India has always been associated with classical and folk music, a genre like rock was thought be alien to the Indian audience, and it is true that “rock” is not the most admired music genre, even today. It was during the 80’s when the world was taken aback by the storm of “rock” and this is the time, when rock bands sprout throughout the Indian sub-continent. It took ages for the genre to establish itself as a popular trend in the spiritual land. However, the fusion of Indian classical and rock genre merged together to craft a new genus called as the Indian rock music and consequently resulted in the formation of some of the most talented musical rock bands in India.
7. Bhayanak Maut
One of the most popular Indian rock bands, Bhayanak Maut was formed in 2003 by two band members, Jaison Lewis and Sriram Sharma for a competition in Chennai. Later, four new members to complete the band, they were Sera Kattoua Aman, Ravi Balakrishnan, Baba and Rahul.
The band released its first album “Hell Is All People” in 2004 and followed it up with their second studio recordings with “Malignant” in 2006 and the latest of them was “Metastasis” in 2010. Currently, the band has Vinay Venkatesh and Sunneith Revankar at vocals, Venkatraman (Baba) and Aditya Nair (Amidtsya) at the guitar, and Rahul Hariharan handles drums and Ishaan Krishna the bass.
If you still like listening to the theme music from MTV Splitsvilla and Roadies, you’re already a fan of the Pune based rock band “Agnee.” Formed in 2006, the band is popular far and wide for its impressive blend of Carnatic and Indian classical music. The band is an impressive sagacity of Indian influences with vocals from Kannan Mohan that are brilliantly contested with guitar beats from Koco and at the drums we have Hrushikesh Datar.
Taking inspiration from classic rock bands like Sting, Dave Matthews band, Pink Floyd, their songs like Sadho re, Kabira, Shaam Tanha, Ujale Baaz and Karvan, Agnee creates its own unique melodies, mostly in the soft rock genre.
5. Indus Creed
Previously known as “Rock Machine” in 1984, the popular rock group changed their name to “Indus Creed” in 1993. In their early period of establishment, the band had Mahesh Tinaikar, Mark Selwyn, Ian Santamaria at the vocals and were shored up with Aftab Currim ove guitar and Suresh Bhadricha at the drums.
The band made a significant breakthrough with a hard rock style of playing and released their first album “Rock’n’Roll Renegade” in 1988, which was followed by their second release “The Second Coming” in 1990. However, the band was on the verge of division in 1997 when Uday Benegal and Jayesh Gandhi moved to New York City. The band regrouped in 2010 to a five-piece band and made a comeback at Harley Davidson’s Harley Rock Riders concert at Hard Rock Cafe Mumbai and their first album “Evolve” after 17 years in 2012.
Formed in 1991, Parikrama is a Delhi based rock and roll band that loves to fuse Indian classical melodic with new age metal genre. The band draws inspiration from legendary names like Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix and The Doors. Parikrama mainly emphasize on live performances and the band has played in more than 3000 concerts over the past 23 years.
Compositions like Laminate via Pakistan, Tears of the Wizard, Open Skies, Whiskey Blues, ‘But It Rained’ are some famous songs that are still know for their brilliance. The lead vocalist of the band is Nitin Malik, Sonam Sherpa is the lead guitarist, Saurabh Choudhary also at guitar, Subir Malik plays the organist and synthesizers, Gaurav Balani handles bass, and Srijan Mahajan plays the drums.
The popular Indian alternate rock band from Trivandrum, Kerala, “Avial”was formed in 2003 and is widely popular for blending native folk music in an alternative progressive style. Currently, the band has four members where Tony John is the lead vocalist, Rex Vijayan at the guitar, Mithun Puthanveetil plays drums, and Binny Isaac handles the bass. Their performances are mainly focused around Malayalam.
The band brings to the world, beautiful folk songs of Kerala in their own style of alternative Malayali rock. Despite, their impressive sense for music, the band only has released one studio album “Avial” in February 2008, it proved out to be a major hit and earned them a cover story on Rolling Stones.
2. Mother Jane
Formed in 1996, “Mother Jane” is a famous Indian rock from Kochi. The band is popular for its progressive rock and Carnatic musicals. The band was formed by drummer John Thomas and bassist Clyde Rozario for a college festival and continued as an instrumental band till Mani joined as a vocalist. In 2002, the band released their debut album, “Insane Biography” and was the only album that featured in the “Asian Rock Rising Festival in Japan 2003.”
Their second studio album was “Maktub” that was released in 2008 and was named as the album of the year by Rolling Stones. Moreover the band even opened for Megadeth and Machine Head in Rock in India 2008 and was ranked number one rock band of the decade in 2010 by Rock Street Journal.
1. Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean is a Delhi based band that was formed in 1990 and known for their miraculous fusion of Indian classical with spiced rhythms from genres of rock and jazz. With its entrenched history, the band has been a platform for several brilliant artists. Currently, it comprises of band members Nikhil Rao, Amit Kilam, Rahul Ram, Himanshu Joshi and Tuheen Chakraborty.
The band has released a total of six studio albums Indian Ocean – 1993, Desert Rain -1997, Kandisa -2000, Jhini -2004, Black Friday – 2005 and 16/330 Khajoor Road -2010. Apart from this, the band has also composed melodies for several Bollywood movies like Peepli Live, Satyagraha, Gulaal, Bhoomi, Hulla, Mumbau Cutting and many more.