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Metal Evolution

Undying Inc set to release 4 song EP

Sanmitra Gupta Aug 09, 2008
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Akshat Kranti

As the mysterious creaking of the window interrupted our conversation for the second time, Reuben Bhattacharya immediately interpreted an ominous link between the sudden outbreak amongst the birds, a while back, and the same. While things took an irreversible turn towards detecting the presence of “the others,” we were seen off, at the bend, by Biswarup Gupta’s stunted mutter of “we’ve waited a long, long time for this.”

This rendezvous with Undying Inc is nothing like meeting the Undying of yore. Version 2.0 is, at first sight, definitely more muscled, and on first hear, they are most likely to stun you and trap you under their wall of sound. Their set at Pune, a couple of hours back, had been cut short at their fifth song but the discomfort and awe of not knowing what hit them was writ across each face at the gathering.

Indeed, it’s been a long time coming. The seeds were sown in Shillong between Bhattacharya and Gupta, who handle bass and guitars respectively, and since 2003 the band has been plugging away towards a cohesive meld of off-time signatures, hardcore breakdowns, restless drum patterns and incisive riff display. With their new line-up and practised precision, this unit is about to release their 4-song EP Evilution of a Manimal.

“With this line-up, things have really fallen into place. We have all evolved as musicians and currently share a common perspective on what we should sound like. This is where we want to be now,” says Bhattacharya. The need to be challenged is inherent, though. Indeed, there is a defined space within which their music works but they tend to look at it like an elastic Rubik’s cube. “The idea is to keep evolving and hence we have to try and keep pushing the boundaries of heavy music,” he adds. The surprises are not too difficult to spot, as my television-producer/not-too-hardcore friend pointed out ”“ “the drum patterns are quite unusual.” The course of their aural assault is directed well by the incorporation of loads of grooves, which the band seems to agree upon as a template for their sound. “Whether we come across as aggressive or harsh – the groove will make you move,” laughs drummer Yuvraj Sengupta, as he gloats over his rhyming pattern.

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It is not only the changing mould of metal, but also the constant shift that mankind is going through, which acts as a cast for this impending release. “This EP will be part of a body of 10 songs that shall revolve around the state of things to come for the human race,” informs Gupta. To lend further insight into such a prophetic statement, the songs ”˜Manimal’ and ”˜Evilution’ act like two sides of the same coin. While the former talks of the self-destructive beast within every individual, the latter denounces our evolution as a race. “The further we evolve, the closer we are edging towards going back to being apes ”“ tearing our throats out over things like reservation and things like which state who belongs to,” mentions vocalist Shashank Bhatnagar. Brazil comes to mind and the genre-defining aggression of Sepultura, stalwarts who rose out of the gulf that existed between the rich and the poor. “That’s where India’s headed and with all that’s surrounding us, can you imagine the kind of aggression that this music can generate?” asks Bhattacharya. Bhatnagar, whose primal yell bites into your skin when the band is on stage, merely nods his head now.

As an extension of their belief, the artwork for Evilution ­­- which Bhattacharya and Gupta have designed as a team ”“ is their take on the iconic chain of figures that denote various stages of evolution. The EP shall be released once the industrial mix for ”˜Manimal’ is done with. There shall be loops, scratches and aid from a DJ”¦ but now, isn’t that pushing the boundaries, err, a little too much?

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“Not if you stop being judgemental,” explains a smiling Bhattacharya. “Genre war is like apartheid, man, and being a metal musician, I will know it like none other,” he adds. Their sound has been categorised, criticised, denied opportunity and put through the test for not being “commercial” and to this, I remind them that at the end of the creative process, the artist is dead. “Which is why we make music for ourselves,” mutters the usually-reserved Gupta. “If you like it, you’re part of us.”

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