December 8, 2021: Thane’s United 21 was host to yet another unhinged gig this last Sunday, when nine predominantly black metal bands from all over the country came together to play Black Metal Krieg 3. While black metal might not be everybody’s piece of cake, given both, the musical styling of the genre itself and also that the local scenesters delve into other more mainstream genres of metal, it was fantastic to see the considerably large turn up for the event. At the outset itself, the gig was nothing short of a leviathan of an event, and for everyone who witnessed it, few words can suffice the aggression, the camaraderie and the passion shone there.
Spiked Crib kicked things off at the gig, playing a live set after almost two years. Spiked Crib has come such a long way from where they started musically. While a whole lot of the symphonic element has been reworked upon by the band, what it has precipitated down to is a considerably grimmer and much, much tighter band than from their earlier performances. Their music packed in an intensity that set the cogs of the gig right into motion, and for most, Spiked Crib has redefined the way they are viewed as a band.
Dormant Inferno followed up, with their morose repertoire of doom metal, and for being probably the only band in the city that caters to the genre, it was good to see them part of this line up. How heavy their set got was evident with the fact that as Kunal Gonsalves droned his vocal parts on and on, he brought on this whole atmosphere of doom, decay even, through his growls and short bursts of shrieks, accentuated heavily with the instrument parts of their songs.
Satanic metallers Solar Deity were the third band on the roster, and straight off, this set of theirs was much better than the sets they have played in the recent past. More than anything, the introduction of a drummer to the live act, instead of a drum machine, added so much more character to the facade of the band. Also, the vocalist Aditya Mehta seemed to be in his element, enjoying the stage more now being absolved of his guitar duties since Niraj Chauhan came over to take that duty. While the band played their regular set, histrionics seemed to be the order of the day, with a smoking pot getting many curious looks.
Jaipur’s Winter Gate followed on, and through their set, the audience stayed mesmerized by their very unique brand of progressive death metal. Their music characterised a tone that has been less explored here, and hence had the audience awed with their unconventionality in sound. Extreme tightness in their set and a super rendition of a Celtic Frost song later, the audience at BMK 3 had only good things to say about the band, and rightly so.
Next up was Bengaluru’s Dark Desolation, and what they brought down to the super colourful, heavily lit up venue was a carnage of sorts, tearing the place up with their repertory of sick guitar riffs and blast beats. The corpse-painted, metal spiked outfit came with the one intention of bitchsmacking the audience with their brand of black metal, and that’s precisely what they managed through their set. The tones on the guitar seemed much more pronounced than normal, the newly acquired Railhammer pickups seeming to play their expected role well. Add to that Maggot’s excessively aggressive vocals, seeming almost self-harming in a way and this was perhaps the best performance of the day.
Crowd favourites Cosmic Infusion were the next up to play, and this second army of corpse-painted musicians brought the house down with their take on black metal. High on creating an ambience, an atmosphere that renders their music a very old-school black metal feel, what is really brilliant, always, about a Cosmic Infusion set is the level of interaction between the band and its audience. Almost sacrosanct this connection is where the band and audience melds in the music. “I celebrate the burial of their own” is perhaps a phrase still resounding in every audience member’s ears. Also, to see vocalist Sushan Shetty enjoy every moment of the audience response made for a very awesome retrospect of the gig.
Insane Prophecy from Guwahati were the seventh band to play at this massive gig. Their set only brought down more insanity to an already power packed, and music-hungry audience. It’s damn right impossible to describe anything about this band without using the term “monstrosity”, and what makes them even more unbelievable is the amount of force they exuded of stage; while guitarist Xulfi Nawaz and bassist Ifty Sarwar don’t seem physically built for the music they play, they punched in a nuclear bomb of energy into their set with Malice quite literally abusing the drum kit. Mumbai has got accustomed to seeing this band play mad sets every time, and being the awesome musicians they are, they didn’t fail to deliver at BMK either.
Stark Denial, the main guys behind making Black Metal Krieg happen year after year took the stage next and provided a maniacal set, complete with a very personalized, yet very true take on black metal. Kunal Gonsalves on vocals again did poetic justice to the role he plays in the band, as did every other member of Stark Denial. Quick guitar riffs, interesting bass plays and highly off-timed drumming along with Gonsalves’ vocals gave the crowds every reasons to keep raising them horns, and watch spellbound from time to time. Another set that was extremely tight, and no frills, Stark Denial played a set that many in the audience believed to be the best of the night.
1833 AD were the headliners for the grand gig, among the largest line-ups the city has ever seen. Hailing from New Delhi, it was pretty easy to see why these guys were the headliners for the event. Playing the city the second time in the year, 1833 AD played a set that just didn’t seem to get over, the brilliance of it being that the band were game to playing tracks on and on, for as long as the supply of songs could last, it seemed. While the band played a host of songs from the EP “My Dark Symphony”, what was also awesome was they played unreleased material, and played right until the audience had had its fill of metal for the night.
Kudos to the organizers of such gigs that give opportunities to both, band as well as audience to enjoy so much brilliant music in one single night. As massive gigs go, this was one massive hit.
Pictures: Sushant Sawant