Bangalore Open Air, India’s biggest heavy metal festival was finally here with its third edition! Bangalore Open Air boasts of being the first heavy metal festival of such unmatched eminence and of having no parallel. Ever since its inception, B.O.A. has showcased a plethora of bands from across the country and the world and has featured a slew of genres.
In the face of numerous constraints, Bangalore Open Air ’14 powered by Wacken Open Air proceeded months ago with an altogether different plan of crowdfunding. Metalheads all over the world were appealed to for their support in order to make the festival happen. However, the target amount could not be achieved and sale of tickets was reopened.
After battling all odds, B.O.A. ’14 was finally held at Counter Culture, Bangalore on September 13, ’14.
This chapter of B.O.A. brandished a grand line-up headlined by German thrash legends Destruction and featured ace Greek black/gothic metal band Rotting Christ supported by Indian thrash titans Kryptos, accomplished groove/progressive/folk metal band The Down Troddence, groove/experimental thrash metal band Threinody, thrash metal band Armament and hard rock band Girish and the Chronicles.
First up on stage was Armament, a ‘straightforward extreme thrash metal’ band from Kolkata. Armament definitely upheld the glory of old-school thrash metal and the performance spoke of the noteworthy musical prowess of band. The band is going from strength to strength and what really stood out was vocalist Indranil Dasgupta’s unapologetic vocal tasks and stage presence – the signs of a quintessential frontman. Armament’s artillery had in store some punishing thrash attack also featuring some nicely executed leads and a power-packed drum solo!
Notable hard rock band from Gangtok, Girish and the Chronicles followed. Girish and the Chronicles are known for their electrifying live shows and they sure proved their worth! The band delivered hard rock, sometimes reminiscent of classic heavy metal. Vocalist Girish Pradhan’s awe-inspiring vocals dropped in a ballady feel and some of the band’s set reminded of the grandeur of the 70s and 80s.
Next on stage was Threinody, a groove/experimental thrash metal band from Bangalore. Threinody has been around for almost two decades now, which speaks of the experiences the band carries with itself. Threinody played some memorable transitions featuring some bold riffage with the speed and aggression of thrash blending into mellow sounding guitars. Threinody’s set portrayed the band’s classic metal influences and often seemed to deviate from conventional thrash due to a good measure of progressive elements in their sound.
Thrash titans from Bangalore, Kryptos followed. Kryptos discharged unmatched energy and put forth the band’s seasoned professionalism. Kryptos’ menacing blend of some thrashy riffage, powerful growls and thudding bass left the crowd enthralled. Kryptos’ set portrayed the consolidation of a lot of old-school influences, yet sounded fresh and creative with some fast-paced lead guitaring, shrieks and growls – all of it accomplishing the task of upholding aggression with a dash of melancholy.
Rotting Christ’s much awaited set followed next. Rotting Christ’s years of experience gave everyone a superlative performance and musicianship to cherish. The band rampaged with its unique make of black metal enriched with a good measure of experimentation with beautiful haunting melodies and melancholic chanting. Rotting Christ delivered a memorable show that surpassed the average conventional black metal. Rotting Christ’s set felt like a well-crafted orchestration with minute details to render their sound very dark! Holding a lot of weight was Sakis Tolis’ raspy vocals adding a lot of variety in the way the band sounded. Rotting Christ were as much a listening-pleasure as they were to experience the joy in their playing live!
Next up was groove/progressive/folk metal band from Kerala, The Down Troddence. The Down Troddence delivered an intriguing performance with their unique brand of metal fused with elements similar to those of folk. TDT’s set featured a myriad of embellishments on ferocious playing – ranging from aesthetics to grooves reminiscent of folk.
The final act were thrash titans from Germany, Destruction. Destruction ripped the place apart and delivered a full frontal assault! Destruction’s undeniable fast-paced riffage and hammering bass slammed right in the face! (I don’t know how else I can put it.) Despite struggling with difficulties in sound, Destruction left everything ravaged with a performance that boasted of some headbanging greatness as well as unforgettable riffs. The drum solo discharged unmatched ferocity and the grandeur in the way the band played was absolutely breathtaking!
Earlier at the Press Conference …
Indian Metal Scene had the opportunity of interacting with Destruction and Rotting Christ at the press conference held at Vapour, Bangalore on September 12, ’14.
On being asked about consolidation of art, worldview and musicality in heavy metal, Schmier from Destruction spoke of metal as an ideology that leads to freedom and that which is born of true spirit.
Answering a question about the band’s view on commercialization of heavy metal, Schmier said, ”Name one millionaire who’s made good metal music.” He strongly opined that metal should remain underground and not be unduly exposed and sold out, in order to retain its own ‘purity’. He spoke about commercialization of some of the biggest heavy metal festivals in the world due to which the glory of it all dies out!
The team put up a phenomenal and memorable event even in the face of major constraints Bangalore Open Air ’14 saw a brilliant line up, amazing sound and great organizing. The wait for B.O.A. 2015 begins!
-Article by Debarati Das
–Image Courtesy: Vishal ‘Clickography’