domination - the Deathfest (with Exhumation, Witchgoat, Gutslit, Insane Prophecy, Atmosfear, Orion and Reptilian Death) and the recently concluded super-energetic Wacken Metal Battle. Come September 8, 2022 - the pub will host the first Headbangers Merchandise & Transcending Obscurity present Metal at the Tavern with an impressive seven-band lineup that includes horror metal act Albatross, death metallers Atmosfear and Demonic Resurrection, Black metal band Solar Deity, mock metal act Hellwind, Halahkuh from Pune and Bengaluru’s doom metal act Djinn & Miskatonic.
We spoke to all of the acts to break down their setlists for the upcoming gig.
Band: Demonic Resurrection
Lineup: Persistence is possibly the strongest quality you’d notice in metal vets Demonic Resurrection. Through their 13-year career, Demonic Resurrection have seen the most number of members joining in and leaving the band. The current lineup includes SahilMakhija on vocals and guitars, Mephisto on Keyboards, Daniel Rego on lead guitars, Ashwin Shriyan on bass and Virendra Kaith on Drums.
Play: Considered among the premier extreme metal bands in the country, Demonic Resurrection describe their sound as “Demonic metal (a brutal concoction of symphonic, black, death and power metal).” The band not only has one of the greatest fan bases in the country, but quite the fan support internationally as well. Despite multiple lineup changed, Demonic Resurrection’s metal has evolved immensely while never really leaving the essence of their early days. The band started out with Nikita Shah on keyboards and vocals, and there was the initial element of thrash involved, but barring that the music has been consistent throughout. The strongest element in their music is the underlying black metal-esque feel rich with the keyboards, powerful technical drum work, and guitar solos and riffs that are nothing short of sheer brilliance. Owing to the frontman Makhija’s untiring effort on social media and otherwise (along with marketing expertise), the band just released its first crowd-funded video rendition of “Demonic Resurrection – Live at Bloodstock.” “The response to the project was immense. We had collected the amount in 48 hours. The fans have been nothing but supportive of us. The idea of fan-funding is picking up and I think it’s the way forward for music and hopefully, we’ll see musicians being able to sustain themselves with this in play,” says Makhija.
DR is preparing for the impending metal season and for 2014, the band is busy working on their upcoming fourth album. We might even see a music video. “I think DR fans are going to hear an evolution in the demonic sound, but we will still retain our signature sound. It will be brutal. It will be melodic. It will be demonic,” says Makhija.
At the Tavern: DR will be playing their first gig in Mumbai after over a year and you can expect a mashup from their Darkness trilogy. “We’ll be doing a mix of tracks from “A Darkness Descends,” “Beyond The Darkness” and “The Return To Darkness.” It should be a nice mix of the DR catalog,” says Makhija.
Lineup: Albatross has one of the most myriad of lineups, with each member’s influences differing and each offering something unique to the band. The present lineup consists of Biprorshee Das on Vocals, Vigneshkumar Venkatraman and NishithHegde on Guitars, Riju Dasgupta on Bass, and Jay Thacker on Drums. Albatross is a one-of-its-kind band in the country, taking inspiration from everything that delves into the macabre, and injecting heavy metal into it through intense drum work, guitar play and vocals to create material that is nothing short of kickass.
Play: Albatross started off as a project with its two founding members, Dasgupta and Das wanting to revive heavy metal. Being of the opinion that death, thrash and extreme metal are not the only genres of metal, the band generated its own genre of music: the now Albatross-synonymous Horror metal. With a number of lineup changes initially, Albatross brand of music has spanned over two contentious EPs – “Dinner is You” and “The Kissing Flies.” Having just struck a recording deal with Mumbai-based metal label Transcending Obscurity India Records, Albatross can be slated for greater exposure on the international circuit. Currently Albatross is working on their full length debut album that is slated for release by early 2014. But before that, the band goes on a three-city concert tour of Australia between October 24 and 26, 2013.
At the Tavern: Since it’s a warm up to their upcoming Australia tour, Albatross will likely be sticking to their mix of covers and original compositions. Not surprisingly though, the band will be playing more of their originals. For Albatross fans, this gig is going to be a treat anyway, with the band possibly playing new, unreleased material.
Band: Solar Deity
Lineup: In their two year career, Solar Deity have seen a consistent evolution of their lineup. The band started out as a bedroom project of guitarist, lyricist and vocalist Aditya Mehta and drummer Yash Pathak. September 2012 saw bassist Animesh Das joining in to forward the cause of the black Metal assault. The band found its fourth member in guitarist Akash Shah, and the four-piece band debuted at Trendslaughter Fest 2013 (Bangalore). Only recently, prior to the launch of their third EP “Devil Worship,” the band parted ways with both Pathak and Shah. Niraj Singh Chauhan (Sutledge) will be temporarily joining the band on guitars.
Play: Speaking about the band, Mehta says, “We are a black metal band that’s not bound by any of the stereotypes black metal is associated with. The music is heartfelt, the lyrics are strong beliefs.” Their EPs though are typically titled “In The Name Of Satan,” “The Darkness Of Being” and their recently released “Devil Worship.” Solar Deity works heavily on forming an atmosphere of doom with highly distorted riffs, sick blast beats and vocal style akin to Imperial from Krieg. Mehta described the band’s latest EP as pure satanic black metal. “Devil Worship” is a sequel to “In The Name Of Satan,” and is the second part of the band’s Satan trilogy. It’s raw and powerful, and cuts through like a sharp dagger. When asked about the band’s influences, the reply was not a very surprising one: “Satan, and everything that the band considers ‘music.’” black metal indeed! Post this gig, Solar Deity plays at Afterlife, Pune on September 28, 2013.
At the Tavern: Speaking about this particular gig, Mehta continues, “We aim to play “Devil Worship” in its entirety. Yes, it’s just three tracks, but cumulatively, that’s over 25 minutes of music that will crush sinews.” With Chauhan taking on guitar duties, “a drum machine will take care of the skin bashing duties for the moment.” Okay then.
Lineup: Hellwind was formed two years ago. Current members of the band include Raj Bhattacharya and Kiron Kumar on guitars, Aditya Kadam on bass, Pushkar Joshi on drums and Akshay Deodhar on vocals. In Kumar’s words, “past Members include Riju Dasgupta (who also conceptualized the band after a random Mr.Big tribute conversation with Deodhar), and Sahil Makhija (who quit because he had too much going on in terms of bomb orders). Dasgupta quit because he had to play more than three notes per song, so they brought in a (then) Mongolian drug dealer/warlord to play some banging bass grooves. Eventually, after a year Makhija quit because there was too much meat.”
Play: Kiron continues, “Hellwind is a bunch of five crazy people, foodies, perverts, adrenaline junkies, corporate whores, and guys who come from totally different musical influences and backgrounds. The meeting place though, is melody heavy, vile, riffalicious heavy metal. Bringing back the genre that taught the world how delicious it was to be evil. It’s basically five guys, tripping out on heavy metal, and the good life, mostly in their heads.” Known for being among the best cover bands around, Hellwind’s members have a vast number of influences, including but not limited to Hammerfall, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Nevermore, Alice in Chains, Alter Bridge, Skid Row, Mr.Big, and Slayer. It’s not often you see bands do heavy metal covers of songs like Rasputin by Boney M, but that’s what Hellwind is all about: dishing out their brand of music in whatever way possible!
At the Tavern: For the gig at Thane, the original drummer Joshi won’t be playing. His place shall instead be taken by Dark Helm/ SystemHouse33’s Amogh Sharma. The band is pretty kicked about the show, considering it’s going to be the first time they play on the city’s metal circuit. The amount of adrenaline onstage is going to be be high as usual, says Kumar, going as far as to call their performance sure to be “retarded and special.” Their setlist will consist of OCs mostly, and they promise to premiere a new original as well. Makhija will guest with the band for their first original Taste of Metal, which he helped in the arrangement of.
Lineup: With the resurgence of groove/death metallersAtmosfar at Domination- the Deathfest V, and their recent performance at Bombay Asylum Volume III: The Blazin’ Axe, the band is fast becoming one of the most recognized bands on the scene once again. One thing that most metalheads would agree is how underrated these guys are, right from their early days. The band presently consists of Bruce McKoy on vocals and guitar, Roshan Samuel on bass and Mayank Sharma on drums.
Play: While the original lineup had more members than the present one, Atmosfear has without a doubt kept the feel of their music intact - the punch in their guitars, powerful growling and the good thrashing the drum kit is subjected to have remained consistent through. The band’s greatest influences are Cannibal Corpse, Six Feet Under, Napalm Death, Kaamos and Slayer among others, and this is pretty much evident in their music style. That being said, Atmosfear add some pretty kickass elements of their own- Sharma’s start-stop patches in drumming are ingeniously erratic enough to fool even the most passionate metalheads into wondering if the song is over or not. Add to that Samuel’s bass prowess, and Bruce’s double duty on guitar and vocals, and what you have is a band possibly making it very far on the gig circuit, even internationally soon, too. The band is busy working on new material for an album they hope to release by early 2014.
At the Tavern: Atmosfear is going to have an all star lineup for its set at the Tavern. Any prodding has left us clueless and it seems an attendance is the only way of finding who the surprise guests are.
Lineup: Halahkuh are a four piece death/thrash metal outfit from Pune. The band is made up of bassist and vocalist Prakhar Soni, guitarists Chinmay Bokil and Subrajyoti Sarkar, and Prasenjit Paul on drums. A band that was formed in early 2011, the changes in the lineup include the exits of vocalist Rahul Krishnakumar and guitarist Sarvesh Deshmukh. Halahkuh is a largely popular band on the Pune metal circuit and they are without a doubt, among the favorites of Mumbai metalheads as well.
Play: While the band terms itself as a death/ thrash band, purists would be quick to point out that their music doesn’t exactly fit into the genre. However, owing to changes in the band’s lineup and given the members’ different interests and influences, this is possibly the genre that the band believes it comes closest to. True to their choice of self-definition; the holds destruction, personal chaos and the pestilence as recurring themes in their music. The band released their first EP in February 2013, titled “Desecration,” and Sarkar admits that the fan reaction to it was “beyond their expectations.” The band also had Undying INC.’s ShashankBhatnagar doing the vocals for their track Sacrilege. The band is on a gig spree in hometown Pune, and has a number of shows being worked on even otherwise. Although the band constantly keeps working on new material, they have no plans on recording in the near future.
At the Tavern: About Metal at the Tavern, Sarkar says, “Halahkuh fans are about to see a powerhouse performance that evening. We will deliver an extreme dose of death/thrash metal along with a new song, Indignant. We love covering our favourite bands, so it would be wrong to say that there won’t be any covers.” When asked whether they will be having any surprises in the lineup for the gig, he laughs, “Well, until now, no guest artist has been planned, but you never know. We love giving surprises.”
Band: Djinn & Miskatonic
Of all the bands interviewed for this particular piece, Djinn & Miskatonic’s replies were the most confused and hilarious of all, with special efforts put in to showcase the lunacy the band breeds on. Reading through their replies, we decided to publish their answers as is. So, what you read is firsthand information from the band itself!
Djinn & Miskatonic are Gautham Khandige on vocals, Jayaprakash Satyamurthy (JP) on bass, Siddharth Manoharan on drums and Sriram on guitars.
JP: Djinn & Miskatonic was formed in 2341 BC by the survivors of an interstellar cruise vehicle, which crashed in the Siberian steppes. Anything else you’ve heard is a lie.
Sriram: I joined the band a bit later on when JP asked me to accompany him on a time-travel mission to exterminate the dinosaurs. Some silly sauropod talked smack about being heavier than us. Obviously, we couldn’t let that stand.
JP: Some of us like to tune low and play slow. The rest of us sing or play drums or whatever.
Sriram: “Heavier than an Amphicoelias Fragillimus and slower than the traffic in Andheri East.” Is that catchy enough?
JP: It used to be Conan the Barbarian, but these days he can only bench press 20 wenches. What a let-down.
Sriram: We could name drop a few from the pantheon of Elder Gods but by Dagon, the ones that don’t get mentioned get so touchy! Afterwards, it’s all telepathic horror and fever-dreams for a week. Plus, Shub-Niggurath sounds slightly racist.
JP: I think it’s time Pip asked Estella to marry him.
Sriram: They say the Bombay metal junta can mosh to anything and we will try to put that to the test.
At The Tavern:
JP: I’d tell you what happened to the old line-up, but no one knows where the bodies are buried. You can expect a tribe of canny replicants (sic) to take our place at this gig. That’s pretty special.
Sriram: There will be a priest chanting liturgies to a serial killer during our set. That’s all that I can say without getting “replaced.”
JP: All our fans were made by Compton & Greaves. They are in for a revolution or 200. The set list will mainly consist of songs, but we may have some pauses as well. Look out for low-flying UFOs, you moshers!
Sriram: We’re so excited that I might even wear pants for this show! We asked Miley Cyrus to replay her awesome twerking moves at the gig, but she’s too busy being a train wreck to respond, I guess. The set list is going to be mostly covers of songs by Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats. We might even be playing one “original composition”, from what I hear. It’s all very hush-hush for now.
JP: “Forever In The Realm” already been released digitally and you can listen to it here (link below). The CDs should be available by September 8, 2-13. The general reaction hasn’t been very specific, and the public reaction has been pretty private.
Sriram: The album’s gone triple platinum already in Innsmouth and Brythunia, from what we gather. Unfortunately, the currencies in these lands are limited to terror and nightmares so we aren’t rock stars, and none of us are using gold dust for kitty litter just as yet. We got some pretty cool swords on trades with the folks from Nemedia, though.
- Headbangers Merchandise & Transcending Obscurity present Metal at the Tavern featuring Hellwind, Solar Deity, Albatross, Halahkuh, Atmosfear, Demonic Resurrection and Djinn & Miskatonic will be held on September 8, at United 21, Thane, 4.30 pm onwards. Entry- Rs 400. For more details, visit the Facebook page here.