Famous metal bands playing concerts in India won’t improve the scene

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Only the gullible believe that the glut of popular metal bands that have made their foray into India will improve the quality of the native heavy metal scene. Over the last eight years, bands the likes of Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Metallica, Slayer, Sepultura, Kreator, Rotting Christ, Destruction, Enslaved, Testament, Carcass and a few others that I am missing, have all played shows in this once-arid landscape for heavy metal. Cannibal Corpse, Napalm Death and Inquisition are due in the months to follow. Even relatively obscure bands like Wormrot, Putrid Pile, Defiled, Obliteration and Nekromantheon have graced these ancient shores in recent years. All this is obviously great news for metal connoisseurs who finally get to watch professional, legendary bands in their own city with their own friends. No amount of live gigs seen abroad can rival the festive feeling and the buildup that takes place before seeing a big band that you have grown up hearing play on your own soil. To that end, this is a wonderful development for metal fans in the country.

Mainstream metal publications and ignorant foreigners are only too glad to latch on to a virgin territory that they haven’t had the chance to whore out before, and what better way to sell platitudes than by invoking venerable India, land of ganja-smoking rishis  and the holy Ganges that The Beatles once visited? But when this leads people to think that the local metal climate is in robust health, it can only imply a complete disconnect with ground reality. Even a cursory look across the country in search of metal bands, or an observation of the newer generation of so-called metal fans, reveals the absence of any kind of unifying thread that could tie into a scene. While an open-minded attitude to new ideas is no bad thing, and is something that has allowed this land and its philosophies to survive and even thrive over thousands of years in spite of repeated outsider aggressions, a scene or a movement requires quite the opposite: an ability to look inward and be self-centered about the process concerned to the exclusion of all else. A scene is not formed by loud exhortations to goodwill but by a mutually shared yet unacknowledged commitment to the same ideals. This simply does not exist in India. The nearest approximation of a genuine scene to unknowing eyes might be found in the eastern city of Kolkata but time will tell whether this is only a chimaera based on mindless idol worship.

What appears to be missing the most, and sadly too, is the obsessive banter over heavy metal of even just fifteen years ago. Over the internet, in person, and at concerts where the most one could expect was some band pulling off a good Metallica or Deicide cover, people would converge and just plain talk heavy metal. With obnoxious energy to many around, sure, but the music retained its preeminence. Internet forums teemed with bullshit but also with insightful contributions and hashing out of arguments. The onset of social media like Facebook, unfortunately, shifted the focus away from the music to the self, with its overt appeal to vanity. Not a platform for carrying on extended conversations in a user-friendly fashion, it instead reared a new kind of music fan subsisting on “likes” and monosyllabic, sms-esque expressions of “sick” and “\m/”. Words came to be at a premium, to be used only for inane, socializing chatter and not for any intense conversation lest you be labeled a serial bore. Is it any surprise then that this same herd of metal fans creates music so soulless and lacking in direction?

For a scene to truly exist, metalheads in India need to rediscover the art of purposeful communication. It is only through an active and healthy discussion of the music and its peripherals that metal fans here will come to appreciate the philosophy of heavy metal, and the idea of its underground, as it has evolved over the last forty-five years.

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15 Responses to Famous metal bands playing concerts in India won’t improve the scene

  1. Aditya Mehta says:

    Behenchod, lund jaisa music, chutiye jaise bands, chutiye jaise fans.

  2. gk says:

    good stuff. i miss the conversations around metal most of all whether online or in person. A lot of people seem incapable of having them without wikipedia or metal archives as a backup. This whole like culture though seems most prevalent when writing reviews. the review seems to have become more about the reviewer than about the band in question.

  3. gk says:

    heh, yeah we really need a new forum

  4. youknowwhoiam says:

    Bro – what you talking about bro? wellplaced and misplaced is becoming a blurry genre debate.
    Have you even stopped and think why people now a days are not commenting or “obsessive(ly) banter(ing)”?
    Cause in this day n age, your thoughts, my thoughts, our thoughts dont weigh a thing unless you just listen to music. And probably people have come to understand that – cause lets face it, theres many bands out there, who deserve recognition and who do post links to their songs, but the expected “banter” leads to nothing – zilch – music has not been constructed over fb comments (now theres an idea).
    And as long as those “vain” people are posting links to their songs, any band or musician for that matter, thats good enough. And let people resort to their \m/ and yes, i see that you are resorting to your right of posting “rants”(which is good) in a blog.
    But, thats it – dont forget to post your link in this behemoth called facebook. we all need a david.
    And to an end to my rant – just go to the damn shows – however obscure and listen – instead of getting down to an academic debate of musical virtuosity. Practicality – anyone ??

    • youknowwhoiam says:

      i get what you are saying brah – but just go to the shows and be the support – but you are completely free in telling what you want – but if someone comes up to me and goes blah blah about some band that i have not heard – i can only be his audience for a min tops. No one likes preaching – thats the beauty of metal – its the evolution – can you handle it?

      • From what I gathered from your post, you are making three points:

        (A) Literate music discussion among fans is pointless.
        (B) Everything is an evolution.
        (C) Support bands regardless of quality.

        What I mean by the second part of this post, and which probably answers (A), is that once people stop talking and communicating about the music – whatever it may be, discography, songs, general genre history, etc – the music recedes into the background and loses its rightful place of relevance. If you’re comfortable with that idea, great. Musicians need to be music fans first, in the right sense of the word. The music will then take care of itself. Uninspired music isn’t the problem here; music can be derivative and still be acknowledged as sincere (Kryptos, Dhwesha, Dying Embrace, etc). The problem in India is an ignorance about the music itself.

        (B) & (C): If you have read this blog for any length of time, you will realize that I have a fundamental disagreement with your point of view. Everything is NOT an evolution, if you attribute a positive value to evolution; sometimes there is very real regression also. The deviations you call an evolution will not last beyond the very near future. Why? Because metal has internal quality control and real fans learn to recognize and appreciate it over time. It is these real fans who then become musicians and keep the flame alive.

        As for the comment about not listening to someone like me for more than a minute at most, what I write here is simply my expression of things I see around me. If someone identifies with it, more power to them, but this is chiefly a release mechanism for me. I have never believed in seeking out people and trying to convert them to my way of seeing things.

  5. kvrdz says:

    “Musicians need to be music fans first, in the right sense of the word.”
    Right on point there. The average Indian extreme metal band is a motley assortment of closet linkin park fans and bearded Coffeeshop hipsters in Pantera tees and cannabis leaf Tattoos.

  6. youknowwhoiam says:

    AGREE TO DISAGREE 🙂
    And metal is about being a linkin park fan and loving it. cause its all music by the end of the day. As long as all the members in the band contributed to the notes and the arrangement of the music, however electronic or not – as long as its been done by the credited band member and not taken off a “hip hop loop website” – thats band enough.
    Metal is not about judging how much gore or semen is their on the fret board, but acknowledging creation of musical notes for better aural sensation.
    And who are these real metal fans you talk off – they are a myth. Everything you here is real, there can be no certain sect of “godfathers/mothers” who will come off the ground and say “YES – YOU ARE METAL” – nope. Its all about how you sound, how sincere you are to your musical effort rather than doing a one-up man ship by listening to the oldest and gorest metal. That was metal – which superseded something that happened earlier. Now there shall be metal that shall supersede that and so on. You cannot stop the evolution my friend, its inevitable. All we can do is hit the “unlike” button.

  7. kvrdz says:

    The intented message has been kind of lost on you. Anyway, all i’m out here to say is that the music one listens to does indeed have an influence on your muscial output and it’s little wonder that bands playing Slipknot and Roots era Speultura covers have absolutely no musical merit – metal or otherwise, with ZERO redeeming qualities.
    A lot of the current crop of Indian bands seem to take inspiration from more poular International acts, who themselves have nothing of any real substance to offer.

    Metal music is different things to different people, I for one believe it to be inherently conservative,(totalitarian even) and opinionated.

    • youknowwhoiam says:

      yeah – i agree with that aspect where Indian metal bands are covering international acts and base that as their influence (which is sort of restricted). And I see the current trends now a days – only these “cover” bands are getting slots in all the urban centres to play – clearly the organizer is out to make money, but only maintains a facade that “we support original music” n shit.

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