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Interview: India’s Thrash Metal Powerhouse Kryptos

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Nine Circles

kryptos

With just over 2 months to go for the end of the year, there’s been another killer release from the Indian metal scene; Burn up the night by heavy metal band Kryptos. The band are one of the oldest surviving metal bands in India. Over the past 18 years they have released 3 albums.

Burn up the Night released through AFM Records features a straight up 80’s heavy metal sound which will appeal particularly to “old school” metal fans. I enjoyed the album as the songwriting and production contrasts with the sterile sounds of upcoming bands

I (Peter ‘Trendcrusher‘ K.) spoke to vocalist/guitarist Nolan Lewis about their change in sound, music videos and their recent European tour.

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October 12, 2016 at 11:22 pm

Eccentric Pendulum

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Eccentric Pendulum

Eccentric Pendulum are a progressive metal band from Bangalore, India. They released the EP ‘Sculptor of Negative Emotions’ in 2009 and the album ‘Winding The Optics’ in 2011. Winners of the Indian leg of the Wacken Metal Battle, the band were the first to represent India at the global metal battle at Wacken Open Air 2011.

I spoke to the band about their new single ‘Resisting Another Equation’ and also their future plans for Transcending Obscurity here

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December 25, 2015 at 12:30 am

Ironic Reversal Interview

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Ironic Reversal are a metal band from Bangalore. I discovered them through a facebook post by my friend Abbas (Skrypt) and was impressed with what I heard. The band released their 2nd album ‘Dysgenic‘ in October. I spoke to the band about the album, the concept behind it and more.

Ironic Reversal

Madhur Murli (guitars), Kaushal LS (vocals), Rahul Kini (drums)

Ironic Reversal has been around for just over a year now. How did the project start?

Madhur: Ironic Reversal started off as a bedroom project when I was studying in Manipal. By December 2013, I had written most of the songs for Clonus and was looking to record and release it. Around the same time, I was introduced to Rahul Kini by our producer Narayanan. All of us were playing together as a part of an instrumental prog metal band called Analyzed Consequences. Narayanan—after watching a couple of Orchid’s shows—suggested that I approach their vocalist Kaushal to perform the vocals on Clonus. Kaushal was interested and we started working on the album immediately. Rahul had helped me out with the drum programming during Clonus and I was really happy with the result. So, when it came to the drums for Dysgenic, I was absolutely sure that I wanted him to do it. I asked him to officially come on board and he agreed.

What is Dysgenic about? Tell us a bit about it.

Kaushal: Dysgenic speaks of a bleak, dystopian future where genetic experimentation has spiraled completely out of control. GMO mega-corporations have seized power and have replaced the democratic governments of the world with a corporate republic. As a result, all privately-owned mass media is criminalized, protests of any kind are banned, propaganda is rampant, farmers live in perpetual debt slavery, all organic food is outlawed and radical environmentalists have resorted to terrorism.

And that’s just the premise. It’s a tale that spans the five songs of Dysgenic. You can check out the lyrics and the extended synopsis here

Dysgenic

What was the songwriting process for the album? How long have you been working on it?

Madhur: The songwriting process began in January 2015, a few months after we released our debut album Clonus. It took me about three months to write all the five songs in Dysgenic. After finalizing the guitar parts, our drummer Rahul spent a month on the drum lines. Since we decided to program drums rather than go to a studio, we spent more time trying to humanize the drums as much as possible. Rahul literally mapped note-per-note of what he was playing on the drums to MIDI. Once the drum lines were written, I borrowed a friend’s bass and spent about a couple of weeks writing the bass parts.

After hearing how the whole thing was sounding, I felt that there was a certain flow amongst the songs. I thought of making the record a concept album which our vocalist/lyricist Kaushal seemed pretty interested in. Kaushal started making notes of possible ideas and storylines that would fit the music. It took some time to narrow down the final theme of Dysgenic—we wanted to get it right. Once we did that, the lyric-writing process began.

All in all, the entire songwriting process took about six months.

How was the recording process? How long did it take?

Madhur: Considering the fact that I had moved to Delhi when we decided to go ahead with the album, I had to make a schedule of how we were going to go about recording the album. The first step was to freeze the guitar parts, which I did and tracked each song as I finalized the parts. This took about two weeks after which I sent the guitar tracks to our producer Narayanan in Manipal.

Since we programmed the drums, we didn’t have to spend time recording them in the studio. Although, as I’d mentioned earlier, Rahul spent quite some time humanizing the drums as much as possible.

The next step was to record the bass, for which I went to a friend’s (who’s bass I’d borrowed) house to record. Recording the bass took only three days since all the parts were pretty much written.

On Narayanan’s advice, we headed to Manipal to record the vocals. We spent three days recording. During the free time, I sat with Narayanan to figure out guitar, bass and drum tones.

How does it compare to your previous album, Clonus?

Madhur: From the writing perspective, the biggest difference would be that the tracks in Dysgenic are linked to each other. I had written Clonus over nine months and all the songs are kind of disconnected. Dysgenic was written over three months and a certain amount of continuity was maintained. Clonus was our first album and I feel we were still looking for our style and sound but with Dysgenic, I think we finally have a distinct style and sound.

Kaushal: Lyrically as well, all the songs on Clonus have individual themes; some were inspired by a few ’70s sci-fi/dystopian films. But for Dysgenic, the lyrics were written as a whole with a specific concept and storyline in mind. It’s meant to be heard/read from start to finish

Do you plan on playing live anytime soon?

Madhur: I don’t think we will go live anytime soon, mainly due to the fact that I’m currently in the USA for a master’s degree.

Listen to ‘Dysgenic‘ below

Photo Credit: Photo 1 – Khalid Saquib,photo 2 & 3 – Neerav Nagumantri

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December 2, 2015 at 2:49 pm

Introducing: Deadstar

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image

Who: Deadstar is the instrumental project of Nihal Anand.

Where: Bangalore, India

What:  Last month, Deadstar released his debut album “In Between Dreams“. “Well its quite varied for the different songs on the album. A lot of the mood is based on travel and places I was lucky enough to see during the time I was writing the album.” said Nihal about the album. “Other songs are based off of TV shows, other bands, people that I know well and people I’ve never met. So it’s basically anything that really pushed me to feel something over the last 4 months. I think most of the songs are quite happy on the surface, but they all make me a tiny bit sad, so I think that’s the perfect vibe for this album.”

How:  “I’ve been writing songs for the album since May this year so its been about 3 months of writing, I usually finish writing/recording a song in a day so its still fresh, so I guess its 10 days of those 3 months that I actively spent writing songs.” said Nihal about how he went about writing the album. “A lot of times I didn’t feel like I could come up with anything nice if I forced it so I just picked up the guitar when I felt like. I probably spent more time travelling and collecting ideas in those months. Since I play and record alone, the songwriting process is completely linked to the recording. I’ll start off recording the riffs I have in mind, then add in second guitar and whatever drums I have in mind and from there it just keeps going. I rarely I have complete songs written when I start recording, because I need to know how all the parts sound together.”

“So that way, the actual recording was about 10 days and then I sat and obsessively mixed it for a few weeks, adding in keys, electronic bits and field recordings.” said Nihal about the recording process. “I do everything at home on my own, I recently bought this really nice Focusrite sound card and since I have an amp simulator I can record at any time, but it’s usually in the wee hours of the morning.”

Listen to “In Between Dreams” below

 

Written by trendcrusher

September 28, 2015 at 10:00 am

Bevar Sea Interview

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Bevar Sea are doom metal band from Bangalore, India. I interviewed them 3 years ago when they release their self titled album. This weekend they release their second album ‘Invoke the Bizarre’ in India (Worldwide release 31st October). I caught up with Srikanth, guitarist of Bevar Sea and spoke to him about their new album, the different approach they took and also advice he had for bands planning to self release their music and merchandise.

Bevar Sea - 2015

Avinash Ramchander (Bass), Deepak Raghu (Drums), Rahul Chacko (Guitars), Ganesh Krishnaswamy (Vocals) and Srikanth Panaman (Guitars) (Left to Right)

Congrats on the release of your second album ‘Invoke the Bizarre’. Tell us a bit about the album.

Srikanth Panaman: Hey Peter. Long time no see! Invoke the Bizarre has been cooking slowly since the first album came out and we finally were able to record late last year and put it out this year. It is out on September 25th in India and October 31st in the rest of the world. It’s been a labour of love from everyone involved, and we’re excited to have the fans hear it finally.  

How does the album compare to your debut album?

Srikanth Panaman: The first album was good for what it was at that time. We got the best out of what we had and knew at that time. On the second one, we went in knowing a lot more about recording and engineering, and we went in as better performers. Musically, this still stoner and doom, but it’s darker and more varied than the first one.

I remember you released a demo of ‘Sleeping Pool’ in December 2012. How long have you’ll been working on the songs for the album?

Srikanth Panaman: Sleeping Pool was written in 2011 before the first album came out, Where There’s Smoke (There’s a Pyre) was written in 2012, Bearded and Bizarre was written in 2013, The Grand Alignment, Bury Me in NOLA and Heathen were written in 2014. We are slow, much like our music. If we’re able to recover the money invested on an album sooner, and save up for the next album sooner, we will get off our asses and write more but one album every three years is not too bad. I’d ideally like us to have a smaller release between two full lengths, so let’s see how things go.

Invoke

‘Invoke the Bizzare’ was recorded at Adarsh Recording Studio. How different was the recording process this time around?

Srikanth Panaman: We booked ten whole days at the studio for recording each band member separately and we wanted to use the big room and the fancy mics that the studio had at its disposal. We went in the order of drums, bass, rhythm guitars, additional guitars, acoustic guitars, lead guitars, and vocals over the course of the ten days, and spent the eleventh day listening to each track and then consolidate various takes. This was a pro approach and it was a great experience for us. We’d like to be in a real studio and not a home studio because the equipment is better, and more importantly the recording room itself is better. We also can’t afford to be lazy because time is limited, so that helps us finish what we started as per schedule. We all took time off work and got this done, so it wasn’t a weekend project for us.

You have been working with Matt Lynch (Mysterious Mammal Studios) on the album. How was the experience been?

Srikanth Panaman: Matt plays for an old timey Seattle/LA band called Snail and that’s how I got to know him. He had also worked with bands like Nebula and others, and I always liked the way his drums and the way the ‘room’ sounds in his mixes. We were more metal than his usual work, but when I told him what we’re going for on each track, he understood immediately and got the mixes the way I’d wanted. We gave him a good sounding recording, and the tones were all there. His job was mainly to remove all the mud, and to give us that big overall sound. We’re super happy with the results.

Your self titled album was released on Iron Fist records, a label started by the band. What did you’ll learn from the experience? What advice would you give other metal bands that plan on self releasing their EP/ Album?

Srikanth Panaman: That was a name we used because our then manager Salman (from Bangalore Open Air) wanted to use Kryptos’ and our releases to start a label to support and push good local bands but that never took off. We are putting this one out on our new imprint called The Mighty Riff Records, something I’ve been meaning to start for a couple of years but finally getting to. I sure do have some advice: Don’t compromise on the artwork and packaging. Don’t think of yourself as a local band. Don’t expect people to buy CDs if you don’t have a CD collection yourselves. Don’t expect to make your money back if you invested despite knowing your album had no demand to begin with. Learn everything about the workings of being in a band, including printing, pressing CDs, making merch, logistics, management, recording, video editing, designing, web designing – whatever talents you have acquired can be of use and can help you make your money back. The more skillful you are, the better it is.

Were you satisfied with the response your first album received? Are you planning anything different for the release of ‘Invoke the Bizarre’?

Srikanth Panaman:The first album far exceeded our expectations in terms of response. We’re hoping the second one will kick things up a few notches for us – especially in Europe, UK, and the US. These are the three territories where we got the most real purchases from, so we’d like to go a little deeper in those markets with this album.

What are your plans for the rest of the year?

Srikanth Panaman: We’re taking things slow this year. We just want to put this out and make sure the album reaches the right audience around the world.


Any final words?

Srikanth Panaman: Thanks for letting us talk about our new album man. Your readers can always go to the below links to follow us.

http://bevarsea.bandcamp.com [pre-orders are online here]

http://fb.com/bevarsea

http://youtube.com/bevarsea

Listen to three songs from ‘Invoke the Bizzare’ below

Written by trendcrusher

September 25, 2015 at 10:00 am

Dying Embrace Interview

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Last July/August, Cyclopen Eye productions released “Through corridors of dead centuries“, a split between two veteran bands from the Indian subcontinent, Dusk (Pakistan) and Dying Embrace (India). I described the release as “death/doom metal recommended for those who preferred metal that sounds raw”. It was Dying Embrace first release since they got back together in 2011.

This interview was originally planned to go along with the one with Dusk however it got delayed due to various reasons. I spoke to Vikram Bhat via email about their side of the split and their future plans.

 

Dying Embrace

Vikram Bhat (Vocals), Jimmy Palkhivala (Guitars), Deepak Raghu (Drums) and Pritham Denzil D’Souza (Bass) (Left to Right)

 

Where did the idea to do the split come about? Did Sandesh from Cyclopean Eye productions have anything to do with it?

Vikram: Hello Peter , actually this split was possible only because of Sandesh of Cyclopean Eye Productions. He always spoke about this idea right from the early years, even when the band was inactive and on a hiatus at the same time even Dusk were in suspended animation and he said, if these 2 bands ever return then a split has to happen, those knowing Sandesh, he always has had it his way.

How does it feel to have your first release out in over a decade?

Vikram: It’s a very surreal feeling, a bit of deja-vu a bit of disbelief all rolled into one. We never thought the band would return back, the love and support we have got since we returned has been fantastic. It’s a great feeling to see so many fans who still remember the band even though we were gone for a good 10 years.

Tell us a bit about the songs your side of the split. What are they about?

Vikram: We have 4 original compositions and a cover on our side of the split. 3 songs and one instrumental, the songs have a very different approach and yet still retain the trademark Dying Embrace sound. A melting witches cauldron of Death and Doom Metal with several influences which the band members brought in. The songs just like our older material deal with the occult, mythology and religion.The fans will get what they have loved and liked from us over the years.

How different was the recording process this time around?

Vikram: Very different actually, recording music has seen a sea change over the past years and for us it was an all new learning experience, luckily we had Srikanth Panaman of The Doom Cave Studio producing us and he guided and showed us the newer technology we had at our disposal now. It was a great experience indeed and the band enjoyed putting the new songs together for the split CD.

What are you plans for the rest of 2014? Any plans to release a full length album soon?

Vikram: Since 2014 has passed and we are into 2015,we have a few shows lined up for the rest of the year, a 7” split vinyl EP may happen by the end of the year, we have never got down to writing a full length album ever, I don’t think that will ever happen.

Any Final words?

Vikram: 666 apologies for the delayed replies to the interview,the past year hasn’t been easy on me personally and a lot of things got pushed to the back but I still owed you this one and here it is! Thanks for the support and patience and salutes & respect to all the fans and friends who have supported us, you rule and you know who you are!

Listen to ‘Ascendance of Namtar‘ from “Through corridors of dead centuries” below

 

Written by trendcrusher

July 21, 2015 at 10:00 am

Spiral Ascent – A look back at the debut album of Kryptos

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As a collector of CDs, there are a few that stand out and one such album is Kryptos Spiral Ascent. The Bangalore based band’s debut album was incidentally the first Indian metal album, I’ve owned. Over an email interview vocalist Ganesh discusses Kyrptos’s formative years, the Bangalore metal scene and ten years of Spiral Ascent.

Kryptos - 2004

Nolan Lewis (Guitars), Akshay Patel (Guitars), Ryan Colaco (Drums) and Ganesh K (Vocals/Bass) (Left to Right)

On Kryptos’ early years:
Kryptos started out as a college band called “8 on the Richter”. “8OTR (hated the name) was a band I had put together with a bunch of dudes in late 96/97.” said Ganesh about the band. “I met Nolan at St. Joseph College of Commerce’s admission queue. We didn’t quite take to each other, but I remember our dads talking about some shit. Next thing I knew, we were in the same class and shared common tastes in heavy music. It was in passing I asked him if he played the guitar. Not only did he say yes, he owned a guitar AND an amp. That did it. I spoke to the rest of 8OTR and he became a member. A few line-up changes followed and it was just Nolan and I – we decided to look for a drummer. We found Chinlen Singh through an ad I placed on RSJ [the now defunct magazine]. It was then that we decided 8OTR sucked. We needed a better name that would reflect what we were into and what we intended to write.”

On Bangalore:
“Bangalore, then & now (not so much), is pretty much a classic rock/metal town. It was not odd to hear Slayer, Megadeth, Dio, Black Sabbath being played at pubs – hell! I have even heard Death’s Symbolic at a bar in Bangalore. There was a legendary wall on Brigade Road where someone had spray painted SLAYER. From college benches to pub loos, it was not out-of-the-place to find AC/DC, GN’R, Slayer, Scorpions, etc. There was a healthy local metal scene with bands like Millenium, Crimson Storm, Vulcan Haze, W.A.R.D.E.N, etc gigging. There were numerous pubs and bars that played everything from heavy blues, hard rock to early metal. There was no scene, but the seeds were sown.”

Being a part of  compilations:
Headbangalore’ was a compilation of Bangalore bands Phallusy, Threinody, Myndsnare and Kryptos. Forsaken, Forgotten (land of ice) and Clandestine Elements were the 3 tracks by Kryptos that were part of the compilation. “We were siting around Threinody’s rehearsal space, which we shared with them for a while, drinking beer and shooting the breeze when we decided that we could actually go out and do a fucking compilation.The effort was great; the involvement was spot on, but the studio and the mixing engineer sucked. The release was well received though we were never really studio ready, but then what mattered back then was the DIY approach – people dug it.”

“Back then, the only gigs that were happening were college and other miscellaneous competitions. We took part in as many. We didn’t give two hoots about winning and all that; we just wanted to play live. The law of averages caught up and won a few. One of the prizes was that we could record a couple of songs at this studio called Throatlatch Studios in Navi Mumbai. The owners then released one of the songs, Descension, on a compilation called Deep Throat.”

10 years of Spiral Ascent:
“Man, that album took forever to record. I don’t remember the sequence of events but we recorded and tracked everywhere! From Warren’s [Mendonsa] place in Dadar to a few studios in Bangalore, including Ricky Kej’s – he is a Grammy winner today – w00t! Looking back, how I wish we had someone to whoop our arses and helped us save time and money, but I would do it all over again. No regrets.”
“Few Indian bands had released albums a decade ago. “How? We just did. There were quite a few Indian bands that released original music before us. From Thermal and a Quarter to Millennium, Rock Machine to Vulcan Haze. We felt we have 8 odd songs, let’s just put it out and get on with it.”

On the line-up for the album:

“Chinglen Singh had to leave Bangalore and head back to Assam due to personal reasons. Ryan Colaco was then with Angel Dust, we asked him to moonlight for a couple of gigs we had coming. And that was that. With Akshay it was a bit more complicated. I had heard of this guy who’d come to Kryptos gigs, record it and bootleg. I loved that! I am not sure how we met, if he auditioned or whatever – but before we knew he was there. A great guitar player with quite a personality.”

On Writing for the album:
“We never sat down and said, ‘hey! Enough of the beer! Let’s write an album!’ It happened over time, when we had enough material we began the recording process.”

Spiral Ascent

On Recording the album:
The album was recorded by Clay Kelton at his studio. “Took a couple of weeks, months maybe. The process was an on-the-go one – oh Ryan’s here today, eh? Let’s track the drums! Or ‘is that Tiny (Trinity D’Souza, Cryptic)? Dude, play a solo here!’ So, it was all over the place – quite a miracle we actually put something out. Those days were a bloody haze. Bet there are a few. I remember setting Akshay’s vodka on fire once, don’t know why or what happened after. But Clay didn’t like it much.”

On the album art:
“The cover art was design by Niklas Sundin (Dark Tranquillity). Being fans of DT’s early work – musically and cover art-wise, we decided to mail him for fucks sake. When he replied it was like ‘Woah! We need to pay him money now!”

If they had to change anything…
“Apart from playing to a metronome, not a bloody thing.”

Parting words:
“Eat shit, drink beer and bark at the moon! Also, buy our merch!”

This week Kryptos head to Germany on tour with Death Angel. Those in the area should definitely head to one of the show, tour dates are below.

Kryptos Europe tour poster 2015

Written by trendcrusher

July 14, 2015 at 10:00 am