Elemental To Play at Wacken Open Air in Germany
The Bhopal death metal band clinched Wacken Metal Battle India’s top spot and have plans for more shows in Europe in August
Elemental vocalist Anchal Bhargava is seated at a bar in Bengaluru’s commercial locality of Brigade Road and is definitely a bit tipsy, even though it’s only 5 pm. “We’re here with some crooks and they’re paying for our beer. It’s cool to be around people who understand metal,” says Bhargava, frontman of the Bhopal death metal band.
The four-member juggernaut were on stage at the fifth edition of metal festival Bangalore Open Air, where they were announced as winners of the Indian leg of global band competition Wacken Metal Battle. Bhargava says, “If you’re trying with all your heart and working your ass off, it will work out.” The band will play their first ever show in Europe at one of Germany’s largest metal gatherings – Wacken Open Air – between August 4th and 6th.
Elemental – playing regularly across the country ever since their inception in 2012 with their unsparing, wrecking-ball approach to slam, grind and death metal – have had a contentious victory at Wacken Metal Battle, though. Amidst bands complaining about a Bhopal band being selected to play in the Mumbai regional prelims to becoming the default winner after the same bands backed out of the competition, Bhargava says he was disappointed about the commotion. “Elemental is like family to a lot of our friends in the metal community. They apparently mailed the organizers to complain. Where should we have gone and played? In Pakistan? I told Salman [Syed, organizer of Wacken Metal Battle India] that even if he allowed [us] to just play one song, we’d fucking nail it.”
Bhargava and the band – drummer Divyaraj Bhatnagar, guitarist Aman Sharma and bassist Shashi Bhushan – probably narrowly stood out for judges at the national finale on July 8th. The frontman says he was “satisfied but could have done better” with their performance at the finale, preferring to root for Hyderabad death metallers Godless, who delivered an impeccable set alongside Guwahati metallers Rectified Spirit. Unlike a few other competing bands, Elemental canceled their train tickets back home to Bhopal, headed to Bangalore Open Air, where the winner would be announced, but realized they didn’t have enough money on them to buy tickets. Says Bhargava, “We eventually got in and they just called us up on stage.”
The band also won Rs. 1.5 lakhs in sponsorship to cover travel and living costs, but there’s still a lot of resources to be pooled together for their trip to Wacken. “Winning is very easy. This is the tough part,” says Bhargava, while talking about playing a memorable set. He notes that not a single Asian band has won the global Wacken Metal Battle that takes place at the festival: “I need to make my country’s metal scene proud.”
Apart from their Wacken set, the band is in the midst of paperwork and networking to reach interested booking agents across Europe, with hopes of setting up more shows in the area. Says Bhargava, “I just want our band to make a fucking mark.”