We at BongRong have been witness to the rise of metal music in this city since the start of this year. Our very first tryst with the metal subculture happened during the first ever edition of Kolkata Deathfest and it was an ear-pounding experience to say the least! Well, the KDF guys got back together within a short span of about eight months and organized Kolkata Deathfest II at Sujata Sadan on the 12th September, 2015. Last time, Kolkata played host to Japanese death metal legends, Defiled, and this time they successfully brought the behemoth known as Funerus, all the way from the USA to our city, to play to a crowd of energetic metalheads, high on music. Apart from Funerus, Kolkata Deathfest II also showcased Bangladeshi death metal brothers, Homicide, and city bands, Evil Conscience, Necrodeity, Strangulate, Deadbolt and Death Lies Ahead. Overall, it was an amazing experience for Kolkata youth who are thirst-stricken for fast, no-nonsense music that caters to their needs and not just the need of big business and money games. Sponsoring and supporting the entire event were Lizard Skin Tattoos and Silent Dreamz Rehearsal Studio.
It is understood that DIY gigs are never glitch-free and as a starting criticism – the show did start a bit late, but that didn’t stop the fans from filling up the venue and waiting patiently for the event to begin. A first in my experience, the venue filled almost up to full capacity even before the show started, and the crowd didn’t thin out till the very last instant late at night! Throughout the day, people in black metal-tees could be spotted everywhere in the vicinity of the venue. The organizers may have to look for bigger venues in the near-future! And the crowd turnout is something amazing, given Kolkata’s lack of youth-engagement in most events and that metal music scene and shows are still in their nascent stages – so we might be looking at something big in the future. For those wanting to know the details: the crowd-turnout was somewhere around 250 and 300. And that’s big for Kolkata.
The show was kicked off by new-comers, Death Lies Ahead, who although new, showed complete comfort on the stage. Noticeable were the vocalist, who showed some skill with growled and screeched vocals, and the bassist! Next up were Strangulate, who’ve been on the scene for quite sometime now, and their experience showed for itself, with a note-to-note accuracy from their guitarist and vocalist and a very tight performance from their drummer, Prakash Paul. Deadbolt got the crowd riled up from the start, a moshing atmosphere even before the performance actually started. All hell broke loose with their take-no-nonsense-give-no-nonsense attitude, with everything from their sound, to stage presence reflecting the rowdy aggression of thrash metal. Homicide, all the way from Bangladesh, kicked up a storm with their melodic approach – a gloomy, yet action-packed sound, no time for the crowd to catch their breath as the onslaught started!
Here’s where we reached half-time and the stage was readied for Necrodeity. When these guys come onto stage, it’s a ritual that has to be witnessed with your own eyes: human skulls, pig’s head and goat blood – not stage props, the real things. Necrodeity’s ritualistic performance was spot-on and they played with gravity. They’re some of the most extreme sounding bands out there, and very much ahead of their time, especially in Kolkata. Evil Conscience took the stage next; these guys have created a reputation over the last 5 years for fast technical death metal and they deliver time and again. They are truly stage-ready professionals when it comes to delivering ear-pounding fast-paced metal to the audience.
Funerus – the band everybody has been waiting for. They were formed in the USA way back in 1990, before most of the young metalheads of this city were even born. Formed by Jill and John McEntee (of Incantation fame), Funerus were on an all-out Asia tour (Black Death Over Asia 2015) and stopped over at Kolkata and New Delhi to rattle up some death-metal-starved bones of the masses. And they decimated the place! The venue was jam-packed, at an hour considered late by Kolkata standards, with fans screaming and moshing all through. Jill, especially, killed on the vocal-‘n’-bass duties. And the sound, was top-notch perfect. Good sound is something Kolkata shows usually lack. The sound during Funerus was perfect for the venue and the atmosphere!
In Talks With The Organizers
BongRong: Kolkata Deathfest II was a huge success! How was the crowd’s response? And how are you taking it all in?
D: Crowd response was huge from the day we announced Funerus headlining this event and it’s obvious that any self-respecting metalhead who is worth his salt would not like to miss an opportunity to see such a classic band and of course John McEntee who is one of the most influential death metal musicians and responsible for this blackened death metal style which Incantation pioneered, and thousands of bands today try to imitate that sound which cannot be duplicated. So it was just surreal to have John in our city where the extreme metal scene has just started and we are very proud to contribute this to our beloved city’s extreme metal underground. And post-gig, the response was just enormous and I received such amazing compliments and heartfelt messages from fans that got me thinking about the kind of impact KDF had left on metalheads in just 9 months since its inception. Remember, the first KDF was held in January only! So I think it’s a ground-breaking response and we are very proud of these two editions.
BongRong: How was Kolkata Deathfest II different from Kolkata Deathfest I? Have you guys found stable ground with Kolkata Deathfest II?
D: Kolkata Deathfest II was more ambitious in so many ways though the basic idea was the same – to have a death metal special show! And this will be the motto of KDF for editions to come. Yes, we were always on stable ground to be honest with you, because we all are well aware of how extreme metal underground runs and we have no delusions whatsoever.
BongRong: What’s in store for the metalheads in the near future? When is Kolkata Deathfest III going to be announced?
D: Well, the present time is what makes the future, so all we can say is that we have started working already, without taking any rest, for the third edition, which will be featuring ONLY local bands. Great Kvltkata Deathforces. Announcement would be made as soon as we have a clear plan!
Kolkata Deathfest II has been a revelation for me. I’ve been in and around the metal scene for about 4 years now, but finally, for the first time, I get the sense that this is going somewhere. If the organisers and the fans can keep the boat afloat and steady, then we will see bigger venues, bigger bands, and bigger crowds in the near-future! And then we’d have put Kolkata firmly on the metal map of India and perhaps, Asia. But it’s not an easy game, a lot of hard-work is on the way, for the organisers, the bands and the fans especially. Kolkata fans, and the people in-general, tend to be prejudiced towards a certain genre, towards a certain band, or a certain sound. This status-quo situation has to be smashed and destroyed if anyone ever wants to put Kolkata on the international map for metal music. And I for one hope that day comes. It might be 10 years from now. But I certainly hope we move towards that. As for Kolkata Deathfest, I can say that the fest has only started and we’ve all got a long way to go and, we’ll definitely get there!
>>>> Moments from the GIG <<<<
Our warm regards to Metal Farmer for contributing to our gallery.