Gypsy Interview

Gypsy are a breath of fresh air in the South Asian underground music scene right now. While most bands concern themselves with the extreme end, exploring the harsher climates of the metal terrains, Gypsy take us back to the era of catchy hooks, party-singalong choruses, wild solos and general extravagance of the “glam” scene. There’s more though, Gypsy incorporate a traditional South Asian instrument – the sitar – into their sleazy sex-themed music, giving it a local touch. Listening to Gypsy is like going to a party where everyone’s wearing “foreign” clothes but drinking local booze. They’re loads of fun to listen to, and their sitar player Swarnabha Gupta is definitely a fun lad to talk to. Check out my interview with him.

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– Hey Swarnabha. How goes it?

 

Hey Hassan! Everything’s fine..but….Such heat, much pain, need child bear to survive!

 

 

 

– Introduce Gypsy and the lineup.

 

Currently, we’re five. Shanky, the vocal powerhouse..loud as fuck! Budgie, probably one of the most hard-hitting and energetic drummers in the city. Soumya, who has a pretty subdued presence, but you can always hear his low octaves pounding you right there on your heart! Soumalya, the crazy little monster who shreds till he drops. If you dun see his amp volume cranked up to the max., understand that he ain’t in the right mood! And then, there’s me, who adds the oriental flavour and reminds people that there’s still an ounce of India left in our veins. Gypsy is the highest level of escapism ever seen by the people of India. Larger-than-life stage setups, tons of hairspray and makeup, weirdly painted instruments, flashing lights, graphic lyrics about sex and drugs, loud riffs, blazing solos, and of course, the traditional Indian touch which reflects our rich heritage…we’re everything that reality’s not. Actually, most of the people living here have a boring life. They’re always looking for security and missing out on the fun part of life. 10-5 jobs, regular haircuts, fitted formals…BLEHHHHH!! If you’re gonna live life, live it king size. Be flamboyant, be loud, don’t be afraid to be brace. We help them run away from this harsh and oppresive world, even if it is just for an evening..but trust me, they have the time of their lives at our gigs! We remind them that there’s something called having fun. That’s why we’re here!

 

 

 

– You guys are a rare breed – a band dedicated to playing 80’s hard rock/heavy metal.. with the inclusion of a sitar. What exactly drove you guys to the creative pursuit of such music?

 

All of us are big fans of acts like Ozzy Osbourne, Alice Cooper, Iron Maiden, Van Halen, The Scorpions, Motley Crue, WASP, Poison, Warrant..we’ve always had a thing for the ’80s. They are not just about making kickass music, they are about putting up a HUGE show, ensuring that every single person out there in the crowd, who’ve paid for the tickets, have a fuckin’ great time! Thus, Glam Metal. The perfect amount of hard rock, the right grams of Heavy Metal blended with a cup of theatrics and an ounce of badassery! Nowadays, most of us have given into Western culture so much that we don’t remember our own traditions. Well, the sitar’s here to remind them how rich we are culturally. And I had always wanted to play heavy music with my instrument, and change the wrong notion people hold about it. It’s a VERY flexible instrument. I’ve heard people telling me “You can never play Heavy Metal on a sitar. Try playing some commercial fusion..or just stick to classical itself.” But that’s not what I wanted. I wanted to be someone like Slash, someone like Jimmy Page. Someone who’ll not just be a great musician, but someone who’ll inspire millions to take a sitar up and play it! People are afraid of classical instruments. That fear needs to be done away with. That’s what I’m trying to do. I want kids to say “You can do THAT with a sitar? COOOOOL! I wanna play one too!” rather than “A sitar’s too boring and difficult. I’d rather play a guitar” too boring and difficult. I’d rather play a guitar”

 

 

 

– You put out an EP which was pretty well recieved. Are you doing anything new anytime soon?

 

Of course. We’re writing new songs. One’s already done. It’s called Rock Your Heart. It’s in our usual setlist too nowadays. It’s one of those ’80s’ish Rock n Roll anthems! Here’s the song- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQrxpzATpI0&feature=youtu.be

 

 

 

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– How does it affect the dynamics of the live sound, when having an electric sitar in the sound set-up?

 

Haha, the sitar makes our music louder, contrary to popular belief. We’re one of the loudest rock and roll bands in the city, and we ain’t compromising with our loudness for anything! So, way out? If you can’t tone the volume down, make the sitar louder! So, we got dual EMGs for my sitar! Loud enough yet? Judge it yourself folks! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XIds9euMim4&feature=youtu.be Balancing is a tad bit tough though. One tiny error with the sliders and the sitar starts screamin’ like a baaaaaad bitch! So, we balance the sound really carefully, so that it minimises unwanted feedback from the sitar, at the same time preserving the dynamics.

 

 

 

– How is the metal/rock scene in Kolkata nowadays? Any local favorites?

 

It’s developing well. Much of the old-school-new-school hostility is gone, people are working together to organise gigs, the turnout’s good these days, people are ready to pay 200 bucks for a gig, they’re buying local band merch! We witnessed it with our own eyes at the Wacken Metal Battle, where we opened for German Folk Metal band Suidakra along with Djent band Noyze Akademi and Alt. Metallers Ashencore. Guys from KOSMA and Brutal Bengal headbanging together to our songs. It was a treat for us! Almost all the upcoming gigs are featuring bands from both the circuits too! That’s great in my opinion. eg: Slam-Death Metallers Evil Conscience are launching their debut EP, and guess who’re playing alongside ’em on the same bill? Noyze Akademi as well as our Brutal Death and Blackened Death brothers Purgation and Imperial Cult! Hell even we’re playing on the same lineup with veteran Metalcore band Chronic Xorn, Groove metallers Damagera and some other modern metal bands at an upcoming gig called Headbangers! So currently, we’re pretty content with the scene..but it would be great if there were more venues in Kolkata who’d allow Metal gigs. Local favourites: Rock- The High Crook (Blues Rock and Hard Rock), Das Hubris (Blues Rock and Hard Rock) Metal- Steelbird (Classic Heavy Metal), Deadbolt (Thrash Metal), Mortar (Thrash Metal), Armament (Thrash Metal), Imperial Cult (Blackened Death Metal)

 

 

 

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– What are your expectations for the upcoming Devil’s Coven gig?

 

They’re bringin’ down some sweeeeeeeet bands! If it’s done properly, it’ll be a benchmark gig for Kolkata. Ugrakarma and Plague Throat on the same bill? Dayeeeeeem that’s one gig no one would wanna miss! (Alas, I will be missing it. I’m leaving the city on the 28th for 3 long years)

 

 

 

– Since you play Sitar and are well acquainted with classical South Asian music, who are your favorite musicians in that area of music?

 

I’ll give you my top three inspirations. 1) Ustad Shahid Parvez Khan, 2)Ustad Shahid Parvez Khan, 3) Ustad Shahid Parvez Khan. Not just because he’s my Ustaad, but also because there never was, is, or will be someone as badass as him!!! If I’m givin’ you my top 5 inspirations, I’d say 4) Ustad Vilayat Khan and 5) Pt. Ravi Shankar. Damn, I wish I could even place Ustad Rais Khansahib here. I absolutely worship him.

 

 

 

– Plan on doing a solo sitar album some day?

 

Pretty soon bro, pretty pretty soon. Stay tuned.

 

 

 

– Thanks for the time, any advice for the people reading this?

 

Listen to good music, play good music, attend all the local gigs, support the local bands (only the ones you love, of course). Dun lose yourself to the cold world out there. Remember, Rock n Roll’s gonna keep you warm forever!

 

 

 

gypsypool

 

 

Gypsy on Facebook

Karachi Butcher Clan Interview

Karachi Butcher Clan are an act that’s been around for a while, with the members being around in the scene for even longer. Their history stretches back to the initial era of Pakistani metal, with frontman Kamran aka Coffin Feeder being one of the legendary vocalists of the late 90’s / early 2000’s. Despite a long dormant period, KBC are back in action and are ready to decimate all those who oppose their brand of crushing, groove laden and ultimately catchy death metal. I managed to get some of Kamran’s free time to chat with him about the band, the old scene, and the future of Pakistani metal.

 

KBC logo

 

 

– Hey there Kamran, how’s the preperations for the upcoming gig?

 

Don’t ask man, I’m stuck here while the band jams in Karachi, I went there for a few days and we managed to pull off a jam session in utter heat, planning to jam one more time before we hit the stage on the 21st.

 

 

 

– I remember first coming across KBC back in 2006 on an Orkut page and was pretty intrigued with the group. Can you tell us the history of the band and its story til now?

 

Hahaha Orkut man, good old days. Well to cut the long ass story short, I met Leslie through a mutual friend and a guitar player Estes, Les had seen me in my former projects and had been jamming with Kamran Rasheed, our drummer. We started hanging, drinking, smoking and jamming. To my surprise, Les was a brutal shred player with monster riffage and without any force or push, the Karachi Butcher Clan was formed.

Did the first gig after an air jam (no instruments) and it came out to be a blast, we kept going on, through many phases in life, marriages, kids, divorces, more marriages, more kids etc. But it kept growing within us..

Initially we had no studio and then came our salvation as Marnald Jacob (Mickey Jay) Les’s cousin and a good friend also the manager of the band. With his extreme help les set up a studio named Ground Sound and we got all those thoughts over the decade into shape by recording our originals, something we always craved for.

 

 

 

– Despite being around for a long time, you guys have only put out 2 originals. Any reason behind the relative inactivity? Can we expect a definite release in the future?

 

Yeah as I said, we didn’t have a studio and our sound and the music we do, we couldn’t take it to any tom dick or harry to make a fake attempt at the thing we hold religious, and yeah now the things are all set to our needs, we can release a track every week but we’re keeping it low for now, our third release is HEAD HUNTER’S GLORY, due to be released right after Hellfest. We might be doing a pre-release kinda thing playing the track in a radio show ONCE 😉

 

 

 

KBC1

 

 

 

– You’re also a veteran in the Karachi metal scene, having been a part of now-legendary bands such as Hell Dormant and Autopsy Gothic. Can you talk a bit about both those bands? Any chance of reuniting either band?

 

Aaah, Autopsy Gothic was my first love when it comes to my own music, but no chance we’re getting it back since doing it with the original members seems vague. Hell Dormant was me and Wasi Raza forcing our overflowing wicked thoughts into a Pentium 2 (RIP) recorded the whole album in 2 days and I mentioned this somewhere before – I remember the take was on record and Wasi was sleeping with the guitar plugged and so was i, hahaha good old days those were man. the world was very real back then.

If Wasi comes back, we can do a track or two for sure…

 

 

 

– What do you think about Dusk? You’ve been involved in the band as a drummer too, if I recall correctly.

 

One of the first outfits I heard here before Autopsy Gothic was DUSK and SHEMHAMFORASH. Babar Sheikh (GOAT) has always been a friend and an inspiration, his metal has brought good name to Pakistan and yeah me and Aman Durrani recorded an album with him and a track with my drums and backing vocals was in one of his latest releases DEAD HEART DAWNING…

 

 

 

– Being a part of local metal scene since 90’s, how do you think it has grown since then? Do you think the scene and the fans have improved or has it become shittier?

Hahaha both man. Nu Metal has fucked up things a lot here, kids don’t know playing Cannibal Corpse and Limpbiz-DICK on a same player is sin. It has definitely grown over the years but then again, metal is something you can’t force on someone, it just lies inside one’s soul, and seeing all the overall acts in action, I say it’s definitely on the right track…

 

 

 

KBC2

 

 

 

– How did you get into metal back in those days? Was it difficult without the internet, and without metal magazines and stuff?

 

My school buddy, a friend and my band mate Aneeq got me into metal, he used to see me growl and scream for nothing back then and he once gave me a metallic tape, and then onwards life has been VERY different.

And hell yeah man, TDK tapes, old magazines, 8 month old issues of Metal Hammer, Terrorizer and 2-3 music stores were all we have besides some of the buds that we made through metal – Salman Mumtaz, Nabeel, Babar – i copied a lot of metal from their hard drives to mine and damn those days man, it was a religion that we followed very honestly.

I remember hitting a net cafe to see the world is and got out with print outs of Cannibal Corpse and Death’s lyrics to all the tracks we loved but hardly understood. Internet has made it really easy for anyone to do anything.. then again its good as well as bad.

 

 

 

– Tell us about your previous experiences playing at Hellfest. Are you looking forward to the next edition?

 

Man we were super excited to play here in Hell Fest-1, immediately after that we had a hangout session with Inferner boys – Atrium Animus back then and we made good friends with them. I think it’s a great platform and KBC will always be a major support…

 

 

 

– Do you feel Hellfest improves the scene?

 

It surely does, if proper coverage is done in the magazines and news and over the internet, it clearly shows that the metal scene still lives amidst all the crap that the new world and media has to offer.

 

 

 

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– What’s in the future plans for KBC?

 

Hmmm, we’ll be releasing the third track soon and then the debut album by December this year probably, we are in touch with some labels that showed interest n our music and I’m quiet hopeful this year will mark the debut album for Karachi Butcher Clan.

 

 

 

– Thanks for your time. Any last words?

 

Hahaha i don’t see a gun on my face but yea my last words would be – BE YOURSELF, as a nation, we are extremely fucked, we lack the emotion to co-exist and i think this is the one thing that is taking us down as a country, learn to co-exist , support and like each other, the world out there is waiting to crush us under their boots, if anything can save us from vanishing from the face of earth – it surely is coexistence, genuinety and honesty to any profession.

For younger musicians, I’d strongly suggest, there a time for listening music first, don’t rush to be on stage, i have seen kids making a joke outta themselves on stage and this can be handled when you practice to the max, be on stage after 4 years or maybe 10, but once you are on, do it with your heart, not fingers, limbs or throats.

Horns up to you guys for this interview, to everyone doing metal in this age in Pakistan, to the Hellfest management and every single one supporting metal.

KEEP FUCKING SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL UNDERGROUND.

Cheers and Respect. \,,/

 

 

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Karachi Butcher Clan on Facebook

“My lil’ Murrican Adventure” – MDF retrospective

Guest writer Shruti Kumar wrote about her experience at Maryland Death Fest and wanted us to put it up here. It’s a nice little read that gives some insight into the things people are willing to do to see the best extreme metal festival in contemporary times. She’s an Indian who currently resides in Australia as a permanent citizen, and regularly attends local shows as well. Read on:

 

 

Asphyx

Asphyx

 

 

So here I was, looking at the Maryland Deathfest XII lineup for the first time. I’m your typical overseas-based university student, with only a fast food job to sustain my gig needs and this wasn’t even a local show. I’d always wistfully gazed at MDF lineups every year but this time the lineup was so fucking unreal that I just HAD to be there. Mostly for the fact that I’ll get to see Immolation twice because I’m a massive Immolation fangirl and by massive I mean being-at-the-front-taking-pictures-screaming-for-autographs fangirl. I hardly ever feel like that for a band because let’s face it, band members are probably just as fucked up as you are, if not more. So anyway, to make this work, I’d have to sort out money, flights, visas, university, immigration and parents (yes, that is actually a legitimate concern for an Indian kid). I had traveled internationally before, but never alone. Thankfully, I have super liberal and highly educated parents, who even though were initially reluctant to let their little girl go alone to a foreign country for an extreme metal festival, eventually thought that this would be good to make me self-sufficient. For money, I worked my arse off and saved up cash. Stopped spending as much, worked full time for the three months I had off after my second semester finished. One thing I had decided right from the start was that I’ll have to make this happen by myself so I didn’t burden my parents financially. Money and parents sorted. Now for the worst part, immigration. Immigration was the one thing that made organizing this trip a massive pain and a lot more difficult than it should’ve been. I lost my passport so I had to deal with cops and some really nasty people at immigration but once my application was finally in, it was just the wait. Oh, the fucking wait. It took about a month for me to get it back but little did I know that my problems had just started. Because bam! As you can guess, it was time for me to get visas. Since I’m a permanent resident in Australia but actually an Indian citizen, I had to get two visas. I won’t bore you with the details, but long story short, the US tourist visa was the reason that led me to be uncertain if I was even gonna make it till the last minute. Literally. I really wish I was kidding, but nope. My visa interview was 2 days before my flight was supposed to leave. Thankfully, I didn’t buy tickets and decided to wait till my visas came through ‘cause I’m smart like that. Anyway, my visa got approved but I read on the US immigration website that my passport won’t be sent back to me within five days. BA DUM TSS! All my hopes of going to the US crushed in a minute. All the months I spent working hard and dealing with immigration gone for nothing. It affected me more than any break up I ever had and it was just plain awful. So much so that I tried to find solace in alcohol when I don’t even fucking drink. But life had something else in store for me. The very next day I found out that my passport had been shipped and I would be able to go to the US afterall! So I did end up going, albeit three days later than planned. It was pretty outrageous, I got my flight tickets at 4 pm and my flight left 7 am the next morning. But as you would’ve guessed by now, I’m a pretty crazy person. It was a jampacked trip, with so much to do and see in just a week. But I was up for it. I admit, I’ve been a very naughty girl to make this work, I skipped uni and rescheduled a few assessments. But look at the fucking lineup! Can you blame me? In a matter of four days I saw Immolation, Incantation, Asphyx, Gorguts, Necros Christos, Mgla, Pseudogod, Coffins, Noothgrush, Crowbar, Agalloch and so many others. Phew! And I was right at the front for almost everything because if you haven’t experienced a band up front, I highly recommend it. I also got to meet Ross Dolan and Rob Vigna of Immolation which was an absolute dream true and made my US trip worthwhile straightaway. I also had great company, my friends Gautam and Nikhil, who were so much fun to hang with! Here’s a few day-to-day updates/diary notes from the time I was in MDF and then came back:

 

 

Noothgrush

Noothgrush

 

 

After the prefest gig: Got to see Immolation in a private gig environment and being practically on top of the stage for the entire thing. Had a super long chat with Ross Dolan and Bob Vigna and it really is amazing to know that your favourite band is comprised of really down-to-earth people instead of dickheads, which they very well deserve to be considering the unreal music they make. They played Into Everlasting Fire! I think now I can die happy.

 

MDF Day 1: Coffins were so fucking good! It’s that amazing feeling you get when you finally see a band you’ve been obsessing about for ages. Every track they played off their Buried Death album made their set exponentially great. Crowbar were insanely heavy and other highlights included Whitehorse and Sourvein. Bring on tomorrow!

 

MDF Day 2: Watching Incantation, Bölzer, Agalloch, Mgla, Necros Christos, Cancer, The Ruins of Beverast, At The Gates and Taake back to back on the same day. FUUUUUUUUUCK. This lineup has ruined every music festival for me. Also, bumped into Ross Dolan again and he recognized me. Fuck yeah. Winning.

 

MDF Day 3: HOLY FUCKING SHIT. Asphyx were fucking perfect. Reformed Pungent Stench and Hooded Menace were really tight and so were Tankard, Dark Angel and Noothgrush. Got my hardcore/grind fix from Victims, Dropdead and Birdflesh. Machetazo destroyed the venue and there were many others I can’t be bothered mentioning. I’m gonna have some serious psychological depression after this festival ends but fucking hell, so many happy feels right now.

 

MDF Day 4: Candlemass. Owned. Everyfuckingthing. So much stoner/sludgy/doomy goodness today with My Dying Bride, Bongripper, Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats and Soilent Green. Inquisition rocked my socks and so did Pseudogod and Gorguts. Immolation ending the festival with a second set was probably the best farewell to MDF. Can’t believe I’m flying back to Sydney tomorrow, it’ll take me some time to readjust to drab ol’ life again.

 

On my way back to Australia: Homeward bound. Maryland Deathfest was amazing, never did I see so many bands, have so many people stage dive on my head and have so many guys come up to me and tell me they thought I was gorgeous (which included this creepy Argentinean guy who wanted to get a picture of me). Even though I’m now drugged on painkillers because I headbanged too much and have heaps of overdue assignments and a raging jetlag to look forward to, there’s nothing in my life I want to change right now.

 

So I’m back home now , with 0$ in my bank account and having some serious MDF withdrawals. Everything is dull in comparison to the time I had. After some of the shit I pulled to make this happen, I don’t know if I’d ever get to do this again. But hey, it was totally worth it.

 

 

 

Immolation

Immolation

 

 

– Shruti Kumar

Ecocide – Eye of Wicked Sight (2014)

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Starting as this album does with an unusual spacey ambient track, I did wonder briefly if I was in for brutality in the vein of Wormed. That notion was swiftly dispelled by the first “proper” song, the awesomely-named Planet Eater, which quickly builds from a laid-back intro into the kind of groovy thrash/death riff that fills you with the urge to grab a beer and jump into the pit.

 
Firmly establishing themselves in this mould, the Dutchmen then proceed to pummel the listener into submission with simple, heavy riffs that always just manage to avoid slipping into the horribly overpopulated realm of slam. The outro riff from Alien Intervention is a great example of this; if you’ve got long hair, you’ll be windmilling.
Whilst the vocals could in my opinion benefit from being slightly thrashier rather than remaining steadfastly at Corpsegrinder-approved pitch, the drums are tight and interesting throughout, never leaning too heavily on blastbeats and double-kick, and the bass has a brilliantly nasty tone, and is situated perfectly in the mix, remaining audible without being intrusive.

 
The real highlight of this album, however, is the guitars, which strike a fantastic balance between wild thrashy abandon and threatening death metal chugging. Unknown Disease provides some fantastic opportunities for drunken pit antics, as well as incorporating a solid solo towards the finish, whilst Beneath The Flesh opens with a genuinely unsettling groove riff that breaks into a fun speedy-yet-brutal riff that any 80’s thrasher would be proud to lay claim to, before settling into a great old-school death metal chug-fest.

 
Overall, Eye Of Wicked Sight is a solid representative of often somewhat nebulous genre of death/thrash. Ecocide have got the balance between the two genres (which, don’t forget, share very common roots) just right, and although they may not be a band that immediately stands out from the pack, they do make extremely good music nonetheless. I would very much like to see them build on this foundation and continue to evolve as musicians.

 

Music – It’s not amazingly innovative, but it is good fun.
Artwork – Wonderfully weird and a little bit creepy.
Overall – Well worth checking out, especially for fans of bands like Foetal Juice and Flayed Disciple.

 

ecocide

 

Listen/Buy

Disharmonic Records

– Marcus Vine

“Wasted Years” – Karachi Metal Scene 96-03 pics

I found these pictures on Facebook and I decided to post them on my webzine. I feel it’s important to preserve the heritage and history of Pakistan’s Metal scene, and expose them to people who may not have been a part of that specific era. I got into metal in 2006, and all of this happened before even I was a part of the local scene in my own city of Lahore. A lot of classic and cult Karachi acts are featured in this set of pictures – it’s definitely interesting to note how the crowds were back then and their sense of rock/metal fashion back then. All picture credits go to Hasan Shirazi.

 

 

Autopsy Gothic 2003

Legendary Karachi Death Metal crew “Autopsy Gothic” slaying the audience in 2003. Random gig, couldn’t get the name of the fest. Vocalist Kamran Farooque also was with Hell Dormant for a while but now roars his ferocious growls for Karachi Butcher Clan.

 

 

Fawad Balouch Gig PACC 1996

Fans headbanging at a gig in 1996. 1996! This is from a gig of Fawad Balouch, who had a now-cult band called Kainath/Kosmos. According to some fans, he put out a demo tape in 96/97 and was very Morbid Angel inspired, and also had a cover of Helter Skelter. He was known for his crazy shredding and for being completely innebriated on stage.

 

 

RockFest2001-1

The crowd at Karachi’s Rockfest 2001. This used to be a major yearly event in Karachi back in those days and usually drew a large crowd – as you can see. Metal bands took center-stage with rock bands during those days.

 

 

RockFest2001-2 Autopsy Gothic

The Autopsy Gothic crew posing for a picture with some fans, at Rockfest 2001.

 

 

Rockfest2001-3 Autopsy Gothic

Another picture of Autopsy Gothic at Rockfest 2001. You can see Aneeq Zaman (currently of grindcore/hardcore band Throttle Instinct) there with the same hairstyle and look that he has in 2014. Haha. Aneeq also does artwork for local bands Multinational Corporations (Grindcore), Irritum (Funeral Doom) as well as design posters for the Hellfest event in Islamabad.

 

 

Rockfest2001-4 Seth

A decade ago, in Lahore, there was ONE band that had the notoriety and badass image that no other band could cultivate at that time. That band was Seth. Here’s a picture of Seth’s guitarist tuning his guitar at Rockfest 2001 in Karachi.

 

 

Rockfest2001-5 Babar Sheikh

This man is credited to have laid the foundations for every metal band in Pakistan back in the early 90s. Dusk’s Babar Sheikh has a smoke on stage during Karachi Rockfest 2001. I’m not sure, but his band Northern Alliance was probably playing at this event. From making horrific yet progressive doom/death metal to making barbaric and bludgeoning black/thrash, Babar has always made killer music through the decades.

 

 

Rockfest2001-6

Random shot of some random band playing at Rockfest 2001. Couldn’t get their name, but you can see the crowd’s enjoying themselves. You actually can’t get this sort of packed audience anymore in local gigs. Must have been good times for live music.

 

 

Zakfest 2003-1

Babar Sheikh of Northern Alliance/Dusk with some other people at Zakfest 2003. Zakfest was one of the other big festivals in Karachi during those days.

 

 

Zakfest 2003-2

Another killer shot of the crowd from Rockfest 2001.

 

 

Zakfest 2003-3 Ash

Ash were one of the premier hard rock/grunge bands in Karachi during the early 2000s. This is a fucking legendary picture in my opinion, of them playing at the classic Zakfest in 2003. Look at the fan crowd surfing. You don’t see that anymore at local gigs in Pakistan!

 

 

Zakfest 2003-4

A shot of Zakfest 2003. Autopsy Gothic were ravaging the stage. I have no idea what’s going on there but I want to get up on stage and stagedive ASAP!

 

 

Zakfest 2003-5

Another “I dont know what the hell is going on” picture, but it’s awesome as fuck! 2003, Zakfest. Autopsy Gothic

 

 

 

Hope this sent some of you guys to a nostalgia trip. I’ll be doing another feature on classic pictures of the Lahore metal scene too. If anyone has any pics they’d like to submit, send ’em over.

– Dozakhi

Odem – The Valley of Cut Tongues (2013)

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Odem along with Pyre is the best Russian Death Metal band. While the other is more derivative, you can’t hold that against Odem – it’s something else entirely. It’s not old school which is a relief, but it’s got that essence, that substance particularly and it’s taking with it the whole genre ahead. There’s the Black Metal influence coupled with Death Metal brutality not too different from Azarath but this one goes beyond that. It’s also got that eccentric and unpredictable flair, a curveball that Azarath can’t throw. But then again let’s not compare too much and let each band do its own thing. Odem is truly special and deserves your attention.

 

This is an EP however, four songs, all powerful, fast and going straight for the jugular while doing the frills, so to speak, along the way. That’s the way it should be. The momentum is raging, remains like that and your head continues to be crushed or is getting there. The music reeks of an esoteric air which is hard to pinpoint – a remarkable feat these days to do something like that. Given this day and age, with the redundancy of Death Metal bands, Odem’s ‘The Valley of Cut Tongues’ sticks out like a sore thumb everyone wants to suck. It’s that age of infancy all over again, with old school making a comeback, but that’s hardly reinventing the wheel. And that’s what Odem is doing. This will stand the test of time.

 

Released on the respectable Daemon Worship Productions, mostly known for its Black Metal art, this is a great discovery, a revelation for the Death Metal fans. It’s intense, unrelenting and at the same time artistic without allowing pretension to seep through. It’s just too fast and powerful for any of that. This is the template of the future – there are the so-called modern influences reminiscent of the Canadian bands namely Deamon and hints of Cryptopsy and Gorguts, channelled through the Polish school of Death Metal but executed to perfection. I can’t get enough of this EP because there’s so much happening in there and at a speed and level of diversity difficult to comprehend all at once.

 

‘The Valley of Cut Tongues’ is easily one of the best EPs to surface in recent times. It’s almost like the Death Metal equivalent of that sensational Bolzer debut. Odem is more experienced however, having released a full length album prior to this, and is forging its own path, burning conventions and hackneyed templates. Excellent.

 

 

 

odem

 

 

Daemon Worship Productions

Odem on Bandcamp

– Kunal Choksi