I’ve never been to India. I have genuinely no clue what it’s like, aside from some Bollywood music videos that are playing on a loop at Torch of India where I get my Tikka Masala, which is probably not even a real Indian dish (I’m sure someone will check me on that). But I wouldn’t immediately list it on my top metal places of the world, based mostly on my ignorance, and the fact that I envision it as being one endless maze of street bazaars and snake charmers and other hokey Hollywood bullshit. None of those scenes from the movies ever had any guitars or drums, or even any electricity for that matter.
Well, guess what? It’s 2014, and sometime between the last time a screenwriter went there and now they got electricity, and the Internet, and some fucking sweet metal. I’m gonna let you hear some of it right now so you can see I am no liar, because I imagine at this point you may be skeptical.
They can play their instruments. The bands have names that are hard to pronounce and you don’t know what they mean (parallels to Dimmu Borgir, Amon Amarth, Meshuggah, Borknagar). They haven’t really cracked the US yet, but that just makes them all the more underground and therefore troo. The scene seems to be incestuous as all hell (this dude Demonstealer is in like 4 of the bands I looked up) which is reminiscent of the Gothenburg melo-deth crowd. (Anders Friden left Dark Tranquillity and joined In Flames while Mikael Stanne did the opposite. Mikael Stanne was also briefly the singer for Hammerfall, who at one time had In Flames’ Jesper Stromblad. Sharlee D’Angelo has been in like 987954703495 Swedish bands.)
They even have their own Steel Panther (also fronted by Demonic Resurrection’s Sahil Makhija, AKA Demonstealer). And I do realize that Steel Panther is not Scandinavian or even European, but the fact that they could have a strong enough scene to include a comedy metal band speaks volumes about how developed it is.
They have death metal. They have killer black metal (like this sweet band called 1833. 1349 anyone?). They have really modern djenty prog (Skyharbor, below, features Intervals drummer Anup Sastry) which has members from outside India, but I digress.
The point is, when I first discovered Scandinavian metal, my mind exploded. It was something I’d never heard anything even remotely like before. It was an untapped well of awesome sounds all coming from the same place. And now, I feel like I’ve found a new well.
Of course, a lot of this stuff is worshiping the Scandinavian stuff I mentioned, but it’s not like there was a parallel evolution. They’re still putting their stamp on the sounds in a big way, and I’m REALLY interested to see where the next ten years takes them. I think they’re still trying to find their identity, in a way, and I’d like to hear them take it somewhere even more original. They certainly have the potential to do so.
I’m hoping the members of the Indian metal scene and its fans will forgive my general ignorance and wild sweeping generalities, as I am still discovering much of this as I go, and help me to find more of this awesome stuff.