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”.
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.
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…
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?
Here’s a slideshow containing more pictures:
[ Pictures - courtesy of Khushboo Sinha. Everybody head over to the link to check out more of her work here: Khushboo Sinha's tumblr page ]