The first leg of performances for Hard Rock Rising featured performances by two post-rock and a metal core band

Hard Rock Café and ReverbNation team up once a year to provide local music groups from across the globe with the most widely spread out battle of bands. This year’s finalists from the six HRCs in India will go on to compete with about 90 others from the rest of the world. The winner of Hard Rock Rising 2013 gets a world tour of Hard Rock Cafe locations, a music video and album with Hard Rock Records and $10,000 in new gear. For each venue, the public selected eight bands using a song-download contest, while judges pushed in a ninth band. The first leg of performances at HRC, Bangalore, saw two post-rock bands and a metal core band.

First on stage was Until We Last, an ambient, instrumental act. Cool and composed, there are no messages, jokes or gyaan from this band. They patiently build layer upon layer of guitar-heavy, synth-driven soundscapes, producing a spaced out, cinematic effect. Primarily a studio project, Until We Last’s bid at ‘recreating nature with sound’ has already found vast audiences with songs featured on stations like Koopradio of Texas. “Our music is very open and has the tendency to touch people’s hearts,” says Ketan, the guitarist who formed the band a year ago.

Next up is a trio of metal heads, The Lies Inside. The band notes that the main challenge in a competition is keeping the time stress at bay while also showcasing one’s strengths. “We definitely stick out because we play metal,” says Arun, the guitarist and vocalist. “People may dismiss metal core as ‘emo’ or ‘poser,’ but we consider it a perfect mix of melody and brutality.” Song writing is a crucial part of The Lies Inside, seeking to create realistic lyrics instead of metaphors. However, a boxy mix of the vocals and the distorted guitar tone doesn’t allow for the content to be deciphered.

The third and last band of the night is a group of four students from Srishti School of Design, Space Behind The Yellow Room. “We see this as a larger scale rehearsal so we try not to change our mindset,” says Nihar, one of the guitarists. A quick discussion helps them list their priorities for the night: “Listen, play, eat and go home. We live really far away.” Space Behind… is exuberant, animated and dreamy- all at once. Their ideas are well constructed and fit together with ease. The band aspires to construct songs that take off from one another, “building up to a whole like the chapters of a novel.” On the part of novelty, it’s stimulating to see Shoumik Biswas deliver equal power into both his roles as drummer and vocalist.

“To be the best here you have to do something different,” says Ketan also from the band. “Overall performance, what we do on stage and the sound are largely left to us, but the chance we take is what’s left to the judges.” Devashish, Space Behind’s lead guitarist adds, “You need to know yourself and put a bit of yourself into it. If every band put themselves into their music, they’d all sound unique.”