Indian Metal Band Sceptre Takes a Stand On Violence Against Women (Interview)


“We don’t expect the world to change their ways after listening to our album…we just expect the metalheads that come to a Sceptre gig or for that matter any gig they attend, to understand this message and start treating women with a certain amount of respect. For ages, women have been portrayed as mere objects of lust especially in ‘metal’. That needs to change.”

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Today it is my great honor to interview one of India’s longest lasting metal bands – Sceptre! They are a heavy hitting thrash metal band from Mumbai that has been going strong for 15 years and they have been pioneers of extreme metal in the country.

One key thing that peaked my interest in the band was their recent album, “Age of Calamity.” In this album they take a stand on the issue of violence against women that is happening both in India and around the globe. According to the latest statistics, as many as 35% – 70% of women in the world have experienced some form of sexual violence (UN Women). In Australia, Canada, Israel, South Africa and the United States, intimate partner violence accounts for 40% – 70% of all female murder victims (UN Women).

In India, there have recently been many protests against the lack of police and government action in dealing with the crimes of gang rape and sexual violence. Unfortunately the problems of gang rape, sexual violence, spousal abuse, child marriage and sexual trafficking are ubiquitous around the globe.

Therefore, it is great to see an extreme metal band creating an album about female empowerment – particularly in a genre of music that can be quite the sausage fest. So without further adieu – I will begin my interview with Sceptre.

MG: First of all, I would like to ask, which member of the band am I currently speaking with? 

You’re speaking to Aniket S Waghmode ( drummer and founder member)

MG: What is your band’s secret to lasting as long as you guys have? It’s not every day that I get to talk to a metal band that is 15 years old and still going strong. 

It’s the sheer love of playing metal and nothing else! We cannot imagine playing any other form of music.

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MG: One thing I’m really excited in talking to you guys about today is your newest album, “Age of Calamity” and its theme of the empowerment of women. What motivated you to cover this theme? 

We’ve always tried to showcase the problems we, as a nation are facing, through our albums…be it lyrically or visually. Our earlier album ‘Now or Never’ had a song called ‘Charred’ which talks about the evils of smoking. And none of the guys in the band smoke or dope by the way. With ‘Age of Calamity’, we were unanimous in deciding to bring the issue of women empowerment to the fore. Since a while now, India has seen the most heinous and ghastly atrocities committed against women in various forms like rapes, acid attacks, groping and molestation in public places. And the rate of such crimes is increasing at an alarming rate. The indolence of the Government is stupifying to these cases. We don’t expect the world to change their ways after listening to our album…we just expect the metalheads that come to a Sceptre gig or for that matter any gig they attend, to understand this message and start treating women with a certain amount of respect. For ages, women have been portrayed as mere objects of lust especially in ‘metal’. That needs to change.

MG: Do you believe that violence against women is worse in India than other parts of the world? If so, why is this? 

We are not sure about the situation outside India, but we’ve come to know after our album release from various people all over the world, that it is a global problem. The problem with India is the law. It’s ancient and inefficient to deal with the current state of affairs. To add to this, its the people who think one can rape and get away scott-free by bribing the police. Its a vicious circle.

MG: What do you think are some things that India – as well as other countries – could do to reduce the atrocities committed against women? What are some things that various countries around the world could do to empower women? 

I think the law needs to be made more stricter and most importantly, implemented wherever necessary. The punishment for these crimes should act as deterrent to others. These small steps will help empowering women all over the world.

MG: What is your favorite set of lyrics, in the album (Age of Calamity), that discusses the theme of violence against women?

It’ got to be the opening lines from the title track ‘Age of Calamity’… ” more and more lives at stake, bureaucratic apathy to blame, damned if you will..damned if you don’t, you gotta give in to their game..”

MG: Aside from the theme of female empowerment in your most recent album, what are some other important themes and messages in your music?

Our  first album had a song called ‘Charred’  which talked about the evils of smoking, then we had a song from the same album called ‘Nuclear’ which was against Nuclear warfare. The recent album; ‘Age…’ has a song called ‘Prophesy Deceit’ which is against these godmen who swindle people in the name of religion, one more song from the same album called ‘ Parasites(of the state) ‘ is about people in authority, from a policeman to a politician, who fail to do their duty….yea…stuff like that!

MG: What band’s influenced Sceptre the most? 

Oh..we are mostly influenced by the old school thrash era. Bands like Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, Iron Maiden…to the new ones like White Chapel, Suicide Silence, Divine Heresy etc

MG: What are Sceptre’s plans for the rest of 2014? 

Get a video done and play as many gigs as possible, in India as well as abroad!

MG: Does Sceptre plan on doing a tour in the United States in the near future? 

Oh yeah…just waiting for that call!! Haha..

MG: What are some other powerful Indian metal bands I should check out? 

Bands like Zygnema, The Down Troddence, Bhayanak Maut, Plague Throat, Gutslit  etc are some bands who can kick some serious ass. Do check them out!

MG: Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview!  For the rest of you Metal Heads, check out their song “Age of Calamity” below. 

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