Saturday, 30 August 2014


When it comes to extreme music, Reuben is just one of those drummers! I'm sure this is one drummer you want to know more about :) Popularly, we know him as the drummer of IIIrd Sovereign. Here's an interview with one of India's best death metal drummers who I had the privilege of interviewing! Read on!

IIIrd Sovereign

Full name and age.
Reuben Lalchuangkima. Age: Old :-P

What is your favourite dish/cuisine?
Mizo traditional dish (pork, fish and chicken).

Kindly tell us about all your precious gear! (Sticks, cymbals, kit, skins, gear/bags)
Drums Kits: Mapex Pro M 7 piece (2 x 22"x20" bass drums, 12" and 13" toms, 16" and 18" floor toms, Black Panther Cherry bomb snare) AND Mapex Horizon Jazz series (20"x18" bass drum, 10" and 12" toms, 14" floor tom, MPX 14" steel snare)
Skins/Heads: Mostly Evans G2 n EC2, for bass drums- Evans EMAD.
Pedals: Axis Longboard and Mapex P980A
Rack: Pearl rack 2 x 501c and 501
Cymbals: Zildjian (ZBT) and Wuhan. 20" ride, 14",16" and 18" crashes, 10" and 12" splashes, 12",14" and 16" Chinas, 13" and 14" hi-hats.
Sticks: Zildjian (5B) and Vic Firth (5B and 2B)

How long have you been playing the drums?
Since 1998

What got you into playing drums?
I got inspired by the legendary heavy/thrash metal bands (Metallica, Megadeth, Sepultura, Anthrax, etc.,.)   Since I can't play anything else, I have to do something that can be played without melody. You don't have to be in tune, you just have to hit hard from time to time, it's fun, lol!

Have you learned to read music as well, or do you just play by ear?
I started to play by ear and then continued with reading later on since the boundary without theory is pretty limited.

Loud and pounding | soft and accurate | the normal drummer. What do you prefer?
Normal and Accurate :)

What thought goes into the composing process?
Not much now, since Vedant is there for the lyrics, I keep on laying down different kinds of material and same thing goes for Benja, we just keep on selecting whichever part we like and we try to create something out of it, which we think should be meaningful, and of course, BRUTAL.

A picture I took at Deccan Rock (2011)

What other music projects are you currently a part of?
IIIrd Sovereign,Vortex House Band.

Do you have a day job? What is it that you do?
We set up a place called Vortex, so taking care of everything together (Music School, Recording studio and a gig hall) is the only job I have right now :-)

Your favorite musicians (Indian)
Guitar: Dhruv Ghanekar ('Chakraview' days), Benjamin (IIIrd Sovereign)
Bass: Jonah (IIIrd Sovereign)
Drums: Trilok Gurtu and Viru (DR)
Vocals: Vernon Ibrahim ('Only Be One' days)

Your favourite musicians (international)
Guitar: Patrick O'brien
Bass: Steve DiGiorgio
Drums: Gene Hoglan and Steve Gadd
Vocals: Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth (Overkill)

Can we expect a release from your band(s) any time soon?
Sure, it's almost done, but I don't know how long the procedure for getting a label is gonna be. Anyway video of one of the new song will be out by October.

Whom do you look up to, as a musician and a band?
Sahil Makhija aka Demonstealer

A message to all your fans (hello ladies!)
Thanks for being there for us \m/ Cheers

IIIrd Sovereign on Facebook

Tuesday, 26 August 2014


Welcome to drummer week!
There's no one better to inaugurate these two insane weeks with. Monster behind the drums, Nishant Hagjer has to be one of the most pounding and tight drummers most of us have seen live. Check this interview I did with the man himself. Stay tuned for many more of your favourites, this week onwards. :)

Photo: Danish R. D

Full name and age.
Nishant Hagjer, 20

What is your favourite dish/cuisine?

Kindly tell us about all your precious gear! (Sticks, cymbals, kit, skins, gear/bags)
Vic Firth Nova 2B Drum sticks. Paiste Cymbals (I break a lot of cymbals, so I get whichever model is available then and there. It takes a long time for overseas delivery!) Tama Imperial Star Drum kit, Roland TD 11K Electronic Drum kit. Tama Speed Cobra drum pedals, Pearl Demon Drive drum pedals, Joey Jordison Slipknot Snare Drum, Remo Powerstroke 3 drum heads, Remo Ambassador Snare drum head!

How long have you been playing the drums?
I've been playing for 8 years!

What got you into playing drums?
I used to play the keyboard and playing the drums on the keyboard had me hooked on to it. That’s how I got to know the basics haha! Then one fine day, I saw Tre Cool of Greenday drumming on VH1. That was it for me. His drumming, expression and showmanship made me get a drum kit!

Have you learned to read music as well, or do you just play by ear?
I play by the ear. I am currently learning how to read.

Loud and pounding| soft and accurate| the normal drummer. What do you prefer?
A mixture of the first two would sound great, but if I were choose one for a lifetime then its got to be LOUD and POUNDING.

Rectified Spirit
What thought goes into the composing process?
It’s a lengthy process. Nothing is fixed. If it’s a metal tune that I’m working on, then I generally start with the drumbeat. At times the beats are riff-oriented! I start with the keyboard and guitar for my pop project and that’s when I add beats and vocals, which turns into a full song.

What other music projects are you currently a part of?
I play drums for Undying Inc and Rectified Spirit. I have a pop/EDM/dance music bedroom project going on as well!

Do you have a day job? What is it that you do?
I’m a full-time drum teacher.

Your favorite musicians (Indian)
Guitar: Prasanna
Bass: Joshringdao Phonglo
Drums: Mithun Puthanveetil
Vocals: Yet to see many vocalists of other genres other than metal!

Your favourite musicians (international)
Guitar: Misha Mansoor
Bass: Henrik Linder
Drums: Matt Garstka
Vocals: Adam Lambert

Undying Inc
Can we expect a release from your band(s) any time soon?
Yes! We (Undying Inc) just released our EP and we have a few tracks ready already!

Whom do you look up to, as a musician and a band?
Multi-talented artists who have broken the barrier and come out of the vicious self-sponsored circle and are now comfortably doing their own thing, full time. I respect Periphery, they motivate me everyday, I've seen them grow over the past decade and its crazy where they are at now!

A message to all your fans (hello ladies!)
Hey all! Keep supporting my work, as that’s what motivates me the most! I do this every single day and I work super hard so if it puts a smile on your face, then I’m more than happy :)

Undying Inc on Facebook
Rectified Spirit on Facebook

Here's the official video of Undying Inc's song IRONCLAD.

Monday, 25 August 2014


Entombed Metal fest in Pune is an initiative started by Frameshift initiatives (I said it twice!), with a view of encouraging the metal music scene in the city. Having just organized 'Dawn of the Legion' in July, Frameshift's 'Entombed Metal fest' celebrates their anniversary with a power-packed gig, featuring Demonic Resurrection, who we can safely say is the international headliner of the night, besides other local acts like Cruoris, Anarchy, Adamantium and The Abel Projekt.

Since we're not so familiar with the people behind such a wonderful initiative, here's a scoop from the organizers when I had a little chat with them. Pune has moved into a more comfortable space when it comes to the whole live music scene, and doing this solely for heavy metal takes a lot of balls, considering the consistent lack of support from the commercial and mainstream world! Check the interview with Sanjeev Gupta and Ameet 'Teema' Kulkarni, who've been taking the effort to make these shows happen!

Why did you form Frameshift Initiatives?
Back in 2011 there were hardly any organizations/organizers that used to support metal bands with their promotion, bookings & management. Frameshift was started then with the aim to help out bands in the aforementioned areas.

What is the idea behind Entombed Metal Fest? Why take up such an initiative?
The idea is to provide upcoming bands (local & outstaiton) an opportunity to play with the well-known bands of the scene.  We took up this initiative because metal gigs weren't happening in Pune back in 2012. So it all started then to revive the scene and we are still working on it to make it better.

Are venues in Pune easy to get? 
 LOL!!!!! Not at all.

Have you been doing well just focusing on heavy metal gigs? 
Initially it wasn't so encouraging but slowly it got better and we hope that it continues to get better. Even the bands we have worked with so far have been very supportive in all aspects as they are also equally responsible for the success of the shows. A huge thank you to all of them.\m/

What is it that you do besides this for a living? 
Sanjeev: I am (still) studying in Pune.
Teema  : I am a full time musician.

Do you play music yourselves?
Sanjeev: Yeah I play music everyday on my phone. :P No, I don't play any instrument.
Teema  : I play guitar for Anarchy,Gaia's Throne and 1 more rock n roll/glam metal project with Aditya Shukla (Gaia's Throne). It's time to go back to the 80s ! :D

Teema and Sanjeev

What should we expect at the EMF anniversary?
All out madness! We have one of India's biggest bands headlining this one and kickass local bands to support them.The best part is that we have people travelling from Nagpur, Ahmednagar and Mumbai for this gig. It makes us feel proud because we also go to other cities for gigs and we know how it feels to travel to watch our favourite bands play. We are glad that people find our gigs worthy enough to come from so far. So it's definitely going to be one hell of a gig!

What's the future in terms of gigs for Frameshift?
More gigs including tribute gigs as well.

A message to people keen on attending.
We are very grateful to all those who attend our gigs and keep us going. A huge thanks to all of you for supporting metal and supporting frameshift. See you all on the 30th.
And thank you to Metalsphere for this interview.:)

RSVP for the Entombed Metal Fest anniversary edition right HERE

Dawn of the Legion Selfie

Drummer week this evening onwards! 

Thursday, 21 August 2014


Orion is a four-piece progressive death metal band from Mumbai. They've been playing a few gigs here and there, been composing music and they're rising real fast. I remember playing a few gigs with these guys (in my Chronic Phobia days) so we go waaay back. My brother (Pritesh) later joined the band on drums, after which they released their EP 'On the Banks of Rubicon' in 2012, and have been on the rise ever since. These are some of the sweetest, sappiest and asshole-ist metalheads I have met. Travelling with them, I know they're absolutely fun to be around!

Orion also recently launched their CDs in jewel cases and t-shirts for 'On The Banks of Rubicon' through label Transcending Obscurity. T-shirts are available for Rs. 600/- and CDs for Rs. 150/-
You can also digitally download the album from HERE.

As Kunal Choksi (Transcending Obscurity) said, "Orion's debut release 'On the Banks of Rubicon' is a masterful album with pulsating energy, memorable riffing and catchy hooks masking the complexity of the music. The music has shades of melody counterbalanced by aggression and growls, a perfect balance for music that can only be justified with the tag of Progressive Death Metal."

Here's a small but detailed interview I did with them. Check it out!

Your favourite food.
Orion: Anything served with beer.

Q. A brief history of the band
We've been around for a while now. Had a few line up changes, that lead to a lot of soul searching and sound searching. Finally we believe we've found what makes us Orion, both in our music and mindset. We released our first EP in 2012 and, things have only gotten bigger since then. We're progressive death metal, so that gives us the freedom to tilt towards any direction, music-wise. We have a simple thumb rule, if it's epically unexpected, it goes on the album!

Orion is (left to right) Pritesh Prabhune (drums), Ashwin Kulkarni (guitars), Vigneshkumar Venkatraman (Vocals, guitars) and Anshuman Bhattacharya (bass, backing vocals)

Q. How has your journey been so far?
Rough in patches. Although since the album launch, it's only gotten better. The past few years, according to us, have been preparation to become the band that people know us to be today. Hopefully it only gets better from here because well, that's the plan.

Q. What has the band been doing of late? (gigs, composing, recording)
We just finished a semi-India tour of sorts. Starting with playing the WACKEN METAL BATTLE India finals in Bangalore, we played at Hyderabad, Jaipur and Pune. We played Mumbai also (Thunderstorm) recently. Now we're taking some time off to work further on our upcoming album which we intend to launch sometime early next year. Our first t-shirt is out, hope you'll have gotten yours already.

Q. How was your experience at the Wacken Metal battle this year?
Epic. It was a huge boost for us. Playing with the best bands from around the country was one hell of an experience. Plague Throat deserved to win it. We're already gearing up and pushing ourselves harder to be the ones next year.

Here's a video of Orion's trip to the Wacken Metal Battle national finals in Bangalore! 

Q. Something we should expect coming our way from you any time soon?
So in the near future fans can expect some single releases and a lot more shows.

 Q. Your favourite Indian bands
Apart from the big 4 that is Bhayanak Maut, Scribe, Demonic Resurrection and Devoid, we love Gutslit, Eccentric Pendulum, Providence, Zygnema, Albatross, The Down Troddence, Anthracite and Plague Throat.

Q. Your favourite international bands
Everyone from Opeth, Meshuggah, Veil of Maya, Karnivool, Alter Bridge, Whitechapel, Metallica.... This list has no end.

9. A message to all your fans..
We just make the music. You  make the scene. So keep coming for shows and keep growing metal here. Thank you for the support you've shown us so far! Also dump ice in your drink, not on your head. Just fucking donate. \m/

You can find Orion all over!

Listen to their song 'Oh Sweet Ebullition!' right here!


Tuesday, 12 August 2014


Elemental is a four-piece extreme metal band from Bhopal/Indore. Their music is about a serious picture of war between good and evil. Popularly known for always playing a tight set, intense drumming and groovy catchy riffs blended with a variety of metal vocal styles, this band is definitely something to look out for!

I met and watched these guys live for the first time at 'Dawn of the Legion' in Pune, but I'd heard a LOT about them before. They played at Entombed Metal fest in Mumbai a while ago. They're upcoming and well, coming up fast is all I can say! :P Here's a small interview I did with them. They're going to be busy, come this weekend. Read to find out more!

Elemental is Ankit 'Igor' Kujur (bass), Anchal Bhargava (vocals), Aman 'Ricky' Sharma (guitars) and Divyaraj Bhatnagar (drums)

Favourite food?
Chicken , sea food, and some green plants.

You have a lot of shows lined up of late. Can you tell us what and where? 
Yep, we have some upcoming gigs;
17th August - Harley Davidson presents 'The Doomsday', Indore
23rd August - IIT Kanpur Elims, Bhopal
31st August - Night Wrath Broadway, Mumbai
5th September - Cresendo, Indore
9th September - Abomination Vol. 2, Kolkata

Tell us a brief history about the band; how you formed, initial lineups, etc..
We started our journey in September 2012. Our vocalist met our drummer and they decided to jam. Later, we happened to meet our shredder Ricky who was in town for a month and the three of us started jamming. It all went well. We had a talk about the future and it was all fun, we must say. We enjoy what we do and that is what keeps us going! We all wanted to be in a band and play music we like, and we're doing it because we love it.

People didn't think there were metal bands in Bhopal/Indore. What do you have to say about that? 
Aahhh! Central India has an amazing scene! Bands like Demonic Resurrection, Zygnema, Devoid, Noiseware, Abraxas, Blakc, Motherjane, Indian Ocean and many more have played here many times before so that gives everyone a glimpse of the scene. Also there are almost two gigs every month where you will find a decent crowd of around 300 dedicated metalheads flying around everywhere. So this is what the other side of the story is. Most people aren't aware of the metal janta in our land!

Here's a video of Elemental playing their song 'Bad Blood'. I recorded this at Dawn of the Legion, Pune.
Sorry, thought the song was over and missed the breakdown :P 

Have your parents been supportive of your taste in music and supporting you as musicians?
So far so good! They've been very supportive, but there's no guarantee of what the future holds!

What's coming up for the band in terms of songwriting/releases? 
Yes! We are all set to release our first album 'Creation of the Damned'. We are being produced at Refractor Studios, Pune.

Kya aapko pataa hai muscle kahaan se aata hai? 
Ganja peene se.

Your favourite Indian bands
Undying Inc, Zygnema, Devoid, Inner Sanctum, Plague Throat, Gutslit.

Your favourite International bands
Behemoth, Dying Fetus, Origin, Decapitated, Suffocation, Meshuggah, Cattle Decapitation, Beyond Creation, Whitechapel, Amon Amarth, Katakylsm.

Message to all your fans
We don’t want any fans. We want brothers for a lifetime. Thanks for all the love and support you have shown so far. We assure to make your ears bleed to the end of days!

Elemental on:

For bookings, contact Metalsphere on Facebook or call me!


Friday, 8 August 2014


For the first time, guitar Guru and the creatively insane Mattias Ia Eklundh, frontman of Swedish progressive metal band Freak Kitchen, brings the Freak Guitar Camp from Sweden to India! Presented by BAJAAO, the Freak Guitar Camp is a week-long program for guitar players which will take place from the 13th – 19th of October, 2014 at Jal Srushti Island Resort in Mulshi, a serene location situated a few kilometers from Pune.

Here’s a video Mattias made for Freak Guitar Camp India:

Mattias is widely known for his unique style of guitar playing and song-writing. After years of learning, knowledge-sharing and patience, Mattias will now bring down the Freak Guitar Camp from Sweden to India. The Guru has always had a soft corner for India, Indian music and Indian musicians. This time, he will share his bit with us in our very own country! During the camp, Mattias will sink his teeth into odd time signatures, tons of poly rhythm techniques, licks and tricks to spare, how to make a guitar sound anything but a guitar, song writing process tips and talk about how to use synthetic modes and unorthodox scales.

The course fee is Rs.43,000/-. All candidates have to do is carry their instruments. Besides all the lessons and fun activities, the registration fee will include all the course material, luxurious beds, nutritious and lip smacking meals cooked by the Jal shrushti resort cooks.

 Here's a look at the camping spot Jal Srushti. Uffff. 

Take it from people who’ve attended the Freak Guitar Camp before. Mangesh Gandhi, frontman of Mumbai-based Hindi progressive rock band ‘Coshish’ shared his experience. He attended the 2011 camp in Sweden. “The Freak Guitar Camp is the best experience I had as a guitar player. IA is simply amazing and I basked in his awesomeness for a week in the Swedish woods. Beware, the musicality quotient takes a massive leap and might turn you into a musical zombie by the end of the week” he said.

Sidharth Kadadi, guitar player of Mumbai power groove metal band Zygnema said, "Freak Guitar Camp is truly a surreal experience, a must for all guitar players. Mattias is a living genius and he knows how to condition his campers. I learned a lot under IA's guidance and am looking forward to be a part of this again. You have to be a part of it to experience it. As our guru says -Once a camper, always a camper"

For registrations and further details, visit the official Freak Guitar Camp India website:

Here's the official Freak Guitar Camp India Facebook page
Here's the event page for interested guitar players.
Mattias Eklundh
Freak Kitchen on Facebook

Here’s a link to the official video of Freak Kitchen’s ‘Teargas Jazz’ made in India.


Wednesday, 6 August 2014


I've written an article after ages and I'm glad it's a gig update. Mumbai, all these bands and organizer boys are eager to let you know that there's going to be one crazy night this weekend in Thane!

I've spoken to organizers Avirath Kadam, Shivam Gujarathi and Sushant Yadav, hands and legs behind Thunderstorm. Thunderstorm is a gig happening in Thane after a long time that is NOT in United 21, something we'd assume. Mark your calendars, it's on the 9th of August. The catch of the entire gig is the low entry as compared to other gigs that have happened in the recent past. Sushant adds, " It's not always that you get to see SEVEN bands for just Rs. 200!

Among having favourite foods like Chicken biryani, missal pav and jain chicken lollipop (yes, vegetarian alert. Y U Unmetal?), I spoke to these guys about the Thunderstorm lineup and a bunch of other things.
On speaking of the lineup, a mutual decision of the organizers was to fix on these bands, knowing they're all on good terms with them, and wanting to share the stage with their friends.

At this point in Mumbai after the craziness Control Alt Delete left us with, gloomy monsoons bring nothing entertaining, no college fests either, just muck and wet people. The gig was also initiated by keeping in mind giving upcoming bands the exposure they deserve, as even the seasonal college fests aren't the best and defining platform  for upcoming bands, especially metal bands. The Mumbai metal scene, on the other hand, is doing pretty great according to these guys, but they felt the need to do their bit by supporting it with more gigs.

With regards to the venue, Occasion's Hall, Goa Portuguesa was the venue in mind for quite a while, so they chose to stick with it. Doing the gig at another venue and not United 21 in Thane was also so that they could experiment and see if there are other venues open to metal shows in the area.

"We couldn't find anything that was related to monsoon for a gig name! So THUNDERSTORM it is!" 

For some reason, they have also managed to get a 'fitness' partner on board, with a view of wanting everyone in the scene to be fit (haan?), as they mentioned.

Here's the lineup:
Headliners: Albatross

As it is with every organizer across the country trying to put a metal fest together, one thing remains common - The lack of funds. They mentioned how lack of sponsorship is what has dissuaded organizers from putting up shows forever, but let's hope the fitness partner makes a difference, eh? *wink wink*

Doing more shows like this is definitely a plan for these three buggers. On a more personal note, Avirath mentioned how it's going to be 'one hell of a metal party' where people can have 'fun' together haan. Hmm. With Shivam's emphasis on Avirath doing a stage dive, he adds masala to our general expectations and dreams of lightweight stage divers (I still love you Avirath).

RSVP on their Facebook Event page.