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Photos: Undying Inc., Reverrse Polarity and Rishabh Seen Live in Mumbai

The second edition of metal gig series Roots featured a debut, a comeback and a powerhouse headline set amidst some downpour


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Reverrse Polarity performed at the second edition of metal series Roots. Photo by Bryan Jacob Daniel.

Reverrse Polarity performed at the second edition of metal series Roots. Photo by Bryan Jacob Daniel.

When you see water cascading down the steps that lead to months-old Mumbai venue Antisocial, you know the monsoon has officially arrived to play spoilsport. Despite the heavy rains in the hours leading up to it, the second edition of metal gig series Roots held promise amidst risks.

Although there were barely any takers for the documentary screening of Yeh Hai Metal, by the time the first artist of the night took the stage – Delhi-based sitar player Rishabh Seen, making his Mumbai debut – the rain had stopped, most of the water was squeegeed out and Antisocial was metal-ready.

If 19-year-old Seen was nervous, he didn’t show it. After all, it was his third club show and he stuck to what he’s gained over a hundred thousand YouTube views for – his ability to shred on the sitar. After running through covers of American prog metal band Animals As Leaders’ heavy-hitters such as “Tooth and Claw” and “Wave of Babies,” Seen closed with two songs by his “Indian classical metal” band Mute the Saint. He managed to hold his own even with only a backing track to help him nail “The Fall of Sirius” and his first-ever performance of “Sound of Scars.” Seen’s performance might have lacked dynamics as argued by some attendees, but he’s clearly comfortable letting the sitar be the only live instrument.

Mumbai prog/hardcore metallers Reverrse Polarity played in Mumbai nearly two years to the date – their last gig in the city was at the fifth edition of the Rolling Stone Metal Awards in 2014 – presenting a rawer, chunky-riffed sound that was a throwback to their early days. With new bassist Bob Alex [from experimental metallers Noiseware and post-rock band Aswekeepsearching] replacing founding member Jordan Veigas, Reverrse Polarity joked and jumped their way through “iPood,” “Cross Poly Nation,” “Jagerbombs” and a raging cover of nu-metal band KoRn’s “Right Now,” for which frontman asked a fan from the audience to get on stage to scream the chorus.

Groove/tech metal act Undying Inc. also had a fan on stage, but not by their doing. The moshing got so intense that one fan was just hoisted on to the stage by scene regular and sound engineer Afaque Azad [from the erstwhile death metal band Infernal Wrath]. Undying Inc. sounded monstrously loud, their sound sometimes muddled but very much in the technical realm that continues to baffle. Drummer Nishant Hagjer even smashed through his snare drum early on in the set, but thankfully there was a spare around. The band pummeled with a career-spanning set comprising “Manimal,” “Aggressive World Dynasty” and “Ironclad” along with their latest song “Urban Combat.”

 

Photos by Bryan Jacob Daniel

 

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