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The Old School Reigns at Reverse Scenario: The Next Chapter, Pune

Bengaluru metallers Kryptos along with thrash bands Sceptre and Systemhouse33 drew the biggest crowd at the second edition of the metal gig series, while Mumbai metallers Bhayanak Maut dove into old material

Anurag Tagat Feb 24, 2016
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Bengaluru old school metallers Kryptos at Reverse Scenario in Pune

Bengaluru old school metallers Kryptos at Reverse Scenario in Pune

Pune’s equation with metal is transitional, with a revolving door of only a handful of organizers and venues over the last few years, ranging from Storm Fest to Frameshift Initiatives’ Entombed Metal Fest and December Demolition. It’s not unlike the rest of the country’s metal scene either, but 2016 kicked off on a promising note with a formidably heavy lineup for the first edition of organizers 6th Element Inc.’s gig series Reverse Scenario, headlined by Delhi tech/groove metal band Undying Inc., Mumbai death metallers Gutslit and Thiruvananthapuram thrash metal band Chaos, among others in January.

For round two, Reverse Scenario returned to outdoor pub venue Classic Rock Coffee Co.’s auditorium-ish venue with Bengaluru old school metallers Kryptos, Mumbai metal band Bhayanak Maut, thrash metal bands such as Sceptre and Systemhouse33, Mumbai heavy metal band Albatross and a one-off show by death metallers  Reptilian Death.

Of course, since the show was in Pune, a bit of local representation went a long way, but with soundcheck slots all delayed and non-existent for bands apart from Kryptos and Bhayanak Maut,  vedic metal band Last Rituals had a blink-and-miss opening set. With just two songs in their set, including their recent single “Kaalhasti,” the band didn’t really sound their best, although the vocal combination of Harish Chawria throwing out Sanskrit verses to co-vocalist Jeet Malhotra’s surprisingly solid guttural growls did gather a few raised fists.

The last thing you want to see at a metal gig is an inert, sometimes emotionless audience ”“ but that’s what you’d call nearly a third of the audience that spent about five hours seated on the stairs leading up to the sound console, despite repeated pleas [both nice and curt] by bands.

Mumbai heavy metal band Albatross' Biprorshee Das (left) and bassist Dr. Hex at Reverse Scenario

Mumbai heavy metal band Albatross’ Biprorshee Das (left) and bassist Dr. Hex at Reverse Scenario

It didn’t help that Albatross were twice interrupted by power failure on stage, leaving a visibly sulking vocalist Biprorshee Das on the verge of storming off stage. The band salvaged around three-and-a-half songs, including material from their 2015 album Fear from the Skies [“In the Lair of Dr. Hex”] and closed with mosh-mobilizing cover of Megadeth’s “Tornado of Souls.” But it seemed like Albatross were the least fortunate of the lot, with power failures ceasing for the rest of the night.

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Reptilian Death, who were playing their first gig since June 2014’s appearance at crowdfunded gig series Control Alt Delete’s first Metal Chapter, took form with bassist-vocalist Ashwin Shriyan leading the way, the vocals not necessarily matching up to original vocalist Vinay Venkatesh, but rather offering a familiar air to the act. At what may be their last gig for quite some time with drummer and  founder member Sahil Makhija aka Demonstealer releasing his solo album, RD bowed out with a typically blistering set comprising songs off their 2013 album The Dawn of Consummation and Emergence.

But the next three bands ”“ Sceptre, Systemhouse33 and Kryptos ”“ were acts Pune was most keen for. The all-out thrash and heavy metal throwdown kicked off with Sceptre, with vocalist Gary Gracious raising a middle finger to politics and religion. Moshpits finally seemed more regular and the band closed with their recent single “Hate Infested” and threw back with “Charred.” Meanwhile, Systemhouse33 kept the moshers moving with material off their recently released album Regression, the rhythm section of bassist Leon Quadros and drummer Mayank Sharma ripping it on songs like “Namesake” and “Detestable Idolatry.”

More than 200 metalheads swarmed down [minus the still seated section of the audience] for Kryptos, who were taking a break from recording their upcoming fourth full-length album. Running through songs such as “Spellcraft,” “Nexus Legion” and “The Mask of Anubis,” the band got a rousing chant-along, which was a surprising surge in energy levels for the gig. With chants of “Kryptos!” and the staple MC/BC going up, Kryptos threw in a cover of Judas Priest’s “Hot Rockin” to close with their signature pose of putting their patch-stamped denim vest backs to the crowd and hitting hard on the last notes.

Bhayanak Maut live at Reverse Scenario in Pune

Bhayanak Maut live at Reverse Scenario in Pune

When the night seemed to have peaked, Bhayanak Maut came in with their typically hilarious banter, ripe for comedy since vocalist Sunneith Revankar was using a walker on stage after an injured knee. Even with guitarist Aditya Gopinathan getting a mic, he trolled fans hungry for the band’s earlier material by name-dropping 2005 compilation album Fine Tuned Disasters and launching into “It Knows,” off their 2014 album Man. The band did however make a rare throwback into their 2009 untitled debut album, gnashing through the opening “MNS Messenger” and “Blasted Beyond Belief.” With the 10 pm deadline approaching, they wrapped up with the groove-heavy “ XOXOXO,” complete with bass bombs.

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While Reverse Scenario did have its fair share of hitches ”“ from the no re-entry rule to bands getting on stage with just a linecheck [although that’s common practice in Europe and the U.S.] and the occasional technical difficulties ”“ there’s only one way that it can help keep metal alive in the city, by sustaining itself and returning soon for its next edition, off-season be damned.

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