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The Playlist Special: Nitin Rajan

The long-standing metal vocalist picks heavy hitters as his top tracks, including early Obituary, a Pantera rager and an AC/DC anthem

Rolling Stone India Mar 31, 2016
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Nitin Rajan. Photo by sairaj Kamath.

Nitin Rajan. Photo by sairaj Kamath.

The vocalist of Mumbai metal bands Primitiv and Killibrium lists most biggies from the genre as his biggest inspirations.

1. “One” Metallica, 1989 

This song was my calling. This was the song that made me go, “I want to play in a metal band someday!”

2. “Afraid To Shoot Strangers” Iron Maiden, 1992 

Great storytelling with an arresting melody and soaring vocals that transport you elsewhere in an instant. I have spent many a college night just trying to learn the majestic vocal delivery of the mighty Bruce.

3. “Back in Black” AC/DC, 1980 

An out-and-out, ball-busting, arena rock song for all ages. Every time I hear it, I know I made the right choice ”“ stage, live music, no holds barred!

4. “Abominations” Morbid Angel, 1991 

Sheer evil oozes with every note of this heretic hymn. The best chorus written in the history of death metal ”“ “Rise up O powers of sea, in the name of Absu I call.”

5. “Dead Embryonic Cell” Sepultura, 1991 

My first growl vocal attempt in my bedroom with a best friend and my brother as captive audience. Third world brotherhood!

6. “Postmortem” Slayer, 1986 

This has been the most challenging song for me to cover as a vocalist. Thrash metal stretched to its limit sonically, with the vocal delivery matching the sheer relentless rage ”“ emerging from the twin guitar attack and drum maestro Dave Lombardo!

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7. “Chopped in Half” Obituary, 1990 

Back in the tape trading days in the Bombay metal underground, Obituary’s seminal death metal album Cause of Death was the most unique, original and nether worldly sounding, and my pick of this album is “Chopped in Half.”

8. “I’m Broken” Pantera, 1994 

This song taught me to go all out, rip it out, unleash every ounce of energy I have into the song and let the audience feel it. And what a video!

9. “Pull the Plug” Death, 1988 

Tight, rapid, raw, powerful words and the stamp of Chuck Schuldiner, a song that still stays with you after all these years.

10. “The World Keeps Turning” Napalm Death, 1992 

Barney Greenway’s delivery ”“ guttural with clarity and incisive lyrics have been a big personal influence. That coupled with the tightest rhythm section this century has ever seen makes this song ”˜ever grey’!

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