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Undying Inc Replace Vocalist and Drummer In Sudden Change

The New Delhi groove/tech metallers frontman Shashank Bhatnagar and drummer Nishant Hagjer are out, with Sunneith Revankar and Jerry Nelson Ranee stepping in

Anurag Tagat May 30, 2019

Undying Inc - Shashank Bhatnagar, Nishant Hagjer, Biswarup Gupta and Ezra Helios (from left). Photo: Puneet Jain and Yeashu Yuvraj

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In the span of a few weeks, New Delhi metallers Undying Inc’s ranks have been shaken up all over again, just as they were prepping to get back on track with new material. Guitarist and founder member Biswarup Gupta, in quick resolve, announced that he and bassist Ezra Helios (who joined last year) have found replacements for vocalist Shashank Bhatnagar and drummer Nishant Hagjer.

The lineup is now completed by vocalist Sunneith Revankar (formerly of metallers Bhayanak Maut and now part of metallers The Silent Offensive) and drummer Jerry Nelson Ranee (also from The Silent Offensive, where he plays guitars). Interestingly, Undying Inc’s former founder-bassist Reuben Bhattacharya (who left in 2016) is part of The Silent Offensive, who are readying their debut release.

Sunneith Revankar. Photo: Sagnik Karmakar

Gupta says things have been “going on weird” for many years now, delaying the completion of songs to follow-up their 2014 EP Ironclad. While Undying released their single “Alpha Absolute” (with U.K. bassist Carl Dawkins) in 2017, the guitarist says he had tons of music ready to be worked on. “People were not around to give time to the band,” he adds. Their forthcoming single “Glock” – the first featuring Helios – was almost ready but not finished for nearly a year, according to Gupta. “Friendship and brotherhood aside, it’s about the music. We argued about ‘my work’ and ‘your work’ so I was getting frustrated,” the guitarist says.

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Bhatnagar, who had left the band in 2012 and rejoined in 2013, says he felt “burned out” by the time matters escalated this time around. Bhatnagar, Hagjer, the band’s manager Harsha Vardhan (from Proximity Music Management) and sound engineer Deepak Garg announced they were leaving, “over a legal dispute.” Bhatnagar claims that Gupta “did not want to share the ownership of the band with anyone except himself.” The previous lineup played its last show on May 8th, as part of gig series Fireball.

The vocalist will now focus on rock band Soul Inclination as well as a new electronic-influenced project with guitarist Jonty Indra. He adds, “Capital Metal Project – which features me, Shakti Singh on bass and guitarist Shashvat Pandit – are taking things national now. We’re working on material with collaborators and planning a tour for August.” Hagjer, for his part, is still part of Nepal metallers Underside but will be involved with Capital Metal Project as well.

As for Undying Inc, Gupta says he received a message from Revankar soon after news of the lineup change was out online. “I was surprised when Sunny messaged me and said he wanted to be a part of Undying. We got talking and we were exactly on the same page about concentrating on the music,” Gupta says. Ranee, a long-time friend of Gupta, was an “easy call” according to the guitarist.

The band is now split in different cities – with Helios in Chandigarh, Gupta in New Delhi, Revankar in Bengaluru and Ranee in Shillong. But the guitarist says they have technology on their side. “You have to stay up to date. This is a golden time for musicians to get together and even make it work online. If you say you’re old school and want to sit in a jam room and write songs… it used to make sense when everyone was in the same place, like when we made Aggressive World Dynasty [2010].” Gupta says the band will concentrate on putting out material for now, indicating that they may only take up big-stage show offers over club gigs.

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UPDATE: Drummer Hagjer spoke to Rolling Stone India about his departure from Undying Inc: “I didn’t want the band to continue without Shashank. I wanted to take a break for a month, before announcing anything about [my place in the band.] At the very same time, I was asked whether the band should announce they’re looking for a new vocalist and a new drummer. I said, ‘It’s all good. Go ahead, I’m fine with it.’ I still have a lot of respect for everyone so it doesn’t matter to me. The delay [in putting out music] was about a couple of members in the band… there was a lot of delay and yes, someone was really down and someone was really up, and vice versa. It’s as simple as that. Hate being the middleman. I also do have a new update about my life coming soon.”

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