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
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 heavyÂ lineupÂ for the first edition of organizers 6th Element Inc.’s gig series Reverse Scenario, headlined by Delhi tech/groove metal band Undying Inc., Mumbai deathÂ metallersÂ GutslitÂ 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-ishÂ venueÂ withÂ Bengaluru old schoolÂ metallersÂ Kryptos, Mumbai metal bandÂ BhayanakÂ Maut, thrash metal bands such as Sceptre and Systemhouse33, Mumbai heavy metal band Albatross and a one-off show by death metallers Â Reptilian Death.
Of course, since the show was in Pune, a bit of local representation went a long way, but withÂ soundcheckÂ slots all delayed and non-existent for bands apart from Kryptos and BhayanakÂ Maut, Â vedicÂ 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 HarishÂ ChawriaÂ throwing out Sanskrit verses to co-vocalistÂ JeetÂ 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.
It didn’t help that Albatross were twice interrupted by power failure on stage, leaving a visibly sulking vocalistÂ BiprorsheeÂ Das on the verge of storming off stage. The band salvaged around three-and-a-half songs, including material from their 2015 albumÂ Fear from the SkiesÂ [“In the Lair ofÂ Dr.Â Hex”] and closed with mosh-mobilizing cover ofÂ Megadeth’sÂ “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.
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 withÂ bassist-vocalist AshwinÂ ShriyanÂ leading the way, the vocals not necessarily matching up to original vocalist VinayÂ Venkatesh, but rather offering a familiar air to the act. At what may be their last gig for quite some time with drummer and Â founder memberÂ SahilÂ MakhijaÂ akaÂ DemonstealerÂ releasing his solo album, RD bowed out with a typically blistering set comprising songs off their 2013 albumÂ The Dawn of Consummation andÂ Emergence.
But the next three bands ”“ Sceptre, Systemhouse33 andÂ KryptosÂ ”“ were acts Pune was most keen for. The all-out thrash and heavy metalÂ throwdownÂ kicked off with Sceptre, with vocalist Gary Gracious raising a middle finger to politics and religion.Â MoshpitsÂ finally seemed more regular and the band closed with their recent single “Hate Infested” and threw back with “Charred.”Â Meanwhile, Systemhouse33 kept theÂ moshersÂ moving with material off their recently released albumÂ Regression, the rhythm section of bassist LeonÂ QuadrosÂ and drummerÂ MayankÂ Sharma ripping it on songs like “Namesake” and “Detestable Idolatry.”
More than 200Â metalheadsÂ swarmed down [minus the still seated section of the audience] forÂ 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 forÂ the gig. With chants of “Kryptos!” and the staple MC/BC going up,Â KryptosÂ threw in a cover of Judas Priest’s “HotÂ 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.
When the night seemed to have peaked,Â BhayanakÂ MautÂ came in with their typically hilarious banter, ripe for comedy since vocalistÂ SunneithÂ RevankarÂ was using a walker on stage after an injured knee. Even withÂ guitaristÂ AdityaÂ Gopinath
While Reverse Scenario did have its fair share of hitches ”“ from the no re-entry rule to bands getting on stage with just aÂ linecheckÂ [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.