Joining the legion of Indian bands that perform out of the country, after what seems to be an eternity of cancelled international gigs and the subsequent wait for new tours is Mumbai-based horror metal outfit Albatross. The band will perform a three-city tour, covering Melbourne, Sydney and Wollongong on October 25, 26 and 27, 2013 respectively. The band, made up of Biproshee Das on vocals, Vigneshkumar Venkatraman and Nishith Hegde on guitars, Jay Thacker on drums and Riju Dasgupta on bass rock the socks off their audiences wherever they play, and the band is hopeful that their maiden international gig is just the same.
Albatross are the only international band performing at the three Australian gigs, and will be playing with a host of other locals bands including melodic metal act Vanishing Point and power metallers Crimson Fire, and Alaskan Thunder (Google that name) in Melbourne, thrashers Hobb’s Angel of Death, Bastardizer, Disintegrator, and Paralysis in Sydney, and finally, thrashers Rampage, hard/glam/heavy metal-inspired Sylvain and melodic metal act Darker Half in Wollongong. All in all, the band is gearing up for some intense metal sets, and from social networks, it is pretty evident that a lot of locals there are looking forward to the gigs too. Despite going head to head with Polish death metal giants Behemoth’s Australian tour on the same days, Albatross are confident of attracting a fairly large audience for their sets as well. Speaking about their set, Dasgupta says, “We’ll be playing two songs from our upcoming album actually. Mumbai’s already heard them (In The Lair Of Dr. Hex and Children of the Cloud), and the response so far has been fabulous. Other than that, material from our first two EPs and I guess, Holy Diver.”
Albatross have been working on their new album, set to release by early 2014. Biting into his own version of a “humble pie”, Dasgupta builds on the new material, “The current songs make “The Kissing Flies” look like “Lulu” (yes, the Metallica-Lou Reed debacle). They still have the twists and turns and eccentricity synonymous with Albatross, but are not as all over the place as “The Kissing Flies” was. The songs are also shorter, which make for better live tracks.” Dr Hex, Dasgupta’s stage moniker, is usually the songwriting force behind Albatross’ lyrical and melodic fantasy prowess, but their third album will see the duties shift on their newer members. “Vignesh and Nishith have written most of the material. Vignesh is the dark, brooding, slightly eccentric type (except when he drinks), and the music he writes is very left of center. Nishith, on the other hand, is a total badass. His riffs are soaked and dripping with testosterone; and the two of them make quite the songwriting pair. I have written the theme for the first part of the album and it more fantasy-oriented, while the second part has been the resultant of Jay Thacker’s horrifying vision”, Dasgupta attempts to condense the process.
Dasgupta is a happy guy. Speaking candidly about the tour, he concedes, “For me, it’s a childhood dream come true, really. Albatross only begun as a studio project, with aspirations of going live maybe once, someday, if we were lucky. From there, to sharing the stage with Kreator and Wolf, releasing two albums to worldwide acclaim, and having promoters believe in us enough to book us for a tour outside India is truly overwhelming. At the same time, I am practical, and see it as a stepping stone to hopefully bigger achievements in the future.”
The band, also known for their following of literature and writers recently had another feather in their cap. Says an ecstatic Dasgupta, “Jeff VanderMeer, one of the greatest writers alive, appreciated “The Kissing Flies”, and personally, that’s a huge achievement for me since I’m a huge fan of his works. He has also granted us permission to use one of his writings to compose a song, and we’re going to write a song called The Silence based on his collection of novellas, entitled “The City of Saints and Madmen.””