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Gig Review: Thunderstorm Volume 2

The second edition of the Mumbai-based metal gig series saw an underwhelming turnout despite a varied lineup of up-and-coming acts and veteran headliners

Nabeela Shaikh Jan 12, 2016
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Sahil Makhija of Demonic Resurrection. Photo by Tushar Dhanawade.

Sahil Makhija of Demonic Resurrection. Photo by Tushar Dhanawade.

For all the ranting and raving that metalheads kick up about the “lack of gig venues” and a lull in the “metal scene,” it comes as a surprise that the one of the first day-long metal gigs of the year saw an underwhelming turnout in Mumbai. The second edition of Mumbai-based Thunderstorm drew in a total of 204 attendees””despite a varied lineup, a fair amount of publicity, moderately priced alcohol and efficient organization””making us wonder where the loyal followers are disappearing.

As is almost always the case with opening acts, progressive metal act Five of Castles [FOC] drew in a less than enthusiastic crowd, most of whom flocked frigid near the stage as the five-piece band belted out their originals. While FOC started out in 2011 as a symphonic death metal band, complete with a keyboardist and female vocalist [who dropped out soon after their first two singles] the band seems to have more recently veered towards a progressive style. Eager as the band was to entertain, they seemed to fall short””in spite of cranking out some neat melodies and guitar solos.

Dirge frontman Tabish Khidir. Photo by Tushar Dhanawade.

Dirge frontman Tabish Khidir. Photo by Tushar Dhanawade.

Even death metallers Darkrypt, who went up next, did little to loosen up the crowd of 60-odd headbangers. Whether it was frontman Amey Bhole announcing the band’s debut release through Transcending Obscurity distribution in the near future, or all four members blasting well-rehearsed originals like “Chasm of Death” and “Acceptor,” Darkrypt were received half-heartedly with stray applause.

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Carrying forward the old school death metal vein were Killchain, who seemed plain pissed””whether at the placid crowd, the unfitting flashy lighting that incidentally plagued every band’s performance or maybe just as part of their stage persona. “Bang your fucking heads, motherfuckers!” snarled frontman Vineet Sharma, but again, to little effect as the band tore through a fierce mix of originals like “Canceling the Apocalypse” and covers of American death metal band Obituary.

Killchain weren’t the only band to throw in a few covers, as thrash act Wrath took over next, with a few hit-and-miss originals, a cover of Bloodbath’s “Eaten,” and a tribute to Motörhead frontman Lemmy with their own take on “The Game.” Even their attempt to kick up a wall of death saw a bleak response, and perhaps the most they riled up the audience was with the infamous BC-MC chant.

“Stone-age” metallers Primitiv were quick to step up the show despite the stiff crowd, opening with their ominous orchestral intro “Clash of the Gods,” and proceeding to rage on tracks off their debut album Immortal and Vile. Even technical/sound issues were quickly smoothed out as the band roped in friends from symphonic black metal band Cosmic Infusion – frontman Sushan Shetty taking a mic for “Lords of Primitiv” and Albatross vocalist Biprorshee Das joining in on “Taurus.”

Members of Primitiv with Dirge guitarist Ashish Dharkar. Photo by Tushar Dhanawade

Members of Primitiv with Dirge guitarist Ashish Dharkar. Photo by Tushar Dhanawade

Up-and-coming doom act Dirge were a stark shift in tempo to their preceding acts, as they brought their plodding, half-tempo riffs on a set of all originals. Although the band was eventually pressed for time and had to cut short their set by one song, they left the crowd hypnotized with a perfectly sludgy, screechy performance of “Swamp.”

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While not many people present may have been well-versed with Dirge’s music, co-headliners Cosmic Infusion managed to get a fair share of the crowd singing along to live staples like “Journey” and “Burial of Thy Own,” apart from premiering two new songs, a surging terror inducer titled “The Stream” and an equally chilling symphonic arrangement called “Road to Freedom, Road to Death.”  

But all said and done, headliners Demonic Resurrection turned out to be the most enduring act of the evening, pulling through despite a thinning crowd. The extreme metallers were undeterred as always, making their way through DR set regulars like “A Tragedy Befallen” and “Death, Desolation and Despair.” By now, the 40-odd remaining people, many of whom had performed earlier in the evening and were close friends of the band, took it upon themselves to start a little mosh-friendly party of their own. Even frontman Sahil Makhija stepped away from the mic to join his fans during “Unrelenting Surge of Vengeance,” as vocalist Pratika Prabhune spontaneously took over vocal duties to close the night.

While Pune’s simultaneous gig Reverse Scenario may have reigned popular for the day [with a lineup that included brutal death metallers Gutslit’s last show with vocalist Aditya Barve, thrash metal heavyweights Chaos and Delhi metallers Undying Inc.], there’s no denying that Thunderstorm–barring a few sound glitches–was a commendable effort for an independently organized event. If only the audience had realized that too.

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