Surprised by the mushrooming metal rock culture in India, visiting metal ensembles from the Maldives, France and the United Arab Emirates hope to make headway in their countries even as threats of piracy and the availability of free music online loom large. Struggling to find a foothold in the global rock scenario, metal rock bands Nothnegal from Male, the capital of Maldives, Hacride from Poitiers (France) and Point of View from Dubai (UAE) are wowed by the ‘overwhelming response’ to their brand of music in India. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’‘The response has been very positive in India. I was very surprised that India has such a growing rock scene. I never expected to see so many fans of metal,’ lead vocalist Luis Roux of Hacride said on the sidelines of a metal concert here.‘We know India for its Bollywood, but we had no idea that metal is growing so much,’ Roux added.Despite Europe’s contribution to rock music, metal is still on the fringes in France.‘It’s a marginal genre. It’s popular among young people, but it’s not recognised in the media – it’s not on the TV, it’s not on the radio. It used to be looked as a country that did not have any metal bands but it’s getting recognition now,’ Roux pointed out. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixRoux, who describes the tenor of Hacride’s music as ‘groovy and progressive’, said that metal is facing stiff competition from a huge profusion of new music and artists thanks to the internet that gives a chance to musicians from across the world.‘With the internet, music is accessible to all. That is a good thing but there are so many artists out there on the web..it’s a huge competition,’ rued Roux.Lead guitarist Hilarl of Nothnegal felt similarly, though the cyberworld has been instrumental in popularising the band’s songs.‘We have toured almost 20 countries in Asia and Europe. Our music is more popular in Europe. This is largely due to our compositions which can be found online,’ said Hilarl.He confessed that the Maldives is yet to recognise the metal genre but hoped that just like India, the island nation in the Indian Ocean will also have a healthy rock scene in the future.‘It is still on the fringes…it’s underground. But we were astonished that India has a developed rock scene. We can definitely hope for the better for our nation,’ said Hilarl.However, piracy has dealt a heavy blow to the budding musicians.Chirodeep Lahiri of Kolkata, who plays the drums for Dubai-based ensemble Point of View, felt piracy is the dark side of the internet that otherwise provides a huge boost to newcomers.‘It’s got both sides. Because of piracy and indiscriminate music downloads, album sales drop. In one way it is a boon as music reaches a lot of people,’ said Lahiri. Despite the negatives, Lahiri reckons metal will ‘prosper and only continue to grow’.