Travelling from Pune, my two friends and I were eagerly awaiting this gig like a trio of kids would wait to raid a candy shop. The 180km long journey was sweetened by the fact that we had a 20 min discussion with the band members of Dhishti - a Sri Lankan Depressive Black metal band. Being crazy admirers of the genre, we immediately got into a lengthy chat about the legends of DSBM such as Austere, Nocturnal Depression, Thy Light, Gris and others. Jayakody (vocalist) told us to be prepared for a surprise Atmospheric BM track that they would be covering. I had my guesses but what we got was something I never dreamt of. The aftermath of that performance still haunts me.
Dhishti was up next and I was surprised by this. I would have wished either Dhishti or 1833 AD to headline the event as these are really mature bands who can absolutely slay when given the main spot. Anyway, I had listened to the two Dhishti tracks on their myspace page at least 4-5 times before I came for the gig and thus I knew what to expect from them. However, the moment Jayakody uttered the first few shrieks, I felt goosebumps the size of little beetles crawling up my skin. I couldn't click a single pic for at least 5 minutes as it took me that long to recover from what I had just witnessed. Their originals are at par with most of the DSBM that I listen to and they're the best band I've seen live. At the beginning of their set, most of the crowd was either making fun of their corpse paint or of DSBM as a whole. I wish I could use Jayakody's spikes to pierce their sorry dicks, but as they were halfway into their first track, those asswipes realised (or didn't) what hit them like a freight train. Next, it was time for their cover and I missed a heartbeat when I heard the word 'Dunkelheit'. I don't think I've ever been happier in my life and it was weird because an hour later, this feeling was bettered. More on that later. Kunal Gonsalves from Stark Denial joined in for dual vocals on Dunkelheit and I really do not remember anything after that other than being in a state of trance and not remembering where I was. The last track was almost brutal black metal in the vein of Marduk and my neck's still complaining from the ordeal. I wish their set would never end, but I'm so damn glad that I was a part of this great experience.
1833 AD from Delhi were next to follow and I had been dying to watch them ever since I found out about them 6-7 months ago. Their Facebook page had mentioned that they would be covering a few Black metal classics but nobody expected 4 covers and a 75 minute setlist! Nishant Abraham (vocalist) is a very good Black metal vocalist and even though he admits to not being much of a talker, his vocals kill you with in an eerie manner. His vocals are very Abbath-like and Shashank Sagar on drums is an Indian Hellhammer (although he looks like Mikael Akerfeldt) I have been digging their originals such as Inheritance Evil and Who Killed The Emperor on their Myspace page and found it even better hearing them live. After playing Immortal, Dark Funeral and Ancient covers, I thought they were done. But surprise o surprise! Nishant asked us to yell Mayhem as loud as we could. I couldn't yell. I was dumbstruck. My heart was screaming out 'Freezing Moon' but my mouth couldn't catch up. Nishant did that for me and when said those words, I threw away my camera and equipment in my friend's hands and went on to become one with the music. Freezing Moon is my favourite track across all genres and I never thought I would ever get to witness it live. My lungs and my throat were strangers to me and singing along to Freezing Moon was THE best experience of my life. They didn't miss one note and even if they did, I could care less. 1833 AD is by far the best Black Metal band in India (of the handful that we have) and other bands should look up to them for inspiration and creativity. They closed their set with Who Killed The Emperor and it is my favourite Indian BM track. I can't wait for their debut album to be out. Nishant, Sushmit, Rahul, and Shashank - if you're reading this, we need an album like right now!
Stark Denial, the local boys, were the last band to perform and to be honest I had no mental or physical energy left to fathom what was going on. Kunal is a good vocalist and the band is pretty tight but I would like them to step up their game a bit. Having said that, their originals are pretty good and if they didn't have such tough acts to follow, they would have sounded killer. They covered Immortal's Damned in Black and also followed it up with a BM version of Slayer's Raining Blood with Jimmy from Zygnema brining his growls to make it a Blackened Death metal version of the Slayer classic. Also joining them was Shehzad from Sceptre. As with Fear of the dark, I understand that this was done to please the people who aren't really accustomed to listening actual Black metal tracks and I was okay with it.
The gig ended at 12.15 am and we reached Pune at 4 am. Spent more than a grand, yet came out much richer with experience. I don't know if my words and photographs could do justice to how awesome this gig was, but I tried. And 3 days down the line, try is all a person who is still experiencing the aftermath of the gig, can do.
Writer & Photography : Xavier D'souza