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GIG REVIEW: Bangalore Open Air 2014

Bangalore Open Air 2014
With the previous two editions, Bangalore Open Air had established itself as THE biggest metal festival in the country. But, come 2014 the organizers were in a financial struggle. They went the crowd funding way, to keep the festival alive, but sadly failed. But, still hell bent on keeping the festival going, against all the odds they managed to pull off the third edition on September 13, 2014 at CounterCulture.

The lineup consisted of the thrash legends Destruction from Germany along with the Greek atmospheric black metal giants – Rotting Christ. Also in support were Kryptos, The Down Troddence, Threinody, Armament and Girish and the Chronicles.
The first band were the thrash band – Armament from Kolkata. I was seeing them live for the first time, and the band definitely maintained the no-frills, old-school thrash attack. The front man led the band, with full power. What I would love is the band to craft a bit more of their own identity when it comes to the music. Nevertheless, they are a band that is on the right path to make it big in the Indian Metal scene.

Girish and the Chronicles
Next up on the stage were, Gangtok based hard rock band – Girish and the Chronicles. The band introduced themselves as “We are Girish and the Chronicles, and we play Rock and Roll!” in a total Motorhead-esque manner! The band’s set-list consisted of tracks from their recently launched album “Back on Earth”. The band caved to the demand for a cover at the end, and gave one of the best cover of AC/DC’s Highway to Hell I have heard till date with the entire crowd singing along! The band is one of the finest upcoming Hard Rock band in the country, and words do not justify the vocal talents of Girish Pradhan.

Next on stage were the next thrash band on the bill – Threinody. The band is one of the oldest Indian metal bands, existing for over two decades. This was my first experience of the band, having only heard a few single’s online before. The band had quite an amazing sound, mixing groove and progressive elements into the thrash riffs. The band carried themselves perfectly through their set, with the years of experience quite visible.

Another band from the ‘second wave’ of the Indian Metal scene followed – Kryptos. The band was a last minute addition to the bill, filling in for Cadaver Mutilator (who were cancelled, because of visa issues). The last time, I had witnessed them was in 2012 at Bangalore Open Air, and was totally impressed, and have been a devout fan since then. The band played a nice mix from their entire discography along with a Judas Priest “Hot Rockin” cover. Kryptos’s mix of power/speed metal with old school thrash is quite a treat when witnessed live. By the end of their set, the energy level in the crowd had started reaching peak levels!

Next up, were the one band for whom I had travelled all the way this year – ROTTING CHRIST! The moment the band took stage, a gloomy atmosphere fell upon the crowd. The band played a nice mix of songs from their latest album ‘Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy’ along with a few of the older classics. The band’s black metal, with the atmosphere it creates is an experience in its own!  The haunting melodies, ghostly chanting, along with the melancholic voice of Sakis Tolis, delivered something each fan in the crowd will remember for years to come. The band’s acute attention to every detail in their set, was quite amazing. Overall, a memorable performance that I'm going to remember for years to come.

The Down Troddence
Next up were The Down Troddence, heading in after recently sweeping the Rolling Stone India Metal Awards. The band played tracks from their acclaimed debut album – ‘How Are You? We Are Fine Thank You’. The crowd favorites in – Nagavalli, Death Vanity and Shiva got the crowd roaring! The band delivered a superb cover of Sepultura’s ‘Roots Bloody Roots’. The couple of Brazilians in the crowd went shit-crazy on this note. On the downside, the band’s sound mix could have been a tad better, with the vocals and the keys getting drowned at points. To top it all off, the vocalist (Munz) tried a failed stage dive! The band is one of the standout band from the Indian scene in 2014, and I look forward to seeing this band rise even higher in the years to come.

The final act for the night, were the Teutonic Thrash legends – the mighty DESTRUCTION! The band delivered a grandiose performance, destroying the crowd completely with their music. The speedy riffs and slapping bass left the whole crowd head-banging like crazy. The ferocity of the drum solo, was absolutely breathtaking. A performance that left all thrash fans in the crowd more than impressed.

Although, the event could not maintain its ‘Open Air’ charm, a huge hats off to Salman Syed and team for pulling off a memorable third edition of Bangalore Open Air, despite all the adversities. The indoor gig, brought its own nice club gig charm to it. The attention paid to quality production by this team every year, is something to be highly praised. Bangalore Open Air, is slowly turning into an annual ritual for me, and more than just another gig to attend. A place to catch up with metal-heads from across the country, a get-together for the metal fraternity of the entire country.

I now wait for the fourth edition next year! With Inquisition, Belphegor and Napal Death announced for Bangalore Open Air 2015, this wait is going to be a long one!

Bangalore Open Air 2015: 6th June (Saturday). Pre-Sale Passes (with FREE t-shirt) are available on BookMyShow.

Image Credits: Vishal ‘Clickography’ and Metal FarmerPhotography.

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