album review : Firdous (2013) – Coshish

album : Firdous

artist : Coshish

genre : Progressive Rock

year : 2013

The idiosyncrasies of a band that has been hard at work, silently, has been perfectly captured on Firdous. Coshish is not giving away music here, they are coming towards you with a flame of emotions.

coshish firdous logo album coverWith the underlining strength of Firdous being undeniable melody, and a lot of soul, Coshish‘s vigorous storytelling ability is a fresh departure from the aisle of oft heard rock, that all seem to be a product of the same flock. After clambering out of life’s unpredictable trenches, day in and day out, putting your life in the hands of some purposeful work of art doesn’t just lift one’s spirits, but that is also the only way of life I’ve known. Firdous is a carousel that has heaps of images from your past, present and future on-board. Let’s start the ride.

The poetic carnival kicks off with the title track Firdous, and is a very post-rock influenced song where the vocals also act as an instrument. They are all on the same layer, so to speak. Hence, the intro builds up a range of possibilities, where the lyrics act as the nuts and bolts of this emotional bridge. It’s a comfortable song, and you’ll be absorbed by the tune. The grace lies in the details. Listen carefully…

The progressive aspect of the whole prog-rock thing becomes visible on Raastey, complete with oscillating patterns, vocal range variations, tightly in-sync instrumentation and unexpected guitar tunes. You ought to be aware of the fact that you definitely do not know where the songs are headed. The songs don’t hit you in-the-face nor do they befuddle you. What they do is heighten the pleasure of the sonic enlightenment you are up against. The odd timings are carried forward on the tracks CoshishMuktiWoh Kho Gaye and Maya.

coshish music video

Rhythm is like the cornerstone of Coshish‘s sound. Pick any song and try to dodge the rhythm sections. It is very prevalent, it is very necessary and it is in the context of the entire scenario. I would most definitely want to highlight the work on RaasteyWoh Kho Gaye, Firdous and Hum Hai Yahin. So, we’ve established that the life of the band lies in the strings. The guitar solos on CoshishWoh Kho Gaye, Rehne Do, Raastey and Hum Hai Yahin animate the whole experience of hearing Firdous.

While the versatility on drums is all over the album, hear Maya, Raastey, Coshish and Mukti to remove the tag of a procrastinator, if you carry one, because the throbbing will get you going!

shrikant sreenivasan  guitars coshishThe opening piece on Behti Boondein initiates acoustic strumming, accompanied by sitaresque samples and the band goes onto induce a trance-like state. The innocence is inevitable in the vocals, so are the active beats on the percussion well complemented by the bass, thereby liberating you from the shackles of some self built mystery.

Maya means illusions, but the irony of the track is very evident in the words. The band uses the route of reality to replicate a similar world of illusions through the song. It is a hard-hitting composure, bringing you face to face with a mirror, and you have to decide which side you are on. Luscious harmonies dominate majority of the album, and I swear by the tracks Rehne Do, CoshishBhula Do Unhey and Raastey.

Your allegiance to memories would be tested on Hum Hai Yahin and Rehne Do. A lump in your throat would be an apt metaphor to this song’s adroitness at handling you. And since everything comes with two sides, you could also be vivaciously looking forward to the future. The entire track has been knit together as one entity, with the libretto breathing life into it. The more you hear it, the harder it gets, if you know what I mean. I’m in love.

An epic closure to the album, comes in the form of an instrumental titled Mukti – the longest track out of the ten gems. Supreme play of instruments, unconventional mind-bender moments and varied temperaments best describe this song. The outro, being an instrumental, gives you time to reminisce about the entire record thereby playing a series of events in your mind that you were actively part of.

coshish band live

The production on the record, by all means, is as clean as a hound’s tooth. A very essential need for bands recording their material is to find the right sound, and Coshish could not have asked for a better launch. The bass gets its ass kissed on CoshishWoh Kho Gaye, Maya, Rehne Do and Bhula Do Unhey. Some twisted vocal talent, inclusive of high range is displayed on Raastey, Woh Kho Gaye, Maya and Rehne Do. I have to add there is a lot of room for experimentation in the vocal department.

Well, if love means to you what power means to a politician, what erroneous situations mean to superstition and when looking after her doesn’t mean obligation then Firdous is right on money with the sound and worth every penny you want to spend because you’ll fall in love with the record. Impactful songwriting aside, Firdous contains some of the most heavenly lyrics. Coshish talks about stuff you already know. But, every now and then we require some means through which we can relate to anything and everything around us, and that is what Firdous successfully achieves.

hamza kazi drums coshish workshop

Picture this: A mug of your most-liked beverage, overcast skies and light drizzles outside while you make yourself comfortable in one corner of your balcony. That’s when you’ll want Firdous in the background. You wouldn’t want to trade all of that for anything, would you? Go ahead, pick up the record and swim in a pool of dreamlike melody…

Rating: 4/5

Coshish is:

Mangesh Gandhi on Vocals, Rhythm Guitars, Mouth Organs
Shrikant Sreenivasan on Lead Guitars
Hamza Kazi on Drums, Xylophone
Anish Nair on Bass

coshish band 2013

Firdous has been produced by Zorran Mendonsa.

Coshish‘s facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Coshish

Coshish‘s website: https://soundcloud.com/coshish

Raastey‘ official music video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXKzA0YDjDw

Have something to say to the band, send an email to: coshishband@gmail.com.


rendezvous with Gojira

Gojira, Jean-Michel Labadie, Joe Duplantier. Mario Duplantier, Itihas Shetty

[L to R]: Jean-Michel Labadie, Joe Duplantier. Mario Duplantier, Me

Gojira, Itihas Shetty, Christian Andreu

[L to R]: Me, Christian Andreu


Solar Deity’s Aditya Mehta: “Exhumation is nowhere on my priority list”

solar deity band logoSoaked completely in black metal, Indian band Solar Deity started off as a studio project. Besides being a full-time live band now, Solar Deity is the only Indian metal act whose propensity for Satanism cannot be ignored. Clad in black robes the members take the stage not only with their instruments but also a clay pot, to quench their thirst. In short, they mean business.

I sat down with my pal Aditya – vocalist/guitarist of Solar Deity to discuss the Indian metal scene in general, Laveyan Satanism, Exhumation, the upcoming Black Metal Krieg gig and of course Solar Deity! Let’s proceed with the interview already, shall we?

  • Yo, Mehta! I’ve known you for years now. Why do you think I’m excited about interviewing you at this point in time.

Aditya – Because you know I’m going to say controversial stuff! I’m very cheery these days because the new EP is doing so well, and in general everything’s going great. Life is good, man. But I won’t disappoint you, old friend, so go ahead and hit me with the rest of your questions. I place my hand on the e-book version of the Satanic Bible and promise to tell you the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth!

Now that’s what I call creative relief. Alright, moving on…

solar deity band

  • You bash the Indian metal scene and many of the bands at the drop of a hat. It clearly shows that you, as an artist, are either uneasy or unhappy about the scene progressing or regressing in a particular direction. What, according to you, would be an ideal Indian metal scenario, where you don’t see yourself blasting, be it in interviews or conversations.

Aditya – Oh, balls to everyone! The scene is filled with poseurs and ass-kissers who are dying to be liked and accepted. Anyway, if these bands want to jack each other off it’s none of my business… but this underground scene is a fucking joke. There are very few bands that are actually worth something. The rest can die in a plane crash or get crushed under a bus.

So there is no ideal Indian metal scenario. You’ve clearly given up…

  • aditya mehta pot solar deityLet’s skip everything about how and why Solar Deity was formed. Tell me what does black metal mean to you, and how much of your ideologies could Solar Deity successfully imbibe.

Aditya – Black metal is music for the soul. I still love death metal the same way, of course, but black metal is what touches my spirit. Death metal is craft, black metal is art. I’m doing everything in and with Solar Deity that I couldn’t do before; I don’t have to hesitate at all. My vision is clear, the others in the band share it and and we are achieving it together.

  • You keep saying you are a Laveyan Satanist. I, myself support what Anton Lavey had to impart because it is logical. But, apart from the obvious, what do you mean when you say you are a Laveyan Satanist. How different your life would’ve been had you not known who Lavey is.

Aditya – Oh, come on, this is like asking Muslims what they would be if they hadn’t been born into Islam. I don’t know… I would’ve been a trendcore poseur, I guess… ahaha! Okay, seriously – I wouldn’t have been this strong mentally, I wouldn’t have been this focused, and I certainly wouldn’t have had this drive. My whole life changed the day I realized I was a Satanist… everything became very clear. There is total clarity in my life, and zero bullshit. It gets better as I grow older, it gets even more powerful with time. Around two years back the change in me was very noticeable: I realized nothing was happening with Exhumation and that I would have start another band to make extreme music… That was a fucking moment. I gave up drinking for almost a year, and the focus and drive came right back and I embraced the anger and hatred that was in me. I accepted it completely. It’s beautiful, y’know… the things anger and hate can drive you to do… it’s fucking amazing.

The right question pumps you up!

aditya mehta animesh das solar deity

  • Your jam sessions are a tribute to the devil, and your live shows are rituals. What’s the deal.

Aditya – Eh! I make a big deal out of everything. Eating muskmelon ice cream is a ritual, and when we eat aam-ras and the works in the summer I behave like there’s a grand ceremony taking place. It adds fun to my life.

  • Am I forgetting the band that put you into the Indian metal history books in the first place. No, I’m not. No news about Exhumation, no shows, and a lot of rumors. Put an end to it.

Aditya – Exhumation is nowhere on my priority list. Solar Deity is my main band and I have a few other projects waiting to happen: Spirit (death metal), Angry Dwarf (avant-garde noise), Heretic Magus (death/doom and funeral doom) and Bludgeoned Sociopath (goregrind). Apart from all this, I have a book of short stories to complete (I haven’t written a story in four years), more books to write, cats to take care of, and a life to live. If anything more needs to happen with Exhumation, it will – but I’m not exactly bathing in anticipation. Also, I’m fucking sick of being asked about Exhumation, so if anybody really wants me to talk about it they can first buy me a quarter of whisky.

OKAY, now that clears the air…

solar deity devil worship artwork

  • Solar Deity facts: 3 Eps, 1 single and an on-going three city tour. How receptive/supportive has the Indian metal scene and the non-existent metal media been to the group. You might want to add what more is in store.

Aditya – Pretty much the whole scene was stunned when we released In The Name Of Satan. Nobody really expected me to do anything after Exhumation started fizzling out, but I’m me, y’know? It’s so much fun when people forget what I am because I love reminding them. Then we released Snowless, and then The Darkness Of Being and now Devil Worship… we still have so much more to do, and we’re looking forward to it.

A few websites gave flimsy reasons for not writing about us, but they either disappeared into oblivion or came around eventually, when they realized we weren’t a random band that had come to pass time. The websites that did help us, however, really helped us – and they are responsible for spreading our music in a big way, and I’m very grateful to them.

  • Are you excited about this landmark all-black metal event Black Metal Krieg 3 that Solar Deity is part of. The audience is aware that Solar Deity would be unleashing their stuff at the gig. Tell them why exactly should they be present during your set.

Aditya – Of course I’m excited about Black Metal Krieg 3! Any extreme-metal fan will fucking come in his pants at the gig… I mean, look at the fucking lineup! I think this show is going to be great for Solar Deity because Mumbai and Thane will get to see our all-new lineup, and we’ll be playing a long set with stuff from all the EPs… and we’re getting to share the stage with these awesome bands. Kunal Choksi and Kunal Gonsalves are pulling off some mad shit here… every metalhead worth his/her favourite black t-shirt is going to be at BMK3… fuck yeah!

Solar Deity is:

Aditya Mehta on Guitars / Vocals
Animesh Das on Bass
Amogh Sharma on Drums
Niraj Singh Chauhan on Lead Guitar

solar deity band live

To stay updated about the band join their page here: https://www.facebook.com/SolarDeityIndia

Website: http://solardeityindia.com/

Aspire to be a groupie? Drop an email to: solardeityindia@gmail.com.

[ Black Metal Krieg 3 (featuring 1833 ADStark DenialSolar DeityCosmic InfusionWinter GateDark DesolationWinter ProphecyDormant Inferno and Spiked Crib) is the only event in India that pays tribute to black metal. The event is going to demolish a venue in Bombay on the 8th of December, 2013. Stay updated here: https://www.facebook.com/events/626388167400031/ . ]

Must read:

Interview with 1833 AD ahead of their headlining gig in Bombay (December 8th, 2013)

Album / Ep / Demo / Teaser Reviews

2010 article about the Indian Black Metal Scene

gig review : Black Metal Krieg (December, 2010)

Gig / Concert / Festival Reviews

Diverse Articles


1833 AD’s Nishant Abraham: “The usage of chord progressions that typically define Black Metal, come to me naturally”

1833 ad band logoAhead of 1833 AD‘s headlining gig in Bombay, Nishant Abraham – frontman of Indian black metal act 1833 AD talks about the challenges faced by the band, their 2012 debut record ‘My Dark Symphony‘, why they love playing in Bombay and tackles a few other questions that need a credible black metal band’s opinion.

Read on…

Imagine a world completely devoid of black metal. There is no reference point and such a genre doesn’t exist. Would 1833 AD still have existed.

NishantTo a certain extent, yes, but I wouldn’t have been so creative to term it Black Metal. I would have gone with something cheesy; Dark Metal, at best. The darkness that Black Metal creates, like any other form of music, is because of the arrangement of notes. And the usage of such chord progressions that typically define Black Metal, come to me naturally. Instrumentally, would we have sounded similar? Definitely. In terms of vocals? No chance in hell. I came from a very mellow vocal background and wouldn’t have considered screaming into a microphone even in my wildest dreams.

Three members in Delhi, and one member in Bangalore. Two different cities. Considering the obvious issues of management and lesser jamming sessions you guys still manage to pull off a tight gig. What does it take to make that happen.

Nishant – It is tough. With the distance, we have to practice regularly on our own to ensure we know our parts like the back of our hand so that it all comes together as one fluid piece when we perform. We feel it’s important to jam together at least once before a show. For this, we usually try and reach the city a day before. Sometimes it’s on the day of the show. Once, all we had time for was on-stage sound check. It was the biggest challenge we ever faced but we pulled through and were extremely proud of ourselves.

1833 ad black metal

A band wants to cover obscure underground songs that they truly believe in. And often it is overheard that the choice should’ve been a mass favorite. Your thoughts.

Nishant – Hmm, interesting question. Maybe it comes down to the band’s ideology. Are they trying to win points with the crowd? Or are they showcasing their music and influence? Personally, I wouldn’t mind either and we have done both in the past. We would do a song that no one knows if we feel the audience could use a good lesson in Old School Black Metal, but we would never play a song that we don’t believe in just to please the audience.

I’m aware of the staggering numbers that went into the production of ‘My Dark Symphony’. Resulting in a product that is top notch. No compromises there. What was going through the band’s mind when it came to the financial aspects of recording the album.

nishant abraham 1833 adNishant – How are you aware of that?

I know everything (laughs). Anyway…

Nishant – We had spent a lot of money just to get the music ready. But the concept we went with was incomplete without the artwork. Did we really have to spend so much on artwork? Maybe. Maybe not. Why settle? We wanted to create something that was never done before. The artwork has a vague storyline going on which is a mystery in itself. Trying to understand what each page means, how it possibly relates to a song, division of the chapters, et cetera are some of the alluring things My Dark Symphony has to offer. Something our fans could buy and feel that they got their money’s worth. And I think we did that with My Dark Symphony. If you are reading this and have no idea what we’re talking about, shame on you!

Alright, there are people who take 1833 AD’s music seriously, and that’s where the true fanbase comes into picture. Any upcoming gigs these people should know about.

Nishant – We love our fans! We get emails from our fans asking us for lyrics, tabs, minus tracks, etc. Everything we do, every penny we’ve ever spent, it all seems worth it with each of these emails.

We are playing two shows at the end of this week. Chandigarh on the 26th and Delhi on the 27th. We are also talking to few organizers in Jaipur and Pune. If something materializes, we’ll announce it on Facebook.

Bombay is going to play host to the third edition of Black Metal Krieg (BMK) event on the 8th of December, 2013. Sign-off the interview by telling us how do you plan to captivate your audience at BMK 3.

Nishant – We love playing Mumbai. The fact that it’s BMK just makes it more special. Getting to share the stage with so many other Indian Black Metal bands is a great privilege and we look forward to it. The Mumbai crowd returns the passion with which we perform. We will be throwing in a few surprises, some of the unforgotten classics perhaps? It’s gonna be wild!

1833 ad band live

1833 AD is:

Nishant Abraham on Vocals/Guitars
Rahul Mehalwal on Guitars
Sushmit Mazumdar on Bass
Raghav Sehgal on Drums

http://www.1833ad.com/

https://www.facebook.com/1833ad

If you want to contact the band directly, shoot an email to: 1833ad@gmail.com.

[ Black Metal Krieg 3 (featuring 1833 AD, Stark Denial, Solar Deity, Cosmic Infusion, Winter Gate, Dark Desolation, Winter Prophecy, Dormant Inferno and Spiked Crib) is the only event in India that pays tribute to black metal. The event is going to demolish a venue in Bombay on the 8th of December, 2013. Stay updated here: https://www.facebook.com/events/626388167400031/ . ]

Also read:

In-depth review of 1833 AD’s debut album ‘My Dark Symphony’

Dormant Inferno’s debut demo ‘In Sanity’ reviewed

2010 article about the Indian Black Metal Scene

gig review : Black Metal Krieg (December, 2010)

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festival review: Iced Earth live at Bangalore Open Air, 2013

One of the biggest names in heavy metal, over 25 years of experience in ruling the metal business and with ten full-length albums to their name – Iced Earth from United States was welcomed by a meager crowd with visibly less enthusiasts than one would hope to see at their concert. But that is neither the fault of the organizers, nor the band’s.

stu block iced earth live bangalore open air 2013 absurd history 02

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As the headlining act at Bangalore Open Air’s 2013 edition, Iced Earth fit the bill perfectly considering their legacy and their ardor on stage. Iced Earth have composed songs for your party, and for your happiest moments, at the same time they have tracks about grimness, they make a human connection with their lyrics, also belt out music about their personal experiences. They have it all.

jon schaffer iced earth live bangalore open air 2013 absurd history

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With the preparations on Ronnie James Dio stage in order, the professionalism shown by the organizers and the arrangements on the performing platform in place, Iced Earth clasped the opportunity to do what they do best – Play heavy fucking metal. John Schaffer and co. unshackled years of their love for music by performing for an audience that is over 8000 miles away from where they hail from.

troy seele iced earth live bangalore open air 2013 absurd history

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Expecting chaos in the pit (which I am not fond of) during a performance people would die to be a part of I could see enough space for a pregnant lady or a potbellied fat fuck to walk around freely. luke appleton iced earth live bangalore open air 2013 absurd history Anyways, I focused on the instruments, the vocals and the sound and everything culminated into a favorable situation with even the weather not playing a spoilsport. The set-list included a mix of old classics like I Died For You and Iced Earth, as well as their newer material Dystopia and Anthem. Quite a band that names their track Anthem. Moving on, Stu Block blew the roof with his high pitch and if there was anyone who could replace Matt Barlow it is Stu. What a singer!

iced earth live bangalore open air 2013 absurd history

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But without Troy Steele and John Schaffer (on guitars), Luke Appleton (on bass) and Raphael Saini (on drums) we couldn’t have imagined such a spectacular display of metal unison. Well, I can go on and on about how unfortunate the band was for being able to spot the last person in the crowd, but then for us fans it was nothing less than a success. The gig and the festival. Beer, heavy metal and a true fan need no company. So, I shall just say thank you, Iced Earth. Just keep going…

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[ Pictures - courtesy of Khushboo Sinha. Everybody head over to the link to check out more of her work here: Khushboo Sinha's tumblr page ]


festival review: Dark Tranquillity live at Bangalore Open Air, 2013

martin henriksson dark tranquillity live bangalore open air 2013 absurd history

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Swedish melodic powerhouse Dark Tranquillity were also amongst one of the most anticipated bands to play at the 2013 edition of Bangalore Open Air. With their immense love for themes like memories, death and despair, for those of us who are actually into it couldn’t have come any closer in terms of matching our emotional frequencies with a metal artist. DT, as they are fondly known to their fans, amaze the listeners each time with their tracks, that enhance the blurry corridors of our mind thereby cleansing the world that’s present inside each person. And hence there is a massive connect.

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Having missed their Hyderabad performance in 2011, being there in front of Jeff Hanneman stage was mandatory for me. And boy did they splash the crowd with showers of dark melody! Everyone woke up from their drunken slumber and paid attention to Dark Tranquillity‘s roulette. We chose our ball, placed it on whichever compartment of our emotional wheel and there they had a song ready for you. Razor sharp death metal was acuminated even more by their earsplitting presence on stage. Everything remained benign during their performance, be it the weather, sound or vocalist Mikael Stanne‘s smile.

niklas sundin dark tranquillity live bangalore open air 2013 absurd history

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Having successfully released their new record Construct earlier this year, India was a perfect stop for their album tour and the band made sure they did not leave anyone dissatisfied. dark tranquillity live bangalore open air 2013 absurd history 01 Heads were banged and fists were raised to their tracks that were chosen more from their new record, but old crowd favorites were also played. The lethal combination of Martin Henriksson (guitars), Anders Jivarp (drums), Niklas Sundin (guitars), Martin Brändström (synth) and our beloved Mikael Stanne (vocals) sent chills down the spine of everyone who was present during their set. Not that they were spooky or anything, but they achieved it through a barrage of intimidating cimmerian riffs and beats.

Huge grins on the faces of the members throughout the set placed us in their hearts, and I have no doubts about them returning again in the future. Tenth DT album is now out and they are still going strong. For never disappointing their fans, be it with their studio albums or a live performance, may the force always be with Dark Tranquillity.

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[ Pictures - courtesy of Khushboo Sinha. Everybody head over to the link to check out more of her work here: Khushboo Sinha's tumblr page ]


festival review: Ihsahn live at Bangalore Open Air, 2013

And now the fanboy speaks…

The only reason I had decided to travel all the way to Bangalore, almost a month back, was to see one of my favorite black metal vocalists and musician extraordinaire Vegard Sverre Tveitan in flesh, also known as Ihsahn to the world. When Emperor had dis-banded it was like a personal loss to me because I knew I’d never see them play live or record an album again. But that was that.

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In 2005, Ihsahn formed a band under the same monicker to experiment with the various ideas that his creative and passionate mind kept coming up with. Not black metal by definition, Ihsahn made sure the underlying theme remains dark and picked up from where he left off on Prometheus – The Discipline of Fire & Demise, Emperor‘s 2005 release. Hence the progressive nature of the music on all of his solo works.

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When Ihsahn stepped on the stage with his guitar, I simply couldn’t believe that I was staring into his eyes. He was the same man who wasn’t into any kind of politics when the black metal scene erupted in Norway in the early-1990’s. Instead he made more and more music to make his point. It took me, personally, a good ten minutes to survive the fact that I’ve seen a person who encouraged me to get my first tattoo dedicated to him, who opened new avenues in my mind, who made black metal my lifestyle and was influential to me in so many more ways.

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This multi-instrumentalist performed tracks from Eremita, which released in 2012 as well as tracks from all of his previous releases After (2010), angL (2008) and The Adversary (2006). The years have been mentioned besides the album names in order to show his consistency as a musician. Although Ihsahn is a solo project the live members include Tobias Ørnes Andersen (drums), Tor Oddmund Suhrke (guitars, backing vocals), Øystein Landsverk (guitars, backing vocals), Einar Solberg (keyboards, additional vocals), Rein T. Blomquist (bass) – All of whom are members of Leprous from Norway. Leprous were also part of Bangalore Open Air and they performed just before Ihsahn on the Ronnie James Dio stage.

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A legend made an appearance in India, entertained us, even said he was very happy for being able to make it and left me and I’m sure many others speechless by his humility, stage presence and undying love for music. It is moments like these that remain stored in a shell inside our subconscious mind and it is moments like these that make life worth living. I know Emperor fans are still trying to get their head around the fact that they actually saw Ihsahn, and we all should thank the organizers of Bangalore Open Air for making an intelligent and worthy choice. All the way from Norway!

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[ Pictures - courtesy of Khushboo Sinha. Everybody head over to the link to check out more of her work here: Khushboo Sinha's tumblr page ]


festival review: Leprous live at Bangalore Open Air, 2013

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Many might not have figured this out, but in Ihsahn‘s band there were only members of Leprous, apart from the main man of course. Hence Leprous got this big break of travelling all the way from Norway to not just perform with Ihsahn but to showcase their own slab of avant-garde progressive metal. Since I am a huge fan of Norwegian black metal I went there thinking they are just a band that’s there to fill a slot but they proved me wrong from the very first note.

tor oddmund suhrke leprous bangalore open air 2013 absurd history

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What’s so peculiar about Leprous you ask? It’s their flair. Grabbing eardrums by way of closely scrutinized progressiveness and attracting eyeballs by way of dressing up in a distinct fashion (think Akercocke, Ghost). Norwegians have these magnetic personalities and you end up bobbing your heads anyways.  Up on the Ronnie James Dio stage, Leprous made a major contribution to Bangalore Open Air, 2013. Downright progressive metal with characteristic riffs and consummate drumming crippled many in the crowd which directly earned Leprous many new fans.

Coal, Leprous‘s third full-length, was released this year and hence the set-list included most of the tracks from the new record. Each member brought in their own influences, and it looked like a large assembly on the platform with five members in the band. Vocalist Einar Solberg also doubled up as a synth player. Almost every other member, except drummer Tobias Andersen, boosted the band’s sound through backing vocals. Let’s not forget the elephantine addition by the other three significant members Tor Oddmund Suhrke (guitars), Øystein Landsverk (guitars) and Rein T. Blomquist (bass).

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Thumbs up from India to this progressive act, by not just me but the audience who took pleasure in their music and the people who are going to discover them bloody soon through word-of-mouth. The conglomerate that is Leprous is a force to reckon with in the years to come, and I’m going to keep track of the happenings in their garage. Cheers, guys!

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[ Pictures - courtesy of Khushboo Sinha. Everybody head over to the link to check out more of her work here: Khushboo Sinha's tumblr page ]


festival review: Animals As Leaders live at Bangalore Open Air, 2013

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A major chunk of the population that was there to attend Bangalore Open Air this year was for Animals As Leaders, which could be easily seen from the excitement in the crowd. Now that excitement was because they were all fans of extreme progressive instrumental metal or because Animals As Leaders were the first international band to hit the stage after Demonic Resurrection‘s slot is something I’d like to leave for the readers to interpret. I’ll add this for some assistance – “Arey wo foreign wala band chalu ho gaya hai” was overheard while I was walking towards Jeff Hanneman stage with my beer in tow. For readers not versed with the language Hindi the statement translates to “That band from abroad has started performing”.

javier reyes animals as leaders bangalore open air 2013 absurd history 02

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Frankly, I wasn’t there at the festival for Animals As Leaders simply because I don’t understand them. Before everyone draws a conclusion about the writer here, I merely implied that their music is not supposed to be understood. Such level of progressiveness is a gift of Animals As Leaders‘s sensory abilities. Keeping up with the marvelously frequent change in the pace and shredding of the guitar, and neatly done so, watching the drummer communicate with the rest of the troupe at the same speed and watching the coordination between the trio from the United States is not anyone’s piece of cake. It is enjoyed because it is not something everyone can do.

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Toshin Abasi is a genius, and let me re-iterate, he is a genius. He doesn’t even look at his guitar strings while animatedly scribbling his fingers through them. Instead, he smiles at the audience and humbly gathers all the affection that everybody has to offer. Well, let me put it this way – You cannot not love someone who is so precociously talented, be it a musician or a writer for that matter. That knowledge of the unknown, that confidence of the unheard and that guitar playing unlike anyone cannot be ignored.

Javier Reyes is no less, folks. Going hand-in-hand with the complicated instrumentation, Javier aided in getting those fists high up in the air while drummer Matt Garstka fucking broke the bass drum by bashing the kit inhumanly. Matt does his shit with complete concentration, and that’s what happens when so much awesome intensity gathers at one place and all of it culminates into an explosion. New bass drum please…

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Animals As Leaders possibly got the best reception as it was during their set that we saw maximum mayhem. No, bodies weren’t flying but hell of a lot of metal love was bestowed upon the band. So, it would be safe to say that Animals As Leaders left the stage and the country with a lot of satisfaction, and we, the crowd are still trying to understand what happened during their majestic set with only one question on our minds – How the fuck do they play all that?

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[ Pictures - courtesy of Khushboo Sinha. Everybody head over to the link to check out more of her work here: Khushboo Sinha's tumblr page ]


festival review: Demonic Resurrection live at Bangalore Open Air, 2013

sahil makhija demonic resurrection india bangalore open air 2013 absurd history

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It was at Bloodstock Open Air last year that I saw India’s Demonic Resurrection play for a multiethnic crowd, and I wanted to see how accepting the audience is. And having seen them in our country for the last ten years I must say the response was as good as what I must’ve seen at one of their best gigs in India, if not better. This, when Paradise Lost were on the main stage.

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Welcome to the Ronnie James Dio stage where Demonic Resurrection – the oldest, one of the the biggest and darkest Indian band that kick started this year’s Bangalore Open Air festival, but in broad daylight. Nevermind. Unfortunately the only Indian band to have been invited to play at the Bangalore festival (as the rest couldn’t for various reasons), Demonic Resurrection braced the audiences with their brand of demonic metal. Demonic metal, which I would say is a concoction of symphony, progression, speed, death, black metal with a slice of technicality is today very mature than what we have heard from them over the years.

daniel rego demonic resurrection india bangalore open air 2013 absurd history

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The set list consisted of tracks from their previous two albums, A Darkness Descends (2005) and The Return to Darkness (2010), out of the three that Demonic Resurrection has released till now. Sadly, since they were the first band to open Bangalore Open Air post the Wacken Metal Battle the audience was only a handful who treated themselves to a cocktail of some complex extreme metal. A sound that is one of it’s kind in our sorry ass nation, and a band that made its way to the top through sheer fortitude. While many tried to bring them down, the band retaliated with more hard work, thereby setting an example in the minuscule history of metal that India has.

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Frontman Sahil Makhija, a friend and a good musician, shouldn’t have called out the name of some guy from the audience as that, for me, does not add to the stage act. Crowd interaction is a must for entertainers, and Demonic Resurrection being the torchbearers of metal itself in India does not do it any less. The audience would be a lot happier if there is more interaction in general, than pointing out names. We are at a festival and in the audience there could be anybody from any place on the planet. That being said, Demonic Resurrection is tight as a tick, musically. Thanks to the ensemble star cast that comprises of guitar prodigy Daniel Rego, bass-nailer Ashwin Shriyan, impossible-to-match drummer Virendra Kaith and synth-lover Mephisto.

All set to release another album this year, Demonic Resurrection made sure they do not give the listeners a sneak peek of their yet-to-be-titled fourth album. If you are a fan then you’ve got to wait and watch out for their new sound, which according to guitarist Daniel is, “much more evolved than what we’ve composed in our earlier albums, in every department that DR delves into“. With a live performance like that, and an album in the pipeline I wish DR all the very best for their future.

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[ Pictures - courtesy of Khushboo Sinha. Everybody head over to the link to check out more of her work here: Khushboo Sinha's tumblr page ]


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