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Underside Take the View From the Top

How the Kathmandu metal band toured the world, helped with the 2015 earthquake relief and finally got back to finishing their full-length album

Underside. Photo: Dipit Raz

Underside. Photo: Dipit Raz

Kathmandu metallers Underside were probably having their best year, riding high on international tours taking them from Hong Kong to Australia to Europe, until the April 2015 earthquake in Nepal made them put all plans on hold. Vocalist Avishek K.C. says the band’s plans to release a full-length album took a backseat. He adds, “It’s been a very difficult time, a lot of loss.”

Given the scale of the natural disaster, Underside had to instead focus their energies into relief work. The band planned the benefit gig series, Metal for Nepal, with help from metal bands across the world, including India, even as they spent the rest of 2015 getting back on track with their upcoming full-length album. To that end, Underside recruited Nishant Hagjer [from Delhi groove/tech metallers Undying Inc and Guwahati metallers Rectified Spirit] in October last year to replace Bibek Tamang and have already set him to track drums on their upcoming album. Hagjer recalls their first show at Tezpur University, saying preparations were hectic amidst practicing for Undying Inc. gigs.  He adds with a laugh, “I was really nervous on the first show. I was just guessing which riff was next but the muscle memory saved me.”

Known for his technical approach to drumming, Hagjer’s influence on Underside won’t necessarily push the band’s sound out of their signature visceral, energetic metal that recalls the likes of American metal band Slipknot. The drummer says, “I’m coming up with the appropriate drum patterns to what the riffs call for and it’s been good so far. I’m definitely adding my own style to the music.” Avishek adds that Underside’s writing process is always changing and the band is open to all inputs. He says, “We don’t care if it’s technical or back-to-the-basics, as long as we feel it and enjoy playing it.”

The band’s as-yet-untitled album was originally due as their second EP in April 2015, following their UK tour. Their debut EP Welcome To The Underside had released in 2014. Avishek says, “I had a meeting with a big label on the day the earthquake happened and everything just stopped. We rushed back home and had nothing else in our minds except family friends and helping those who needed it.” While the band prefers to keep album details under wraps, the album will include their 2015 single “Satan In Your Stereo.” Avishek adds that plans for an India tour are also on. He says, “We played at [Delhi gig series] Outrage Festival and [Mumbai metal festival] BIG69. The support from India has been immense.”

Listen to “Satan In Your Stereo”

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