I have to admit that I am a little hypocritical. Even though I complain about the state of the local metal scene, rarely have I ever done anything about it. I am one of those people who like to point out flaws and problems without offering any solutions. I am the metal equivalent of an armchair critic. The internet has been a great leveler. No longer do you have to step out of the confines of your home to listen to good metal. And this has led to a decrease in the willingness of the average metalhead to discover new bands and sounds in the local scene. And man just got lazier.
I had attended a local gig earlier but that was more due to chance rather than choice. So this time, I decided to attend Outrage Festival held in Blue Frog, Delhi. The lineup consisted of some of the most promising upcoming bands like Nigambodh, Fragarak and Colossal Figures and some established metal acts like Undying Inc and Zgynema. The whole experience made me pen down reasons as to why I think the scene is far from dead –
1. The bands
In one word, the local bands are brilliant. There is no specific scene/genre that the bands belong to so this diversity gives you a wide range of bands to check out. In Outrage itself there was something for groove metal fans (Aberrant and Zygnema), modern metal fans(Undying Inc and Colossal Figures) and death metal fans (IIIrd Sovereign and Fragarak). The influences of each band were varied and every band had their own unique style. So there goes your excuse about Delhi not having good enough bands.
2. The influence of Tool
Tool may not have released an album in 8 years but their legacy grows by the day. This was exemplified by all the bands performing at Outrage but especially by Nigambodh, Fragarak and Colossal Figures. The lead bass style of Justin Chancellor has been adopted by a lot of the bassists. There were a lot of songs with odd time signatures and seamless tempo changes. There was also some good incorporation of ambient parts into the songs. You could sense that each of the band had in some way been influenced by Tool. So if you’re a Tool fan and have been waiting for them to release their next album, you could do the next best thing and check out the way they have influenced in Delhi. Now if Tool could just release that next album soon.
3. The Delhi Metalheads
Even though the event started at 3 in the afternoon, Delhi metalheads showed up to support the local bands eagerly. The audience was appreciative the whole time. They showed their support for the bands vocally. When one of the Aberrant guitarists broke a string, the crowd did not grow impatient and waited patiently for them to continue their set. Delhi metalheads are an appreciative, supportive and cool bunch with a great sense of camaraderie. At one point, the audience even applauded the parents of the band members of Colossal Figures. That moment summed up the supportive nature of the audience. Every solo/breakdown/crazy drum fill was followed by generous applause. And the mosh was totally bitchin’.
4. The technical proficiency
I was expecting the bands to be good but they really blew me away with their technicality. Every band was super tight. There were shredding solos, odd timed breakdowns, crazy blast beats and extended bass solos. All the vocalists were unique and pitch perfect (what a terrible movie). Special mention goes to Aberrant for playing every single note perfectly. They covered DevilDriver and never missed a single beat. The drummers for all the bands were very talented and willing to experiment outside the standard 4/4 beats. And the guitarists. John Petrucci would be proud. It just goes to show how far along the scene has come when doing sweep picking is the norm and not the exception.
5. The statement
Music is a great way to make a statement. Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine once said that the statement you make is as important as the notes you play and the Nigambodh vocalist summarized it quite eloquently when he said, “Fuck racism and fuck Modi”.
6. The interaction
It was great to share a smoke with some of the musicians preforming at the festival. There was genuine respect for each other amongst all the bands. The banter turned towards the World Cup final as everybody pitched in with their convoluted theories of who would win. Kartikeya of Fragarak was cool enough to introduce us to some of the musicians. “They should at least give us free smokes” was overheard.
7. The metal scene is ALIVE
Every band, from the show openers Fragarak to the headliners Undying Inc, showed us that the the metal scene is alive and kicking in Delhi. Not to be left behind, metalheads turned up in numbers to support the bands and created an electric atmosphere. Every band was appreciated enthusiastically and left the stage with a huge roar of applause from the fans. The quality of music on offer was superb. The tightness of Aberrant, the tempo changes of Fragarak, the transitions of IIIrd Sovereign and the face meltingly brutal riffs of Undying Inc were just brilliant. Even though the Delhi police had warned that they would stop the music by 10 pm, the organizers, bands and fans worked together to pull off one of the most successful local metal festivals in recent years. This is hopefully the start of something good and if you missed Outrage, there are more opportunities coming up in the next few months to support your local bands. The metal scene is dead, long live the metal scene!
– Parth Gyani