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SONG PREMIERE + INTERVIEW: Indian Crust/Hardcore Band False Flag

False Flag are crust/hardcore band from Pune, India. The band are one of the the few current independent metal/punk bands releasing politically inspired music in India.The others being Heathen Beast and Chaos.

We are glad to premiere Spectrum Disorder, the first track from their self titled EP. The track is reflective of the current political environment in India which can be summed up with the lyric, “As many opinions as many Assholes”. 

Find out more about origins of the band, theirs soon to be released EP and the unique cover art in my interview with guitarists Rohit Chaoji and Shaunak Phadnis below.

TO: For those who are not familiar with the band, could you briefly tell us about your origins?

False Flag (Rohit): Few years ago, Shaunak,Prathamesh and I started jamming randomly to on-the-spot improvised grindcore.  We abandoned the idea for the band mid-way, partly because we shifted our focus to a death metal project that never materialized and also because it was uninspired. However the inspiration came during Bangalore Open Air 2015,when a part of the would-be band witnessed Napalm Death live. Thus, False Flag was formed with Pushkar, Prathamesh, Shaunak and I as the first lineup.

TO: Why did you decide to start a crust/hardcore band? What about the sub genre appeals to you?

False Flag (Shaunak/Rohit): To be honest, hardcore/crust is very stripped-down, no bullshit, honest music to me. We appreciate things that don’t have a pretense. I remember thinking around that time why there aren’t ANY crust punk bands around when the climate was ideal for it. I still don’t understand why but i guess subconsciously that led (at least me) to this.but also we were listening to a lot of Negative approach, anti-cimex, skitsystem & rakkaus at that time and ended up wanting to make songs like those bands. the songs fell in place quite fast and easily haha. The napalm death gig was a MAJOR catalyst as well. Sonically, this sound can be blended with almost every form extreme music. its fascinating. there is A LOT of scope to experiment i think since a very bare-bones stripped down crust punk song is very simple in structure etc.

TO: Your Self titled EP is quite political especially the track Spectrum Disorder. What is the inspiration behind it?

False Flag (Shaunak): Yes, This song was a response in the aftermath of the JNU incident so its more anti-right i guess. FTII,JNU,HCU,JU,Ramjas. it just seems like one or the other kind of smear campaign from either end. also,repeatedly calling a certain something fascist does not gain you any traction at all. that much should be obvious. It seems as if the  function of an ideology is to choose which “facts” should matter & justifying oppression of certain values/speech,violence of certain kind. especially the latter part does not help establishing any communication or successful dialogue at all. you can’t talk censorship and close down screenings of films in theatres or college campuses. You can’t claim to be tolerant and shut down someone because they criticized you. Also,its just fucking frustrating when we are too caught up in calling out people as bhakt/libtard/presstitute/anti-national/sanghi/fascist. like, to what end are we doing the things that we are doing? I don’t care if you are right or left, or what the state is; a strong and vehement critique of the state should always be established.      

TO: The cover artwork by jonty paul is quite unique. Tell us a bit more about it.

False Flag (Shaunak): haha yes. so, jonty likes to design hypothetical album covers. I have no  idea how he comes up those things but i have seen him do it. He sent this image to me one day randomly(he hadn’t even heard the songs or any demos) and it just made complete sense. We did not want to go for usual high contrast black & white aesthetic in the first place. This gritty/dark style

just fell in place with the overall mood of the songs. it resonates quite well with it. In my imagination, The Album art reflects with the second song on the EP “sisyphus’ lament”. In some sense the image is the depiction of the words of the song.

TO: Do you have any shows planned in the coming year?

False Flag (Shaunak/Rohit): We don’t have any shows planned as such yet. but we would LOVE to play as many shows as we can. actually, It would be GREAT to play a gig in bengaluru(*hint hint b’lore friends haha*)

TO: Thanks for answering all the questions. Do you have any final words?

False Flag (Shaunak/Rohit): Thank you for doing this interview with us! to everyone reading this i am sure you’ll enjoy this small piece of emotive hardcore/crust music we put out! Please listen to it and read the words. We would love to hear your thoughts/ideas/stories and be inspired from them! Cheers!

False Flag’s self titled EP is out on 25th December. Stay tuned to their Facebook page for more details.

July 2017 Highlights – TO Staff

It turned out to be quite a mix at the month end list this time around. With equal parts big releases (Relapse, Prosthetic, Season of Mist etc) and independent outputs, there’s something here for everyone. Many of the releases highlighted here have a ‘name your price’ offer on their Bandcamps, so make sure to check out the music and buy the release if they please you. ~ Shrivatsan R

Abhorrent Decimation (UK) – The Pardoner (Death Metal, Prosthetic Records)

Abhorrent Decimation

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June 2017 Highlights – TO Staff

Can’t believe that half of this year is gone already. With an every increasing writing staff here at Transcending Obscurity, our tastes have become much more diverse as evidenced by this month end list here. As always, we have tried to keep things a bit obscure, so as to cover ground not often tread by metal blogs in general. Here’s what’s been keeping the TO scribes occupied over the past month. ~Shrivatsan R

Aether Realm (USA) – Tarot (Melodic Death / Folk Metal, Self Released)

Aether Realm (more…)

The Grindhouse Chronicles – #3 (Feat. Gendo Ikari, Lunatic Hooker, The Heads are Zeros, Fubar)

Evolution is the key to the continued survival of a species. The same thing can be said about music. As the population of bands playing extreme music grows steadily, there is a need to branch out from the established paths to stand out from the throng. Many bands have realised this need for innovation and as a result, we see more thinning of boundaries between styles (both within metal and outside).

This series of articles has focused on such evolution within the grindcore spectrum, and here is #3 with a few more underground acts that are taking the style forward.

the grindhouse chronicles

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May 2017 Highlights – TO STAFF

Music to me has always been a gateway away from reality. But these days I come to understand as to how this world’s reality shapes and influences music, while the music itself offers escapism to those that seek it during troubled times. The past few weeks have just added more reasons and examples as to why this world is turning into this terrible place. It’s good that we had some solid metal and punk releases to lean on this month. ~ Shrivatsan R

Amiensus (USA) – All Paths Lead to Death (Black / Death Metal, Apathia Records)

Amiensus

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April 2017 Highlights – TO Staff

Every month when we put together this highlights list, I go through the entries and try to sense a discernible pattern. But so far it has always been the case that our scribes cover a wide range of sounds where no commonality can be traced. April 2017, is perhaps a first in our monthly highlights series, where the entries tend to eschew towards two particular styles — Tech death and Crust. Though we do have a smattering of other styles included, it’s hard to miss how every other entry in this list either has a crust or tech death connection here. A random coincidence? Or  some deep conspiracy by the scribes of Transcending Obscurity? One thing is for sure – these are all excellent releases that you should pay attention to! ~ Shrivatsan R.

Abomnium (UK) – A Hollow Path (Death Metal, UKEM Records)

Abomnium

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March 2017 Highlights – TO Staff

If it is possible someday, I would make a clone of myself to just keep writing about the music I listen to, without having to pay heed to any of the real world responsibilities. But since that is not possible at the moment, real life does tend to get in the way of writing. This month I had to focus my attention on other things in the real world causing me to overlook most of the releases that came out in March. But looking at this huge list put together by my colleagues, one thing  is clear. I have a lot of catching up to do. ~ Shrivatsan R.

Ascended Dead (USA) – Abhorrent Manifestation (Death Metal, Dark Descent Records)

Ascended Dead

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February 2017 Highlights – TO Staff

When I put up the post for the February 2017 highlights in the staff group, I honestly did not expect these many entries. My tunnel vision and assumption that February’s tend to have few notable releases, led me to believe that there were only a handful of records worth noticing this month. Good thing I work with a bunch of talented scribes that always turn my attention towards the stuff I overlooked. Here are the albums that we believe you must check out this month  ~ Shrivatsan R

Ancst (Germany) – Furnace (Black Metal / Crust Punk, Independent)

Ancst

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SPECIAL FEATURE: Kaala’s Matt Ketchum’s Top 3 Albums from Japan’s Extreme Underground

I recently learned of the existence of Kaala, a web community working to shed light on Japan’s underground talent when it comes to metal, punk, and everything in between.   If you’re like me, most of your knowledge of Japan’s metal and punk scenes probably comes from bands that have been signed to well-known underground labels (Coffins, Abigail, Sabbat etc.) or that have come over to the U.S. to play festivals or do short tours.  But aside from that, you don’t tend to hear about everything else going on in the country, and as a journalist I haven’t found a lot of bands from Japan pitching me for stories.  They definitely seem to have a problem getting the word out internationally, and that’s where Kaala has stepped in with writers based in different parts of the country spreading the word about local gigs, noteworthy releases, and a lot more.

It’s a great resource, and they recently threw the idea around of putting together a guided tour of Japan’s extreme music scene and assisting potential fans from all over the world in getting there.  There’s a Google questionnaire running (which you can check out here) to gauge interest and budgets for pulling something off, but it has the potential to bring even more exposure to bands that could use it.  Writing about extreme music from parts of the world that don’t get that much press is something I will be focusing on more this year on Transcending Obscurity, and Japan is a definite area of interest.

I’ll be spotlighting Kaala more as the potential logistics of this guided tour prove to be feasible or not, as well as pouring through their wealth of content to find some worthy bands to bring to your attention on TO.  But to start, I’m happy to have Kaala’s founder Matt Ketchum contribute a guest post spotlighting his three favorite albums from Japan released in 2016.  These are groups you’re not going to want to sleep on! –Chris Dahlberg

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