Thursday 31 January 2013

your pop culture machine is out of kilter
do you know what it filter
s out do you



Tuesday 29 January 2013

Era of Tribulation, the re-release of all of Bangalore death/doom legends' Dying Embrace's recording to date has dropped. I'll be reviewing it in a few days, but in the meantime here's something I wrote about the band's past:

1996, Bangalore.

A few of us had headed down to Baldwin Park in the Richmond Town area to watch a free rock concert. We were all getting into the heavier stuff at the time and what we really wanted to hear was some heavy music. Metal to us meant a mix of NWOBHM and Bay Area thrash at the time, although some of the more radical kids were getting into death metal. Still, nothing we’d heard really prepared us for the shockwaves that hit us when a band called Misanthrope got on stage…shockwaves that echo to this day.

Because Misanthrope was the initial monicker for the outfit that would rename itself Dying Embrace just a few months later. Their sound was a sick, twisted mix of piledriving death riffing and eerie, funebreal doom melodies. The drums were slamming and the vocals were a gurgling, growling assault on the senses. ‘Weird…and evil!’ is how Sid Naidu of Bangalore thrash act Threinody describes Jimmy Palkhiwallah’s approach to his axe, and that sums up the overall vibe that Dying Embrace was putting out. When I got hold of a copy of their tape Serenades Of Depravity (released on February 13th, 1997, fittingly enough Friday the 13th!), I remember being disoriented yet fascinated by the way this band could mix it up with haunting, elegiac melodies following hard on the heels of piledriver riffing. The music wasn’t just aggressive – it was pitch black, like midnight in the abyss. ‘Everything had to be dark, ominous and evil,’ as singer Vikram Bhatt puts it.

The truth is, Dying Embrace’s extremity made them fringe figures in the scene as it was then. A lot of us thought we knew what heavy music was about, but the kind of devil-may-care intensity and disregard for convention displayed by the Dying Embrace crew was beyond the comprehension of too many self-styled headbangers. That didn’t bother the members of Dying Embrace who are, in Vikram’s words, ‘friends first and a band later.’  That sense of togetherness and shared belief in their sound meant more than the whims of the scene. But when the rhythm section of Jai (bass) and Danny (drums) moved from Bangalore for work reasons, Jimmy and Vikram didn’t really find people who could fill their shoes personally as well as musically. So Dying Embrace was laid to rest for the time being, dead but dreaming…

Monday 28 January 2013

Some people saved their cats along with the few possessions they could carry away from the EWS demolitions in Ejipura. While social workers go around feeding people, a group of boys shared their food with pigeons.

Friday 25 January 2013

Harum Scarum

‘I can save the dog or the leg’
Was what the vet said to us
My father got that whimsical
Look on his face
‘We’ll keep the leg’

Oh what fun we had
Harum-scarum through the alleyways of childhood
The leg leapt the highest hurdles
Shot up the sheerest inclines
I clung on for a pell-mell joyride
As the other children watched in envy

Back home he siphoned drumstick soup
Through a feeding hose
And curled up to sleep
On a foot stool

But time passes and
All things come to an end
Even my leggy friend
We buried him in the backyard
I stood by the grave and shed a silent tear
Beside me stood the ghost of a three-legged dog
But ghosts
Cannot cry

On visiting the Ejipura demolitons, by Yasmine Claire

My wife and I went to Ejipura yesterday to hand over warm things a generous friend had donated. This is her impression of what we saw:

Just reading about people being made homeless because of a city municipality's callousness keeps you cushioned. All you need to do is sigh over how terrible it must be for 'those people' and carry on with the stuff that fills your day. Going and seeing what it means to lose everything, now that's something else. It is something that should shake you up. Make you see that it is not just the BBMP who is the bad guy here but each one of us. We have failed these people. We have failed them. They are out living on the pavement, their lives on display. Lakhs pass that way on their way to glass covered offices, glitzy malls and fancy homes. How many stop to help? Too few. How do they make it from day to day? Where do they bathe? Do they have toilets? Do the women have access to sanitary towels? Where do they all sleep? Is there enough food? What happens to their animals? I can assure you they are fiercely protective of their animals. Some have refused to move unless their dogs can come along. They are victims of the city and its peoples unending need for more. Another mall? Really? Where shanty homes of people whose life savings amounted to Rs. 5000 once stood? There will be people in plenty who will go to that mall and crib over its many limitations. Will they remember or even know about the people made homeless because of it? We cannot give them homes but we can surely show them that they are not alone. Please people, go visit. Get out of you comfort zones. Go help. Go. Go now!

Wednesday 23 January 2013

Bangalore People: The evicted people from the Ejipura EWS colony need help!

This was passed on by a friend. Please share and most of all act on it. There are people like you and me out there struggling through hunger, cold and uncertainty. Show them everyone isn't as selfish as the BBMP.

people in bangalore..please help

An old lady died last night due to the cold at EWS rubble. People can't sleep away from their belongings for the fear of theft. Can we ensure any extra blankets in our home are given away to help such families?

Immediate action required:
Post demolition of shanty's and houses in Ejipura, 1500+ people are out on the streets for past few days. Urgent requirement for atleast 400 blankets.
Option 1: donate blankets today itself
Option 2: buy blankets today evening and distribute
If anyone wants to donate/ give please ping immediately.

Drop off points:

Option 1: At Location: If coming from Koramanagala, head to the National Games Village main entrance (it'll be on your right side), then you get a petrol bunk on your right side, continue along the main road - you will see a Ganesha temple on your left. Stop and the Ganesha temple and contact Gee - +918547509848. (Please call after 2:30pm - currently busy with food distribution)

Option 2: Manpreet Juneja - +917259271456 (drop off after 6:30pm) - Neelayam, #268, 4th cross, 5th main, opposit MedPlus, , near Viveknagar bus stand.

Option 3: (North Bangalore - Sanjayanagar)
kp - +919886454654 (call before coming)
Nishkami, No 66, 40 feet road, N N Farms, Sanjayanagar (near Shiksha Sagar school/ Rangabharana Art center)

Option 4: BTM
People at BTM Layout, can drop at below address at BTM Layout after 6:00pm. Call @ 9986043080 before coming
2nd Floor, #228, 27th Main, 4th Cross, BTM Layout 1st Stage, Bangalore

if more people want to collect in your surroundings - makes it easier to have many drop off points - please let know and share your address/ contacts here.


Someone told me there’s a man out there
With hip hop in his heart and curls in his hair
I saw him sitting around with a vacant NRI stare
I knew it was him and I knew I had best beware

Now I’ll stop rhyming.

So I knew it was him from his saffron scarf
And his vacant NRI stare
That vacant NRI stare
Crossed with the vacant stoner stare
Crossed with the vacant hipster stare
I’m saying there was nothing casual about his vacancy

Naturally I
Repudiated the whole occasion
Even before his rhymes surged across the
Genteel postcolonial park
Like an unwanted colonic irrigation

I have no time for these globetrotting
Best forgotting
Poets with their fucking Apple laptops
(I was supposed to stop rhyming. Sorry.)

Poets should have
Blood in their sputum
Poets should elope
Often and unwisely
Poets should carry
Rotting hearts in lacquered boxes
Not Apple laptops
With backing tracks on them.

Maybe some of those people there
Weren’t total duffers
He says half-heartedly
And walks away grumpy old fartedly

Tuesday 22 January 2013

Cult Of Luna: Vertikal

Post metal is a
State of mind, not an epoch
A lunatic cult

A collective of
Stratosphere navigators
In leaden boots

Soaring but rooted
The style is already familiar
The album rocks

Pre-orders here

Thursday 17 January 2013

Abyssal: Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius

Profound death metal
Plumbs depths of tone and tempo
A well-named band

Take the moments
When the air is filled with omens
Rays of a dying sun,

Take the slowest bits
On some very fast records
And dive in...

Scorn by Primitive Man

Willingly dragged down
The music is a weighted net
I am trapped in it

Shades of Khanate
Perhaps Thou have been here before
Perhaps it is its own thing

Abrasive and sluggish
Insert tortured simile here
Or just let it spin

Monday 14 January 2013

2013 in Metal: A Haiku Odyssey, Part 1

This year, I am going to listen to every new metal release I can get my hands on and a write a haiku about it. I might get better at this at some point. Or I might not.

1. Enigma by Aeon Zen

Prog on a chill morn
Many elements combine
Familiar pattern

2. Dustwalker by Fen

Cool but getting warm
Like this morning, this music
Agallochian lilt

3. Signed and Sealed in Blood by Dropkick Murphys

Anthems for Paddy punks
Best heard in pubs at last call
Warm with promise of storm

Tuesday 8 January 2013

Morning Sounds of an Indian Neighbourhood

First, the religions awaken
                         Crooning, droning
Monsters we've made reminding us
                         They can un-make us
Then a lull as lazybones stir
                          Never to see dawn
Some birds reach an unremarked epiphany
                          Of territorial emphasis
The doors open for students
                         And wage-earners
The roads are swept by a tide of steel
                         That will last for hours
And now as macho engineers and MBAs
                         Are commuting
And simpering socialites slumber
                          Coiled in unguents
Now as their whelps drift sullen
                           To their mis-education
Sometimes you can hear a single voice
                            Humming a jingle

A street away the slum has already
                            Shuddered and disgorged
Its people into the imperious dawn of that
                            Other neighbourhood

Thursday 3 January 2013


Sometimes in the shower
I arch backwards
Like a drawn bow
To feel my spine loosen up
And I peer at my legs
Like a nutbrown girl’s
And then I crane forward
And try to ignore
The spongy Iyer pouch
Of my curvy belly
And then I stand up straight
And reflect that I, too, am a man of parts.