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Zygnema on Taking a New Direction on ‘Iconic’ EP


Staff member
Mar 19, 2024
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Mumbai metal band members Zygnema wearing all black with smoke in the background

For those who know Zygnema’s penchant for pummeling grooves, it’s certainly different to hear the Mumbai metallers tap into a different rhythmic aesthetic on “Rise Again,” the opening track to their new EP Iconic.

It starts with Carnatic percussive elements and guitarist Sidharth Kadadi even goes on to rip out a seemingly Carnatic guitar fretwork on the song, supporting vocalist Jimmy Bhore’s anguished vocals, drummer Mayank Sharma’s fist-tight work behind the kit and monstrous bass grooves that are now executed live by the metal band’s latest addition, bassist Somesh Panicker.

The five-track Iconic comes five years after Zygnema’s previous single “I Am Nothing” and about nine years after their second album What Makes Us Human Is Obsolete. Kadadi says Iconic felt like “it was in the works forever.” The title track and “Rise Again” were created around 2020. “It was just a rough skeleton structure we started messing around with. Then Covid happened and by the time the world came back to normal, it was already end of 2022. So we started working relentlessly and went all out from the end of 2022 and started work from scratch,” the guitarist adds.

There’s a polished yet punishing intent on this EP, with more experiments than ever before, like Bhore diving clean vocals for a bridge on “To Reach the Gods,” which gets wiry and still piles on complex riffs informed by the likes of Swedish metallers Meshuggah. “Grind” sees the band cut fast and loose in the way they’ve always been known, but out of nowhere introduces Marathi folk vocals and percussion juxtaposed with math-metal dissonance. There’s a playfulness and Indian vocal percussive flair that introduces “Choco Slam,” whose title was inspired by the pro wrestling signature move, the choke slam.
Kadadi says, “The breakdown riff in my head still makes me think that it has that huge impact like a choke slam, you know? Like it freaking takes you high up there and slams you real hard. Can’t escape or evade the impact from a choke slam.”

Stream ‘Iconic’ EP below.

The idea with a lot of the new sonic elements in play, according to the band, was to try everything that came to mind. There’s a grandiose, grisly intent with the title track, one that throws you to the wall with riffs, then introduces konnakol vocals and also eerie synths, before Bhore’s imposing hook takes over. Kadadi says about being influenced by Carnatic, folk and Indian traditional music, “We are still learning new things and would like to see how far we can go with ideas like this. We all were kind of bored of the same three-piece sound, to be honest. So it just happened naturally while we were composing and working on music. We kept bouncing off ideas and shared our imagination with each other. We literally tried hearing it in everyone’s version and then picked whatever sounded the best and more evolved.”

Zygnema launch Iconic EP with a gig on home ground on March 24th, as part of their gig series Scarfest. Joined by Pune thrash metallers Kasck and Thane metal act GreyFade, the gig marks the first of two EP launch shows. Kadadi says they have a gig at club venue antiSOCIAL in Pune on April 28th. Fresh off premiering new songs at metal festival Bangalore Open Air in February, Zygnema aren’t in a rush as such to tour “vigorously” right away. Kadadi says, “We don’t mind playing one or two shows a month for now and slowly pick it up post monsoons.” More music videos are being planned and the band will pick back up on “archived tracks” that didn’t make it to this EP. “We are working towards finding a niche sound and have like a solid, fresh and new sounding songs to perform live,” the guitarist adds.

Watch the video for “Iconic” below. Zygnema performs on March 24th at antiSOCIAL, Mumbai. Get tickets here.

The post Zygnema on Taking a New Direction on ‘Iconic’ EP appeared first on Rolling Stone India.
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