What an evening! You can’t ask for a better Sunday evening but for the one spent with the metalheads. The sheer energy of such an atmosphere is not only vibrant but infectious too. You become a part of it. You are headbanging to the guitar riffs and the punchy drum beats, forgetting the drudgery of the week. That zing of the metal is unprecedented and quite unbelievable.
That was the case at Assault Fest Vol.2, hosted by Cacophony Networks and held at The Roost Urban Bistro in Hauz Khas Village. It was an assault on the senses for sure, heightening the feel and surging the emotions to new limits. Bands like Chronic Xorn, Dreamscapade, Spear, and Pyramids performed at the venue to the pleasure of metal lovers of the city.
The lineup thrilled everyone present and the loud screeching created a scene akin to the concerts of the best death metal and heavy metal bands of the world. To see something like that happening in Delhi reaffirmed our belief in the live music scene of India. Metal is growing and so are the metal gigs taking place in the major metropolitan centres.
Assault Fest Vol.2
The lineup of the fest was more than just wonderful. Where such superb acts as Chronic Xorn and Spear gather, it’s supposed to go overwhelmingly great. The metal vibes reached a new crescendo with those performances. It enraptured all the metalheads present and the craziness of such an expression blew away many minds.
Spear is a New Delhi based band playing an eclectic mix of heavy and death metal. Their sound is inspired from Biblical themes which are still relevant today. Their music doesn’t define metal but rather deconstructs it. To listen to their jam was a great indulgence. Similarly, the event lineup included Pyramids who specialize in progressive metal. Their band and 2014 EP Sub Rosa has been named so after their fascination with conspiracy theories.
Dreamscapade left a mark through their rambunctious sound. This five-piece progressive metal band from Delhi created quite an atmosphere. The maddening vocals of The’ang Teron involved everyone and created a raucous sense of belonging and togetherness. Rishi Baruah, the Drummer and Manager of the band talked to us about the band and their journey thus far.
He remembers their inception towards the end of 2012 when it was just him and Nimrith (on the guitar) and they used to jam to some quintessential metal tracks. According to him, the metal scene is growing in the country gradually and thanks to Cacophony Records, there has been an increase in the number of metal gigs taking place.
On a personal level, he says that metal defines him. “The Chronic Xorn were the first Indian metal bands I heard. Before that, I used to drum to Green Day, Blink-182 and other punk rock bands. I saw these guys for the first time on YouTube and I was blown away. That’s how I got into metal drumming. So, metal is how I define myself.”
He reminisces about their best gig which was also their first one at Blue Frog in 2014. Many people turned up even though it was a Tuesday night. As for the bands he follows, he likes certain Indian ones such as Yonsample, Chronic Xorn, Scribe and Zygnema. They are also working on an EP. They have recorded four songs and they will be releasing it very soon this year.
The highlight of the evening and perhaps the most popular name in the list is of course the Kolkata band, Chronic Xorn. They believe in hard work and going an extra mile to produce music which is original and empowering. They are ever evolving and the favorites in any crowd. We talked to the band members about the evening and what lies ahead for them.
Talking about where metal stands in the music scene of India, they say that metal is not stagnant – it’s rising and falling. Sometimes it’s going fine and at other times, it has a rough phase. They believe that it would rise further if more people come and pay for listening to metal and attending the gigs.
“Once more people will start paying for metal concerts, more venues will start opening up.” That is something which would give more opportunities to the metal bands and organisers alike.
Since this is their first gig in Delhi, they were excited since they had heard about the metal scene in Delhi and the kind of enthusiastic response it gets here. But being from Kolkata, they do think that they were outsiders because there is quite a difference in how people talk and behave. They believed that after the gig last night, everything would fall into place.
Metal is a way of expression for these guys too. It’s similar to crying when you are sad and laughing when you are happy. Even though they are in the same band, they have different inspirations amongst them. They feel differently about metal and that is what matters to them; something you feel instead of something imposed on you. Some of them are inspired by modern metal while others love the old school bands like Metallica, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Deep Purple, etc. The classic rock and metal bands have had an overall influence on them.
For the kind of venues they like to perform at, they prefer college festivals because of the crowd that turns up. “It sounds little weird but we still want to play in front of crowds which are not much metal oriented. Because at the end of the day, you open up more possibilities for people who do not know about metal. The crowd learns a thing or two after we perform,” they said.
Like Dreamscapade, they are also going to release an EP soon. It is called For these sins who must die. They have been working on it since a while but it’s never too late. And they have more surprises planned ahead for their fans.
We got to talk to Anunay Chatterjee from Cacophony Networks about the event as well and got to know his take on the metal scene and received some interesting answers.
According to Anunay, the metal environment was brilliant in Delhi and throughout the country till 2010 but then things started deteriorating. The sad demise of the publisher of Rock Street Journal, Amit Saigal was a big blow to the entire rock and metal scene in the country. Amit Saigal was one of the biggest promoters of rock music in India and his magazine was the first rock magazine in the country.
But Anunay also believes that it’s seeing a revival in a way now: “In Delhi, metal is getting back to the way it used to be. On an average, around 3 or 4 metal gigs happen every month. So, it’s getting back to its roots, like how it used to be.”
One of the issues which acts as a challenge for organising metal gigs is that it is still hard to book venues because not all the places entertain metal. They cater to mostly popular demands of Bollywood and EDM at best. He is now coming across more venues which entertain independent musicians of rock and metal by giving them the stage for performances. He tells us that certain venues have especially come to support the metal gigs and artists, including antiSOCIAL, Matchbox, The Roots Bistro and Junkyard Cafe in Saket. These are limited in number but there are hopes that more places will be open to it in the near future.
Another challenge according to him is a dearth of metal acts in the country. He says that the most popular names that come to mind from Delhi are Undying Inc or Artillerie and that is because they have made quite a name for themselves after being active for a while.
He also comments on the metal bands that have disbanded because they couldn’t see a future for themselves in metal music. Some of them are coming back together and reuniting. It is a good sign and we may yet come to see a revamp and resurgence in the popularity of metal.
In order to reach out to the metalheads, Anunay tells us that it is mostly carried out through the Facebook page of Cacophony Networks. They have many followers who get to know about the events being organised by them. “We do rigorous promotions for each and every gig of ours. That’s about the online promotion. Then, we have on ground promotions as well. We distribute and post our pamphlets at cafeterias and colleges of DU and Amity.”
He also has a long list of favorite bands, such as Spear(earlier Spear of Destiny), Undying Inc, Bhayanak Maut, Scribe, Nigambodh, Artillerie and Chronic Xorn. He himself started playing metal after listening to Joint Family.
This event hosted by Cacophony Records got a wonderful response. Some of their upcoming events include a gig by Dhruv Vishvanath on 11 January, followed by Assault Fest Vol.2.1 taking place on 13th at the same venue.