GIG REVIEW: Bangalore Open Air \m/
Zygnema, one of the finalists from west zone took to the stage. There were about 100 people in the crowd and the guys from the band didn’t care. They began their performance. After 3 songs, I wanted more although they could not continue. I didn’t realize how time flew by with the powerful performance with a special mention of Jimmy, the band’s vocalist. He made sure that the crowd was behind him and could teach few of the upcoming bands a thing or two about stage presence.
Crypted, the finalists from the south zone were up next. They took a long time to setup and i felt that the band got their act together as musicians. Everyone were playing their part and the vocalist played a very important role in trying to set the mood for a full length performance. But they had few technical issues which made the performance dull in few places. But I have to appreciate the kind of song writing and music compositions they had. Looking forward to seeing them play in many more places.
Last of the Wacken battle finalists, Damage-Era from East zone, came down all the way from Gangtok, Sikkim. Having visited Sikkim and seen the talent there, I was expecting a lot from them. Unfortunately, the problems which affected Crypted, continued to affect Damage-Era. The guitars were not audible and I felt that the band was not completely happy performing. But they had their moments with the guitar solos and a vocalist who brought out the band’s inner rage on the crowd in ways we don’t expect to see in India.
Theorized were up next and were chosen to replace the Wacken North finalists since they couldn’t make it. I had a feeling that Madhav would have mellowed down on the vocals since he was away with Escher’s Knot. But his screams and growls restored the lost faith. They showed that any band which wanted to be there with them needed the experience they had and it was worth the full 30 minutes that they were up there. A surprise was when the vocalist of Escher’s Knot, Abhijeet joined the band for their title track, "Venemous Tormentia".
Albatross were next, ready to set the stage on fire. Bassist Riju Dasgupta came on stage with the blood coated doctor’s coat, set the mood for some heavy metal or horror metal as the band calls themselves. Biproshee blew the audience away with his small stature but powerful, powerful vocals. The band played 5 songs from their 2 E.P's which left their mark on the audience.
Bevar Sea which translates to 'Bastard' in the local language took the stage next. Having seen Ganesh with Kryptos 8 years ago, I was looking forward to seeing him perform after a long time. The band members played stoner metal and set the mood by bringing bottles with booze to the stage. With each member bringing years of experience in music, how could anything go wrong? Long, well written, songs which got the crowd into headbanging mode and the artwork carefully designed for each song made me wonder about the amount of talent we got. Abhishtu was their most popular and the whole crowd was screaming “Abhishtu”. Worth it, completely blew away any doubts anyone had about how serious they were about Bangalore open Air.
The Black Metallers from Delhi, 1833 AD took to the stage and were held back with few technical problems which could have been fatal to their performance. Rahul’s guitar string broke and he had to exit the stage for medical assistance. But thanks to Nolan, they were back up soon. Special mention to Nishant for holding the crowd together and Raghav for the mind blowing on the spot drum solo. The band belted out 5 of their famous songs with power which reaffirmed their place as the top black metal band of India. Minus the technical problems, they would have torn apart the scene.
Dying Embrace, the band that brought doom metal to India even when metal was in its infant stage were up next. Having seen them live before, I was eager to see how Pritham would fit into the band as a bass player. After the performance, I just had 1 word : Respect. You have to appreciate Deepak for spending hours on stage with bevar Sea first and then with Dying Embrace. Pritham on the other side was on stage after a decade and damn he was fuckin awesome with his crazy bass-lines. Jimmy on guitars was awesome and belted some amazing riffs. He along with India’s legendary doom metal performer Vikram were bang on. Vikram with his massive presence brought the crowd together with his small stories in between songs, the air guitaring and the monstrous voice which made me wonder if I could do something like that at the age of 36. The songs were short and well executed. I was disappointed to see no merchandise and later was reminded by a friend that they were purely underground. So I would highly recommend them to anyone.
Eccentric Pendulum, winners of last year’s wacken battle took off immediately after Dying Embrace. With experience from Wacken, they put the crowd in the mood with what felt like Experimental / Progressive metal. I felt that every band member was lost in his own world, but somehow it brought the music together. With crazy guitar solos and bass-lines, these guys nailed it completely.
Kryptos live. I had heard of the changes, the album launches, but could not attend any of the previous live shows. The entire duration of their time on stage was pure bliss. From the intro to the 4 guys in denim jackets, Kryptos reminded me about Nolan’s ideals about 1 year ago when he was interviewed by a friend. They wanted to stick to their roots of old school trash metal and in my eyes, they hadn’t changed at all. Nolan showed his skills which have been matured over years, Jayant and Rohit showing their dedication to the band. The un-sung hero of the performance was Ryan Colaco. After the second song, there was some problem with the drum kit and he wanted to fix it. But Nolan was unaware of this and began the performance. But without a second Tom on the drumkit, Ryan carried it off with no problem at all. All I could wish for Kryptos was to play more shows outside India.
And then it was finally time for the headliners to take stage. After Iced Earth dropped out, Suidakra was given the task of co headlining Bangalore Open Air, along with the mighty Kreator. All questions that had risen in the minds of the dubious, were put to rest when Arkadius and his folk metal cohorts took stage, and showed India how destructive their style of music was. Arkadius, clad in Armour, brought the crowd on his feet, with his meritorious rhythm guitaring and his top notch frontmanship. The drummer, Lars’ performance was also commendable, but the man who stole the show in my opinion, was the one who played the bag pipes, who did most of the solos, in place of the guitar, thus exhibiting their intricate innovation. Their music, copious with melody, was an absolute treat to the ear, and the crowd was head banging with all their might, completely oblivious to the heavy downpour. The band were so impressed, by the sheer energy of the crowd, that they debuted crowd surfing, with the drummer and vocalist jumping into the crowd, halfway through their performance. They concluded their set with “Wartunes” and the vocalist announced that they were extremely pleased to play in Bangalore for the second time, and that he would be guesting with Kryptos, a week later.
Kreator. The evening saw a huge acceleration in momentum, when the Phantom Antichrist backdrop was put on, and then Mille Petrozza, along with the rest of the band, walked on stage. Greeted by a deafening roar, they started their gig with “Violent Revolution”, giving way to circle and mosh pits.The crowd sang the chorus, with the utmost patience and dedication, venting out all their frustration and anger, throwing light on the obstacles faced, to organize such an event .This was followed by “Hordes of Chaos’ from their last album,”Phobia” and “Phantom Antichrist”, which I felt was one of the best Kreator tracks to date, with their melodic chorus, blended with Mille’s flawless vocals. It showed that the band had no boundaries, and that they were ready to venture into new territory.
After experimenting, with a bit of their new songs, the band went into old school mode and belted out classics like “Extreme Aggression”, “Terrible Certainty”, ”Enemy of God” and “Endless Pain”. The crowd went into a frenzy when they played, in my opinion, the song that gave birth to the death metal genre “Pleasure to Kill”. After playing “Terror Zone”, Mille raised the classic “Flag of Hate” signaling the same, and began the song. They ended their gig with “Tormentor” and with Mille addressing the audience and how happy he was, that he finally played in a country, that he held in the highest regard, India.
The real heroes of the day were the organizers of the event. Special Thanks to Salman Syed, Anupam Roy for the amazing sound and entire B.O.A. team for this phenomenal event. Even with their path filled with hindrances and obstacles(the Iced Earth and the Palace Grounds fiasco), they managed to work under pressure, and they delivered a more than satisfactory venue and line-up. The crowd turn out was really low, with barely 2000 people, but these people had the aggression of the 10,000 people who were expected to come. Frankly, I feel sorry for those who were not present to witness an event of this magnitude. Kudos, to the B.O.A. team for organizing such an event. I am looking forward, with all my heart, to the next edition of this event, and I urge all the people to attend it, without lending a deaf ear to certain mishaps that might take place.
Team Metal Wani