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Grey Shack Release Second Album ‘Alchemy’

The Chennai rock band bid adieu to vocalist Rohan Sen with his final contribution; rope in Prashanth Oliver as new frontman

Anurag Tagat Jan 25, 2018

Grey Shack - (from left) Ramkumar Kanakarajan, Prashanth Oliver, Vikram Vivekanand, Conrand Simmons. Photo: Vaishnavi Prasad/Lensational

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In some sort of cosmic foresight, Grey Shack guitarist Vikram Vivekanand watched comedy-drama Almost Famous and realized he had written a riff nearly too similar to the 2000 movie’s fictional band, Stillwater. Vivekanand says, “I thought, ”˜Okay we cannot release that song now’.”

The decision came at a time when the Chennai rock band were working on their EP Soundgarden Sessions, which already included singles such as “Country Song” and “She Bites.” They decided to ditch the EP and concentrate fully on Alchemy, their second full-length album which released last week.

For Grey Shack ”“ who have been around since 2007 and take major influence from rock legends such as The Doors, Led Zeppelin and AC/DC ”“ avoiding rock clichés is important. The guitarist says, “Every rock riff and metal riff has been written, so how do you keep things fresh? We welcome the ideas of everyone in the band and the song builds from there.” Comprising bassist Conrad Simmons and drummer Ramkumar Kanakarajan, Alchemy is the final contribution of vocalist and co-founder Rohan Sen, who moved to New Delhi for work commitments. By early last year, the band had their new vocalist, Prashanth Oliver, who has a background in theater. Grey Shack played their first show with Oliver to launch Alchemy on January 19th in Chennai.

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The band members’ projects as well as uncertainty over Sen’s involvement with the band delayed the release of album right from late 2016, but Vivekanand says this was also due to tweaking mixes and adding final touches to the eight-track Alchemy. “We still wanted to have Rohan’s voice because he wrote the songs. It’s his best work in Grey Shack, It would be stupid to have Ollie (Oliver) re-record the vocals.”

Grey Shack’s original vocalist and co-founder Rohan Sen. Photo: Prashin Jagger

Alchemy features Grey Shack at their loudest best, even if they do cross over into familiar rock ”˜n roll territory. While songs like “Make Yourself” and the “parody of a pop song” they call “Look Around” were the earliest compositions, they bring the heavy with songs such as “Transitions.” Vivekanand says, “There are some really metal-influenced drum parts on the album, but that doesn’t mean it can’t find its place in a rock song.”

Although their Bengaluru show at The Humming Tree this weekend was called off owing to a day-long shutdown in the city, the band is planning for future shows across south India. The band’s fans have already warmed up to Oliver. “He belongs on stage. We just played one show with him so far, at the Chennai album launch. That was really good and everyone seemed to love the way we were gelling on stage and the vibe was great,” Vivekanand says.

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Watch the video for “Transitions” below. Get ”˜Alchemy’ here.

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