Junkyard Groove(Chennai)

November 23, 2007

GENRE :: Rock / Alternative / Funk

BAND MEMBERS ::

Ameeth-Vox and Guitars
Sid:Guitars and backing Vox
Jerry:Drums
Craig:Bass and backing vox.

BIOGRAPHY ::

What do you get when you put a drummer with heavy metal roots, a guitarist with classic rock roots, a bassist crazy about Jazz and a very ‘volatile’ vocalist, in one band? JUNKYARD GROOVE This band has carved its own unique niche in the Indian rock scene, fusing rock with funk to give an uplifting style that reaches out to all ages; wowing the audience with a tight, high energy, flawless, musical stage performance. Ever since its conception in the summer of 2005, Junkyard Groove was nothing but your silly sense of humour trying to be creative and once it got rolling there was really nothing anybody wanted to do in terms of changing direction or slowing down the pace of things. With an inspirational songwriter in Ameeth and equally brilliant musicians in Jerry, Sid and Craig the band came up with some “wicked” compositions with truckloads of promise. The competition held at Le Royal meridian Chennai saw the band land up in second place, bagging the best guitarist award and probably the best verbally outrageous band award, if ever one existed. From there on the band tasted sweet victory at JIPMER winning best band, vocalist, guitarist, drummer and own composition and the second best bassist and rhythm in SPANDAN 2005. Next stop was one of the bands most memorable gigs at NLS’ Strawberry Fields, an extremely excellent experience, with loads of love and respect to all the people who made it feel like home. Madras Christian College came next and that saw very similar results with best band and best drummer. But the main highlight of the evening was, that from the previous show in Bangalore (NLS Strawberry Fields) the band grew a small fan base which resulted in the audience randomly requesting for their songs. Next up, home town competition at IIT Madras was great fun. The band made it through to the finals and walked away with best guitarist and a fancy Fender as a prize. Junkyard Groove came back to their favourite haunt JIPMER to perform at the SPANDAN 2006 pro show. A kick-ass performance at SHAMAL, Dubai saw them emerge victorious and landed them a 3 year recording contract with Creative Kingdom Records, USA. The band was the opening act at Dubai’s Desert Rock Festival 2007 opening for the likes of IRON MAIDEN, INCUBUS and ROBERT PLANT.

LINKS ::

My space :: http://www.myspace.com/junkyardgroove

Soundclick :: http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=698746

Orkut Community :: http://www.orkut.com/Community.aspx?cmm=18660270

ALBUM NAME :: Chapters Of Damnation

RATING :: 8/10

REVIEW ::

Dark Crucifix was an extremely talented death/thrash outfit from Cochin who recorded this short but brutal 3-song demo last year. The duo {yes!!} responsible for all the mayhem were Samir doing the gruffy growls and guitars, Jayesh belting out the blast beats providing you the glorious opportunities to break your neck. The band draws its influences from bands such as Celtic Frost, Death and Slayer. This short demo came into my possession only a few days ago and reely blew me away and they could’ve matched any extreme band from B’lore or Mumbai {where it seems the entire nation’s rock/metal circuit is based!}. The first track “The Long Awaited Disaster” reely proves their calibre with excellent riffing and some awesome double bass pounding which gets you into some violent headbanging. Their vocalist reminded me of Max Cavalera in his early days on Morbid Visions. Samir is a truly a beast with his vocals. The band has got a superlative mix too that the lack of a bassist on this demo is hardly ever noticed. But things are just getting started as the next one “In The Dreams Of The Dead” invites some brain and neck damage. The subtle tempo changes and excellent song structure add to your ecstasy. The vocalist reely leaves an indelible mark on you with his brutal chanting, “Die, Die, Die”!! The last song “When Darkness Descends” is by far the best song and is the final bout of headbanging before your neck snaps. A galloping rhythm, groovy yet insane drumming and garbled growls create a truly mayhemic moshing atmosphere. An excellent and furiously fast solo by Samir compliments the band’s technical abilities. This demo is one of the rare Indian demos, which you fall in love with in the first listen. The band could’ve whipped many international bands had they got some good exposure. But unfortunately [and amazingly too, without playing a single gig] this talented duo broke up with Samir pursuing higher education in US. Jayesh, double bass mutilator felt the need to destroy more kits so joined B’lore’s black metallers Arcane Ritual. The band was also marred by the fact that being based in Cochin they didn’t have audiences who appreciated their style. If they were in B’lore they’d be amongst the forerunners of the Metal revolution happening there. A truly great demo for extreme music lovers!

Brahma – The World Beyond

November 15, 2007

ALBUM NAME :: The World Beyond
RATING :: 8/10

REVIEW ::

Brahma, a Mumbai based metal quintet released their debut “The World Beyond” at Independence Rock back in ’98 through Virgo music, their record label also responsible for Agni’s debut too. Brahma has Devraj Sanyal on vocals, Dean Lazarus on lead guitar, John Ferns handling the rhythm section, Vince Thevor on bass and Cyrus Gorimar on drums. The band is reputed for their excellent stage presence apart from their metal oriented sets. The album “The World Beyond” has a lot of variety, which is probably due to the fact that they’ve tried to pay respect to all of their cumulative influences which may appeal as boring to some though! The album opener is a highly impressive and instantly likeable song “Destroy the Destroyer” which has a very punchy rhythm and is reminiscent of old Metallica. The song has a very good solo too, which takes you higher and higher before finally merging perfectly with the rhythm with every member chipping in excellently. The next in line is the album title only “The World Beyond” which is relatively softer and slower and has Devraj singing like the legendary Jim Morrison and it’s reely hard to digest that it’s the same band as the one who’d just played the previous song. Another angry composition is “Get Angry and Get Even” which has the vocalist venting out his anger with the lyrics propagating people to fight and settle their scores!! The album has a couple more of hard rockin’ songs like “Psychopath” and “Second too Late” and finally comes to a grand finale with “You Must Die”. This song about fate has Devraj at his guttural best in tune with the chugging and bone-crushing riffing on this doom/death composition. The song alternates from an angry death chant to sheer melody and is certainly a treat for all the ‘heavier’ metallers. The tape is a very good buy as is its moderate price at 65 and can be obtained from local music stores nowadays. The lyrics are very poetic and the music good. The album though could have been better produced which due to the bad mix on it mainly attributed to the total lack of sound mixers in this god-forsaken country who listen to rock let alone metal. The record label, Virgo Music on the other hand seems to obsessed with fire as in the case of the Agni album here too there’s a raging fire in the backdrop with the five band members in front of it! Brahma who proclaims themselves as the “Gods of Metal” have done a decent job [8 on 10] on their debut, though we should expect much more heavier music from them in the near future before that title reely has some meaning.

Agni – Wind Dance With Fire

November 15, 2007

ALBUM NAME :: Wind Dance With Fire

Tracklists ::

Wind Dance With Fire (1993)

1. Doggies Do – I Do Too

2. Et Tu Brute’

3. Within

4. Darkening Light

5. Kashmir

6. Angel In The Wrong Heaven

7. Wind Dance With Fire
RATING :: 7/10

REVIEW ::

Agni, one of the premier rock bands of this subcontinent released this classic album late in 1994, some 6 years ago. One of the foremost involved in the Indian rock and metal movement this band heavily worship Megadeth played to metal hungry audiences all over this country and were able to satisfy their headbanging desires. The band s never-say-die attitude is evident from their message on the lyrics booklet – A special F*** you to those who didn t believe in us. The album is a more melody oriented rock album rather than outright heavy as their usual live sets but that shouldn’t stop you from picking up one of very first albums released by a rock bands in India. The band comprised of Koko and Bell on their Ibanez and Gibson respectively, the late Juggie on bass, Ross on drums and the loudest among them Bharath on vocals. A short album released by Virgo music and has been re-released by the music label along with Brahma’s album. Anyway, the bands kicks off the album with “Doggies Do {I Do Too}” which Koko and Bell impressing with the 6-string skills. Next in line is “Et Tu Brute” a very melodic song with Bharath’s operatic (if I might use the word) wailing throughout it besides the impressive twin guitar lead. The song is a killer with the Caesar-era-language and a feel attached to it. A real typical rocker is the next one – “Within” which starts off with Bharath’s shriek where influences of ‘air-raid’ Dickinson are very evident with Bharath exploiting the vibrato to the maximum. This song really has prominent Indian feel to it with an exceptional solo to it too. At the halfway stage thru this album you’d already have realized that by no means is the album a letdown with still two more killer tracks “Kashmir” and “Wind Dance with Fire” left!! Anyway, Kashmir is one of best compositions on the album with an amazing lead and no, it’s not a rendition of Jimmy Pages’ and Robert Plant song though! The last song to wind up the classic album is the long title track, which has the great Indian instrument, the sitar in the background. The starting of the song might scare people into believing an Indian mythological story is about to unwind- far from it is the truth. The song has some very nice tempo changes and ends with everything rising towards a crescendo and then slowly fading away. The solo end is really innovative wherein the sound is almost like a bhajan (Don t get scared by the word bhajan s really cool-listen to it). It’s a really cool way to end this album. I strongly recommend this album to anyone who’s trying to get into listening to Indian rock . For more details, unfortunately due to Agni lacking a website, you’ll have to contact the record label directly at Virgo Music, Shanti Nagar, Vakola, Santa Cruz {E} in Mumbai or give them a tinker a (022) 6183107. This review is dedicated to the late bassist of Agni, Juggie, who had a sad demise due to fatal accident. May his spirit be with Agni forever. R.I.P.

ALBUM NAME :: Demonstealer

RATING :: 8/10

REVIEW ::

Demonic Resurrection is a four-piece doom/black outfit from Mumbai who are among the forerunners in the revival of the Indian metal scene with bands coming up with local recordings and demos. Demonic consists of Demonstealer {sahil} on guitars and vocals, Count Varathora on the bass, Yash slamming the skins and Nikita with the background singing and keyboards. The band released this album late last year with the help of good friend Ashish from Abhor {death metal band} lending in on lead guitars. It was completely recorded at home without a studio, which I feel, posed quite a few problems for the band. The album titled “Demonstealer” too has a totally unimpressive cover {pathetic reely!} but like the saying goes ‘never judge a book by its cover’! The album has a totally new and refreshing sound to it and right from the first song “My World of Sadness” the band is all out to impress. This opener has an absolutely killer riff with some awesome double bass pounding accompanied by Sahil’s alternating shrieks and gruffy growls which’ll get you into a headbanging frenzy. Add to add icing to the cake is Nikita’s painful and hypnotic singing. The solo comes as a disappointment as its reely too shrill and slow sounding out of tune for this song, and could’ve been done a zillion times better. Drumming is reely out of this world, literally too, as due to Yash’s unavailability the band had to make do with Sahil’s computer taking a leaf out of Mindsnare’s book {KP Krishnamoorthy}. And for their live shows henceforth their slammer has his work reely cut out and if he’s able to reproduce it live then he’ll in any metallers book be the most proficient drummer in Mumbai. Next track “From the Ashes”, probably the best track on the album is a proper black metal composition [not as the last one which gets slower in the middle] with the typical blast beats omnipresent and doesn’t let you rest your neck even for a milli-second. A prominent Dimmu Borgir influence on that one I felt but as previously said the solo needs to be worked here too. “Darkened Moon” is a good thrash song with a very prominent Metallica/M’deth stamp which shouldn’t surprise some ‘cos Demonic never claims to be an out-and-out black outfit. Following soon in succession is the doomy “My Misery” with a more psychedelic feel to it with a slow, writhing riff and sorrowful keyboards. Sahil sounds so sane here, its actually funny – but my personal opinion is that the growls suit him best and would have added extra effect with the slow instrumentation on this one. “Crestfallen”, another doom composition has a unique blend of melody and sonic heaviness, and the name ‘Theater of Tragedy’ immediately springs to mind, and on listening you’ll know why. Anyway, Nikita’s operatic singing reely makes the solid foundation for this one and Sahil’s voice contrasts like the devil compared to her making this another amazing track. Another nice thing is that solo for a change sounds goodish on the song. Next “The Sadness still Remains” is another nice melodic, doomy song but the band reely let the computer take control with non-stop double bass pounding. Sahil, sounding completely different again tries to sing melodically which he shouldn’t by all means ‘cos he not good at it. I can’t understand why the band included the last track on the CD – an acoustic version of the awesome album opener but this is one-tenth of what that was. It sounds like a senti-pop track and the total metal feel is gone for a toss. It’s a very big mistake by the band as it leaves a sour taste in your mouth before the CD shuts down. And to top things its not acoustic all the way as the electric guitar kicks in for a while. It sucks to say the least!! Overall the album is a very bold step by the band in such a conducive musical environment but should have been more polished before they recorded I felt. The solos are totally bad and reely jab you saying, ‘I don’t belong here’ and the guitar sound lacks the extra crunch which most Indian bands lack – dunno why? A little practice is what’s required and reworking/shortening of some songs as they seem to drag on for eternity and I’m sure these guys will be superstars. Best of luck on your task ahead Demonic! UP THE IRONS!

V/A – Deepthroat

November 15, 2007

ALBUM NAME :: DEEPTHROAT

RATING :: 9/10

REVIEW ::

Throatlatch Records {TL} is the first full fledged Metal label in this country which caters to the talented Indian bands who’ve never yet had a chance to get their original music to the metalheads. The Cranium guys {heart and soul of TL} have taken a very bold step into the murky depths of the Indian record industry with TL as the ephemeral bands here live and die out playing just covers. But the vision shared by TL records and studio should soon take shape as some bands are already trying to break out from the vicious cycle of being a covers band. This album “DEEPTHROAT” comes as TL’s first release and was recorded during last years ‘Domination – The Deathfest’ – a 2 day spectacular dedicated to extreme music fans organized by another intrepid company InTune Entertainment. This 11-track album was completed in record time during Deathfest with the bands shuttling non-stop between the venue and TL studios. But it took an additional 4 months for this well packaged product to hit the markets early last Nov., but I guess its been worth the wait. And one listen to this and u’ll be nodding your head in agreement with me. The album has also been engineered and mixed by Ranjan {Cranium- v/g} too – phew! The album starts off with a song by Cranium [but, of course] titled “Pariah” with an added Indian flavour to it, as the drumming is reminiscent of the Bengali ‘dhak’. I guess that’s attributed to the amount of time Cranium’s core, Rajan and Jose have spent in West Bengal. Next track is by Mumbai’s black/thrash band Demonic Resurrection who contributes a relatively slower song with “Creatures of Ancient Blood” than their debut ‘Demonstealer’. But let that not fool you into thinking that it’s boring or monotonous guys. Next track “Descension” by B’lore doom/black metallers Kryptos is my second favourite of DT only to Blasphemy. The song is an absolute masterpiece if someone were to ask me, but some people felt it dragged along for too long unnecessarily towards the end. I eagerly await their future 5-song debut that is slated to May this year; again under TL records. Great solo by Nolan on this one! Metakix or rather Kix as they loved to be called re-do their groovy song “She’s the Incubus” for DT which is much improved compared to their previous ‘Consume Raw’ version! Sceptre recorded a new song of theirs “The Lost Empire” with recently recruited hotshot guitarist Amar. This song is a really nice thrashy and headbangable number but takes some time to fully grow on you. Next Pin Drop Violence, nu-metallers from Mumbai take full control of your music system with their aggressive song “Full Body Burn”. The band was themselves stumped at the amount of ferociousness this song has when the CD was released!! What really impressed me were Pradeep’s vocals and I for one will be moshing at their super charged live sets! Black Metal band Fate’s “Deathless” is a different version as on their 5 track debut ‘Lead us to Darkness’ ‘cos it doesn’t have Nitin Rajan [of Morticide, who composed it!] doing the backing growls. Also co-incidentally Fate were amongst the first to recruit the services of TL studios for their atmospheric debut. One listen to them and Roshan’s haunting shrieks will definitely prompt you to pick up their {just released} album. Arcane Ritual, another black metal band but now from B’lore raise the tempo by a notch with “Massacre of Souls” as a build-up to the last track by Blasphemy. The band spilt soon after recording this song and had a funny one too when it did but Count Vishal never fails to impress with his vocal range but Jayesh’s {session drummer from Dark Crucifix} drumming was a sorta let-down as I’d heard lots more praise for him. The song was a tad bit boring too!! Ahh finally Blasphemy with their uncompromising brutality in the death/gore genre reely have the last word as you are demolished with all the madness happening on that song. This track is well placed on the cd as it leaves mighty impressed with “Butchered and Raped” being of very high standards after their dismally sounding demo. I was stupefied by the intensity with which they belted out this song as well as Phebeian’s {also in grind band Intestinal Butchery} frenzied growling. The band recently recruited Vikram of C.T. {grind, B’lore} on the drums changing the name to Blaspheme and the deathheads are expecting more carnage with this line-up and the soon to be recorded album {not to belittle the fact that Marky reely pelted out some great blast-beats!}. DeepThroat stands apart not only in its packaging but the really good mix unlike other indie-releases in India. I guess TL studios will soon be a hot spot for future bands to record their demos! The CD could’ve been made better if they’d have included contact e- mail ids of the bands as I think the purpose of compilation cds is to either promote or popularise new bands. And thus if any international label were interested in any of the bands they’d have to constantly go through TL records. The inside mini-poster doesn’t make much sense {it sucks in fact!} and that space could’ve been used to print all the lyrics of the bands or a brief bio about them instead of just providing 4 lines of lyrical content per band. Anyhow such a release is momentous enough for the Indian scene presently and will do good to help bands securing deals abroad I’m sure. DeepThroat has been playing quite regularly on Delhi and Mumbai radio and TL records is currently looking forward to airplay in US. There are also plans to get some good international distribution label in the pipeline to help Indian metal conquer the world. Anyone who hasn’t a clue on how to get hold of this album {CD- 250, tape – 90} can visit the TL website www.throatlatch.com and have the CD delivered to their doorstep too! SUPPORT INDIAN METAL!

Rock Machine(Mumbai)

November 15, 2007

ALBUM NAME :: THE SECOND COMING

RATING :: 8/10

REVIEW ::

(1990) 1. Turn It On 2. Bowl Of Madness 3. Crazy 4. Die For Your Country 5. Believing 6. Cinderella 7. Pretty Child 8. Screamin’ .

Out Three years after the ambitious 1987 debut Rock N’ Roll Renegade, Rock Machine released their second and last album under their name. It was called The Second Coming, contained the same lineup as the debut, and I will tell you immediately that this was much better, and in my opinion, should be considered a classic of the Indian rock. Mastered onto compact disc, The Second Coming is more mature, harder, better written, more memorable and better played than the debut, and this time the album mix is much better too! Not a perfect mix, but excellent for the time; the guitars are louder, the bass is louder so we can hear really how good Mark Selwyn is and generally everything sounds full and clear. Of course, if Mark Menezes used real drums instead of digital pads, this album would sound even better! The album also features more of Zubin Balaporia’s excellent keyboard work. Lyrically, Rock Machine partially moved on from the typical 80’s lyrics and concentrated on more interesting topics such as empty patriotism and personal frustration, always stressing on the belief than an individual should do what he or she believes in. Fans of the first release need to worry though, the corny love numbers are still there, just in better musical form. An outstanding feature of this album is the memorable songwriting and varied song structures. Songs range from straight out rock formats to a moderately progressive construction. I couldn’t have asked for a better opener than Turn It On; it kicks off with a simple Van Halen-esque keyboard melody and riff, a flowing bassline, and a very rocking chorus that is constantly repeated. Uday’s vocals are significantly better, though he still isn’t going wild on the choruses. Midway, the song attains a very progressive structure; a few off breaks and one killer, feel oriented lead played by Mahesh Tinaikar, backed by outstanding bass playing. Even vocally, there’s some duality going on, reminding me of a song by Bangalore’s progressive rock band, Cryptic. The song features environmentally aware lyrics, and musically Rock Machine have done everything right on this. Mid-era Def Leppard song structure is obvious on Bowl Of Madness, a straight forward hard rock number. Guitar picking followed by a nice riff and similar keyboard melody start off something that turns into a very impressive song. Mahesh’s lead is absolutely blistering; the song has a lot of those funny Def Leppard style effects and contains one infectious chorus. Uday, who in parts sounds a lot like Joe Elliott of Leppard, is quite impressive as well. “Turn It On” and “Bowl Of Madness” are two excellent openers for an album of this style. The two love oriented songs fortunately aren’t mushy AOR pieces, as on the first album, and instead are pretty fast and hard. Crazy really grows on the listener; the first listen may make it sound a bit confused as it is quite long, but after a couple of listens things seem a lot clearer. The song fades in after a silly sample; the verse is typical to this type of music and the rhythm section is very tight. Uday manages a nice high pitch on the chorus, which is another infectious chorus that may have you singing even when you’re not playing the song. The song is primarily simple, but midway the guitar and keyboards do form a progressive feel; Mahesh as usual is top-notch on his solo. Zubin too, experiments with his keyboard tone, applying a flute sound during a bridge part. “Crazy” is very good though Cinderella is even better. The structure is similar; however everything is executed with more finesse. The song sounds a lot like Leppard’s faster love fantasy songs, especially the catchy chorus. Both the guitar and bass playing are stupendous; Selwyn forms a strong backbone to Mahesh’s leads and multiple guitar melodies. “Stay the night, don’t go away This doesn’t happen every day It just happens every night! Night! Night!” Heh, that part sounds very amusing. Die For Your Country, at 7 minutes, is almost an epic and possibly the best song on The Second Coming. Lyrically, Rock Machine really cut to the heart of the matter and I agree with them a hundred per cent. Modern war is bullshit, and politicians send the youth to “fight for their country”, and as these kids die, them politicians enjoy their black money. I, for one, am not dying for my country anytime soon. There are no heroes in modern war, only victims. The lyrics are written with conviction, but Uday could’ve delivered them more convincingly later on in the song, when they carry the most importance. The song moves along nicely, going through verse and chorus, and is crafted agreeably and simply. Almost midway, it becomes quite progressive as Zubin plays a keyboard solo that would feel at home in the vaults of Dream Theater, and Jayesh Gandhi’s rhythm playing moves well with the keyboards. The last segment of the song is most effective, emotions ranging from sadness to anger, backed by army-marching like drums before the song plunges back into its original structure. The lead didn’t impress me though, it had Slash written all over it. “The war is over, and you’re another name on a slab of stone The politicians played their game; they made you throw your life away How come they never die for their country? How you wish that you were there, To hold her hand, to touch her hair, But you had to go and die for your country.” Believing contains the best riff of the album. The guitar volume is suitably high, and the riff has a funk chunk feel to it, much like Purpendicular-era Deep Purple. Good use of backing vocals, a good chorus and a virtuoso lead make “Believing” another rocking, memorable song. As with the rest of the album, the rhythm section is impeccable. Zubin’s keyboard playing goes well with the guitar melodies, especially in the end, though the keyboard is too low on the mix. Screamin’ Out has trademark Motley Crue riffing, and if Uday sounded anything like Vince Neil this song would fit well in an album like Theater Of Pain. It has cute cock-rock feel to it, and it would sound perfect if there were no keyboards present on it. The organ tone doesn’t particularly suit the song, but the various breaks and changes along with another excellent chorus, lead and lyrics turn “Screamin’ Out” into a perfect end to the album. The second last song on The Second Coming known as Pretty Child, got Rock Machine some amount of fame, as MTV made a video of it and it won the “Best Music Video in Asia” award at the 1993 MTV Awards. It also has Rock Machine, for the first, fusing an Indian instrument (tabla) and the soprano sax with a rock ballad. This style is used in extremis in Indus Creed’s album (The 90’s form of Rock Machine). However, in my opinion, this is the weakest track on this album, though it isn’t bad. It moves well, the fusion parts sound nice, but the lyrics don’t suit my liking. The vocals are too obviously up-front and this can get rather irritating. The fusion aspect is utilized better on Indus Creed, and if a song from The Second Coming was to get famous, it should’ve been “Die For Your Country” or “Turn It On”. Trust MTV to choose the most commercial song, eh?! The Second Coming has no bad songs on it, and has a few undeniably brilliant moments. In its own genre, I consider this a classic, and coming out of India this is quite a big deal. This is an immensely enjoyable album, and the more I spin it, the more I like it! Another glam release such as this wouldn’t have hurt anyone, but Indus Creed’s self titled album was brilliant too, on a whole different level. Kudos to a these six musicians for releasing some truly memorable original music at a time when there was hardly an Indian rock scene to talk about. (4/5)