Archive for January, 2012


Live Report: Metal Bajaao – Special Edition

There was a time when local bands played only songs made by great international bands, and that was around a decade ago. Most Indian metal bands had no songs of their own and were happy playing cover versions because that’s what the crowd wanted. A pathetic excuse of song the band had made – ‘original compositions’ they were called – was apologetically offered to the audience, who put up with the few minutes of the incompetent noise because the sorry band had appeased them with a few classics from each of the metal masters.

The old withered away, and the sellouts were stuck in a rut, and the newer bands that emerged had already understood that the way forward was to emulate the metal gods by creating music of great power and that that was the only way.

The number of cover versions were gradually decreased and then completely done away with, and the bands went from being Metallica/Megadeth/Slayer wannabes who spluttered tripe like “This is our own original composition!”, to confident bands who proudly played only their own songs and told kids in the audience who screamed and shouted out demands for Sepultura and Pantera where exactly they could go.

And now, at last, cover versions have been placed where they belong: bands no longer use them to fill their sets, and they are deservedly performed as tributes to their creators.

Orion opened another tribute night last Saturday, and as if on cue, began with their music. A heady dose of technical progressive death metal was delivered, less familiar than the band’s version of System Of A Down’s Sugar, but far more impressive. As Orion played Opeth’s The Drapery Falls – and they pulled through despite the sound problems – it became clear that they are no fast-food band; Orion is the band you want to see play long sets.

Pradeep Pande looked relieved being out of the world of extreme metal; his band Arquebus was a misfit but the crowd didn’t mind it – everybody listens to everything anyway. Arquebus played quite a few songs, and their vocalist dresses likes a glam-rock dude, has an emo haircut and sings pretty well.

Therefore Play – aha! Who would’ve thought a metalcore band could be so entertaining onstage! Theirs was no premeditated act; Abhishek Dhamankar & Party were in the mood to cuss and swear and did the charm flow or what! You can tell when people are naturally crazy, and you can tell when people are being ‘fun’ and ‘cool’ because it’s their stage act, and Therefore Play are naturally crazy. They got the crowd making weird frantic movements with their versions of songs by Mudwayne, Korn and Slipknot, but their own songs were more fun to listen to. They sound like (what I think is) mathcore, because they play strangely-timed beats and three members were headbanging out of synch in the freakiest manner, and an old-school guy like me is likely to think that it’s probably mathcore. Abhishek Dhamankar also has the distinction of being the only vocalist too bored to tell the audience their internet address. Before leaving the stage, he said something like, “Myspace blah-blah.”

Albatross has been taking big steps right from its inception and another good thing is they don’t play too often, which compels you to go see them whenever they do and as a result check out other bands as well. With The Kissing Flies due for release in a couple of months, the traditional heavy metal band will tell tales of horror on a few occasions this year, but on Saturday it was strictly Black Sabbath worship and Ozzy Osbourne madness and just a teaser. The hits came flying: Gets Me Through, Bark At The Moon, Crazy Train, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath… this would be the right time to tell you that Albatross is at its strongest with the current (and hopefully permanent) lineup: with Nishith Hegde and Vigneshkumar Venkatraman (also in Orion) throwing solos left, right and centre; Biprorshee Das screaming his head off; Jay Thacker banging the drums without saying anything; Riju ‘Dr Hex’ Dasgupta observing the mayhem with his fretless bass from behind the mask – we could go into all that but let’s talk about this guy who wanted to listen to Biprorshee sing Paranoid. A sincere request, you might say, but it turned into an unreasonable demand. The middle-aged man was too drunk to reason with and insisted that Biprorshee sing Black Sabbath’s Paranoid, and was taken away by the organizers, only to return during Mr Crowley. When Albatross was halfway through Mr Crowley, the dude began bugging Bipro for his song, and when Bipro smiled politely at the bugging, the guy began tugging at the microphone cord. Anyway, that wasn’t the highlight of Albatross’ set; the highlight was Albatross playing their fresh-off-the-tava song Uncle Sunny At The Tavern – a headbanger to whet the appetite for The Kissing Flies.

The final set of the night was by Providence, and they were pumping, to say the least. An attitude-packed performance that started with Watch Them Fall and included a rousing rendition of Sepultura’s Spit and was rounded off with more tracks from their 2011 EP Vanguard ended the Special Edition of Metal Bajaao at B69. The show was really good because all the bands were fun to watch, especially the guest appearances: Sunneith Revankar singing with Therefore Play, and Bipro screaming out Iron Maiden classics with Providence – no matter what I say about Iron Maiden getting older and boring, Fear Of the Dark still sends shivers up and down my spine. What I really want to say is that it was incredibly pussy-like of the people who ran away when the cops showed up. It was B69’s last show and the last band was yet to start and it was Saturday night; people should have stuck around. Whoa, I’ve typed out a fucking essay when all I wanted was to say thanks to the guys who made B69 happen. We had Rang Bhavan taken away from us, and we lost Razzberry Rhinoceros, and now B69’s closing. There must be something about the music because nothing has been able to stop it.

Live Report: Deathfest 2 At B69 | On The Horror Trail With Albatross | Interview: Riju Dasgupta

Live Review: …And Metallica For All | Live: Lamb Of God | DVD Review: Megadeth’s Rust In Peace


Movie Review: Agneepath (2012)

Cast: Rishi Kapoor, Sanjay Dutt, Hrithik Roshan, Priyanka Chopra

In the original Agneepath, Amitabh Bachchan is dining at a restaurant with his girlfriend when he realizes the other people eating there are staring at him and that his presence is making them uncomfortable. Amitabh Bachchan kicks the table and throws the food here and there and then knocks some more stuff over and shouts at the others, asking why they should feel awkward because he’s a criminal, and that he is paying for the food just like them. This unpredictable frustration and volatile behaviour is absent in the new Agneepath.

There are few things more gratifying than revenge sagas, and from a film industry which has thrown up countless such tales, the retelling of a story that bled emotions from the screen should gather plenty of interest. A story of a man who returns to his village to avenge his father’s lynching, the remake of Agneepath is special because it has been produced by the son of the man who produced the original. Yash Johar’s Agneepath (1990) was directed by Mukul Anand, garnered critical acclaim but flopped miserably. Over the years though, Agneepath became a cult classic and is also celebrated as one of Amitabh Bachchan’s best films, and has now been remade by Karan Johar. Director Karan Malhotra has completely repackaged the movie. Holding on to the premise, Malhotra spins the tale with the same names and adds new characters to this Agneepath.

Master Dinanath Chauhan, an honest schoolteacher in the village of Mandwa… you all know the story – and shame on you if you don’t – so let’s get on with what’s different in Agneepath (2012) and what’s good and bad about the remake.

Rishi Kapoor is a first-class actor, and it obviously pays to have his character Rauf Lala inserted in this. Rauf Lala is the monarch of Mumbai’s drug-trafficking business and takes great pride in selling young girls to old men. Priyanka Chopra looks great as Kaali, the owner of Jai Maa Kaali ‘Chinese Beauty Parlour’, and she has a small role which she acts out quite nicely.

Hrithik Roshan and Sanjay Dutt are good, no doubt – but Amitabh Bachchan and Danny Denzongpa they are not. It is the strong script which carries the two through their roles; Hrithik’s Vijay Dinanath Chauhan mumbles and mutters his lines, a far cry from the gruff vocal delivery of the original Vijay Dinanath Chauhan. ‘Gaon – Mandwa,’ he adds and stops at that, never stating his age or height. Sanjay Dutt’s Kancha Cheena has the look of a ghoul. Bald, in a black pathani, with kohl around the eyes, and that ghoulish smile – the setting is perfect for the new Kancha Cheena, but he’s not shrewd or smart or slick – this Kancha is a slimy creep. No problem, it’s a remake.

95% of the movie is different. 5% is the retention of important scenes: the killing of the father, the protagonist dining at his perpetually sullen mother’s house, and his interactions with the honest cop. But they didn’t redo the scenes that were meant to display the core being of the main characters.

The best thing about Agneepath is the dark tone that engulfs the horrifying scenes, especially during Kancha Cheena’s imposing presence. The scene which has the teacher being hanged on an old, dead tree by the ghoulish villain with the village folk gathered around holding torches (not the battery-operated ones, you fuckers) – fuck, man – that’s pure Gothic madness. Metalheads (real ones, not metalcore/deathcore fans) will find those scenes thrilling, and that beautiful darkness comes on many times in the movie.

What’s sorely lacking is the anger Amitabh Bachchan’s Vijay Dinanath Chauhan has. Hrithik’s VDJ flares his nostrils and his face trembles with rage, but you can’t feel his anger for even a second. It’s not there. You can’t feel the intensity that a man who lives to avenge his father’s death burns with.

Mukul Anand’s Agneepath is a cult classic and this is a worthy tribute. Worthy of one watch, before you go back to watching the original every damn time the movie channels show it.


2012 Movie Reviews: Ghost | Players | Chaalis Chaurasi


Music Review: Lacuna Coil – Dark Adrenaline [Deluxe Edition]

This ‘deluxe edition’ shit fucking rules. More fun that the actual album, it is this extra stuff that is worth listening to. Not that Dark Adrenaline is a fun album; Lacuna Coil remains as always – neither here nor there; never fully commercial but never as dark as they should’ve/could’ve been. The production is very good, by the way… clear and explosive. As always, the male singer is the worst thing about Lacuna Coil; the fellow sounds like he’s in Linkin Park. Cristina Scabbia is the best and arguably, the only good thing about Lacuna Coil. If it weren’t for Cristina’s vocals (and looks, yes), nobody would give a shit about Lacuna Coil, because her singing has always been the highlight of this band’s music. To Lacuna Coil’s credit, they aren’t Linkin Park or Evanescence – they’re still metal and they have some great, catchy parts in their songs, even if the songs don’t amount to much in the end. If you’re a ‘fan’ of Lacuna Coil or just want to check this album out, download the deluxe edition of Dark Adrenaline and listen to the chapters.




Music Review: Biohazard – Reborn In Defiance (2012)

It’s amazing how much Biohazard, a band I never got into, sound like my favourite band. Reborn In Defiance has the style and spunk that Slayer puked large doses of when they began to dilute their thrash/speed metal with a newer approach to songwriting. Biohazard haven’t changed their style at all though. The music is hardcore punk and packs a punch, angsty at times but never bitter. Reborn In Defiance doesn’t stay exciting throughout, but it doesn’t bore either – it just doesn’t leave an impact. The short songs have enough changes and soloing, but there’s nothing that really stands out, and if you’ve heard any Biohazard album, Reborn In Defiance is as good or bad as that one, complete with laughable lyrics about corruption and greed.

Music Review: Encipedium’s Anthropogenic

Music Review: Horrendous’ The Chills

Live Report: Deathfest II


Music Review: Encipedium – Anthropogenic (2012)


1. Green River Killer 05:12
2. Sadomasochistic Perversity 05:48
3. Compulsive Act 06:36
4. Volkhoven in Fire 03:32
5. Delicious Brain Surgery 04:45
6. Consumed 06:02
7. Butchered, Bled and Eaten 04:45
8. Chainsaw Ripper 05:35
Total playing time 42:15

Germany’s Encipedium have released their full-length, Anthropogenic, which is the same as Compulsive Act, the promo they released last year. Anthropogenic is concept album about mass murders, and the band gets into the details with determination. The album maintains a great flow; some of the songs have typical psycho-killer intros and outros, and all the songs are superbly structured. Encipedium uses barely any screams here, the growling demands your constant attention and it remains in the centre of the force. The riffs are so nicely spread that not even in one place does the music sound forced, and there are melodic as well as technical guitar solos that keep things exciting, and clean parts and bass solos also have a place in Encipedium’s old-school brutal death metal. Even the one song on which begins on a predictable note turns itself around and surprises. Encipedium’s Anthropogenic is a very enjoyable album worth many listens.

FREE DOWNLOAD: The Entire Discography Of Exhumation (India)

SLIDESHOW: Metal And Rock Bands That Will Kick Your Ass This Year


Movie Review: Ghost (2012)

Director: Puja Jatinder Bedi

Actors: Shiney Ahuja, Sayali Bhagat, Tej Sapru

“Don’t call me sister, Saxena” says the nurse, “Call me Lea.” Any guy who has sex with a nurse in a hospital toilet or anywhere else would say liya. But Saxena, zipping his trousers, says, “Don’t call me Saxena, Lea, call me doctor.”

A few minutes later, still in the loo, Lea is looking at her reflection in the mirror, when she sees the ghost.

Now we have a church scene. Sayali Bhagat (Dr. Suhani) in a tight dress prays to god. She’s off to her first day at the new workplace, and there’s where Dr. Saxena hits on her till she gets up and walks out of his office.

Three days later, the nurse goes over to the doctor’s house and, while making out with the doc, after a hilarious item number (she’s an Oriental chick lip syncing to a Hindi song), she disfigures his face and rips out his heart. But not just like that. She walks on her hands with her feet in the air, and crawls on walls and rests on the ceiling. Jesus is right next to her and all her victims. For what, we don’t know yet. But he’s got the crown of thorns, and he’s got an owl on his left shoulder and a pigeon on the right. Coo.

Turns out that Suhani, after some eerie happenings – like a morbidly silent ward boy bringing her a cup of coffee without her having asked for it, the door opening and closing without him having even touched it, and the cup falling off her desk just like that – walks towards a dusty room in the hospital. She reaches there after hearing strange sounds which include the bleating of a goat. Goats bleat, right? Or is it lambs? Anyway, she finds the corpse of nurse Lea at 3 am, which is exactly when Lea was dancing and ripping Saxena’s heart out. After which Jesus said, “I am evil, and I’m going to take you to hell.” And then there were the worst special effects on earth trying to show us hell by showing a skull and fake fire, and I thought it was a screensaver.

Shiney Ahuja, the best detective around, is given this case to solve. Shiney cruises in a fancy car, rides a high-end sports bike, grabs a bite while reading a novel, drinks coca cola on a holiday, has fun on his personal watercraft, and then, finally arriving at the hospital in his flashy car, is hugged by a spirit.

He then meets Sayali Bhagat, who should just become a porn star if she wants another shot at acting, and they decide to solve the mystery together. They bond by spending time with each other, making coffee together, going on a holiday, dining at swanky restaurants etc.

Now this ghost is getting predictable. She has killed four employees. All at 3 am, each left with a screwed-up face and without a heart. Shiney Ahuja, after a lot of investigating, finds out that he suffers from retrograde amnesia. He doesn’t remember a certain phase of his life, and that phase happens to be the one in which he married a firangi girl. Convenient.

His dad (Tej Sapru) got the girl killed right after their Christian wedding, and told the ones hired for the job to “crucify her like Christ.” So they whipped her with chains of nails and crucified her and she was brought to the hospital with her heart beating but she was butchered alive anyway. By the staff members Shiney’s father had stuffed with cash. So it was this bunch who got killed and Tej Sapru dies in the end, after running here and there from the dozens of ghosts that plague him. With Jesus standing right there. After Tej Sapru dies, Jesus says, “Satan is defeated.” The ghost goes to embrace Jesus.

When the end credits are rolling, the blonde who plays the ghost is dancing to the chinky girl’s item number. Since you won’t be going to watch Ghost, there are two more pics of Sayali Bhagat at the end of this post for you.


Movie Review: Chaalis Chaurasi


Movie Review: Chaalis Chaurasi (2012)

Director: Hriday Shetty

Actors: Naseeruddin Shah, Kay Kay Menon, Atul Kulkarni, Ravi Kishan

Amidst card-playing, drinking rum-and-cola, conversations about buying a better television set and the end of the world, a police van decides to stop a car that has zipped past in the wrong lane. In the dead of the night, the policemen question the owners of the vehicle, and reprimand them for not consuming alcohol at the party they were returning from. The cops then go to a dance bar, eat and drink for free and also sing a song to entertain the other patrons. Soon after that, they are followed and stopped by a cop on a motorcycle, and it turns out that these gentlemen aren’t real cops.

Hriday Shetty’s Chaalis Chaurasi is a crime-thriller and comedy that knows when to be funny and when to get serious, a genuine rarity in the Hindi film industry. The four fake cops are actually an English professor, a car thief, a drug dealer and a pimp. Circumstances lead these guys to come to know of a fake-currency racket which could make them very rich, and ready for the good life, they hatch a plan which goes awry and falls back on them.

With the racketeers looking forward to decorate policemen with bullets and real cops on a mission to shoot dead a gangster, matters get really screwed for the four dudes. How the story shapes up is for you to watch at a movie hall near you, because it has four seriously good actors in a loaded-with-repartee film which allows them to act. That, and director Hriday Shetty can teach other filmmakers a few things about balancing comedy and drama and his commercial-shit-dropping brother a thing or two about wrecking cars.


Movie Review: Ghost | Kay Kay kicks ass in Paanch

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