Crypted has come a long way to become one of Chennai's popular bands, since its genesis two years ago.

A Friday evening at Havana: A place usually filled with disco-loving dolls draped in black with a stage set for complete metal mayhem. The release of Crypted's EP ‘Equilibrium' supported by Blind Image and Kaashmora, was held at The Rain Tree Hotel last week. With an audience made up of all ages, the pub was packed with a sea of metalheads raring to go.

Kaashmora started the evening with pure-bred heaviness, which transitioned into Blind Image's purely instrumental one. After a short break, the band of the evening ascended the stage. Greeted with cheering and whooping fans, the band galloped into their prolific live performance of the album. They performed with their old line-up featuring Kannan Jayaram on lead guitars and alternative line-ups to give the audience something more. This five piece Progressive Death Metal outfit has come a long way under just two years of its debut into the national scene. Consisting of Vishnu Reddy (Drums), Arvind Muralidharan (Guitars), VG Pranav (Guitars), Siva Sbk (Vocals), Avinash Raghuram(Bass), Crypted reeks of raw talent. After the show, NXg caught up with frontman Arvind, the founding member as well as the heart and brains of the band.

Tell us about the band's early days…

Around December 2008, Vishnu and I met while auditioning for another band. We were highly influenced by The Big Four, Pantera and other thrash metal bands. Jayaram and Avinash joined us on guitars, which completed our line-up back then. I ended up writing most of the guitar riffs for our compositions. So Avinash and I interchanged positions; our roadie and fan, Siva, became the vocalist finally with Jayaram leaving. By this time we were moving towards Death Metal and recently Pranav joined us on guitars.

Into which genre does Crypted fit in?

In the early days, it started out with thrash metal reminiscent of Megadeth and Metallica. As our tastes changed we got into Old School Death Metal. Today we play a versatile flux of Old School, Technical Death metal, Thrash, Jazz and Contemporary; but maintain our roots. It could be summed up as Progressive. In the future we plan to include more heaviness and melodic elements into the structures.

How has the band reached its level of Technical proficiency in the performances and compositions?

I end up writing the guitar parts of the song initially and play the rhythm to Vishnu. He usually adds the first layer of complexity in time signatures. We incorporate off-time beats which are slightly influenced by Mathcore and Tech Death bands like Dying Fetus. Initially it was pretty much straight forward but later it evolved into something that defined the whole sound of the band. This is evident in the title track of the EP ‘Equilibrium'. Siva was amazing from the beginning itself covering some bands feared by vocalists. Avinash can play the bass and the guitar with equal prowess. Vishnu meanwhile is one of the fastest and most technical drummers in the country. Pranav is going to fill up my position in the band and is working hard at that.

Do throw some light on ‘Equilibrium'...

About 10 months ago we had a vision of releasing an EP before Avinash and I move to the U.S. for higher education. Enter Siddharth Nair, our friend and guitarist of Blind Image who is also a sound engineer. He helped us record, mix and master the album. We wanted the album to replicate our live sound to about 95 per cent and it did. Conceptually, ‘Equilibrium' is about Lord Shiva and how he maintains the balance in the universe through death. The intro of the album is about the birth of a human being and his suffering. The song ‘Held By Chains' was written by Siva and I. It's about a man in dilemma about the existence of God itself when there is nothing left to trust. A line in the song goes ‘Conquer all, Conquer trust; never trust the brains of humanity', which could be interpreted in a number of ways. Another song ‘Flesh Eater' is about the Aghora Tribes who seek salvation by devouring the remains of the dead.

How did all of you juggle studies with your passion for music?

That's the result of hard work, determination and planning. Especially, Vishnu who had his board exams during our peak shows. It required lots of dedication. All of us had to compromise on several things.

Your opinion of the local Metal scene…Any advice for budding musicians?

Well, the scene has dwindled drastically. Various metal bands from Chennai have either moved out or broken up. There are a lot of ‘poseur' bands, which is not healthy musically or otherwise. However, older bands like Blood Covenant and Blind Image bring hope, as do newer ones like Escher's Knot who have achieved much in a short time. My advice would be to experiment quite a bit but stick to your roots, play live more and promote your music.

Finally, where is Crypted headed?

Avinash and I are leaving for the U.S. while the rest will audition for a guitarist and bassist. They will release a full length album soon. Vishnu and I have pushed Crypted to what it is today and have been its driving force. They have the potential to be the best Metal act in the country. Crypted exists today because of our fans, friends and family. Special mention to Sanjay Reddy and Sailakshmi Reddy who have been the backbone of this band.

Siddharth is a II year EEE student from SRM University.