Best Rock Bands In India
The popularity of rock music in India has been surfacing since 1960s and 70s. The evidence of the strong influence of rock music has been felt from the composition of various artistes. However, during the initial years, it was not easy for the rock musicians of India to source their instruments and all the required equipment had to be imported. The rock bands of 60s and 70s used to perform on small hotels, college campuses and gymkhanas. But rock music and rock bands in India have come a long way since then. Presently the Indian rock bands of repute are touring many countries for promoting their music and albums. Rocks bands have emerged not only from metropolitan cities, but also from small towns of this country presenting multi-ethnic culture.
Indian Ocean (Delhi)
Indian Ocean, the pioneering fusion rock band of India was formed in New Delhi
way back in the year 1990. It was in 1984 when Susmit Sen and Asheem Chakravarty met one another at a concert. The quick chemistry that connected the two culminated in the fire that set the ablaze the formation of this rock band. The distinction in Susmit's guitar style merged with Asheem’s immaculate sense of rhythm out of his rigorous training in tabla. The band recorded its first demo tape which impressed the HMV and fetched them an album contract. Ever since, there has been no looking back. The album ‘Kandisa’ released in 2000 has been a landmark release of the band. The band has till date compiled music from different genres which include Indian music, rock, fusion and jazz. Indian Ocean has significantly contributed to several films made in the Bollywood. Till 2013, it has been known for having the steadiest and the best line-up of musicians.
Parikrama, an Indian rock band from Delhi, was officially formed in
1991. The name of the band meaning orbital revolutions in Sanskrit is as
unique as the ability of the musicians of the band to merge Indian
classical musical instruments like Flute, tabla and mridangam with
relatively modern and western instruments like drums, keyboards and
guitars. The first song by the band, named “Xerox” was termed as ‘the
face of Indian rock’. Parikama has earned a huge fan following all over
It was in the year 1992 that one of the most professional Bangla rock bands was born in Kolkata
. Named Cactus, this rock band had emerged out of tremendous inspiration drawn from Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Iron Maiden and Pink Floyd. With its debut performance in the year 1993, the band began its journey into the world of music. In the history of Bangla music, Cactus was the first ever rock band to be associated with a film titled ‘Nil Nirjone’ where all the songs in the film were composed by the band. The rock band has toured to the United States for a couple of times and has visited cities like Chicago, Atlanta, Boston, Pittsburgh, St. Louise, San Francisco, Dallas, DC, Houston, Phoenix, New Jersey and Seattle to promote its music and win the hearts of umpteen listeners and fans. Cactus has successfully associated itself with huge brands working in India such as Bacardi, Yamaha, Hero Honda, Reliance, Bajaj Auto, Jonny Walker, Axis Bank, Bennett & Colman, Nokia, ITC, Vodafone and Lenovo Computers.
A group of professional musicians came together to form an alternative rock band from Kerala, named Avial in the year 2003 in Thiruvananthapuram
. The band has derived its name from a South Indian popular and favourite dish called 'avial'. Coining the genre of Malayali rock, the band presents a perfect concoction of alternative rock and folk music from Kerala which substantiates the name of the band all the more. Although the band members sing in the Malayali language, it has a huge fan following all over India and their shows go fully packed! The musical brilliance that the band exhibits enchants the global listeners. Avial has earned a name for being the first ever alternative Malayali Rock band. The band has also composed music for a number of Malayalam films.
An irresistible urge to compose and play some unique, original and individualistic music brought together Shiraz, Clyde, and Vishal to form the rock band Pentagram in 1994. Randolph and Papal joined later. Pentagram soon became popular amongst the youth, courtesy their participation in the college festivals. Although initially the band played live gigs at many nightclubs and festivals, the breakthrough came in 1995 by winning three major rock competitions held in Kanpur, Delhi and Bombay IITs which earned Pentagram immense popularity and fan following. The year 1996 saw the release of their first album 'We Are Not Listening'. Rhythm House, India's premier record store had listed this as the fastest selling rock album. Pentagram is the first Indian band to play at Glastonbury.
LBG or Little Babooshka’s Grind (Chennai)
One of the pioneers of performing original music in Chennai
has been the Little Babooshka’s Grind, in short LBG. Babooshka (Matryoshka) refers to a Russian nesting doll. A set of Matryoshka dolls comprises a wooden figure which can be pulled apart to disclose another figure of the same kind inside. It was with the sole aim of promoting original music and contributing to the music scene that brought some talented musicians to form this band in 1995. Although the band started off as a progressive metal band, over the years it has evolved to discover its ardent passion for original music. LBG’s first ever full-length studio music video which was a mega hit named 'Bad Children'. With its contemporary and international music, it is the first band from Chennai to have two full length albums and one professionally produced video. During their shows, LBG emphasizes on entertaining the crowd with popular and captivating upbeat numbers. The rock band has organised a host of charity shows for raising funds and helping the victims of natural disasters. Years of hard work, uncountable shows, untiring practice sessions and strong determination together have brought LBG at a point where the band successfully emanates its message through its music.
Drummer John Thomas and bassist Clyde Rozario came together to form Motherjane from Kerala in 1996. The band started off by playing in college rock competitions and in 2002 it released its debut album ‘Insane Biography’. This album had been awarded the Best Indian Rock Album 2002-2003 at Chennai’s June Rock Out. The band has been touring throughout the country extensively. It has been during the period from 2008 to 2010 that the band has earned immense popularity owing to the perfect amalgamation of Carnatic music and modern progressive rock. The uniqueness of the band lies in their spirited performance and also in donning a half-face Kathakali paint during live concerts.
Thermal And A Quarter (TAAQ) (Bangalore)
One of the most popular, creative and truly gifted rock bands of India known for creating music that can challenge any type of classification is the Bangalore-based band called Thermal And A Quarter or TAAQ. Formed in the year 1996 the band has made a name for focusing on original music. They have been amongst the first groups in Asia who have made their music available in creative commons. The band has played and spread its music in countries in Asia, Europe and the United States. Apart from rock, the band also plays jazz, blues and funk.
The famous Bangla band Fossils took birth at the time when Bangla rock music was in its nascent stage. It was the time when some work was definitely being done in the genre of rock music, but not much constructive efforts was put to establish ‘rock’ in the scenario of Bangla music. Rupam Islam, the father of the band formed the band a year later with a group of immensely talented musicians after the release of his first album in 1998. Bangla rock music got a facelift. The contribution of the band in Bangla rock band is such magnificent that many consider Fossils to be the pioneer in Bangla rock. Today it is the most popular Bangla rock band in India and probably the only Bangla band with rock star acumen. Fossils is especially renowned for making strong commentaries on social issues and also for supporting a host of causes.
Lucid Recess (Guwahati)
Formed in April 2004, Lucid Recess is an alternative metal Indian rock band from Guwahati
in Assam. The music that this band plays is a concoction of alternative Rock and Metal with immense sensibilities. The band deeply believes in creating music that would comfort the heart and the head alike. The lyricist engages in writing catchy and interesting alternative metal music with words that emphasise life and many other things associated with it. Commercial whims and dilemmas have never succeeded in stopping Lucid Recess from its independent compositions. The band has been the front-runner of the music scene prevailing in North East India for years now. It has set a path which many are following.
Tripwire, the first punk band in India was formed in 2002 in Mumbai, the city of dreams. It has been promoting Punk Rock since its birth. It had played its first gig in an afternoon to an audience of two and this marked the arrival of punk rock! The band took Indian punk to a new height of excellence and became the first ever punk band that was selected for playing at Mumbai’s prestigious Independence Rock competition held in 2004. The band ever since has made rounds in several college festivals. Their signature brand of ‘punk rock’ has been appreciated widely and the band has been playing in denim showroom launch, a fashion college festival, a fresher’s night at an IT institute, Tantra at Pune, and also an alternative fest called Slap Pop. The debut album of the band named ‘StandBy’ was released in 2009.
Tripwire, the first punk band of India shared its year of birth with Swarathma,a folk fusion band from Bengaluru. It is because of their untiring energy and pure originality that this band is still rocking the stage, with its numbers, predominantly sung in Kannada. Their debut album released in 2009, made Swarathma the Band of the Year. The live performances given by this band are absolutely soulful and enjoyable. Although the sound of its music has its roots in India folk, but the band has generously drawn inspiration from rock, reggae and blue motifs in its compositions. The band keeps very busy conducting more than ninety shows each year entertaining umpteen people. The chief attraction of the band’s concerts lies in the spirit that the musicians show on stage. The intensity of their interactivity and their memorable couplets make them popular and loved.
The Indian rock band from Shillong
by the name Soulmate formed in 2003 has created history be being the first ever and the only blues band in the country. The sound of the Blues and the Blue rocks have inspired the musicians of this band so much that they just cannot think beyond this genre of music. Hence, Shillong, the “Rock Capital of India” created history by giving birth to Soulmate. Guitarist Rudy Wallong and vocalist Tipriti Kharbangar use various session musicians while playing live in various clubs in the country and overseas. The band has toured France, the U.S, Norway, Indonesia, Singapore, Dubai and many other places to promote their music.
Bhayanak Maut (Mumbai)
The year 2003 saw the birth of a metal band from Mumbai
by the name Bhyanak Maut, meaning terrible death! The band has created a signature metal sound which helps the listeners to identify it and the band thrives on playing live music. The performances of the band are so enjoyable that the audience can expect to see a new perspective of this rock band every time it performs live!
Another rock band of India that has made its place in the music circuit for delivering original music is Nicotine from Indore
which was formed on 5th December, 2006. In its early stage the metal rock band had to struggle considerably to form a steady line-up. It gained momentum by its several performances rendered in colleges and competitions within the city and outside as well. Their music mesmerizes the audience with the combined effects of heavy guitar, vocals, detailed drumming and bass riffs.
Sifar is a critically acclaimed rock band from New Delhi that has been in vogue since 2008. Hindi is the medium for the songs that the band composes. It strives to achieve a very contemporary rock unlike most of the other Hindi rock bands which are found to focus on either fusion or folk. The meaning of the word ‘sifar’ is zero, that is a never-ending cycle. The band had been voted the "2nd Best Rock Band" in South Asia in the Indiego Music Awards held in 2011 and the band has also been nominated as the "Best Rock Band" in Artist Aloud Awards held in 2012.
Shades of Retribution (Assam)
The Indian rock band Shades of Retribution was formed in January 2010 in Assam and has emerged as one of the biggest bands to represent that region till date. Songs are composed in Assamese and the essence is an interesting blend of traditional Assamese music and death metal. This band has an old school base where it derives its strong influence from the culture prevailing not only in Assam but also in other parts of North-east India. The lyrics highlight the bands never-ending quest for survival in their beloved native place.
Formed in 2011, Jhanu is rock band from Chennai that sings and promote Mojo Rock. This band has always aimed to strike a perfect mixture of Tamil language and the beauty of rock music. The band has several original compositions to its credit which have earned wide applause. The band members talk about their music as being one that encompasses energy, power, and belief.