The Indian Metal scene was witness to many exciting releases throughout the last year. Not only in terms of musical content but also in terms of album production, artwork, packaging and merchandise, the situation has improved tremendously. If I was asked to create this list four or five years ago, I am sure I would have struggled to name more than five worthy releases from India. However, I am happy (and also a bit proud) that it was not easy to prune this list down to 10 for 2015. So here are the top 10 Metal releases from India for 2015 that made us bang our heads and raise those horns up with a grimace on our face!
10. Biopsy – ‘Fractals of Derangement’ (EP)
Biopsy’s debut EP Fractals of Derangement is undoubtedly one of the most brutal sounding releases of 2015. The three-piece from Mumbai launch a sonic assault right from the get go with throat ripping riffage and pulverizing machine-gun like drum work. The band delivers Brutal Death Metal like the way it should be on this kickass debut and are definitely the band to watch out for in the near future.
Favourite Tracks: “Hemolytic Crisis”, “Surgical Symmetry”
9. Zygnema – ‘What Makes Us Human Is Obsolete’
The Groove Metallers from Mumbai took their time to release a follow-up to their debut after five long years, but the wait was worth it. Clearly sounding more technical in their songwriting despite the constraints offered by the genre, Zygnema gives us an aggressive, sharp and energetic sound in their latest release.
Favourite Tracks: “Invidious I”, “The Phoenix Effect”.
8. Diabolus Arcanium – ‘Path of Ascension’
Chennai’s Symphonic Black Metal band Diabolus Arcanium deliver a supremely powerful debut in Path of Ascension. The grand and majestic ambience the band creates makes listening to this album nothing short of a cinematic experience. The orchestral sounds are atmospheric that are layered with a lot of finesse and when it combines with the raw Black Metal riffage and snarling bestial vocals, it is hard not to fall in love with this band.
Favourite Tracks: “Of Fire and Ashes”, “Ascension”
7. Bevar Sea – ‘Invoking the Bizarre’
Bangalore Stoner/Doom band Bevar Sea impressed us all with their eponymous debut. On this second album, they deviate slightly from their core sound by incorporating faster, thrashy riffs in the mix of ominous, doom laden riffage to give us an exciting follow up album that was easily one of the best in the year.
Favourite Tracks: “Where There’s Smoke (There is a Pyre)”, “The Grand Alignment”.
6. Inner Sanctum – ‘Legions Awake’
Inner Sanctum took six long years to follow up their debut EP Provenance, but considering how good this debut album sounded, fans were ready to forgive them for making them wait for so long. Combining manic riiffage and groove laden hooks, Legions Awake was a crushing return to the scene that had almost forgotten how tight this band sounds.
Favourite Tracks: “Realms of Oblivion”, “Legions Awake”
5. Armament – ‘First Strike’ (EP)
This four-piece Thrash Metal band from Kolkata delivered a bone crunching sound on their debut EP aptly titled First Strike. Creating an ambience similar to the 80s golden era of Thrash Metal, Armament are sure to make any thrasher proudly thump their chests and headbang like crazy throughout the length of this EP. This is undoubtedly Old School Thrash Metal at its best.
Favourite Tracks: “Wings of Death”, “Gas Chamber”
4. Against Evil – ‘Fatal Assault’ (EP)/Gaijin – ‘Gaijin’ (EP)
Number 4 is a two way tie between Heavy Metal band Against Evil (Vishakapatnam) and Technical Death Metal band Gaijin (Mumbai). While Gaijin delivers a dizzying mix of Death Metal riffage, Against Evil takes a more melodic route and mesmerize us with crunchy riffs and supremely catchy compositions. Both these bands released a memorable debut that must not be missed.
Favourite Tracks: Against Evil – “Speedbreaker”, “War Hero” & Gaijin – “Dead Planet”, “Meiosis”
3. Heathen Beast – ‘Trident’
OK, technically, this is a compilation album, but nevertheless, Trident is one of the most exciting releases this year. Full of controversial lyrics and a sound that mixes Black Metal with Indian folk instruments, Heathen Beast sound unique and downright blasphemous. The journey from the debut EP “Ayodhya Burns” to their latest EP “The Carnage of Godhra” is indeed something that is incredible and not to be missed especially by the Indian audience who have suffered the pain of each of the events highlighted by the band.
Favourite Tracks: “Gaurav Yatra”, “Ab Ki Baar (Atyachaar)”
2. Albatross – ‘Fear From The Skies’
Mumbai based Heavy Metal band treat us with a fantastic debut album carrying their trademark story driven compositions to tell us horrific tales of Jugglehead the Clown and Dr. Hex. Mixing classic Heavy Metal riffage with Progressive Metal tempo changes and topping it all off with Biprorshee Das’ eerie set of vocal cords, Albatross live up to the expectations of their earlier EPs.
1. Rectified Spirit – ‘The Waste Land’
Rectified Spirit’s second full length album The Waste Land is a kickass mix of Power Metal, Thrash Metal and Progressive Metal. The level of musicianship on this album is jaw dropping and I will be surprised if there exists a Metalhead in this universe who will not fall in love with this album. From melodic harmonies to brutal aggression and everything in between, the band delivers it with finesse and stomps its authority in style.
Favourite Tracks: “The Art of War”, “The Waste Land”