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Gig Review: Cosmic Infusion, Stark Denial and Gutslit

Mumbai’s metal militia came out in support of three extreme metal bands at the first Blue Frog Metal Night of the year

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Anurag Tagat Jan 08, 2013
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Sushan Shetty of Cosmic Infusion. Photo: Jai Sangoi/Blue Frog

Cosmic Infusion, Stark Denial, Gutslit, January 6th, Blue Frog, Mumbai: Last Sunday, the tony South Mumbai nightclub had a swarm of metallers lined up for the first metal night of the year. Symphonic black metal band Cosmic Infusion, black metallers Stark Denial and death grind band Gutslit needed no disclaimer. The night was going to be loud.

When opening band Cosmic Infusion stepped on stage in corpse paint and black leather, some guests at Blue Frog realized they picked a wrong day to dine here. To begin with, the empty tables meant that most diners stayed away from mixing metal and dinner, but even those who stayed to catch a few songs realized they should have bought earplugs. Cosmic Infusion that got together originally in 2003 went on a four-year hiatus before reforming with a new lineup in 2012, featuring keyboardist Sushan Shetty as the frontman. Songs such as “The Journey,” “Road to Freedom, Road to Death” and “Gothika” came with heavy keyboard synth and massive blast beats, a mix that made Cosmic Infusion the friendliest black metal could ever get with guitarist Amnish Lohire’s drone tone adding the darkest hues to the band’s sound. “Burial Of Thy Own” finally opened up the mosh pit and Cosmic Infusion ended with a set favorite ”“ covering Norwegian black metal band Dimmu Borgir’s “Mourning Palace” as Shetty signed off, “We won’t forget this for a long time.”

The grim-faced black metallers Stark Denial got on next, letting their “Dormant I Lie” do all the talking. Since Cosmic Infusion played a more symphonic form of black metal, Stark Denial ploughed through their set with blast beats that just sent the crowd off. Guitarist Ruark D’souza shredded away on “As Life Descends” and “Gates Of War.”  Usually, there are two kinds of crowds watching a black metal band – ones who move from side to side, or ones who stand perfectly still because the beats are too damn fast to synchronize with. Yet vocalist Kunal Gonsalves found himself asking, “You guys want something more faster?” Despite the lukewarm response, they launched into neck snapping riffs. Some of the songs seemed tailored to show drummer Souvik Roy’s skin-bashing skills, including a drum solo towards the end of their set. They ended with a cover of Slayer’s “Raining Blood,” which triggered more moshing.  Things got a bit muddled towards the end when they ran out of songs, but not out of time and happily obliged with an encore of “Raining Blood” to bring the set to a close. 

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Death grind band Gutslit were the last to go up on stage. A few foreign expatriates at the venue were overheard saying, “There’s heavy metal today.” They stayed at first for the same reason any outsider would stay ”“ to know what live metal is like. They moved towards the exit once a moshpit broke out during Gutslit’s set. Manning the sound console for Gutslit was Afaque Azad, vocalist of death metal veterans Infernal Wrath. A mini-celebrity of sorts, Azad became the one man who was much needed in the moshpit, straight from the beginning to the end of the gig. Stark Denial vocalist Kunal Gonsalves summed the equation Azad shares with the scene during their set, saying, “It’s not a metal gig till Afaque is in the moshpit.”

With songs such as “Skewered In The Sewer” [off their upcoming album by the same name], “Circumcised With A Chainsaw” and “Eviscerating The Stillborn,” you wouldn’t know whether to laugh first or go about moshing. When they opened with “Atrophic Cranial Disintegration,” the hammer was pretty swift in striking. Formed in 2007, Gutslit incorporates 240 bpm blast beats and terrifying guttural growls in their set. Anybody wondering what the strange sounds on “Pulp Face” were can put their doubts to rest ”“ that wasn’t a nails on a chalk board, but pig squeals.

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Unfortunately for Gutslit, the constant feedback signal made their set a bit of a bummer. But Aditya Barve’s vocals never let down throughout the set, even though you’d be lucky if you understood a single word he uttered except for the names of the songs. One of their earliest songs, “Maze of Entrails,” showed how grind bands don’t ever change their sound, but take the existing elements and push the boundaries of metal. The band closed their set with a cover of “Kill Your Mother, Rape Your Dog,” by American grind band Dying Fetus, whom Gutslit cite as a major influence.

The only thing missing was slam dancers windmilling their hands and kicking the air, which is the only way to mosh to metal this heavy.

Key tracks: “The Journey” (Cosmic Infusion), “Stark Denial” (Stark Denial), “Pulp Face” (Gutslit)

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