Category Archives: Indian Bands

Introducing ‘Safar’

Safar (Journey) as a word – is a mashup of everything between good and bad. Journey of life , which can literally flash before your eyes consisting of bitter-sweet memories , is easily refreshed by this one word.

India’s latest offering is a band named ‘Safar’ which puts you into this very strange situation when you hear their debut single ‘Khoye Hain’. Musically speaking the band is three piece with a session drummer and taps on the feelings which everyone goes through at some point in their life.
Easy-listening , which is most of the time considered or looked at as ‘easy music making’ is entirely a myth.
The song Khoye – Hain is a soft yet trippy number which has an equally challenging solo, vocal variations .
It is really difficult to maintain the mainstream ,easy listening aspect of the track and yet make it extremely foot-tapping and musically strong at the same time.

The (obvious) reign of Pakistani sufi-oriented bands like Jal ,Junoon or even Strings might have a really tough competition when it comes to Safar. High expectations mounting on these guys after the release, the bands style and ease of making music which grows in you is a reciepe for success.
Im hugely influenced by prog-rock and prog-metal and love it when any particular song slowly makes its space in my head after few listens – and these guys have managed to do the same even though the music is not particularly heavy or proggy .

Whats striking is Jimmy Bhore’s vocals . Being the frontman of a successful groove-thrash band Zygnema (India) , his ability to ‘sing’ is really commendable. The song features his effortless approach and what i personally dug is the way he sings as to convey not to rule – there is no unneccesary variations or layering. Plain,simple melody .

The band consists of  Jimmy Bhore (Vocals/Guitar), Asxem D’lean (Bass) and Akash Sawant (Guitars)
They released a really captivating music video with gorgeous visuals and production with Ari Sam (Imaginarium Media) along with Shubham Kasera as the Director of Photography.
The band will be touring soon across the country to spread the music – which is available for free at
www.safarmusic.com

Music Video –

Providence : Vanguard EP (2011)

A successful relationship  between great production and great musicianship is very rare.Even most of the top-league bands mess it up with being too bassy on the albums or transitions being weak.
It is not an unknown fact that an album with a strong production value gets more appeal even if there are greater rival albums but with tacky production background.
Providence is a beaming example of how a  bunch of talented musicians grab an equally competent producer/mixing engineer and churn out a winner.
The reason im stressing on the production value is because the amount of Indian Metal/Rock i have been subjected too lately lacks badly in terms of production value. Bands do have to face financial hurdles when they are in their early stages and access to good studios in developing countries can be a problem,but it is certainly no excuse to let your musical talent be scorned at just because it is not good on the ear.
The situation is definately changing with more and more indian bands reaching out to better studios (even international) and Providence achieves their crisp sound from Skyharbor’s acclaimed musician and india’s first Djentleman – Keshav Dhar who has mixed/produced their EP alongwith Providence themselves.

For people new to Providence they are an Indian Supergroup – with each member being an already established musician in their other bands. The members carry with them immensely diverse influences which shows pretty nicely on this EP.
With members hailing from popular  indian bands like Sceptre ,Chronic Phobia,Bhayanak Maut and Bloodshed , the band takes a groovy yet heavy approach to their song writing which is their biggest strength.
The beauty of Vanguard is that if you let your ear focus on individual musicians , you can easily pinpoint their influences and also realize how strongly the member has embedded the style in the collaborative effort.
On the contrary, if you hear the tracks from a birds-eye point of view in music, you realize that along with individual influences , as a band these guys sounds completely unique .
For instance , the drummer(Aaron Pinto) incorporates his blast-beats and thrashy rudiments seemlessly into tracks and yet have them sounding completely unique from a listeners point of view.
Most of the ‘Core’ bands (Metalcore,Deathcore etc)  focus on vocals as a separate entity ,mostly showcasing and at moments, showing them off.
Very few bands like Providence treat and blend vocals as part of the groove and integrate them tightly into every deserving part of the track/album which is a notable and striking aspect of Vanguard.
Sunny Revankar (Vocals) does immense justice to every track with his punishing presence and yet groovy undertones.

The Ep opens with an explosive and ‘In-your-face’ track titled “Talk Shit Get Hit’ which is a menacing and probably the most apt ‘Opening Track’. With punch-like choruses and overall thrashy approach , the song proceeds to equally heavy climax. The guitar solo is a brutal shred-fest and stands out yet blends in nicely with the whole track.
“Watch Them Fall” relies more on the groovy element of the bands forte. The song has Sunny’s long brutal screams which end on a thunderous drum rudiment.The song is probably the most sinister of the lot.
Even though the band focuses on groovy brutality my pick from the album is “Glass Eye Dawn”. An interlude like track which fits snugly between the hard-hitting numbers and features some gorgeous ambient guitar tones.The track which features the clean and distorted guitar parts by Shezan and also tonal inputs from the man himself – Keshav Dhar,is by far one of the best ambient tracks i have laid my ‘ears’ on.The track closes with Charan’s delicious solo,thus connecting it even to listeners who want a combo of heavy and ambient.
“Source Code” which was released as a single for the EP promotion is the brutal best of the whole lot. The track has breakdowns and moments at literally every few seconds.It ends on its highest point which even makes it a track you would hit the repeat button for.
The closing track “Prosthetic” is where you can hear the musical prowess of the band. The opening seconds of the this track have one of the most unique sounding song structuring i’ve heard from Indian bands. Prominent bass tap and drums to support make the early onset of the song ridiculously catchy. The track also features the other band members adding bursts of ‘vocal’ moments to Sunny’s already piercing presence.
A special mention of the Bassist (Shrikant Rao) who plucks and taps at the most creative spots in all the tracks. For example, at spots where the riffs end, you hear his off-time tap and pluck which is orgasmic for listeners like me who are on a look-out to hear something unique.

Providence is promising and with this EP they have raised the bar to a height which they need to keep up with every subsequent release.
The band is a refreshing change in the clogged Indian metal scene which has bands exploiting subgenres which are reigning as for now or simply similar sounding.
Be it the smashing Album CoverArt ( A huge robot from the Gundam series) , or the constant gigs , Providence surely knows how to make good music and present it equally well.
In conclusion, i would go far by saying this but this release is by far the best Indian album my ears have heard in terms of production value.
Hope the band comes up with a equally (or even more) groovy and brutal full-length release soon because i am sure that Indian metalheads – including me – have a new favourite band.

Rating : – 8/10

Blackheart – Anti-Corruption EP (2012)

The musical talent from the northern part of India is undeniable. The bands that north has given birth to are one of the countries finest – critically as well as on the scale of popularity.

Blackheart is one such band which hails from this musically blessed region. The 5-piece  death-core band look pretty promising with their hard hitting EP ( driven by a social cause).
The most important aspect of any EP/LP is its album-art. Countless number of albums have been subjected to market swings due to inadequate or hyped album art which results in the artists gain or loss.

Blackheart has a very ‘in your face’ cover work which is very impressive.
The three-song EP has its moments but lacks in production value. Snare sounds and bass-pedal sounds are hardly distinguishable . No matter how good your material is, production value always has the upper hand in any albums success.

Speaking about the tracks – the track which stands out is ‘Death by poison’. Catchy groove and hard hitting vocals pack the punch which the band intends to. The section of the song which has the phrase ‘Oh My god! fuck them all’ proves that cliche can also hit you at the sweet spot. The other two tracks ‘Do not panic’ and ‘A Silent Vive’ are quite similar on the level of band tightness and musical aggression.

The weakpoints would generally circle around the lyrics- the content is just revolving around the chorus and its repetation makes the lyrics very passable. The lack of a stand-out solo and monotonous guitar chugging could also be a weak spot for a person with a good ear for music.
The band is tight – and sync well with some groovy transitions in the songs . Vocals and Drums stand out distinctively. The rudiments are/patterns/fills are nicely fitted in the songs and the drummer is a powerhouse when it comes to climaxes in the song. Vocals , guttural and heavy , are very promising and give out a very ‘Kreator-ish’ feel which would appeal to thrash and Core fans

Bottomline – A great effort with a good message , Blackheart does have the potential to come in the top league of  Indian Bands from the north and even from India in the near future.

Rating 7/10

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