Tuesday, 3 August, 2021

Bootlegs of Underside’s performance released


By Mannu Shahi

Underside, a metal band, is the most prominent and biggest name heard in the Nepali music scene today. The metal heads that emerged from the local underground scene of Kathmandu are taking Nepali Metal to unprecedented heights.
Initially, seen as a part of the band ‘Eqauls’ who represented Nepal in the Global Battle of Bands 2009, the majority of members later went on to form Underside with some changes in the line-up.
By 2010, Kathmandu got the chance to witness their first official configuration comprising of Avishek KC on vocal, Bikrant Shrestha and Bikash Bhujel on guitars, Manil Shakya on bass and Bibek Tamang on drums with the debut ‘EP Welcome to The Underside’.
This was followed by a series of tours around various regions of the world. However, by the release of their second full-length album ‘Satan in Your Stereo’, the departure of drummer Bibek Tamang was announced with the arrival of an Assamese drummer Nishant Hagjer.
This line-up continued on for a few years until the news of Manil Shakya leaving the band and moving out to UK was publicized. These shifts from the original members disheartened many local fans. Yet the band continued touring and releasing new material sometimes hiring session bass players other times having the bass played on track, as well as, featuring prominent musical figures like the Indian bass prodigy Mohini Dey for a couple shows in Nepal and Bloodstock Open Air Festival, UK.
The band has already toured with highly acclaimed international metal acts such as Twelve Foot Ninja, Origin, Cancer Bats, White Chapel, opened shows for icons like Karnivool, Michael Angelo Batio, Betraying the Martyrs, Testament amidst others. Underside has also played in metal/rock music’s most prestigious stage like Download Festival 2019.
Their musical and social work with their organization ‘Metal for Nepal’ has gotten a feature in large publications like The Guardian, Metal Hammer, Metaltalk.net, Unite Asia and similar major global metal community socials.
During the pre-COVID-19 period, the band was extremely busy on a full Europe tour with another super group Betraying the Martyrs, followed by their participation at the Bacardi NH7 Festival, India and the announcements of their 2020 scheduled performances at Everloud Fest Japan and Hammersonic Festival, Indonesia.
And around a week ago in June 6 the band released a live video from their set at the Download Festival 2019, playing their infamous animal rights anthem, Gadhimai (2019).
Written about the controversial festival of Southern Nepal, reoccurring every five years the ritual demands a blood sacrifice of around 20-30 thousands animals each time, slaughter in the believe to please the goddess Gadhimai who in return bestows peace, prosperity and wellbeing to the humans.
Shot by Rejin Khanal and Underside’s official camera crew Dipit Raz who further edited and color corrected the footages; the audio work is credited to Steven Tamang.
The top-notch quality live audio/video recording with their raw, energetic performance playing in front of such a large international crowd whilst maintaining this level of confidence and stage dominance is quite a commendable factor of this release.