Though the members of Israel-based metal act Subterranean Masquerade have never travelled to India as a band, their two albums Vagabond and The Great Bazzar were written in the country. So, when lead vocalist Davidavi (Vidi) Dolev talks about the band’s brief sojourn in the country for Saarang festival, a cultural and social initiative by IIT Madras, he’s overwhelmed. “Some of us have visited India many times. The band’s founder Tomer Pink wrote the two albums here. India, for us, is a magnet of creativity,” he says.
The festival marks the band’s debut performance in the country, but their association with its metal scene has deep roots. “We cooperated with Indian artists and follow the country’s metal scene. Our favourite band is SystemHouse 33; we toured together in Europe for a month, just before COVID shut everything down,” he’s quick to point. Vidi has no qualms in listing out the names of Indian bands that are making waves in the genre’s soundscape. “Bloodywood is gaining popularity in Israel. I like Moral Putrefaction’s approach to old school death metal too,” he adds.
Vidi believes the progression of the genre depends on artists who are not necessarily living where the metal industry is big right now. Prophesying the future of metal, Vidi says what happened in Bergen, Florida or Gothenburg during the ’90s will happen again and it will break boundaries in eastern countries. “I think the next sound and the next authentic artists who will change the game will emerge out of the Middle East or Asia,” he claims. “Also, most artists, who are not from EU, cannot usually work with ‘the hottest producers’ because of distance and income. There is no choice but to learn how to do things ourselves, which means artists will embark on new artistic discoveries, during their journey for self expression and there lies the potential for new sounds and fresh takes on the genre, and may as well be a potential catalyst for building artistic identity,” he says.
The success of the 26-year-old band’s 2021 album Mountain Fever got it signed to America’s Sensory Records. They have partnered with a new start-up company Heavys, which creates technology for headphones for metalheads and rock music lovers. “Besides touring, we are now working on our next album, which is also one of the reasons we wanted to visit India and again be influenced by its culture. The band has had such positive and creative experiences here in the past, it seems natural to prepare for recordings here.”
The band performed its never-heard-before track ‘Cardamom’ and its latest song ‘Monuments’ at IIT Madras, K.V. Grounds on Saturday.