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Undying Inc. Unveil New Bassist, Plot New Material

The New Delhi metallers have recruited classical guitar-trained, Mumbai-based artist Ezra Helios and will release a single next month

Anurag Tagat Jun 02, 2018

Undying Inc. - Shashank Bhatnagar, Nishant Hagjer, Biswarup Gupta and Ezra Helios (from left). Photo: Puneet Jain and Yeashu Yuvraj

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On an unbearably warm night in New Delhi’s Khan Market, one of the city’s longest-standing metal bands, Undying Inc., cut an imposing but polite bunch of figures. They’re joined by their newest addition, a buffed up, bearded and tattooed Ezra Helios on bass, who looks exactly the part for the band’s hulking physical and sonic presence.

It turns out Helios and the band have known each other for at least a year. “We started talking about fitness but I was following Shashank [Bhatnagar, vocalist] as a musician, because I’ve seen him playing [music festival] Great Indian Rock, [music venue] Turquoise Cottage and other Undying shows. I was always impressed with their performance, to think that we had that kind of energetic band in India.” The Mumbai-based artist and music teacher trained in classical guitar for around six years and has worked with projects ranging from acoustic to classical to metal (with  heavy metal band Distinct Vision) and Hindi rock, the last of which even involved Undying Inc. drummer Nishant Hagjer. “I was actually his client,” Hagjer says with a laugh.

Undying Inc.’s new bassist Ezra Helios. Photo: Puneet Jain and Yeashu Yuvraj

With guitarist Biswarup Gupta, there’s a shared interest and training in classical guitar that the two are now bonding over, even as this will be Helios’ first stint as a bassist in a band. Replacing U.K.-based sessions artist Carl Dawkins, Undying Inc. originally asked Helios to play “Ironclad” at their recent Mumbai show in March, at college gig series Octaves. Bhatnagar says, “We didn’t even start looking for a bassist and suddenly he was right in front of us. So I said, ‘Bro, what’s the scene?’ He [Helios] said he can play, but he’s never played the bass. So we said we’ll try it and the next day he called and said he had bought a bass guitar!”

The band is now working with Helios to add his bass parts to their upcoming single “Glock,” which was written right around their 2017 release “Alpha Absolute.” There are about 12 songs ready to be recorded and a run of shows in the next two months. Their new bassist may not have the same metal reference points for working on music, but he says with a straight face that his current reference is all of the band’s previous material. Helios adds, “I never found people like that, so I never got into extreme music, to jam with or bring out that anger. It’s not just about ‘Can you play our stuff?’ I remember they called me up and I’ll never forget when they said, ‘Tu apne jaisa hai’ (“You’re just like us”).”

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