Albatross' Dr Hex "Be very scared"...

Indian band Albatross are set to rip up Australia's south east coast in late October. We talk to bassist Dr Hex about the Indian scene, their tour plans and how Aussie shops shut too early.

Hailing from Mumbai India, Albatross play a brand of traditional metal heavily steeped in the King Diamond tradition. That is, they're concerned primarily with weaving sonic tales of horror and intrigue (but mostly horror). Having last year released an EP, The Kissing Flies, as a split with US band Vestal Claret, the band are now set to hit the Australian east coast in late October. Metal as Fuck caught up with bassist Dr Hex to talk about it.

You guys are set to tour parts of the Australian east coast through Dominus Entertainment later in October. How did this Australian tour come about? "I've been a fan of the band Lord, and a Facebook friend of Andy (Dowling), the bassist of the band, for a few years now. Over the past couple of years, I've noticed how every band in the world seems to make a stop down under, and I was quite anxious to have Albatross play this exciting scene first hand. I approched Andy, and he put a weekend tour together under the banner of Dominus Entertainment in almost no time. He's been fabulous really, and has made sure that everything's gone like clockwork over the past few months, in spite of his busy touring schedule. We hope this Australian tour is the first of many, in the years that follow. Maybe someone from Soundwave is coming to one of the shows. One can always hope..."

As far as I'm aware, this is your first tour outside of India. Do you think you're preparred fot the culture shock of playing so far from home? "Albatross has actually been quite anxious to play outside India for the longest time now. We were supposed to play The Burning Sea Festival in Croatia earlier this year, with some of our biggest idols, King Diamond and Iced Earth, among many other awesome bands, but it got cancelled a couple of months before we were on the verge of taking off. I've been to Australia myself, as a tourist before this and the only culture shock so to speak was that most shops shut down by 6-7pm. While most shops in Mumbai are open till 11pm or so. Plus, I've attended shows outside India, and metalheads are the same everywhere in my opinion. So we're quite excited about playing before a brand new crowd."

Are you familiar with the Australian scene? What do you know about it? "AC/DC \m/. Haha, AC/DC, Airbourne and INXS aside, the first Aussie metal band I'd come across was Pegazus back in 2000 or so. They completely blew my mind. Since then I've managed to check out Eyefear as well, who're exeptional in their own right. Lord's a great band and Hobb's Angel of Death is a legendary band as well. I've had the chance to check out some of the other bands we're sharing the stage with such as Vanishing PointDarker Half, and Disintegrator, and I can safely say these are some of the best bands we've ever played with. I wish Lord was on the bill too, but oh well. If it counts, our guitaris played guitar during cricketer Brett Lee's performance in India haha."

The Indian and Australian metal scenes are rather similar in that they're both geographically isolated and relatively small. Do you think places like India and Australia that would have previously been ingnored by the international community are getting a bit more attention now? "Totally. I was flabbergasted by the number of international bands visiting Australia this year; and I'm also jealous of the fact that you got to see Sabbath before we did. Also the distance between major cities is huge in the two countries, so touring becomes comparatively more expensive. That's why we had to opt out of shows in Adelaide and Brisbane, which would have entailed a huge expense for us. This is the very same problem we face in India when we put together tours to promote a new release, or merchandise. But it's great to see both scenes picking up and become part of the global metal map."

Albatross' sound focuses a lot on creating metal horror stories. Do you try and incorporate that horror element into your live shows? "Aside from the fact that I dress up like a crazed doctor , no. But in the future, when we work with bigger budgets, something more dramatic is definitely on the cards. The music itself is very busy, very active, with lots of twists and turns in line with the subjects we write about".

Are there any other Indian bands you'd like to recommend the Metal as Fuck readers check out? "You guys should check out Kryptos (trad metal), Dying Embrace (doom), Gutslit (grindcore), Orion, (progressive death), Threinody (thrash), Solar Deity (black metal, Cosmic Infusion (black metal), Gaia's Throne (power metal), Mortar (thrash metal), Insane Prophecy (black/thrash), Hellwind (heavy metal), ZygnemaBhayanak MautProvidenceWitchgoatShepherd1833 ADMillenniumAtmosfear, the list goes on."

Are there any other countries you're keen for Albatross to tour in the future? "We have a lot of friends and fans in Europe who've been asking us to come over, and when the offer's right that's definitely on the cards. The same with South East Asia. I've always wanted to visit Japan, so hopefully that'll hapen someday. Same with the America's, both North and South. That's pretty much the whole world, isn't it?"

Do you have any final words for any Australian readers considering to come and watch Albatross play? "Yes, don't go for the Behemoth show! Haha, on a serious note, if you like classic heavy metal delivered with blistering guitar solos, pounding drums and soaring vocals, talking about the deepest and darkest terrors from this world and beyond, we want to see you front row. Melbourne, Sydney, Wollongong . . . be very scared."

Australian Tour Dates

Friday October 25- Central Club Hotel, Melbourne

Saturday October 26- The Bald Faced Stag, Sydney

Sunday October 27- Dicey Riley's, Wollongong