Archive for June, 2014


Movie Review: Jon Favreau’s Chef

CHEF_MOVIE_POSTERAs a young boy I wanted to learn how to cook the vegetarian meals my mother made. As I grew older I tried and loved and began to relish meat outside home, at cheap eateries and in swanky restaurants. As other interests like music and writing took over, the enthusiasm to learn the art of cooking dimmed, and now I don’t give a fuck about cooking and only want to be fed. I want to sit at the table, or on the floor, with a fork and a knife and a spoon, or ready to attack with my bare hands. I certainly mind standing, because that’s no way to eat. That’s how you eat at weddings and receptions and other occasions where you can’t stuff your face with the buffet spread, no matter how delicious the food, and even if no one’s watching.

Chef, besides being a sweet little film, is absolute food porn. The movie can make a fully stuffed anorexic struggling model want to dig into a steak.

oliver platt chefOliver Platt will remain etched in my memory as Ramsey Michel, the city’s top food blogger, who pans chef Carl Casper’s skills. Ramsey Michel was thrilling to watch because he reminded me of myself: a person who loves to eat and is hard to please. Casper, played by Jon Favreau (who has also written and directed this movie), doesn’t take kindly to the restaurant critic’s scathing review. Hurt at being called needy and uncreative, and unfamiliar with how social-networking sites work, the chef unintentionally starts a flame war with his freshly found foe on Twitter.

It’s a change to see an ex-wife who isn’t a bitch, and it’s even better that this nice woman is Sofia Vergara. With her accent and in all her hotness, she convinces the chef to get a food truck. Having lost his job at the restaurant, and having become the latest viral laughing stock on YouTube, Casper goes on a road trip in the food truck with his 10-year-old son Percy, and his friend Martin (Jon Leguizamo, delightful). The father-son relationship is your typical one, and so, a bit of a bore, even if it’s about them bonding over running a mobile eatery.

chefBut thankfully, Chef is about a man out to prove a point to himself, and about food. It’s about a man’s passion for cooking, a chef who’s lost in the moment when he’s at it, and at his creative best when no one’s telling him how to do it. What I’m taking from Chef is the scene of a father telling his son that the boy can have just one sip of the beer he’s been handed, and every scene that has Oliver Platt / Ramsay Michel. Jon Favreau’s Chef will make a lot of you want to start cooking, or become better at it, or do more of it. It makes me want to watch more movies, eat more food and watch more movies about food.


SOFIA VERGARA on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon


Album Review: Whitechapel – Our Endless War (2014)


Our_Endless_War_WhitechapelWith the singles that came out prior to the album release, “Our Endless War” claimed to be the tightest and meticulously crafted album in Whitechapel‘s ten-year history. Given how much time the band put in, in terms of writing, getting a perfect tone, producing and mixing, one would expect an equivalent result, yeah? But, it’s too soon to reach that conclusion yet. First, let’s hear the album. A traditional start to the album, Rise is an inviting instrumental with a calm tone. One thing that makes itself clear after a couple of songs is that there is a drastic change in song-writing, which definitely benefits the album and makes it quite easy and refreshing for the listener. But nothing seems that appealing until Let Me Burn. Oh boy! This is what Whitechapel is capable of – a perfect slow start followed by sheer energy, chug-tech riffs at their best. 

What I had appreciated in their self-titled album though, failed to impress this time. Phil’s vocals seem so layered; moreover, stagnant and not what they are known for, although the catchy melodic riffs at the end of the songs make up for it. Not that one can’t get used to that, but it’s the vocals that primarily define Whitechapel‘s sound, especially the high (and yet guttural) singing which sounds so bad-ass and evil. I’ve been listening to Whitechapel for a nice six years, and l’ve always appreciated their lyrics. The song Worship the Digital Age is a prime WhitechapelBandexample of downright brutal song-writing, and it talks about the current state of our civilization and our fucked-up means of entertainment, and how we sold our souls to worship the digital age. Again, layered vocals with so much of mixing; Phil’s style and lyrical content has taken a huge turn over the last few years. I mean, at some point Phil’s just writing shit, senseless and asinine lyrics. It also makes him appear to be quite a douche (refer to Mono lyrics). I’m a big fan of his style and irresistible energy… but not on this album. For the amount of work done on this album and going by their words “working harder on perfecting every song than they ever had before”, it fails to convince their listeners. There’s nothing noteworthy apart from the couple of songs I mentioned, until the halfway mark. Black Out is another good song – powerful and moving.

I’m afraid that’s all I have to say about Our Endless War. There’s nothing great about the album except that Whitechapel‘s song-writing has improved a bit, and the use of three guitars is now even more justified. It’s not only about chugging riffs and hardcore music anymore – it’s about some good song-writing and making great use of the instruments. I’ve always thought of Whitechapel as a mind-blowing band and I look forward to more releases from them.


Concert Review: Shillong Open Air (Rain Revolt)

Review by Amal Kirti Singh | Pics by Edgenda (Shillong)

The first ever Shillong Open Air took place on 7Th June , 2014, Polo Grounds at Shillong. Shillong, also known as “Scotland of the East”, is a perfect place to host an open-air metal fest at this time of the year, when you barely want to move out under the scorching sun.

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Polo Grounds, Shillong

An open-air stadium with a nice capacity and perfect surroundings was all set to witness the first ever live show of the brutal death metal giants Dying Fetus in India. The weather was perfect for a metal concert, with mild rain and temperature around 22’C. Fans who had gathered to witness the mayhem were disappointed to learn that the tickets were divided into two price categories. I hope that the organizers will learn how “un-metal” it was to divide metal fans by keeping different ticket prices, because a big section of Dying Fetus fans had to see the band from afar, with only few lucky (rich) metal kids roaming near the stage.

I must say it was fun to see the stage come alive with all those lights and fireworks.

I’m not sure why the Indian bands didn’t get good sound. Maybe the sound engineers could not handle it well, because Dying Fetus was thunderous and their set was glitch-free.

Plague Throat (Shillong)

The official entry of Wacken Metal Battle from India this year was definitely a great choice for opening the show, as Plague Throat pleased the local crowd, and they pulled it off really well with some glitches in sound and setup. The moshing and headbanging began when a lot of people were still walking in. The band was tight, played for half an hour, and threw in Cannibal Corpse‘s Hammer Smashed Face at the end.

Cheisrah (Bangalore)

This progressive/metalcore outfit from Bangalore was definitely a misfit in a death metal concert and failed to impress the audience as well. With a little delay in the timings, the audience was already a little tired and it became a rest time for everyone when Cheisrah got on stage. With all their songs sounding very similar, the band came across as a cheap clone of August Burns Red, and people took a break to roll joints as the vocalist struggled to deliver.

Underside (Nepal)

The second “foreign” band was next to go. Initially failing to draw the crowd’s attention, Underside started to get into groove with some good cross-genre metal. With elements of black, melodic and industrial metal, the band was pretty energetic and something fresh the crowd witnessed. Their groove-ridden riffs along with a slightly doomy sound made the crowd mosh and headbang quite a bit.

IIIrd Sovereign (Aizawal)

Starting their second innings after a five-year hiatus, the death metal pioneers from the northeast took the stage. A little conscious in the beginning, the band started off with some of their new tracks which were pretty good. IIIrd Sovereign had local support and lived up to expectations pretty well. Vedanta (the vocalist) is still pretty energetic and knows how to make the crowd mosh. Full marks to them for making a fitting comeback!

Dying Fetus (USA)

The death/brutal death giants headlining the event were the big thing 1,500 fans were waiting desperately for all that evening. The band, with three killer monsters geared-up came on the stage without any delay. After the formal greetings, they directly got to business with John Gallagher thundering like a beast. Soon joined Sean Beasley with his slapping bass lines and crushing vocals. The drummer, Trey Williams, was amazing, and took the mayhem to another level. Dying Fetus played tracks from almost all the albums – from Purification Through Violence to War of Attrition. Everybody at the back and in the front made the most of the one-hour assault by moshing, circling in the pit and headbanging. Disappointing none of their fans, Dying Fetus finished the show with Praise the Lord and shook the valley of Shillong one last time.

It was the first time the much neglected northeastern got such a great concert. I hope the organizers make it bigger over the years, so that many more metalheads flock to the beautifully brutal city of Shillong.

Amal Kirti Singh is the vocalist and bassist of the Pune-based extreme-metal band Vedic Ritual.


Bombay Death Metal Legion to headline Deathfest VI

DDF 6 posterThe baap of Indian extreme-metal festivals is upon us, outdoing itself with the lineup as it does every year. For ordinary mortals who can’t read metal logos, these are the bands performing at Domination: The Deathfest VI: Killchain (OSDM from Mumbai), death-doom act Primitiv (that’s how they spell it), Navi Mumbai death/groove maniacs Wired Anxiety, Insane Prophecy (blackened death/thrash from Guwahati), Bangalore’s sludge lords Shepherd, Plague Throat (death metal from Shillong), and Bombay Death Metal Legion (18 death-worshipping beasts from aamchi Mumbai paying tribute to the unholy gods.) Bombay Death Metal Legion will headline Deathfest VI, playing songs by Deicide, Morbid Angel, Cannibal Corpse, Nile, Vader, Obituary, Death and other death metal monsters. See you at United 21, Thane!

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