Thursday, 11 August 2016


I remember when I was programming metal nights at Hard Rock Cafe Hyderabad and I contacted Abbas for Skrypt. However the band was unavailable and he introduced me to his new band 'Godless'. This was to be their first show and man, it was insane!

This is probably one band that has come so far so fast, and they've been bringing down every venue they play at. They always leave people either moshing or astonished, especially for those who are watching them for the first time.

I did an interview with the band to see what's going on, s'appening mayyn. Read the whole interview below.

1. Favourite food? 
Ravi: Andhra meals
Abbas: Burgers with lots of beef, bacon and cheese
Rohit: Andhra meals
Kaushal: Beef steak
Aniketh: Andhra meals

2. What started off for you guys at Hard Rock Cafe metal nights is now you opening for Behemoth at Deccan Rock! How does it feel to have travelled so far so fast? 
It feels fucking great to open for Behemoth. Ever since we started off as a band, we just focused on getting everything right with regard to our live sound, lights, tightness, showmanship, songwriting and the EP release. We’ve worked really hard and we’re quite happy with how things have turned out for us. We’d like to thank all the organisers we’ve worked with. This is only the beginning and there is no slowing down for us.

3. Give us a little history on how you guys got together.
Our bassist Abbas and guitarist Ravi, who both were from Skrypt, were looking to form a band that was nothing but loud, relentless and aggressive. Abbas had already written Ossuary and recruited Aniketh Yadav from slam/brutal death metal band Shock Therapy on drums and Rohit Nair on guitars as well.

We wrote Infest and kept a lookout for vocalists. We thought finding a permanent vocalist would be better that way since people would get to listen to us and get a feel of what our direction would be like. So, when Abbas visited New Zealand in early 2015, he recorded the demo featuring Sean O'Kane Connolly (Ex-In Dread Response) on guest vocals. After a few jams with other vocalists, we got in touch with Kaushal from Bangalore (Orchid, Eccentric Pendulum, Ironic Reversal) since the guys from Eccentric Pendulum are close friends. With him, our lineup was complete and there has been no looking back since.

4. How did you get Joe Haley of Psycroptic to feature on the song Ossuary? 
We’re all really big fans of Psycroptic and Joe’s playing. Since he was already mixing our EP and mentioned to us that he really dug the music, we thought there’s no harm in asking him to lay down a solo. He was cool with it and it just blew us away when he sent us the track.

5. How was your experience playing at the Wacken Metal Battle finals this year? 
It was really great. We got to play for a new audience. We were quite happy with the response. Congratulations to our buddies in Elemental on their win!

6. What has the band been going of late? (gigs, recording, etc.) 
We’ve just been gigging and been promoting our debut EP Centuries of Decadence which we released this year in May. The response has been pretty fucking great. We’ve got a couple of shows lined up and we’re also currently writing some new material already. We’ll probably get to recording it somewhere during the end of the year.

7. Should we expect something coming our way from you any time soon? 
Definitely more merch. And maybe a single.

8. Your favourite international bands. 
Bolt Thrower, Slayer, Napalm Death, Obituary, Aborted, Pestilence, Autopsy, Gorguts, Cryptopsy, Cattle Decapitation, Terrorizer, Repulsion, Cannibal Corpse, Psycroptic, Decapitated, Vader, Morbid Angel, The Haunted, Meshuggah, Death, Gorod, Judas Priest, The Faceless, Beyond Creation, Opeth, Between the Buried and Me, Defeated Sanity, Dying Fetus, Gorgasm

9. Collectively, your favourite Indian bands. 
Devoid, Third Sovereign, Gutslit, Shepherd, Eccentric Pendulum, Amogh Symphony, Infernal Wrath, Undying Inc., Nihilus

10. A message for all the fans out there! 
We’d like to thank everyone who’ve come for our shows, picked up our CDs & merchandise and supported us. See you at Deccan Rock 2016 on the 24th of September where we open for the mighty Behemoth alongside a bunch of killer bands! Cheers!

Check Godless out on Facebook.

Catch Godless LIVE at Stormfest V - Ground Zero | Deccan Rock Pre-gig and Deccan Rock: The Fourth Edition.


Monday, 1 August 2016


Welcome back! Actually I should be welcoming myself back. Here's the 2nd episode of the Metalsphere vlog. I feel like a band who went on a hiatus.

This episode covers news about Goddess Gagged, ROOTS - the monthly metal property by BAJAAO Entertainment and antiSOCIAL Khar, Deccan Rock 2016: The Fourth Edition, Elemental and Wacken Open Air, Hellwind's new t-shirt, Kryptos' new music video for 'Full Throttle', Callous Amass 4 in Shillong, Blood Eagle 2 and upcoming metal gigs at Hard Rock Cafe.

You can watch the second episode here:

Don't forget to like the video, Share the video and SUBSCRIBE to the channel to receive updates on the latest #IndianMetal news. Stay tuned to the blog for details too!

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The video and opinions expressed in the media or comments on this channel are personal and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions held by this channel's broadcaster. The broadcast is meant for awareness and pure entertainment, with no offence to any viewers intended.
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Contact me in the column to the right to help me out with some news, features, ideas, feedback, or just to say hi! \m/

Sunday, 31 July 2016


This may be very exciting news for many of you.

Mumbai band Goddess Gagged returns after a hiatus of over a year. The band will be kicking things off again with the 2 Stroke Tour, courtesy Mr. Sarmaaah of BlueTree, who has been doing a fantastic job in the Indie scene over the past 2-3 months.

The band is scheduled to play a total of 7 cities this August-September. Gloomy weather and indoor gigs are a very sexual thing in general. GG will be playing with a bunch of bands from the respective touring cities like What Escapes Me, Dossers Urge, Lucid Recess, Dark Carnage, Kraken, Soul Inclination, Tails on Fire, Diarchy, Gumbal and Ferry Tales.

Below are the tour dates with the respective venues:

DateCityVenueAlong with
26th AugKolkataJamsteady, Princeton ClubWhat Escapes Me
27th AugShillongCloud 9 - Resto LoungeDossers Urge
28th AugGuwahatiTerra MayaaLucid Recess & Dark Carnage
31st AugNew DelhiantiSOCIAL HKVKraken & Soul Inclination
2nd SepPuneThe High Spirits-
3rd SepBangaloreThe Humming TreeTails on Fire & Diarchy
4th SepMumbaiantiSOCIAL, KharGumbal & Ferry Tales

You can visit the event page on Facebook by clicking HERE. Tickets will be available on Insider, so keep an eye out for details.


Goddess Gagged is:

Siddharth Basrur - Vocals
Jeremy D'souza - Drums
Arman Menzies - Guitar
Devesh Dayal - Guitar
Krishna Jhaveri - Bass guitar

Saturday, 30 July 2016


It's a pleasure to know this guy. He takes care of a record label, a webzine, and does PR almost single-handedly. He is also not very good at keeping umbrellas, but he's a genius in his own right. Kunal Choksi, hailing from the infernal depths of Versova is the man behind Transcending Obscurity, one of the world's premier underground music labels for extreme music. Transcending Obscurity was recently listed as one of the 'Top 5 Underground Labels you need to check out right now' by Metal Injection.

I've done this small interview with Chokslam to get some perspective on how it is to be the owner of an extreme metal label operating across the globe from India, and what he's up to lately.

Q. What is your favourite cuisine/dish of all time?
Hi! Thanks a ton for taking out the time to do this interview Pratika! It's probably pizza - a cliched answer, I know, but it's so good and something that I actually look forward to! Since you've asked, the best (veg particularly) pizzas I've had are from Alfredos (Pizza Mediterranea) and Joey's Pizza (devilishly good)! I also enjoy having pav bhaji and well made pastas.

Q. We know it's difficult to actually pull all of this off, considering it's you and probably just a couple of more people. How do you do what you do? And why? 
It's certainly difficult, especially when you're trying to do this in a legit way and not by doing it as some kind of part time hobby. My beginnings were quite humble where I actually stood at stalls with no lighting to sell CDs from my own collection in the last decade, simply because no one was doing this kind of thing earlier. In all modesty, I probably was one of the first to start this concept of selling international CDs (even merch) at stalls at shows here. No one sees the struggle but everyone wants to be part of the glory. At B69, I even ended up giving people entries by stamping their wrists and collecting their ticket money and also taking care of the bands' instruments rather than selling my stuff there haha. So yeah, it's been frustrating and I never really envisioned such an outcome for what I was doing. I just kept at it, tried to make it better, and yes, work very, very hard.

Why? It's because no one was doing what I was doing. It stems from the fact that no one was doing anything about the music when I got back into the local scene and attended the first comeback edition of Deathfest around 2011 or something. There were so many albums out but all of them were unheard of, and none of them had any distribution of any kind. With my international experience (Diabolical Conquest Records circa 2009), I knew they needed support so I started doing distribution for absolutely free and even paid for the courier and packaging out of my pocket. After that I started the Indian leg of the label. And then it's history as they say it and thankfully, it's grown to be a somewhat synonymous name in the scene here (at least). There were of course many detractors and my efforts were thwarted by many, but I did what I had to do. It is enough? Of course not. It's barely self-sustaining but I hope with better international exposure it will be in the next year or two.

Q. I've heard you're now into design and illustration. Can you tell us which bands you've worked with so far? 
I was always into art and was obsessed with all of it, but because of my engineering studies and business management and stuff, never got around to exploring it. It was after my sister passed away, that I enrolled in a FX School that taught all of this, just to get out of depression or cope with it. I don't have a lot of time to practice but I must say that I've learnt a lot and did about a dozen layouts for bands since a year or so from that period. I've so far done artworks for three of them - 1) Toxoid, 2) Dormant Inferno (India) / Dionysus (Pakistan) 3) Diabolus Arcanium (even the logo for this one). I'm currently working on an album artwork for the heavy metal band Knight; the album is called 'The Ventriloquist'. It's difficult but I have no qualms admitting that I'm new and have yet to improve.

Toxoid's album art by Kunal Choksi
Diabolus Arcanium's logo, designed by Choksi

Q. Transcending Obscurity also has a proper webzine. How do you manage your time with a label, active reviews and articles?
It's a real pain, to be honest. Thankfully I've found a good deputy editor in Shrivatsan (an old and loyal friend) and I've also assigned Chris Dahlberg from US to do premieres and such stuff. It's still a recent development but they're doing more than I can now in this aspect and for that I'm immensely grateful to them. Mind you, I have been writing since 2004 and it's been over a decade now and I'm still at it. The very intention was to highlight good music and I was always a keen listener from the start. So the foundation of Transcending Obscurity was always to promote good music out there and help spread the word - without ever relying on ads, now or ever, for any monetary benefits at all.

Q. How many bands have you currently signed onto TO and since when?
I'm more interested in the international bands now, to be honest, because I'm eager to spread my wings and expose more international metal fans to our music. Unless and until the fan base doesn't increase, we'll just be catering to the same audience and that's not good. But then there are much bigger and much more established labels out there so it's always a struggle to convince bands to work with you on an international level. With that said, the Indian bands happen to be the backbone of Transcending Obscurity and I've done my best to support them despite their scepticism and sometimes lack of support. I think overall I have 50+ bands working with me that are actively working on new music that I can put out. Sometimes I'm demotivated, sometimes I'm eager, but more or less, I'm happy to say that it's all worked out for the better. I'm getting mentally tired but there's much to do still...

Q. Tell us about what you did before you began TO.. Some details on Diabolical Conquest maybe?
I was just very underground. I was a critic and a harsh one at that, one that wasn't easily pleased. But life taught me lessons and I thought that my opinions aren't really 'helping' anyone. Yes, it allows people to make well-informed purchases but that wasn't enough. It was then that I decided to start a record label and my first signing was of the Australian band The Dead, which was hugely successful at the point of time. Back then, in the last decade, hardly any bands from our country were recording music so I couldn't do much for them.

But a few years later, when new bands sprang up like mushrooms and there was no real label to support them, I started a sub-label and simultaneously changed the name to Transcending Obscurity to reflect a better purpose. I was never an atheist, let alone 'satanic', but perhaps that name suggested that, but with 'Transcending Obscurity', the approach is different and more inclined to help everyone as far as possible. Some are deserving, some not so much, but at least their music has remained alive in a sense through our efforts. Bands did more than float 'demos' online on Mediafire links - here they got a professional release, reviews, acclaim, and more often than not, merch options. Even now some of the earliest albums we put out are at least recorded for posterity and available legally via the digital medium (if not physical).

Q. Whose releases are you busy with at the moment, and what should we look out for in the next few months? 
Releases from the ambitious Thane/Mumbai based death metal band Darkrypt and consecutively the batshit insane grindcore band from Bangalore Grossty are up next. There are a couple of other unannounced but committed Indian releases scheduled too but I'm not sure whether or not they'll be out this year. That's because simultaneously there are much bigger releases also scheduled and I don't want a clash of sorts to happen. We're talking about Mark Riddick's band Fetid Zombie, UK legends Warlord UK (for their classic album reissue via Transcending Obscurity Classics sub-label), the H.P. Lovecraft-influenced band from Netherlands called SwampCult, and last but not the least, the mighty Rudra. I'm also excited about an unannounced international grind band and also a Finnish death/black metal band. I wish my schedule wasn't so tight but I'm coping with it and trying my best to justify them all, especially with regards to thorough international promotion and innovative packaging.

Q. We heard you could be batman. How do you manage both lives? 
That's only a rumour. I don't want my enemies to come into my batcave and do something to Alfred or worse, steal my precious batmobile.

Q. Your honest opinion on the future of all of this you are involved in? I think it's gonna work out eventually if we all keep at it. What are your thoughts?
Well, so far so good. I'm extremely thankful to all those bands, fans, writers and my well-wishers for providing their support and I can only strive to not let them down. I'm putting in a great deal of effort and it drains my health (as well as my bank account lol) but I'm positive that in another two years, things should be on track, more or less. It's doing things significantly on an international level that remains elusive but that's my main goal. And of course, to somehow conjure up some extra time magically to continue my practice of playing guitar as well as drums, in an attempt to start my own band and record music sometime in the future. The standards are really, really high but I wouldn't have it any other way. Many thanks once again for your interest in my activities and I'm glad to have your support in all of this, Pratika. Godspeed!

Don't forget to catch Transcending Obscurity online on Facebook, Twitter, and for new songs from Indian and international metal bands, visit the YouTube channel. BUY music from Transcending Obscurity. Check out the complete list of bands HERE. Some stuff is also up for grabs on Instamojo HERE.


Friday, 29 July 2016


Bhopali four-piece death metal band Elemental will be playing in Germany after winning the prestigious Wacken Metal Battle India competition finals in Bengaluru on Saturday, 9th July. They will be visiting Wacken Open Air in Germany, one of the biggest heavy metal music festival in the world held from 4th - 6th August 2016.

Elemental was the only band from central India to travel to Bengaluru and play against finalists from different parts of the country including Mumbai, New Delhi, Hyderabad, Guwahati, and more. There were no eliminations held in Bhopal, so the band had to travel to Mumbai to compete. The band landed up in the finals after the Mumbai leg of the competition got cancelled.

L to R: Divyaraj Bhatnagar (drummer), Aman 'Ricky' Sharma (guitar), Anchal Bhargava (vocals)

After playing against bands like Godless, Gaia’s Throne, Vidyut, etc., Elemental were announced winners of the final round held at Vapour in Bengaluru just one day before Bangalore Open Air. Started in India by Salman U Syed, the Wacken Metal Battle is a competition in association with the international festival Wacken Open Air in Germany, where bands from across the country compete and the winner gets a chance to play against national finalists from around 30 other countries worldwide.

“This is a huge opportunity for us! We want to make a mark and make India shine.” said the band’s vocalist Anchal Bhargava.

Big Indian metal music bands like Eccentric Pendulum, Zygnema, Plague Throat and more have played at the Wacken Metal Battle finals in the past. The Department of Arts and Culture in Meghalaya supported Shillong’s death metal band Plague Throat last year, so they could compete in the international finale.

The Wacken Metal Battle has been in India for the past five years along with the festival Bangalore Open Air that has seen many international performances in the country since the first edition. Big heavy metal music bands like Kreator, Vader, Animals as Leaders and more visited the festival in the past few years.

This is the first time a band from an unexpected city has made it so big. Salman U Syed, organizer of the Wacken Metal Battle and Bangalore Open Air said, " I never expected a band from Bhopal to win this competition. It looks like the metal music community has also reached the smaller cities! Hope the band wins this year at Wacken."

We wish Elemental all the best and I'm personally extremely proud of them. Wave that Indian flag, motherfuckers!!


About Elemental:
Elemental is a four-piece Bhopali death metal band from India. The band was founded in September 2012 by members Anchal Bhargava on vocals, Aman 'Ricky' Sharma on guitars and Divyaraj Bhatnagar on drums. Their blend of straight-up, no nonsense death metal makes them one of India's finest exports in this genre. The band will be supporting Polish metal giants Behemoth in India this September. They have headlined college festivals, won over 40 competitions, and played at big music festivals like BIG69, Shillong metal rock, toured with death metallers IIIrd Sovereign and Indian grind pioneers Gutslit, and much more.
The band's music general revolves around fighting against corruption, racism, violence and man-made disasters, uplifting the weak and underprivileged. Disturbed by the environs of central India, Elemental's debut album 'Creation of the Damned' is the voice of those who suffered in the tragic Bhopal gas tragedy a few decades ago. Be assured to be in for a treat.

About Wacken Open Air:
Wacken Open Air (W:O:A) is a summer open-air heavy metal music festival. It takes place annually in the small village of Wacken in Schleswig-Holstein, northern Germany. With 80,000 festival visitors, and including personnel a total of roughly 86,000 attendees in 2011, it attracts various kinds of metal and hard rock music fans.
The festival was first held in 1990 as a small event for local German bands. W:O:A is usually held at the beginning of August and lasts now four days. It is currently considered the biggest heavy metal festival in the world. The festival ends traditionally on the first Sunday of August and on Monday 0:00 o'clock, ticket sales open for the next year. Remarkably, all 75,000 tickets were sold out within 43 hours in 2014, within 12 hours in 2015 and 23 hours in 2016, despite the fact that the lineup (with the exception of rumors or headliners) had not been announced, which is probably unique for a music festival of any kind.