Premiere: Primitiv Remembers Vocalist Nitin Rajan with ‘Squishy and Spongy’ Tribute
The Mumbai metal band releases a new version to mark their late frontman’s birthday, featuring growlers Demonstealer, Sunneith Revankar and Shashank Bhatnagar
To mark what would have been powerhouse vocalist and metal veteran Nitin Rajan’s 43rd birthday, Mumbai metallers Primitiv built from an outpouring of support from the Indian metal community to create a tribute version of their song “Squishy And Spongy.”
Rajan, who passed away in November last year due to cancer, is remembered as an imposing, unshakeable frontman on stage with bands like Morticide, Primitiv and more, while also being hailed as a digital media innovator and eternally optimistic gig promoter off the stage. Mumbai’s seasoned metal vocalists Demonstealer aka Sahil Makhija and Sunneith Revankar, plus New Delhi’s Shashank Bhatnagar deliver three rattling verses in Rajan’s stead in the stomping version of “Squishy and Spongy,” which released in 2019. The video features footage from Rajan’s last gig, at metal series ScarFest in Mumbai in late 2019.
Primitiv co-founder and bassist Riju Dasgupta says everyone including the vocalists, video editor Akhila Shankar and lensmen Sairaj Kamath and Tushar Dhanawade (who sent in footage) were emotional when they were asked to be a part of the project. Dasgupta adds, “We did consider a tribute gig since [Rajan’s festival series] Domination – The Deathfest is his legacy but we wouldn’t have been able to do it at the moment. It also just didn’t feel right to get into the jam room without Nitin. So, this seemed like the one thing everyone could do.”
Released under the title For King Primitiv, Dasgupta hints that this may be the name of the tribute project for gigs once they will be possible. “It’s also the name of the album, but we don’t know the status of it right now,” he adds.
Demonstealer, who had known Rajan for decades, calls the track a great way to pay tribute to everything the Primitiv frontman had achieved. When it came to the vocals, the frontman of extreme metal band Demonic Resurection says he had his own guiding factor: “Any time you try and do anyone else’s voice, you don’t want to ape them. You want to do justice and give the song what it needs.”
Bhatnagar, for his part, considered Rajan a mentor and a trailblazer in the scene. “I was honestly going to ask the band to send me a minus track anyway and put out a version of a Primitiv song myself, but I didn’t want to push it at the time,” Bhatnagar says. In his own way of “honoring the history” of Rajan, Bhatnagar put his interpretation on record. “It was different but difficult, because Nitin has this wall of grunt. I did my best and in my own style,” he adds.
Watch the video for “Squishy and Spongy”