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Inside the Bombay Metal Project’s Second Run At BIG69

The 16-member collective comprising vocalists, drummers, bassists, guitarists and a keyboardist on recreating their camaraderie and a new setlist

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Anurag Tagat Jan 14, 2015
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Guitarist Prashant Shah and vocalists Siddharth Basrur and Sunneith Revankar perform as part of the Bombay Metal Project at Weekender in Pune in 2012. Photo: Monisha Ajgaonkar

Guitarist Prashant Shah and vocalists Siddharth Basrur and Sunneith Revankar perform as part of the Bombay Metal Project at Weekender in Pune in 2012. Photo: Monisha Ajgaonkar

On the first floor of a bus depot building in Mumbai’s south central locale of Sion, Mumbai’s top metal musicians are sitting around, sharing smokes, gig stories and the worst puns imaginable. Drummer Virendra Kaith, from extreme metal band Demonic Resurrection and hardcore band Scribe, jokes about how playing Metallica’s “Fuel” with two drummers makes it “Duel.”

The laughter has been a constant at the Bombay Metal Project’s jams over the last three weeks spent rehearsing with as many members as possible from the complete 16-member lineup, comprising members from metal bands such as Bhayanak Maut, Zygnema, Devoid, Pangea, Cosmic Infusion, Gutslit and Goddess Gagged, among others. The Bombay Metal Project first performed at Bacardi NH7 Weekender in Pune in 2012, but its members tell us that playing at the first edition of metal festival BIG69 in Mumbai this week is much more special. Says guitarist Prashant Shah, “I think the crowd is going to be very different; the Weekender crowd is very mixed, this is going to be people who only listen to metal, because it’s a metal festival. This is the Bombay Metal Project in Bombay now, that’s the best part about it.”

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Shah, along with Bhayanak Maut vocalist Sunneith Revankar, have been in charge of putting the project back together, which now includes newer additions in the form of members from Zygnema, Devoid, Gutslit, vocalist Afaque Azad [from death metallers Infernal Wrath] and bassist Krishna Jhaveri [from prog metal band Skyharbor]. Says Revankar, “It was about people wanting to play with other people ”“ and that happened and it was special for the first time and we had a lot of fun. For us to do it again is going to be just as fun, but it’s a lot crazier to put together. Just the feeling of everyone being on stage again is great.”

With a 75-minute slot on day two of BIG69, just ahead of performances by UK metal headliners Hacktivist and SikTh, the Bombay Metal Project are working on 12 cover songs from their favorite metal artists ”“ old school and modern ”“ for their set. While they’re keeping most of the set as a surprise, we already know there’s “Fuel” by Metallica, and songs by the likes of Killswitch Engage and Slipknot being worked out. More than jamming though, the members are all happy they get to spend time together at a place that’s not just backstage at a show. Says Shah, “These are pretty much the people we’ve been playing with, touring with or whatever. There’s always that comfort level, camaraderie that we have.”

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Watch a promo video for the Bombay Metal Project

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