Exclusive Premiere: Chennai Metallers Spine Shatter’s Condemning New Single
The groove metal band’s latest track “This Spiteful Race” takes on Tamil Nadu politics with razor-sharp riffs
“This is a week of dreams getting fulfilled,” guitarist Vishal K.R. says about his groove metal band Spine Shatter’s latest single “This Spiteful Race.” It’s not just because the single is their first since 2015’s debut EP Ascendance, but because it’s been mixed and mastered by Mumbai-based producer-engineer Anupam Roy, whom the band is a fan of for his work with metal veterans Bhayanak Maut.
Plus, it’s being launched at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, which has been the best launchpad for Spine Shatter and even Vishal, who started the band in 2014 with his brother Pranav on drums. The guitarist adds, “I saw my first-ever gig at IIT Madras’s [annual cultural festival] Saarang, with Hammerfall in 2010. When I saw them, I knew I wanted to play there.”
And when they did take to the stage at IIT Madras in 2014, they played at band competition Powerchords and placed in the top three. “Within a month, we had won everything – a competition at Vellore Institute of Technology and Sri Ramaswami Memorial University. After that day, we were never nervous.”
Both Vishal and Pranav battled their own set of health problems (a tumor on Pranav’s leg and an accident that injured Vishal’s hand) that hindered their playing, but managed to put together a band of new entrants – vocalist Tushar Nayak, guitarist Akshay Thyagarajan and bassist Shiv Rekhi – to compete and then use band earnings to record Ascendance at Dropline Studio, with Chennai producer Lakshman Chandrasekaran, who has previously worked with metallers Blind Image.
For their latest single, “This Spiteful Race,” they recorded at Dropline but tapped Anupam Roy to mix and master, also commissioning Bengaluru-based visual illustrator Gaurav Basu aka Acid Toad for artwork. The single features puerile vocals set to fairly straightforward, but punishing groove metal. Vishal says, “We don’t try to make things complicated.” The song, although written late last year as a heavy-handed damning of politics in the light of demonetization, finds new meaning for the band with the latest power struggle in Tamil Nadu following Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s death in December. “It’s a bit clichéd to write about politics, but it’s the band’s own take on our scenario. Tamil Nadu is getting fucked.”
With the single out and a gig this Sunday at IIT Madras, there’s also merchandize that Vishal is sorting out, marking a new phase for the band. He says, “I like doing things from scratch.”
Listen to “This Spiteful Race.” Buy the single here.
Spine Shatter perform at Raagabop 2017 on April 9th at the SAC, IIT Madras, Chennai. Entry: free. Event details here.