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Sunday Old School: Kryptos

Throughout the history of the Sunday Old School column, we've visited and explored more places than Dora (you thought you'd escape your child's favourite TV show on a metal website? No such luck.) We've looked at such South American bands as Korzus and Pentagram from Brazil and Chile respectively, as well as Eastern European bands as Aria (Russia) and Gordi (Serbia,) in addition to Asian groups as Crash from South Korea and Japan's Sigh, Loudness and Church Of Misery.

In between Eastern Europe and the far East however, we of course have other side of Asia, of which the most populated country is the fascinating land of India. Despite a strong religious presence in the country from Hindus, Sikhs and Catholics, the latter of which caused the Slayer album "Christ Illusion" to stop being sold in the country, heavy metal is alive and well there. They have a number of solid metal publications and more bands are performing there than ever, while the underground Indian metal scene continues to grow, with perhaps the most prominent name in the scene being today's featured band, Kryptos.

Kryptos were formed in 1998 in the city of Bangalore, the capital of the Karnataka state. The original lineup consisted of vocalist and bass player Ganesh Krishnaswamy, guitarist Nolan Lewis and drummer Ching Len. They took influence from some of the biggest names in classic heavy metal such as Black Sabbath and Judas Priest, as well as cult favourites like Mercyful Fate and Candlemass and took their moniker from the Latin word "Cruptus," meaning a burial site underneath a church.

After writing material for years and undergoing several lineup changes, most notably replacing Ching Len with Ryan Colaco and adding a second guitarist named Akshay "Axe" Patel, before finally recording and releasing their debut album, "Spiral Ascent" in 2004. The record is now considered a landmark release in the history of Indian heavy metal and was notable for featuring a front cover designed by guitarist Niklas Sundin of Dark Tranquillity. Though the album has long been out of print, its positive reception and impact on the metal underground earned Kryptos worldwide exposure, which led to the group signing a deal with American label Old School Metal Records.

Signing this deal caused some problems within the band and as a result Ganesh Krishnaswamy and Akshay Patel left the band, leading Nolan Lewis to take over the vocal spot and the group bringing in a new guitarist named Rohit Chaturvedi and bassist Jayawant Tewari. It would be another two years before Kryptos released their sophomore album but in the meantime, they boosted their profile significantly by appearing in the 2007 documentary, "Global Metal." The album finally surfaced in 2008 under the title, "The Ark of Gemini," but upon release, it received excellent reviews from metal publications the world over and songs from the album also garnered the band radio airplay in Europe and the United States.

The reception to "The Ark of Gemini" and subsequent exposure led to some big things for Kryptos, most notably supporting Iron Maiden in their home city of Bangalore, before becoming the first Indian metal band to embark on a tour of Europe, performing at festivals in Germany and Hungary, in addition to playing club gigs in these countries, as well as Switzerland. After years of touring so heavily, Kryptos returned to the studio and recorded their third album, "The Coils of Apollyon," which was released in February 2012 in India, before receiving an international release in September of that year.

Once more, Kryptos were rewarded with glowing reviews and a highly positive response from the metal community. They promoted the album by supporting such acts as Testament, Kreator and Wolf, before returning to the festival circuit, becoming the first Indian band to perform at the legendary Wacken Open Air festival in the process. 2013 also saw some changes being made among the ranks, most notably the return of Krishnaswamy on bass, as well as introducing new drummer Anthony Hoover.

This new incarnation of Kryptos performed further high profile shows, opening for Destruction and Rotting Christ before taking part in a larger European tour, playing in such countries as Italy, Belgium and the Czech Republic for the first time. Only a few weeks ago, Kryptos released their fourth album, "Burn Up the Night," which thus far has received excellent reviews and having been released through the prominent AFM Records label, looks as though it could be the album that finally sees the band gain the wider attention and recognition they deserve.

Kryptos - "Altered Destinies"

Kryptos - "Descension"

Kryptos - "Tower Of Illuisons"

Kryptos - "Liquid Grave"

Kryptos - "The Mask of Anubis"

Kryptos - "Nexus Legion"

Kryptos - "Full Throttle"

Kryptos - "One Shot To Kill"

Diamond Oz's avatar

Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com for four years and has been a metal fan for ten years, going so far as to travel abroad for metal shows.

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