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#ICYMI: New Metal From SkyPunch, Fleshcrave, Ayush Kumar Project and More

Plus, guitarist Kraven Stratfile rounds up a host of axemen for a shred video

Anurag Tagat Dec 28, 2021

Philadelphia-based Indian guitarist-composer Ameyaxoxo. Photo: Trevor Adams

“Kobe” by Ether

Siliguri electro-rock and metal act Ether released their power-packed Bengali and English single “Kobe” in October. Channeling all things we’ve loved about bands like Linkin Park, vocalist Pritam Goswami Adhikary is melancholic in his cleans and anguished in his screams in Bengali, while Pushpal Saha adds an English rap part heavily informed by Mike Shinoda’s cadence. Drummer Sayan Adhikary smashes it all together, with galloping work behind the kit.

“Black Swordsman” by Fleshcrave

Kolkata’s old-school death metallers Fleshcrave pitch their flag high with the incisive new single “Black Swordsman,” which came out in October. Opening with an ominous element of storytelling, the quartet launch into gritty, breakneck and moshpit-ready riffs. Thematically, “Black Swordsman” and its violent tale of vengeance is informed by the manga Berserk and its protagonist named Guts. An EP is in the works for 2022.

The Mind’s Cosmos by Enfierce

Formed in Boston and including Hyderabad guitarist Rohit Sivaram, metal band Enfierce have released their debut EP The Mind’s Cosmos, and it’s all kinds of eclectic. The band is completed by bassist Nathanael Brayant, drummer James Solomon, co-guitarist Francisco Moncayo and vocalist Matthew Durham. They give groove metal a new sort of meaning, with the string-bending nu-metal energy of “Forcefield,” while glam metal-meets-alt-rock energy is channeled in “Absence.” A little bit of Primus permeates on “Obstinacy,” while hyper-melodic guitar lines offer soul on “Snowglobe.”

Kraven Stratfile – “ARTS All Reasons To Shred”

As much as shred videos have an element of show-off, there’s an earnestness in Surat-based guitarist Kraven Stratfile’s “global guitar collab” titled “All Reasons to Shred,” released in November. Across 15 minutes, Stratfile provides the gnarly riffage for artists from all across the world and India. Among the familiar names include Aditya Swaminathan (from thrash metallers Kill The King), Sudarshan Mankad (from death metallers Moral Collapse), Siddharth Kota and more, each bringing in everything from screeching solos to soulful, carefully crafted leads.

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Oblivion by Ayush Kumar Project

Starting with singles in August, Mumbai-based multi-instrumentalist and composer Ayush Kumar kicked off his debut EP Oblivion, offering a blend of fist-tight prog, thrash and more styles of heavy music. “Polarity” goes from slick to sprawling, while he enlists Demonstealer aka Sahil Makhija on “Death Chamber,” whose horrific growls add much-needed depth to the extreme metal track that also features guitarist Aditya Mhatre and U.K.-based drummer John Timms Blanch. With a host of collaborators, songs like “Kalantak” notch up a brutal death metal assault, featuring vocalist Vishal Dalwani, guitarist Laksh Thamman and drummer Mridul Mishra. “Curse of the Fallen” and “Devolution” also allow Kumar to level up, making this collab-friendly project one to watch.

“Samsara” by SkyPunch

Bengaluru-based djent duo SkyPunch – vocalist-composer Isaac James and guitarist-producer Krishna Dass – add bright synths for a grandiose new song “Samsara,” but don’t hold back when it comes to playful chaos, reveling in dissonance as well. The four-minute track – which released in October – pieces together several movements, from electro-metal and djent to ambient and anthem-like choruses.

“Mango Hibiscus” by Ameyaxoxo

Part of Pune-based instrumental act Cat Kamikazee, guitarist-composer Ameya Deshpande moved to Philadelphia for studies and found inspiration for his new project, Ameyaxoxo. The solo act was launched with his breathtaking debut song “Mango Hibiscus” in September and is part of an upcoming EP slated for release in 2022. If “Mango Hibiscus” is any indication, expect guitar wizardry combined with soulful songwriting, making it an exuberant prog offering that has plenty of repeat value.  

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“Storm” by Flying Cupid

Part of his full-length album All Turns to Dust, modern metal act Flying Cupid aka Abhiruk Patowary introduces a murky, creepy new visual for the song “Storm.” Joined by vocalist Philippe Charny, bassist Abhishek Pillay and drummer Nathan Bulla, “Storm” is an all-out djent feast that fires on all cylinders.  

“Cellar Bloodline” by Brutal Society ft Sailu Rasaily

Released in November, Brutal Society follow up their top-notch debut song “Slaughter House” with even more slam-packed death metal on “Cellar Bloodline.” Comprising Kolkata-based guitarist Akash Singha (from DeathLore) and Pune vocalist Vishal Dalwani (part of KillKount), “Cellar Bloodline” wastes no time to go madcap, helped by a spine-tingling solo from Sailu Rasaily, from tech-death metallers Obliterating Vortex.

“Non Generic Love Ballad to Entice the Ladies” by Septic Salivation

If the song title (and artist name) has you guessing, there is, in fact, a fairly soulful solo led by Subu Nomo on Arunachal duo Septic Salivation’s new song “Non Generic Love Ballad to Entice the Ladies.” The only difference is, it’s still soulful for a death metal guitar solo. Vocalist Tana Doni (from metal bands such as Sacred Secrecy and Alien Gods) provides unsparing growls, making this a creative partnership that has stood the test of time ever since they came together in 2015.