The Indian metal (and adjacent hardcore punk) scene has picked up an immense amount of steam over the past few years, and continues to be a crucial one to watch, whether your poison of choice is doom, sludge, black metal, death, grind, or something in between. Pune's False Flag is the latest band from the region to catch my ear, and honestly, they're so far up my alley it's almost absurd. It's not every day a scintillating debut EP from an Indian black metal-tinged neocrust band with anti-misogynist, anti-casteist lyrics based around societal oppression, existentialism, and the Marxist critical theories of the Frankfurt School lands in your inbox out of the blue—but I guess Santa thought I've been good this year.
False Flag has its roots in pure grind, but, as young bands are wont to do, have rapidly accelerated their search for the perfect sound since the original four members saw Napalm Death lay waste to a Bangalore festival stage in 2015. A demo and several live gigs followed, and now, the current lineup—guitarists Shaunak and Rohit, vocalist Pushkar, bassist Kamran, and drummer Rakshith—are readying the release of their (extremely well-produced) first EP, which we're streaming in full below.
Sonically, they're far more Oathbreaker than Anti Cimex, but songs like "Sisyphus' Lament" show off a good solid whack of crust amidst the more atmospheric moments. A good dose of His Hero Is Gone and 90s screamo bubble up there, too, especially on EP opener "Spectrum Disorder," where they come juxtaposed with melodic black metal and pissed-off barks. Closing track "Unbroken" is textured, aggressive, and fast, with a hefty melodic midsection—textbook stadium crust, executed faithfully and will passion. It's only three tracks long, so False Flag is really more of an appetizer than a main course, but I absolutely can't wait to get my grubby paws on more.
"The songs on this EP are reflections on alienation—ideological, societal and existential," guitarist Shaunak told Noisey. "The words here are informed by the experiences I've had during what proved to be the most difficult and crucial years of my intellectual, ideological, and personal growth. It's not difficult to see that they are also informed by ideas of Albert Camus and the Frankfurt School. [The song] 'Unbroken' was composed around the words written by a very dear friend of mine."
Listen to the full EP below, and snag it from the band come December 25—preorders are up now.
Kim Kelly is waving black flags on Twitter.