Head­bangers’ Ball

India Today - - LEISURE - —Anurag Ta­gat

Last month, the rock­ers of Hy­der­abad-based death/ thrash me­tal band God­less scored a trip to Ger­many for the nearly 30-year-old Wacken Open Air fes­ti­val by win­ning the In­dia edi­tion of the Wacken Me­tal Bat­tle. But the real fight was get­ting visas and the cash needed for the dream gig at the world’s largest heavy me­tal fes­ti­val, says bassist and founder Ab­bas Razvi.

“All four of our visa ap­pli­ca­tions got re­jected at first,” says Razvi, who grew up in Hy­der­abad. “We didn’t re­alise how much work goes into a visa. We reap­plied, ap­pealed and got our visas just a week be­fore fly­ing.”

Run­ning an­nu­ally in the small vil­lage 80 km north­west of Ham­burg since 1990, Wacken Open Air added a global “bat­tle of the bands” in 2004, and the com­pe­ti­tion fi­nals now at­tract more than 70,000 met­al­heads from some 40 coun­tries. So miss­ing it would have been dev­as­tat­ing.

To com­pound the ten­sion, Razvi had sched­uled a hol­i­day with­out con­sid­er­ing God­less might win the trip, so Ben­galuru-based vo­cal­ist Kaushal L.S. had to sub in for him. And the whole crew—which also in­cludes drum­mer Aniketh Ya­dav and gui­tarist Ravi Ni­damarthy—was putting the fin­ish­ing touches on their sec­ond EP Swarm, hus­tling to se­cure more gigs to make the most of their first trip to Europe as mu­si­cians and seek­ing out a spon­sor to cover ex­penses.

At the eleventh hour, the band tweeted to Te­lan­gana’s IT min­is­ter K.T. Rama Rao, whom Razvi recog­nised as an ac­tive sup­porter of arts and cul­ture in the state. “He re­sponded the same day and said the gov­ern­ment wouldn’t be able to help, but that he can find us a pri­vate spon­sor.” La­hari Re­sorts came for­ward to cover all ex­penses of the trip, which by then had also in­cluded an ad­di­tional Ger­many gig in the city of Kiel. China’s Die From Sor­row wound up win­ning the con­test, with Ukraine’s Motanka and Ro­ma­nia’s An Theos tak­ing sec­ond and third place. But God­less’s 20-minute set was greeted by calls for an en­core twice over, con­firm­ing Kaushal’s be­lief that they have what it takes to make it on the world stage. “There’s no point in be­ing in a band if you don’t want to be the best in the world,” he says.

With that same con­fi­dence, Razvi says they played like any other day—ra­zor-edged riffs, pum­melling drums, an­guished growls and all. “We weren’t think­ing about the re­sults, be­cause even if it’s a com­pe­ti­tion, we didn’t change any­thing for Wacken,” the bassist says.

With the first sin­gle from Swarm, ‘From Beyond,’ al­ready ex­ceed­ing ex­pec­ta­tions, and the full EP set to re­lease on Oc­to­ber 27, there are more vic­to­ries to come.

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