School of rock
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- Published 27.11.07
|A participating band at the zonal finals of Campus Rock Idols 2007 on the Nicco Park grounds. Picture by Sanat Kumar Sinha|
Somewhere in an abandoned land (read Gate 2, Nicco Park) on Saturday, November 24 evening, six metal proprietors did their best to strip 4,000-odd college students off their senses. Waiting outside a makeshift check-post, the crowd patiently shuffled its way into the premises for the 2007 zonal finals of the fourth chapter of Campus Rock Idols, eager to witness the future of Indian rock music explode in a hard-rock starburst.
The metal onslaught was unrelenting and the college crowd was having the time of its life, as confusion reigned against the backdrop of the stage and bottles with water, water without bottles, bottles without water flew around.
The six bands battling it out for the the position of the zonal winner were Atmahatya and Chronic Xorn from Calcutta, Dark Horizon from Guwahati, Mukti from Sikkim, Prisoners of Chaos from Shillong and Prophecy from Mizoram.
Atmahatya, the death metal dealers from the southern city, are known for their aggressive music and lyrics offering testimony to the tortured soul. The band raced down the wires and growled its hearts out, covering bands like Lamb of God and belting out its well-known original, Last Hours of Khudiram. With an energetic stage-act and power-packed drumming, Atmahatya emerged as the zonal winner.
Mukti, the three-headed fun machine from Sikkim — a concert newbie — took centre-stage with a dangerously unschooled drum-and-bass explosion, powerful vocals and introspective lyrics. Not just an entertaining stage act; the band floored the venue with well-instrumented originals that sponged off elements from Megadeth, Deep Purple, Lamb of God and even Pink Floyd.
Dark Horizon from Guwahati lovingly ripped open the late 70s and early 80s songbook, leading its audience through a good 20-minutes of a Technicolor-drenched classic rock minefield as they covered AC/DC and Iron Maiden with admirable zeal. Definitely one of the best bands to emerge this season, the Guwahati band were placed the runners-up. Dark Horizon and Atmahatya are off to Delhi to participate in the national finals on December 2.
Mizoram’s Prophecy, a foursome too innocent to be making dust-in-the-lungs Satanic music, was specially mentioned as the band with judge Nondon Bagchi’s “favourite drummer of the lot” and also for embodying what is known as “protest music”. The band’s power-packed lyrics and music bore references of Korn, Deftones and other nu-metal bands.
Also finalists for the final zonal round were Prisoners of Chaos from Shillong and Chronic Xorn from Calcutta, whose music seemed like a minor on-stage guerilla war, whose jittery and jerky efforts left scope for much improvement.
Caught between being surprised and accepting the changed campus music scene — now dominated by death metal with its technically and physically taxing “growls and howls” and other evolved instrumentation — judges Hip Pocket put a show-stopping end to the riot.
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