GIG REVIEW | Fistful Of Steel | Planet Caravan

So Fistful of Steel, the debut gig organized by Earth One Productions, took place last Saturday at Kolkata. It was a usual day in July with slight hints of rain and a group of metalheads gathered at the venue situated at Salt Lake for a day dedicated to metal.

The first band to take the stage was Vulgustrike and they kickstarted the gig with lots of energy. They did great covers like Sepultura’s “Screams Behind The Shadows” and an Exumer number that the crowd enjoyed a lot. Rest of their songs were originals. Although the band was tight as a whole, the drummer Sayak Bagchi stole the show with his killer rolls and blastbeats. Overall, I found the band giving a lot of Pantera vibes.

Up next were the death metallers Divide Torture who are already quite well-known in the scene. Denzil Davidson managed the guitar duties remarkably well in place of their old guitarist and the drummer Bob played with unbelievable speed and precision. Like in their previous gig just a few months back, this time also they covered Cancer’s “Hung, Drawn And Quartered” that sent the crowd into a headbanging spree. The band also played a few of their OCs including the new one “SNAFU”, and added a touch of humor by giving a tribute to their new guitarist in the form of playing Napalm Death’s “You Suffer.”

The next band Xplikator delivered a heavy dose of in your face old school thrash metal. Like I did for the first two bands, I have to give the drummer Chirantan a special mention here as well. Their OCs were appreciated a lot and so we’re their covers of iconic tracks like “Raining Blood”. Personally, I liked the performance of this act the most.  The death/thrash veterans Deadbolt were next in line. I have been watching Deadbolt performing since 2013 and they have indeed gotten better with time. Nilabja had been the usual great frontman that he is, and Denzil showed his mastery with the guitars here as well. They also did a splendid Sepultura cover (“Inner Self”).

Strangulate was insane as well. They were the only band who didn’t do any covers and just concentrated on their originals. They played most of the songs from their album ‘Catacombs Of Decay‘ released last year. The overall sound of the band was of very high standards. Finally the gig ended on a high note with the old timers Evil Conscience. There is performance doesn’t need much talking about. They have been putting up electrifying performances everywhere for quite a long time now. But, in this gig, their Necrophagist cover was the best among all of the songs they performed.

Overall the gig was a nice experience and the organizers did a great job with their first venture. However I did find the attendance a bit low but I guess things will be better with time.
Cheers to Earth One Productions for pulling off their debut gig so well!

– Spirit Crusher and The Scene Kid

The images used here have been provided by Arkadeep Deb and he reserves all the rights.

Interview With Piston

Piston is a thrash metal band, from Bangalore, which was formed in early 2016. Their music is very much old school in nature and influenced by the likes of Metallica, Exodus, Slayer, Sepultura, Overkill etc. They have played in front of audiences two times soon after their inception and are currently working on coming up with their first EP.

Line-up:
Preetham – vocals
Rakshith – drums
Faizan – bass
Sheshashayi (Shai) – guitar.

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We, at Planet Caravan, recently interviewed them and this is how it went:

PC: You are very much new to the metal scene. How did you get together and start off as a band?

We take great pleasure in going to shows and watching metal bands perform. It’s hard not to imagine yourself in a band when you routinely witness crowds losing it over good performances. It’s important for a band to have a vision common to all the members, and that is how Piston came together. We share a deep-rooted love for old-school thrash metal, with common influences like Exodus, Slayer, Sepultura etc. There exists a small vacuum of good thrash metal bands currently active in Bangalore, as well as in India, and we wanted to fill it.

Preetham: Faizan and I have been friends for a long time, and I have been close to Rakshith for a few years, having bumped into him at several gigs(literally). I met Shai through Rakshith, and instantly bonded over our common influences; a week later, we were a band. I’ve devoured biryani and chai countless numerous times with my buddy Faizan, and it was clear that I wanted him in the band. He’s a bassist for the respected mince/grindcore band Nauseate, and so bass duties it was, for him. Rakshith played for a good six-seven bands already, so I was hesitant to ask him to be a part of ours. We’d ask him to join us for jamming sessions, and he always obliged. Luckily for us, we didn’t have to go looking for another drummer as he agreed to be a permanent member.

Shai: I have been playing the guitar for a long time, and was a part of a few amateur bands for the past six years. Those bands didn’t take off, however, over creative differences – I invariably end up writing thrash when I compose, and the other band members weren’t into that music.Rakshith has been a good friend of mine for some time, and he introduced me to Preetham at one of his gigs. My disappointment over my previous projects led to us getting right down to business when we learned about our shared love for thrash; I wasn’t going to waste an opportunity to start fresh, and this time with band members who had similar interests and influences.

Rakshith: Impending Doom VI in January 2016, is where this journey began. We were all under the same roof, listening to and critiquing the bands that played on the day. We started off as a band soon after, with several fun jamming sessions that I filled in as a drummer for. At some point, we decided to start writing our own songs, rather than endlessly playing covers, and that’s when I knew I either had to commit to this band, or make way for another drummer as a permanent member. The choice was an easy one.

Faizan: I was asked to be the second guitarist, but I felt the trio needed a bass guitarist, and hence started my role in the band.
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PC: Any reason for calling yourselves Piston?

Preetham: Rakshith and I are motorcycle enthusiasts and frequently discuss these beautiful machines. As has become a routine now, we were at a gig, showering praises on my favourite motorcycle, the Jawa/Yezdi Roadking. While going over the engine specs and functioning, it occurred to me that “Piston” would make a good name for a band.

Faizan: In my memory, we were at the gig that Preetham mentioned, and while discussing bands, a friend of ours chipped in, saying ““Piston”, with pointy letters in the logo, will be a nice name for a thrash metal band”. I immediately told Preetham, “This is what we should name our band.”

Shai: It’s an inside joke with the band, that I’m not much of a bike-riding type, but the name sounded cool and had that old-school heavy metal ring to it, and we went with it.

PC: How would you describe the sound of Piston? What are your influences?

We play straight-forward thrash; fast, aggressive, adrenaline-inducing music with crunchy guitars that play catchy riffs, complimented by audibly chunky bass lines, pounding drums, and interspersed with raspy, ‘in your face’ vocals. Our common influences are many, with the likes of Metallica, Exodus, Slayer, Sepultura, Demolition Hammer, Razor, and Overkill.

Preetham: Outside of common influences, my favourite albums would be ‘Pyromania’, ‘The Final Countdown’, and ‘Wheels of Steel’, among other classics.

Shai: My influences vary largely. I’ve taken inspiration for melodies from the likes of Yngwie Malmsteen and Marty Friedman, and the same for unconventional song-writing from the likes of Chuck Schuldiner and Willie Adler. Death and Megadeth have been my all-time favourite bands. Lately, I’ve taken a strong liking to Sadus.

Rakshith: I’m influenced by rock legends Ian Paice, John Bonham and Neil Peart. Among metal drummers, I’d count Dave Lombardo and Igor Cavalera. ‘Early’ Sepultura is probably my all-time favourite thrash metal band.

Faizan: I’m a hugely influenced by death metal, punk, and grindcore. Some of my favourite albums are ‘Considered Dead’, ‘Consuming Impulse’, ‘Altars of Madness’, ‘Piece of Time’, ‘Blackmore’s Rainbow’, ‘Scandinavian Jawbreaker’, ‘Dropdead’ etc. I started off as a vocalist, but ended up with the guitar and bass because I couldn’t find the right ones to collaborate with at the time. My influences as a bassist are Lemmy, Cliff, DD Verni, Steve Di Giorgio, Webster and the likes.

PC: What are the themes behind your music and lyrics?

Our lyrics are primarily socio-political in nature, with strong anti-establishment sentiments. We take stabs at issues that plague society, ideologies that are in vogue, the media, the judiciary, etc. With the Internet, we are at no loss for topics and themes we could write about, and we have no trouble sharing our often-brash opinions on things. That said, writing quality lyrics goes beyond merely commenting on everything political, and we hope to explore more topics and write more literary songs in the coming years.

PC: What are you people currently up to? (gigs/releases/recordings?

Considering the short time that we’ve been around for, we’ve received a surprisingly good amount of appreciation from friends and metalheads who watched us play. When we started getting positive feedback from those living outside Bangalore, we knew we had to give the band more time – clearly, we had touched a chord with thrash metal fans. That encouraged us to go into the studio to record some of our material. We are working on an EP at the moment. With our jobs taking up most of our time, and the limited resources we have, it’s taking more time to produce than we would like it to, but it’s in the works. We should have it ready for publishing, a month from now.

PC: Since you are a new band, I would like to ask you about the difficulties that a metal band faces in the initial days in India. How are you dealing with them?

Preetham: A new band shouldn’t have to face problems if the musicians are like-minded, and are dedicated to the rigors of song-writing, playing shows and recording the music. Playing for a new band is often a thankless endeavour, as they aren’t paid at shows and ironically, even have to foot a bill. This doesn’t affect us, since we were prepared for this industry practice and only committed to forming the band when we were sure we could afford to carry our own weight for a good while. The idea was to make music and make it accessible to people who appreciate the style that we play, and so far, we appear to have had some success in doing just that.

Shai: A common problem new bands face is when they try legitimizing their presence in the scene by playing for a crowd, and as luck would have it, it’s usually at the college festival cesspool. This is where bands are exposed to very unfriendly rules, limited time to play their set, bad equipment and blatant bias in judging the bands. These experiences are irreversibly damaging to one’s confidence and motivation to keep working on the band. When we formed Piston, it was a breath of fresh air for me to see that all our band members are dedicated, and think of the long haul. We’re in this to make good music for years to come, and it’s unlikely that we’ll let the spirit fizzle out like a lot of young bands do.

Faizan: Recording is the biggest hurdle for a new band. There are a lot of factors that go into good recording, and getting a single one wrong can affect the quality significantly. It doesn’t help that recording is a time-intensive process, and costs a bomb. Piston is a new project, but each of us has been a part of other bands. Rakshith and I have recorded a demo and a split album with our other bands, and all of us have recorded covers in the past. This experience has smoothened out the process for us. Buying equipment and jamming regularly is another hurdle, as they burn large holes into your pockets.

Rakshith: There are difficulties every new band experiences, and most of them are brought upon by themselves. Ego clashes are a common phenomenon, once the initial exuberance fades away. Financial security and constant expenditures also tend to make amateur musicians disillusioned with the whole idea of playing for a band. I have seen more than a few bands that exist merely on paper. They don’t jam frequently, play meaningless college shows, and limit their own ability to grow as musicians by mindlessly playing covers. Being aware of these, we are trying to avoid the obvious pitfalls.

PC: What is the current scenario of the music scene, particularly metal, in your hometown?

Bangalore has the reputation of being one of the oldest cities to have an active metal scene, and with a keen ear, one can almost hear parting whispers from the hundreds of bands that have played shows here. One doesn’t have to look hard to find all kinds of bands in the city, from hard rock to grindcore. The crowd is as diverse and open to appreciating music as the variety of musicians on offer. We are glad to have been in Bangalore all our lives. The city moulded our tastes in music, and made it easy for us to get acquainted with all that was necessary to explore, appreciate, and learn to play the music that we like. With a large number of gigs – featuring both local and International acts, and older musicians and metalheads who acted as our mentors, this city has had a lot to offer. We do wish there were more venues which provide good equipment and sound, however. And that they were more affordable for us to organize shows at.

PC: You have already played in a couple of gigs. How has the experience been so far?

The experience has be great so far. We have played two shows. The first show was a tribute to Metallica and the crowd was very enthusiastic. We uploaded videos from this show, and we got offered another gig in the same month. Since we didn’t have a page back then, it’s our guess that word of mouth got people to message us on Facebook, congratulating us and appreciating us for playing what we did. We played some of our own compositions in the second show. This led to us answering a lot of queries about whether we have recordings of what we played.

PC: Finally, do you have any message for the heavy metal maniacs?

Preetham: A message to metal maniacs? Haha! Drink good beer, listen to good music, hangout with musicians, mosh, lose yourself, and be sensible. Spot a poser? Kick ‘em in the butt!

Shai: For budding musicians, I’ll say, play the kind of music you would buy and listen to. Also, have your own unique sound and style which make you stand out. And as for the fans, attend shows and have a blast. Support those who play well. For a musician, genuine appreciation is fuel – bands truly need you and will appreciate your support.

Faizan: Keep writing and playing music – the more you do it, the better you get. Also, record a demo; it’ll help you learn about recording, on a budget.

Forged In Fire III: The Headliner | Kryptos

Well, less than two days are left for Forged In Fire III! And, now that we have covered all of the local bands, the time has come to talk about the headliner. KOSMA has been able to finally fulfill the long awaited dream of bringing Kryptos-undoubtedly one of the best old school heavy metal bands of India-to Kolkata.
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Formed in 1998 by Nolan Lewis and Ganesh Krishnaswamy, the band has been hanging around the Indian metal scene for almost two decades, ‘evoking the true spirit of heavy metal the way it was always meant to be.’ Their sound has a strong blend of classic heavy metal bands like Priest and thrash bands like Kreator, and it has changed and evolved over their four albums.  They have supported some of the biggest names in heavy metal and toured Europe multiple times, and even played at Wacken Open Air (they are about to do it for the second time this year).

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Photo Courtesy: AFM Records, Germany

They released their fourth album ‘Burn Up The Night’ under AFM Records, Germany just a few months back which has been widely acclaimed. We reviewed this album and you can read it here.

And, here’s how our conversation with Nolan about the band’s present and future turned out to be:

PC: You recently released ‘Burn Up The Night‘ which got numerous positive reviews. What are your thoughts on that?

Kryptos: It has been great so far. The overall reaction has been really positive. Sure, there are some who still prefer the aggression of our previous album, but most people who bought ‘Burn Up The Night‘ seem to really love it. The album’s been doing very well in Europe too; so things are good at the moment.

PC: What is Kryptos currently working on?

Kryptos: Nothing much. Just gearing up for a couple of gigs in Chennai and of course Kolkata. We’re really looking forward to that one!

PC: What are your future plans regarding albums and gigs? And how does it feel to be a part of Wacken Open Air for the second time?

Kryptos: We’re working on another European tour in the summer, and yeah it’s awesome to head back to Wacken again. That’s going to be fantastic. After that we’ll probably start writing again for the next album so it’s ready by mid 2018.

PC: I think Kryptos will be performing for the second time in Kolkata. What do you think about the metal scene of the city?

Kryptos: We had a blast the last time we played in Kolkata. There’s a really cool old school scene there and we get a lot of support from that side of the country. Plus, we have some good friends there who make sure we’re well taken care of .
And of course, the Kolkata scene has really good bands like Armament, Mortar, Deadbolt etc., so it’s always great to play there.

PC: What can we expect at the gig from Kryptos? And any message for your fans?

Kryptos: We’re just going to get out there and absolutely rage, and we’re going to drag everyone else along with us. We’ll put on a show that all the old school headbangers will remember for ages.To the fans we just have to say – Keep defending the faith. And don’t eat Five Star Chicken. It sucks. Haha!

So this is our last article regarding Forged In Fire III. We wish Kolkata Old School Metal Association all the very best for the gig! Everyone who can be in or around Kolkata do attend the show and provide some support to the local scene Passes will be available at the venue if you still haven’t got yours.

Cheers! Until next time!

Forged In Fire III: The Bands | Armament

How can you imagine gig organized by Kolkata Old School Metal Association (KOSMA) to not have Armament in the line up?  So, they are the fifth band to be interviewed by us for Forged In Fire III.
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Armament was formed in 2011 by a few guys in Calcutta who had the vision of creating “raw, lightning-fast, no-bullshit thrash metal” and they have stood strong to it till now, making their mark in both the local and international metal scenes. They have been through a lot of hurdles over the five years, including a number of line-up changes but somehow that didn’t stop them from making music and performing.

Armament’s sound reminds us of the 80’s ‘evil’ thrash metal bands like Sodom, Destruction etc which are indeed their influences. These guys even had the chance of opening for Destruction when they visited India sometime around 2014. Almost all of the duties of the band have changed hands with the vocalist Indranil and bassist Sayan being the constant pillars. The band refers to their members as the Four Horsemen of The Apocalypse namely, “Death”, “Famine”, “War” and “Conquest” and loves to address the fans as “Warriors”. They have released one EP titled ‘First Strike’ till now under Transcending Obscurity, with great songs like “Gas Chamber”, “Chaos Prevails”, and are supposedly working on new material.

Our chat with Indranil went as follows:

PC:  So Armament recently turned five. How has the journey been?

Armament: Well, it’s been an experience filled with emotions to say the least. Having our brothers start a movement so brilliant to playing alongside the people you worship as gods, and both of us know who we are talking ‘bout here. Ha Ha! But yes, it’s been surreal.
Although all credits go to you folks out there, cause of whom the urge to get up there and play our hearts out has only increased from time. We can humbly admit that the band has served as a life lesson for each and every member who has been a part of this crusade. We were lucky to have played alongside and for some of the truest lovers of Old School music.
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PC: What are you currently working on?

Armament: With the line-up more stable than ever, new monsters are being bred in the closet, bringing down half dead bodies from the shelves-bringing them to life- if you know what I mean. A brand new original will be on its way this weekend which we will be performing live for the first time.

PC: What are your future plans regarding releases and gigs?

Armament: Right now we are concentrating on creating more of the “forbidden thrash” for our listeners which hopefully could be ready in the form of a full length somewhere next year.

PC: How different is the Kolkata metal scene now from the time when you guys just started out?

Armament: The most positive part in these 5 years is to find a bunch of new faces every gig. Although, to the some extent, ego and approach has somewhere taken its effect in a few turns but it is true and undeniable that despite having a diverse music scene in Kolkata, especially in the Old School circuit, and the number of gigs happening round the year is the most consoling thing for a metalhead to find a bunch of guys trying to make a difference. And by this of course we are referring to the bands that have come up in these last five years. We have a feeling that this army will only grow in number.

PC: What can we expect at the gig from Armament?

Armament: It is always a pleasure playing in your own backyard in front of our people who has seen us through the years, especially when it comes to a KOSMA gig and sharing the stage with the might of Kryptos for the second time makes it more worthwhile. Also looking for decimating performances from the likes of Dreadhammer and Thrasher Boys from the Neighbourhood.
As for Armament, we are scheduled for worshipping the darkest side of Thrash Metal for the upcoming Forged in Fire III Gig. Do join us as we pay tribute to the likes of Quorthon and Cronos for the birth of Evil.
Also for all our crazy listeners, especially the ones who missed out on the last time we will be having our t-shirts or “Armours” as we like to call it, available at the gates. See ya fucks in the pit, hopefully bloodied.

Line-up:
Vocals – Indranil
Guitars – Vivek
Bass – Sayan
Drums – Subham

Spread the Hate.. \m/

Forged In Fire III: The Bands | The Neighborhood Thrashers

Cause I’m T.N.T., I’m dynamite”.

Yes, this article is about the young lads calling themselves T.N.T which is the abbreviation for The Neighborhood Thrashers. Formed in January 2016, they do a very decent job of ‘screaming’ about social and political issues through their music. They are the fourth band to be a part of KOSMA’s Forged In Fire III.
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Imagine a raw thrash sound combined with elements of punk and crossover bands llike Nuclear Assault (T.N.T pull of an impressive cover of ‘Brainwashed’), D.R.I, Vio-Lence etc. and you’ll know how the band sounds like. They believe that “We’re all gonna die” and hence try to make the most of the time by talking about social degradation and a lot of other stuff through their music. The line-up comprises of four talented and very enthusiastic lads who call themselves Cazz Bhai, Assholeman, Anonymous and Straightedge. Till now, they have released jam videos of two originals ‘Hellhole’ and ‘Children Of The Trend.

Their first live performance was a hit in Calcutta Punk Society’s gig last year, but they have a long way to go in order to develop a tighter sound. But they sure are a band to look out for in Forged In Fire III. Our short conversation with the band went like this:

PC: What message do you want to convey through your music?

T.N.T: Don’t do drugs, always study, listen to your parents and let them arrange your marriage for you! Jokes aside, we don’t really aim to bash people’s choices or anything, it’s just that we like to talk about how full of shit we all are.

PC: What are your future plans?

T.N.T: We intend on working on more and more compositions and a full length in the coming year, and eventually dying due to liver failure.

PC: What can we expect at the gig from T.N.T?

T.N.T: You can expect pure energy, VIOLENCE, offensive humour and comic book references from us. No, honestly, we’ll thrash you up in a very compact manner. Don’t miss the gig!

Line-up:
Nirmalya – Bass
Abhirup – Yells
Subham – Banging
Aniruddha – Riffs

Forged In Fire III: The Bands | Dreadhammer

Well, it has been a long time since Kolkata has seen a promising in-your-face thrash metal band come up after the likes of Mortar, Armament and Deadbolt back in 2013! Dreadhammer is one such band that came up not even a year ago and they are second on our interview list for Kolkata Old School Metal Association’s Forged In Fire III.
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Dreadhammer was formed in 2015 by the extremely talented Rishav, who handles vocals and guitar duties, and a few of his friends. Rishav even used to jam with the guys at Mortar before they split up, and now finally he came up with his own band. The other members are also very much talented, particularly the drummer Rohan, who is quiet young but knows his way around the kit. Together they manage to bring about a very decent thrash sound. Dreadhammer’s first release ‘Might Of Chaos’ has received positive reviews and was a treat to the city’s lovers of raw old school thrash. They also put up a decent show at their debut gig RISE ABOVE with many claiming that they were one of the best acts of that gig.
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We managed to get hold of Rishav and had him to answer a few questions regarding the band and its future plans. Here is how it went:

PC: What message do you want to convey through Dreadhammer’s music?

Rishav: Dreadhammer’s music has always been about the bitter and harsh truth. Generally I write the tracks, and our main lyrical and musical theme had always had a certain bluntness to it. We wanna talk about the things other people might not wanna talk about. We think there’s more evil in this world than good and people subtly ignore this fact and get back to their so called “lives” and pretend like everything’s fine. Well it’s not. Nothing’s fine with everything that’s happening around us. We just wanna point that out.

PC: What are you guys currently working on?

Rishav: People have a lot of unanswered questions about our sound and what we’re working on because we’ve been under the radar after our last track ‘Might Of Chaos’ was released, which was pretty big hit at Rise Above. Well actually we’ve been pretty busy. You’ll see what we were upto a few weeks before the gig when we release our new track titled ‘Violence Is The Cure’. I’m sure the track itself will answer all the unanswered questions out there. And we’ll perform another fresh Dreadhammer original at Forged In Fire III. Sore neck guaranteed!

PC: Do you want to say anything about your future plans?

Rishav: Well we are considering the thought of getting an EP out there pretty soon. Let’s see how everything goes.

PC: What can we expect at the gig from Dreadhammer?

Rishav: We might just turn Forged In Fire III into a ‘Terror Zone’

Line up:

Rishav Bhattacharya – Vocals, Guitars
Arya Dutta – Guitars
Suprovo Chowdhury – Bass
Rohan Bakshi – Drums

Forged In Fire III

Kolkata Old School Metal Association (KOSMA) has been dormant with respect to gigs since their last one in 2015 named Strength of Steel. That was indeed a huge success, and had the giants Albatross, Hellwind and Primitiv from Mumbai as outstation bands along with the local acts. And this time they decided to go all in on bringing in one of the finest heavy metal bands in India as the headlining act. Yes, it is none other than the mighty Kryptos from Bangalore. With just one month to go for the gig, we decided to write an article about it.
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We’ve already revealed the headliner but the base of the music scene of any place is built up by the local acts and it is nothing different for Kolkata. Five of the city’s acts will be there at the gig to make you all bang your heads. The local acts include the veterans Armament (Thrash Metal), Blakhole (Punk) and Falcun (Heavy Metal), and two new kids in the scene – The Neighborhood Thrashers (Thrash Metal), Dreadhammer (Thrash Metal). TNT and Dreadhammer have already showed their potentials in Calcutta Punk Society’s Rise Above just a few months back.


Now, the interesting part of the gig is that it will be completely crowd funded and people can pay whatever they want to above the base price of the early bird passes (Rs. 400/-). This concept has already been implemented in KOSMA’s Forged In Fire II and the response was overwhelming. And like every gig of KOSMA, this one is also a pure DIY event organized by the people having a sheer passion for heavy metal music, and there are no sponsors and support from the so called corporate world.
So if you are a heavy metal fan and can be in Kolkata in January 21st, 2017, be sure to attend this or else you may miss out on something massive.

RSVP here: https://www.facebook.com/events/726545717503011/?
Passes have already started selling and there are various methods of payment.
For offline passes you can contact the following numbers: 8017345432, 8017838486, 9804236688.
Alternatively, if you have a credit/debit card, you can buy the tickets from here.

Get your passes fast or else the base price for the passes may increase.

Be there to support the local scene.

Stay tuned to us for detailed interviews of the each of the six bands. Cheers!