KARMANT: A Thrash Metal Band Beyond the Growls and Screams
In 2016, Zami Hossain took the initiative to take his love and passion for thrash metal and form his own band KARMANT. Since then, KARMANT has grown steadily. Their music has spoken about many social issues including abortion, the potential threats of the The Rampal Power Station, the 2018 student protests regarding road safety and such, through thought provoking lyrics.
As the founding member, Zami who had been playing in the underground scene since 2011, was highly influenced by thrash metal bands of the time. It took him five or so years to gather experience and take the bold decision to form his own band based on his own personal beliefs from the very start, giving rise to the band's name, 'KARMANT'.
For Zami, KARMANT is where he was able to creatively execute his ideas, concepts and express himself without limitations, through his favourite music genre.
"I personally believe in what goes around comes around. So, I initially named my band 'Karma'". However, to keep his band unique in all ways possible, he later changed the name to 'Karmant', a modified version of "Karma not" or 'Karman't'" he said.
He further explains, "The point of naming my band "KARMANT" is to keep one of the characteristics of Karma intact in the name that is 'Karma does not spare!'".
Currently, the band consists of four members, Mahdee Manzil as the vocalist, Zami Hossain as the bassist, Rumman Sharier as the guitarist and Naweed Kabir as the drummer.
With no leader, Zami often takes charge of the band's next steps keeping in mind how to grow and develop the band. However, it took a while for the band to have stable members.
Mahdee Manzil, a freshman at BRAC University in The Department of Computer Science and Engineering, has been KARMANT's vocalist since September 2021. With the addition of Rumman Sharier, currently studying law at Bangladesh University of Professionals, as the guitarist since 2017 and Naweed Kabir, a senior at BRAC University in The Department of Computer Science and Engineering, as a drummer in 2020, the band now has fixed members. With dedicated members, they began consistently moving forward in their music.
In July 2022, the band was invited to the "SICK TOUR II (Kolkata Extreme Metal Fest)" organised by Kolkata Metalheads, an organisation which started as an independent platform to showcase bands and artists from Kolkata and other regions of India boasting a roster that grew to transcend international borders.
In this showcase, KARMANT was the sole representative of the underground Bangladeshi music. "Representing my country's underground scene internationally is indeed an achievement," says Zami proudly. This was a win for the band not only for representing the country on international grounds, but also that it gave the band members the experience of performing in front of a culturally different audience.
To the general eye, thrash metal as a genre might appear to lack substance. The violent nature of the music often creates the image that metalheads are aggressive and unfriendly.
Zami refutes this stereotype and says, "Trust me, metalheads are one of the most amazing souls out there to befriend."
He argues that as a genre "metal music cannot be put into the jurisdiction of any philosophical ideas" nor can it be "overturned or overpowered by another philosophical ideology. It has no specific boundaries or limitations. Metal music, for me, would be analogous and contemporary to art and poetry. Therefore, the rhetorics of it cannot be confined to a single, monotonous philosophy."
Being based in Bangladesh, the band is aware of their limited options and challenges. Despite the reality, the members are invested in their music not only for themselves, but also bring Bangladeshi underground metal music into the spotlight.