India, a country of colorful diversity, owns both the riches of ethics and religion. And the most prevailing colors are found through the Indian classical, the Bollywood film songs and the folklores, plus, the underground music culture that has taken its toll since the 90’s. Much less talk about the inculcation of Rock music in the prodigy of music of India, be it 60’s Raga Rock and Psychedelic rock, 70’s Indian fusion or the 80’s Indian funk. Although they have a big contribution towards the evolution of pop music, rock and roll and disco and later metal music as well; but Bollywood songs always seemed to eclipse the underground rock and metal scene in India. They do so even today, but the scene now has comprehensively changed a lot compared to then. From scarcity to sheer abundance, the Indian Extreme Metal has gradually grabbed the attention of the masses over a fair period of time.
But all that time in between is crucial and that is what I am about to describe. India, unified by the bounds of music has always been susceptible to multiple heterogeneous cultures that now its audacity reflects a blended-to-perfection sort of combination. History saw the incorporation of elements of Indian music with mainstream rock and metal music; saw the introduction of classical instruments like sitar and tabla and the musicians saw our Indian classical heritage as a way of consolidating the pychedelia into the music. Fusion of rock with ancient and traditional Indian music started in the mid 60’s and after several modulations and capitalization exists even today. Rock Machine (now Indus Creed) formed in the 80’s can be a good example. In 1988, Millenium, first Indian metal band laid the foundation of metal scene, and 90’s styles such as thrash went contemporarily popular. The realm of actual underground scene began with the rise of Sanskrit rock band in 1990, The Army of Narsimha Dev, who composed sanskrit mantras into modern age rock music. And during this time, Euphoria came in as an English rock band which later changed to hindi and gave birth to Hindi Rock, generally seen as an intake of elements of Bollywood fused with soul and funk. Undoubtedly, metal music was overlooked and snubbed as compared to Bollywood but progress was undeniable equally. “A voice is only a noise without someone to hear, and without a crowd to feed that noise goes silent.”
Late 90’s, virtuous Vedic metal took the field. Based around Hindu mythology, it was a fusion of metal and traditional music. Rudra, a Singapore based band, owns the credit for this subgenre. Other Indian bands like Wingz of Vayraag, Asura, Advaita, The Aryan March, Punarjanma and more have also given pioneer contribution to Vedic Metal. My favorite pick, The Hymns from the Blazing Chariot, belongs to Rudra. It has majestically encased the Mahabharata scenes and the sacred Bhagwad Gita became the source of its lyrics. With Vedic lyrics the music has the shades of Indian classical music as well. Just like Metalcore and Grindcore are subgenres of Hardcore, a new subgenre, the Vedic-core, also emerged in the following years, and bands like Antim Yuddha and Roktobeej have the undisputed capture over it. Later years saw the Folk Metal, a combination of ethnic folk music with various forms of metal.
With the arrival of MTV, bands steered towards more underground styles like death metal, alternative metal and progressive rock. It was then around 2000, Demonic Resurrection, laid the foundation of Indian Extreme Metal scene. The journey was tough and long indeed. But the Indian Extreme Metal is unrivaled till date and has an acceptance countrywide. Channel V Launchpad, NH-7 Weekender, Bangalore Open Air and many such in house concert tours have given this rave genre a hefty feedback! Et al.