We round up the latest in heavy, alternative music in India, including music from recently launched projects such as Shillong alt/prog-rock band Parallel Dimensions and Mumbai prog band Glass Moon Theory
Metallers Undying Inc: Sunneith Revankar, Ezra Helios, Jerry Nelson Ranee and Biswarup Gupta (clockwise from top left). Photo: Sagnik Karmakar (Revankar); Puneet Jain and Yeashu Yuvraj (Gupta, Helios); courtesy of the artist (Ranee)
Hotaru – “Foxy Jazz” ft Teji Toko
Karbi Anglong-origin instrumental act Hotaru have found a worthy collaborator in Arunachalese drummer Teji Toko for their latest single, “Foxy Jazz.” Although – as the name suggests – it’s got plenty of jazz influences, there are a few nods to progressive rock and math-rock even as the band from Assam shift melodies and tempos throughout the span of the song. The duo undoubtedly aim to dazzle with “Foxy Jazz,” having one foot in jazz-fusion and instrumental prog-guitar style of previous eras and another in modern rock.
Undying Inc – “Open Source Degenerate”
We might have gone a year without hearing from Undying Inc in 2021, but they’re back with their first new material since 2020’s “Decimate.” Their latest song, “Open Source Degenerate,” is a piledriver of riffs and dissonance, with guitarist-producer Biswarup Gupta’s piercing harmonics arriving at nearly incalculable intervals. Vocalist Sunneith Revankar pushes his vocals perhaps more aggressively than ever before, aided by bassist Ezra Helios and drummer Jerry Nelson Ranee. The result is, true to Undying Inc’s stature, delightfully chaotic.
Ksetravid – “Static Belief System”
Just a year after their debut single “Man-Made Crisis,” Bengaluru metallers Ksetravid push the envelope further with their second release “Static Belief System,” which comes with a music video featuring the band members – vocalist Siddhant Sarkar, guitarist Pritam Middey, bassist Arunav Bhattacharjee and drummer Nikhil Raj – running riot. Precisive death metal and tech-death melodies go over modern prog rhythms and a sing-along section as well, making “Static Belief System” an acerbic look at the failings of organized religion.
Parallel Dimensions – “Levitate”
Shillong prog/alt-rock band Parallel Dimensions is one of many projects that producer-guitarist and vocalist Nangsan Lyngwa (previously part of death metallers Plague Throat) has become part of, imprinting his versatility on the sound. Completed by Baribor Khongwir on vocals, Darren Majaw on drums, bassist Ifty Sarwar and guitarist-vocalist Jason R. Rynjah, Parallel Dimensions’ second single “Levitate” arrives nearly two years after their debut song “Cold.” “Levitate” is a measured, atmospheric tune at six-and-a-half minutes, changing up the pace at different points, almost sounding like a few different songs melded into one.
Still Status – “I’m A Sinner”
Shillong metallers Still Status returned after a hiatus of about five years in May, announcing the release of their single “I’m A Sinner.” There’s an unmistakably biblical theme to their lyrics and in the music video, but it’s laced with a heavy dose of deathcore and metalcore, making Still Status sound as incisive, metaphorical and despairing as ever. With every puerile growl and echoing melody, the band sound mighty.
Glass Moon Theory – “Earth’s Lament”
Mumbai rock band Glass Moon Theory – comprising guitarist Chirantan Nirantar, drummer Kunal Dalvi, keyboardist Meher Tikkas and bassist Mitish Amin – have released their debut single “Earth’s Lament” as a three-act song. That means it unmistakably draws from prog-metal favorites such as Dream Theater and Haken, making its way through polyrhythmic arrangements and brooding vocals. The band describes “Earth’s Lament” as a song about the state of the planet and even speak from the perspective of Earth as well, making for a trippy, metaphor-heavy song.
Archonist – “Insanity”
Jaipur/New Delhi rock band Archonist completed releasing their debut album Endless Highway last year and they’re well on their way to lifting the veil on their second album with the new single, “Insanity.” The title track from their sophomore effort, “Insanity” stays true to their previously championed post-grunge/hard-rock vocal style and has a lot of wiry guitar work to boot.
Scalar – “Reign”
Bengaluru-based guitarist, composer and producer Abhishek Daniel took a year’s hiatus with his prog-rock/metal project Scalar but returns ever stronger with his latest single, “Reign.” Released in June and featuring drummer Anson Lal (from metallers Beyond the Mindfield), there’s a sense of djent groove that’s towering, heightened by the production. The follow-up to Scalar’s debut single “Discordance,” there’s a bit of Tool and TesseracT alike heard across six minutes, plus harrowing breakdowns.