• Sun, Jul 21, 2019
Features

Undying Inc Sudden Lineup Change: Some (sort of) Clarity

features Jun 10, 06:13pm

Undying Inc announced the replacement of lead vocalist Shashank Bhatnagar and drummer Nishant Hagjer with Sunneith Revankar and Jerry Nelson Ranee respectively. Randeep Kaur and Madhusudan Raman go digging to find out more.
 Photo Courtesy: Yeashu Yuvraj, Amit Sharma, Undying Inc, Nocturnal Photowork

While lineups are followed by fans and become an entity of their own, changes do happen. Sometimes, bands that have built an image of closeness and brotherhood among their members also fall prey to the same relationships breaking down and differences of opinion. Everyone has come to know Undying Inc through Shashank’s explosive live presence and brutal growls. That incredible breakdown in ’Manimal’ is synonymous with Nishant and his almost comically high level of skill. Removing these elements from a band that have brutality and heaviness as their main selling points is a pretty risky (even if unavoidable) move. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the band has been getting a mixed response for the new line-up from fans. Surely these things are avoidable, right?

 

 

Guess not. Biswarup Gupta, the guitarist of Undying Inc says, “The new music has been on hold for quite some time now and things were not moving in the band. Someone had to take the ownership to push for new music. Since I formed UI, I have been trying to take things in my hands; recently things started getting intense and I was getting frustrated. That is when I picked up the topic with Shashank and things got weird. Post a discussion with everyone else (Ezra Helios and Nishant), we ‘mutually’ decided to make an announcement about Shashank leaving the band.” On Nishant, he added, “He was all okay with the idea in the beginning, in fact we were working on our song ‘Glock’, later he mentioned that he wants to take a month off to think, which seemed to me like as if he didn't want to continue, so I discussed with Ezra that we cannot waste time waiting. So we had to look for someone to play drums too. It seemed pretty clear that he wanted to follow Shashank. We’ve only done 4 songs with Nishant and 1 cover in the last 7 years. I spoke to Jerry right after Nishant decided to leave after Glock since he was not willing to start with a new vocalist, and Sunny (Sunneith) a day later when he mentioned that he would like to join us. So within 2-3 days we were ready with the line-up.”

 

“I wasn’t aware about the ‘argument’ as it never happened with me but with Shashank. When I was informed about it by Biswarup I wasn’t okay with it. I wasn't prepared to go ahead without Shashank and asked for a month to think through”
- Nishant Hagjer, Drummer

 

 

It’s never nice to see drama and personal friction brought out in the open like this, but Nishant shared a different version. "I wasn’t aware about the ‘argument’ as it never happened with me but with Shashank. When I was informed about it by Biswarup I wasn’t okay with it. I wasn't prepared to go ahead without Shashank and asked for a month to think through. Next thing I know, he makes an announcement of Shashank leaving the band; that was a massive problem for me. I've been an active member, and he can’t announce things as a band when everyone isn’t on board. So that’s when I said that since you decided on my behalf (also), please go ahead and make my announcement too. He also wanted to distance himself from the music-related drama. “Extremely childish. I wanted to be away from all of it. I have only probably 4-5 songs with the band in 7 years. In that time, I have played in over 6 albums, 7-8 tours and over 200 videos. I also send drums the day after I receive guitar files. I would say blaming is different and ‘actually working’ is different. A band is a group of people working together. I would rather make music and work rather than bicker over its ownership. It’s a collective effort.”

 

 

It has been pretty obvious that this compromise hasn’t left anyone very happy. Shashank says, “Leaving Undying was never an option. We ran this band with all our hearts. But given the circumstances & true colours shown, it couldn't have gone any other way. Better sooner than later. Biswarup’s ‘delay in music making was the reason behind the band break-up’ isn't true. The actual reason was, he wanted to own the band and wanted us to work for him. It never happened that he said that “hey, you are not writing the songs, so let part ways so that I can work”. The reality is, he wanted the Undying Inc name all to him and we gave to him just to maintain peace in our lives in general. We (Nishant and I) will continue with our work. For us that is important and fighting over blame games isn’t.”

The only redeeming news is that the band is working on new music. Biswarup says, “We have gone through many lineup changes but the music and the band hasn't stopped. Right now we are just focusing on new music. We will put a single up and then an album. We will explore more dissonant melodies while keeping the heaviness as before and experiment with darker sounds. Our new music will do the talking for us. We shall also be playing our old songs but shall stay away from pub shows, where there is no surety of anything. Also, Nishant decided that he does not want us to out his name, so Jerry will do the drums for Glock again. It will be Sunny and Jerry's first song with us.”

 

“Shashank's by far is the finest metal vocalist that the country has. But we have very different vocal styles. I'm just looking forward to bringing what I'm good at to the band's sound.”
- Sunneith Revankar

 

 

Sunneith Revankar (Ex-Bhayanak Maut and currently also the vocalist of The Silent Offensive) is also a good fit for the band, considering his excellent and layered heavy voice and long list of features and vocal performances (Skyharbor, Limit Zero, Zygnema etc.) “I've been friends with the Undying Inc guys for almost over a decade. I don't think there was a debate. I saw that Jerry (also a member of The Silent Offensive) had joined so I spoke to Biswarup about me trying out for the singer's spot." He added that the band will have a different sonic quality going forward. He is also aware of Shashank’s connection to the band’s identity. “Shashank's by far is the finest metal vocalist that the country has. But we have very different vocal styles. I'm just looking forward to bringing what I'm good at to the band's sound." 

Shashank will now focus on the Capital Metal Project. featuring him, Shakti Singh on bass and guitarist Shashvat Pandit. They are planning a tour for August. Nishant is still part of Nepal metallers Underside but will be involved with Capital Metal Project as well. So at the end of the day, besides all the bad news, it does seem like the world’s going to continue turning.

 

Watch 'Alpha Aboslute' by Undying Inc below:

 

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