Bevar Sea’s Debut To Release By Year End
The band is putting the rock back in metalFeatures July 31, 2012
In late 2010, when progressive metal band Orphaned Land had announced their show in Bengaluru, a quintet named Bevar Sea were billed to open for the Israeli outfit. Back then they naturally piqued curiosity – “bevarsi”, which means “bastard” in Kannada, is a term that finds much favor among irate auto rickshaw drivers in Bengaluru. Apart from the clever name, Bevar Sea were also furrowing through the relatively unfamiliar soundscape – at least on the Indian metal scene – of stoner doom. A year and half since they burst on the scene, they’ve proved that they are no mere blip on the radar. They’ve been burning up the circuit down south, are priming to take their peculiar concoction of gloomy lyrics and a slow grindingly heavy sound beyond the Vindhyas, and are now on the cusp of an eagerly awaited debut album, likely to hit us later this year.
For a band that plies one of the oldest forms of heavy metal, and whose lineup includes many hardened veterans of the metal scene, Bevar Sea’s audiences are often surprisingly young. They’ve also been steadily building up a dedicated and young following by gigging at a long list of colleges in and around Bengaluru. Invitations to perform from these educational institutions are inevitably accompanied with polite requests to change the band’s name. “The name is a jab at and a tribute to the many great doom metal bands who are named after seas and oceans like Graves At Sea, Buried At Sea and Ocean. We love those bands and are shit scared and blown away alternatively and at the same time, by the sea. Reason enough to do the double pun thing,” says vocalist Ganesh Krishnaswamy. “Of course with a name like that, we’re destined to never have a hit song on the radio, and it’s no loss at all for our kind of music. We’d be worried if we were trying to make it as a pop band though,” he adds.
Bevar Sea set out to put “the fun back in heavy music” and have accomplished just that in a little under two years. At Bangalore Open Air 2012, a 12-hour metal fest held in June, among all the Indian metal acts that performed, Bevar Sea drew the loudest of cheers and Krishnaswamy even had the few women in the audience sighing long after his band had wrapped up their encore. “Bevar Sea started as a hobby project with our guitarist Srikanth who played with an entirely different bunch of guys from all over the place and put songs together, and eventually found a local lineup in late 2010 to take this to stage and studio. We have known each other for years, and share our relentless love for bands like Black Sabbath, Kyuss and Orange Goblin – basically a lot of riffs and big, cool grooves,” says Krishnaswamy. Perhaps Bevar Sea’s stand out quality is that their music has a little bit for everybody without ever running the risk of sounding generic. “You see, we’re a good old rock band at the heart of it,” he explains. “Everyone likes good ol’ fist-pumping rock; some of them just need to be reminded, and we’re here to do exactly that. Fans of stoner doom are going to enjoy our music because they can get geeky about which part of our song reminds them of which favorite band of theirs, but a regular fan of Seventies rock is going to have a good time too.”
Bevar Sea’s slow tempos, thick guitars and heavy bass are perfectly complemented by the unconventional lyrical themes in their compositions, best evidenced on their anthemic track, “Abishtu.” Vocalist Krishnaswamy, who is responsible for most of the lyrics, told us that he regularly finds inspiration in the mundane. “While the Justin Biebers and Lindsay Lohans look to bubblegum pop for lyrical inspiration, for me it comes from everything around me. From newspaper headlines to the woes of my apartment’s watchman,” he said. “‘The Smiler’ is a song about cubicle junkies, who I believe turn out to be sly pervs hanging by the bar with that nasty smile on their face. ‘God’s Wounds’ is about a certain ‘Swami’ who likes to write, direct, edit, produce and act in his own, homemade porn productions. ‘Abishtu’ – any Brahmin worth his filter coffee knows what an ‘abishtu’ is. This is loosely based on a Catholic priest from Dakshina Kannada (a coastal district in Karnataka) who raped a girl. But, I added a dwarf-biker persona to the character. ‘Mono Gnome’ is about an affair a gnome has with this witch, who has a habit of setting shit on fire when she reaches an orgasm.”
Bevar Sea’s compositions rest heavily on tried and tested rock sensibilities, albeit with a completely agreeable twist, and they’ve never had to pepper their songs with violence and suchlike. “Our music propagates good times. Period. It’s about getting together with a bunch of your friends, getting a case of beer, turning up the volume, banging heads and grooving. Violence is the last thing that’s in our music – we have left that to the many metal/mall/grind/core bands to take care of,” Krishnaswamy said.
Ultimately, it’s BevarSea’s bare boned approach to songwriting that has endeared the band to its fans. You’ll never have to prick your ears to pick up a bass line smothered behind layers of guitar riffs or scratch your heads as you try to make sense of a strange netherworld that the band is singing about. “Our formula, as it were, is very simple,” Krishnaswamy said. “We strip it all down, lay back, groove and indulge in massive riffs. Everything is built on these fundamentals. We just end up making catchy songs with hooks, bringing in our varied influences, that’s all. It’s really a shame that we can’t think of too many other bands playing such back-to-the-basics heavy rock in this country, but we’re going to turn it up and bring the rawk.”