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Best of Indian Metal: Class of 2011

A closer look at the top nominees in the Rolling Stone Metal Awards

Deepti Unni May 31, 2011
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This month five of India’s best metal bands, albums, songs and musicians will face off against each other in the second edition of the Rolling Stone Metal Awards, judged by some of the biggest names in metal. Here’s a closer look at the nominees this year.

BEST METAL BAND

Artillerie [www.myspace.com/artillerie]
In the four years that djent thrashers Artillerie have been around, the Delhi band has weathered line-up changes, fought Lamb of God comparisons and evolved their own sound, all of it coming together on first full-length album Eradefiled last year. The band have built a reputation for their intense, tight live performances and, despite their low profile, have garnered themselves a sizeable fan following.

Bhayanak Maut [www.myspace.com/bhayanakmautmusic]
One of the titans of the Indian metal scene, Bhayanak’s Maut’s studio output was limited to an EP last year but the band have been blazing trails on the live scene. The band just recently returned from their first international show at the Inferno Festival in Norway and their song ”˜Habemus Papam’ was featured on the soundtrack of Anurag Kashyap’s Shaitan.

Devoid [www.myspace.com/devoidindia]
Mumbai death thrash metal band Devoid take their music and beer very seriously, so much that they now have a song about it (”˜Beersong’). The band released their much-anticipated debut album A God’s Lie last year and have been active on the touring circuit, last opening for Nervecell and Decapitated at the Deccan Rock Festival.

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Undying Inc [www.myspace.com/undyinginc4]
Few Indian bands have inspired as much fanaticism as Delhi-based extreme metal act Undying Inc. The quartet have been one of the hottest live metal properties and their sophomore full-length album Aggressive World Dynasty was the most anticipated metal release of last year. The band played the Rolling Stone Metal Awards last year but this is their first nomination in the Metal Awards.

Zygnema [www.myspace.com/zygnema]
From releasing their debut album Born of Unity to winning the Indian finale of the Yamaha Asian Beat contest, which saw the Mumbai band compete against international acts at the global finals in Bangkok, it’s been a good year for Zygnema. Regular moshpit favourites, the band are known for their brutal live act and intense stage presence, the band have never failed to get crowds moving.

BEST METAL ALBUM

Artillerie
Eradefiled

Artillerie’s debut album was a seamless amalgamation of taut, chugging grooves and fantastic bottom-heavy riffing. Eradefiled was a concept album, a story of war, loss and redemption detailed on the band’s blog and their music set the mood ”“ dark and angry, restrained aggression given voice by Noble Luke’s Jens Kidman-influenced vocals.

Devoid
A God’s Lie

A God’s Lie squeezed six years of Devoid into one straight-up mid-tempo thrash album. Old favourites found a place here (”˜Black Fortress,’ ”˜Battlecry’) but the newer tracks showcased the band’s evolving sound (”˜A God’s Lie,’ ”˜Hate Cult’). The band also gave up one track to their beloved beverage of choice, the wildly popular ”˜Beersong,’ which works in their advantage as every fan knows the best way to a metalhead’s heart is through his beer.

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Exhumation
Consider This

When India’s most elusive death metal band releases an album, it is invariably an event and so it was with Mumbai band Exhumation’s Consider This. Showcasing guitarist Prashant Shah’s mastery of riffage, the album was a masterpiece of songwriting but was let down by the production. Even so, the album featured some of the best work by the band, including the monster title track, and successful experimentation with melody.

IAFWAY
Engravings

As a band IAFWAY’s live profile is practically nonexistent but their debut album Engravings garnered positive reviews and generated interest in this Delhi band. Veering towards melodic hardcore, the album was a meld of headbangable riffs, push-pull breakdowns and interesting tempo shifts, echoing the new wave of American metal bands like August Burns Red.

Undying Inc
Aggressive World Dynasty

Few bands can match live what they do in the studio but Delhi’s Undying Inc scores highly on both counts. Aggressive World Dynasty was a lesson sonic brutality, with a sound rooted in thrash but striking out in every other direction, from djent to death metal. Their layered, dense approach to composition makes this album a punishing but fantastic listen.

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