Mar 23, 2011

Diatribe, band from Nagaland: Concert Review

Tags: Diatribe (band Nagaland)
This is a News Feature of a 2008 concert by Nagaland band Diatribe, a Prog/Melodic Death metal outfit. The News Feature was published on November 5, 2008. OFF, a protest rock group, also from Nagaland, was on the bill that evening.

Diatribe: The Concert
Morung Express | November 5

In all indignity and a tragedy so pitiable, Dimapur missed one of the most rousing rock music performances in the recent times, and two terrifyingly quality rock bands any moshhead would have cut his hair for – Diatribe and OFF (aka Original Fire Factor). If the two Nagaland bands were watched – and listened to – the night of November 5 when they at DDSC, a mind or two would have returned home a true convert.

For a city that prides itself to be the core of the rock scene in the state, it’s a screaming shame that “music lovers” flock to excruciatingly mindless, stupid and imbecile soundtrack-singing “sensations” while the truly quality performers are ignored like Biblical leapers.

This time Diatribe and OFF were shamelessly left holding the fort. But the barely-about-200 fans that assembled at the ground, and Diatribe and OFF, had the time of their lives – minus rowdy Broken-Nagamese-English warbling drunks and unruly teenage kids. Just plain fun moshing and a union of a truly commendable metal camaraderie the show turned out to be. And perhaps the birth of a potential new quality Naga ‘star’ metal group.   

For those who came in late, Nagaland bands Diatribe (a progressive melodic death metal outfit) and OFF (protest rock) strutted home as first and second-placed winners respectively of the recently concluded Nagaland Music Safari. Still fresh dusty from their safari hangover, OFF and Diatribe took the stage and conveniently left the audience believing that the earlier three-hour delay was no more than a Sunday school rhyme. And boy, did they enjoy the show!


 (Right: Diatribe's frontman Khalong having fun, I believe)

Main act, Diatribe from Kohima took the reins after OFF. How can you not love Diatribe? This band reminds so much of Sweden’s progressive melodic death metal band Meshuggah – huge, huge guitar tones, sharp-to-the-tip-morbid but lyrical finesse, angry harmonies and liberal obsession with the intricate technical sensibilities so natural with core metal music – yet still so progressive. At least that was the covers choice of their set.

In addition, you should have been there to happily nod that they are truly the most amazing Naga metal band in the recent times. Prediction: if they would be still around the next two years, Diatribe will be to NE (or India), what Rock Machine (not that stupid ‘Indus Creed’ avatar) was to India. No finger crossing here.    

Diatribe’s singer (or in this case, snarler) Kalong was a 200-kilograms of charisma, cool and lotsa snarl. This guy truly deserves to be a metal frontman – painfully spontaneous, articulate and natural and a livewire when connecting with the crowd. Diatribe roused much dandruff with a number (Dimmu Bogir’s ‘Arghat?’ I have forgotten the title in my own midst of headbanging). The band truly left the small young crowd wasted but hungry for more. Happy in a shorn-punk haircut, the bandit Kalong seemed a familiar face – is he the guy from Dark Vengeance, the death metal band from down south?). Diatribe promised a set of white-hot metal slab from Children of Bodom to Lamp of God and surely did they deliver! Perhaps the tightest metal band from Nagaland ever. Phew.

The band was reinforced even more by the ‘expertise’ of weather-beaten, old wardogs like Yanger Longkumer – probably one of the cleanest guitar pickers this side of the Earth. This wardog began cutting his teeth way back the late 90’s with local band Oleanders and now is a known face in Kohima. There to back Yanger and Khalong’s liberal death onslaught was another bandit Abijah (ex-Native Colors and Vanadium? Now I’m confused), drummer Temsu and pianist Lipok. After a frighteningly delicious slab of core metal, Diatribe did an original “Hardships” an ear-blistering slab of angry rhythm so familiar with WWF’s slamshots and neck-holds. “Hardships” has no rhythmic intonations as expected from a core metal offering but it certainly has many melodic sensibilities in the line of Soilwork or even the progressive core band Elenium.

Diatribe’s future looks extremely bright – when you have blinding instrumental talent, eye-popping showmanship and blinking charisma to boot – your future certainly must be bright. The only metal band to have emerged from the last five years from Nagaland, that’s worth what they are destined for. Stardom. Trust me. If they are still there, that is.  


The first name that came to my mind sooner as Diatribe launched into their set on Dimapur Nov 5, was, Meshuggah. Diatribe is perhaps the first Nagaland band I had confidently thought had those ‘international qualities’– their unprompted showmanship, technical finesse (I was amazed by the sound they achieved especially Yanger's, the guitarist) and an exceptional tonal control and finesse over their respective instruments. They are good. And of course the very charismatic, easy-on-the-bell vocalist Khalong. I was stupefied.

While their originals' mettle has yet to be witnessed, they definitely would have made an amazing progressive/death Metal band had they been still around. This one band truly deserved a good push up the metal scene. Really good, these people were. Really good.


  1. One tight metal band. Great composition on every notes and beats, a strong vox, Love their original 'Hardship's intro. More like a Naga folk song.

    But only few steps into this kind of genre, and every Naga Band is going like Burno mars. :D or making noise which others cant make out what they are trying to convey by their lyrics. Except for some like Theja Meru..and so on; Hats off (thought i havent listened to any of his songs, he is quiet popular.)
    Apart from this, many good bands are coming up. But unfortunately they are judged by those same judges every time in all the competitions and comparing them with the best musicians. ( I happen to overheard some of the local bands after the results...) maybe they should be given a different stage/ or a platform where they ought to develop their skills and we expect that from the NAGALAND MUSIC TASK the coming days...yippiee.....
    Thanks AL,. AND PARDON me if I had said something which I should'nt have. Over n Out.

  2. @Vishnu

    You are right on the money - the quality of judging when it comes to Naga bands, feels somewhat uncomfortable. It was only circa 2000-2003 major rock competition slowly, I repeat, slowly began to to employ actual musicians who had actual musical experience. Strangely, in the recent times if you examine the local circuit in Nagaland, self-absorbed relatives of ministers/MLAs or bureaucrats and local privileged socialites seem to be the kings when things come to entertainment. Theja Meru, he is is different I have no doubt - he has experience and the mettle and he has nothing to prove to anyone.

    But the others? the same old bourgeois faces, sorry, Nagas need to be given a break. And let the more deserving managerial professional take over. There are thousands of skilled event professionals in Nagaland. Their only sin is their not being silver-spoon sucking sons and daughters and relatives of bureaucrats and moneyed politico-elitists and the higher-middle class bourgeoisie. Same old faces, same old sorry stagnancy.

    In fact I am told Diatribe was given a raw deal by some Kohima honchos earlier. Political games, I am told