Meet The Nominees: Heretic
The Bangalore alt metal band released their debut full-length album, ‘Words to Epilogues’, late last year
Heretic is a five-piece alternative metal band based out of Bengaluru. Guitarists Abhijit Namboodiripad and Hareesh Kumar formed the band as a thrash metal outfit in Kochi, later recruiting vocalist Akhil Unnikrishnan, bassist Benjamin Thomas and drummer Arpith Easo Samuel.
The band released Reprised EP in 2008 and performed on the Bengaluru band competitions and gig circuit until 2009, when Samuel left. “During that phase, we started composing new material for a year and a half,” says Namboodiripad. It was only in late 2011 that Heretic returned to gigging, with new drummer Kevin Prichard replacing Samuel. Their nine-track debut album, Words To Epilogues, was released in December last year, along with a music video for the song “Thoughts.”
The band’s first avatar was of a thrash/heavy metal band, influenced by Metallica and Iron Maiden. In their transformative years to become an alternative metal band, Namboodiripad says they were influenced by Indian bands such as Motherjane, Indian Ocean and Avial. The band first discovered Dutch prog metallers Textures in 2009, and their new sound also drew from metalcore bands such as Trivium and Killswitch Engage and melodic metal band, In Flames. “All five of us in the band were really influenced by Trivium’s 2004 album Ascendancy,” says Namboodiripad, while vocalist Unnikrishnan cites alt rock bands such as Incubus and Audioslave as influences. Their song “Alone” showcases a subtle Indian influence, with Unnikrishnan’s style coming close to Carnatic vocals, although accidentally. “We just wanted to create a small lake where used chords and structures developed in western music and put Indian melodies on top,” says Namboodiripad, who wants to ensure their style of metal doesn’t get monotonous.
Reprised (2008) – debut three-track EP
Words To Epilogues (2012) – full-length album
Best Album – Words To Epilogues
Best Song – “Ring of Colours”
Best Vocalist – Akhil Unnikrishnan
Best Guitarist – Hareesh Kumar and Abhijit Namboodiripad
Best Bassist – Benjamin Thomas
On their chances of winning:
Heretic and Mumbai thrash metallers Devoid have notched up six nominations each, the highest number by any band in the fourth edition of RSMA. While Unnikrishnan has heard all the bands nominated and thinks it’s “cool to be nominated in this pool of bands,” he’s still mum on whether they’ll win an award or not. Says Namboodiripad, “There’s still a long way to go for us, but if someone had told me in school [when I started this band] that we would get nominated for a metal award, I would have gone crazy. So we’re thinking of it in terms of how and when we started.”
One thing you didn’t know about Heretic:
Words To Epilogues was the first full-length album producer Keshav Dhar took on, outside of his own album with prog metal band Skyharbor [Blinding White Noise: Illusion & Chaos].
Watch Heretic’s music video for “Thoughts” here: