1st IMPHAL METAL CONVENTION 2012: A brief review
The Imphal Metal Convention which was held on the 14th of April at YAC ground, Imphal, was not just a music concert where popular bands come and play. It was a convention where senior musicians were invited and a photo exhibition of yesteryears rock bands of Manipur took place apart from the conventional rock concert. It also marked the official reunion of Post Mark after 18 years, which pioneered the metal scene with their album “Stamp on you”, that was released sometime in late 80’s/ early 90’s.
The bands that took part in the 1st Imphal Metal Convention: Metal Age Reloaded Festival 2012 were-
1) Post Mark (headlining act)
3) Azure Delusion
6) Dead Mobster
7) Chem Weed FM
Here’s a brief review of what went down that night-
Sandrembee opened the metal convention with a cover of Meshuggah’s classic ‘New Millennium Cyanide Christ’. They had some glitches here and there but they did manage to stick to their guns, by the end of the song the crowds were screaming ‘Meshuggah! Meshuggah!’. Their other song was “Metal Age”, a tribute cover of Post Mark’s original.
Dead Mobster, a death-core band from Imphal was the next band to perform. Their tight stage presence and performance proved that they were indeed the rising star of metal in Manipur. Their set-list included ‘Recreant’ (Chelsea grin), 18th (original song based on June 18th massacre of Manipur), ‘Killers don’t cry’ (original song), ‘Entombment of a machine’ (Job for a cowboy)
The next band was Azure Delusion, a math-thrash metal band from Nagaland. They delivered a powerful performance with raw stage ethics and hand banging. Their set-list included ‘Roots bloody roots’ (Sepultura), ‘Refuse resist’ (Sepultura) and ‘Hammer smashed face’ (Cannibal Corpse).
They were followed by Cleave, a popular band in the scene with a new line-up enthralled the crowd. They had a keyboard player minus a guitar player and yes, they lived up to their name. The vocalist with gothic-black metallic face paint blended so well with their ”progressive seclusion metal”. Their set-list were ‘ART’ (a song based on HIV/ AIDS), ‘Instantly silent’ (A slow song based on fantasy), ‘Incepting me own’ (an instrumental) and ‘7 years devastation’ (based on Burmese invasion 1819–26).
Chem Weed FM was the band that followed. This Imphal based progressive metal band surely is arguably one of the most under-rated bands of Manipur. Many who witnessed them perform at the convention praised the guitarist, drummer and the vocalist. Their set list were Demons nightmare (original track), Ghost walking (Lamb of God), Walk to within hell(Lamb of God).
Next was Yonsample, the acclaimed Kolkata prog/tech band. Right from the very first riff they captured the crowd with their pure hard-edged performance. By the end of their allocated set-list the crowd were screaming ‘once more’ and yes, mosh pits were noticed when they started playing. They belted out all original numbers – ‘The Instauration’, ‘Break Through’, ‘Espial Abyss Afloat’, ‘Reincranation’, ‘Passage’, ‘Chaos Theory’.
The final act was the legendary Post Mark. Already a cult band for many, they were tight on stage and also sported their unique cultural themes. Their new vocalist Uttam, a popular singer in Manipur was a welcome surprise. They played ‘Metal Age’, ‘It’s So funny’ and ‘Soar High’, all from their cult album ‘Stamp on you’,
With flashing shutter lights, muddy mosh pit formations, crowd surfing and screaming cheers by around 2000 metalheads the 1st Imphal Metal convention came to a conclusion. From the decades old humble beginning to the many internationally acclaimed events happening in the country this Imphal Metal Convention is sure to acquire the much needed attention of the world.
In the evening, before the concert started there was a photo exhibition. Photographs of The Kids ( early 60’s), Waikhom Umakanta and Angom Pratap (early 60’s), Magnetoz (late 60s), Makhons (1971), Runway Tracks (1972), Phoenix(1980)/ Phynyx (mid 90’s), Cannibals (1985), Hell’s Angels (1985), Dark Krusaders (1986)/ Drixian Empire(mid 90’s), Brain Damage (1987), Death’s Guitar (1988), Post Mark (1989), Heavenly Fingers(1989) etc were displayed.
Almost everyone who came for the gig made a visit to the photo exhibition stall, from the veteran to young fans, to senior ladies (who came attired in phaneks). They were thrilled to see all the photos of the yester-years’ rock stars as most of them have never seen those photos before, and many of them never knew those bands existed. Some of the erstwhile band members were overwhelmed with nostalgia as they hugged each other, and talked about the years that have gone by.
Pioneer stalwarts of Manipur’s rock – Sando Laishram, Paul Gangmei, Nutan Elangbam, Angom Pratap, Bobby Nameirakpam, Ringo Golmei, Vivek Sharma, Thanlian, Mick, Len Gangte et al were among the invitees who came at the convention. Some of them were interviewed by TV Channels; some of them were called up on the stage. Paul Kamei, the vocalist of the then Machine Head (early 80’s) and Cannibals (1985) expressed his gratitude towards honoring and reviving the lost history of rock in the state. Regarded as the best front-man, Lien Gangte (vocalist of Phynyx/Phoenix) retold the past memories of the rock artists, their struggle and experiences with limited window to the outside world.
There was also a stall where the DVDs of Rock Music Manipur vol.1 were sold. For starters RMM v1, is a compilation album featuring 37 songs from 25 bands of Manipur, that got released last month.
With no major sponsors, we suffered some financial losses. Even if it was so, the goals set out were met in almost every aspect. The talents of metal bands of Manipur were given the much needed opportunity to perform. The sound quality was improved from past events; the crowd that gathered were the real witness to it. Most importantly, the pioneer rock bands of the state who started it all were honoured for the first time in the history of Manipur. The legendary Post Mark made a gala comeback after 18 years. Imphal witnessed multiple mosh pits and crowd surfing. Also a performing band (Yonsample) was called back on the stage for another song by the crowd at the gig, something alien in the Manipur rock scene so far. The first ever ‘Live video streaming’ of a gig was done in the internet via RMM website. In the recent past, perhaps for the first time there was no sponsor logo on the stage.
The Convention was organised by The Greens, Sandrembee, Riverboat Event Management, Rock Music Manipur (RMM), a congregation of youths from the state and various parts of the world; without any affiliation with political, exoteric social connections or the corporate world. Indeed metal in Manipur is kept alive by these dedicated core fans who did all the work – putting up poster in the streets of Imphal and other districts, driving around doing the ground work – not to forgetting the sky high petrol price, ticket printing, ticket selling, printing photos for the exhibition from Bangalore, getting the band from Nagaland by road, going around to give invitation to the members of pioneer bands, updating websites, video live streaming, setting up the stage, photography, selling DVDs, and more even after the event got over. Boss (Beverage), Likla (Beverage), E-Pao.net (Web portal), Scot Edil(Pharmaceutical stockist) generously made financial contribution, besides some fans and well wishers. Many were talking about the familiarity and belongingness people shared in the metal convention. The volunteers, organizers, the rock veterans, the bands, the crowd all had a good time. The love for metal music and the message of oneness it carried put this metal convention true to its meaning, and promised more of it in the near future.
“Times are changing in the North-east and IMC is a proof of that. We are honored to be a part of IMC. We had no idea that there were so many people who like heavy music in Manipur and we were awestrucked by the response of the audience.”
”IMC was one of the most memorable shows of Azure Delusions”
– Azure Delusion (Kohima)
“You can see and hear only when you attend any concert anywhere. But in Imphal Metal Convention (IMC) you could feel it and it touched the hearts of many people, who attended the concert and also to those who didn’t attend the concert – that’s the difference between IMC vs other concerts. Last nite (IMC) made lots of records- the first IMC, the first time our very own Manipur’s yesteryears rockers/legends (cutting across all caste, tribe and nation ) were honour in front of a headbangin’ metal freaks. That was a sweet priceless gesture which money can’t buy.”
– Loon Gangte
“Manipur gi sound system se phei fate pang ngangda ngangnei. Ei di kem khangba nate ado ngasai Yonsample gi makhol do adumai na touba amukfao manipur da tadri” (We say that Manipur’s sound system is not good. I am not an expert in sound, but I have never heard the sound like that of Yonsample before in Manipur!)
– Tenzing Nandeibam
“Rock n roll was buried in the ground but now this convention has woken up everyone”.
– Paul Gangmei (Machine Head/ Cannibals)
“Me and my metal head friends had an awesome time.. we headbanged, slam danced and did some ‘thabal chongba’ for 3 straight hrs and some mins because of the energy those guys were giving out in the form of unity and the music we all believe in.”
– Rocky Sharma
“Besides listening to many bands that were performing at IMC my mind was blown away with the young folks who love metal.. they reminded me of the metalheads at Wacken Open Air metal festival that we saw via DVDs. Seeing slides show put up in the screen on stage of those yesteryears legends I was asking myself why I wasn’t born that time.. they were the real metalheads…those bands, the way they put up their dress the way they performed.. those photos are real assets that we need to kept till the end of time..”
– Prinzy Kshetrimayum
“It’s really an honor to be remembered. Wish you a very successful endeavor in the years to come. May this event keep on continuing”
– Lien Gangte (Machine Head/ Phynyx)
“The new generation should be sincere and serious and entertain-able besides showing one’s skill only. I admire composition but I prefer music that can make people understand the message they want to give. The PA system and sound engineering should improve. I like most of the upcoming bands in Manipur’s rock music scene, they are second to none. Manipur has got lot of hidden talents. We need promoters to showcase the talented bands to the audience outside Manipur”
– Sando Laishram (Runway Tracks/ Phoenix)
Rock Music Manipur (RMM) and all the volunteers.