I had never heard of Deccan Rock Festival before I read about it on Rolling Stones India website. A small article that read Textures and Amon Amarth would come down and play for us. I had that sudden rush of blood moment when it finally began to sink in that Amon Amarth – a band i’ve been listening to for 5 years now – is coming to India. Some weeks down and the poster for this confirmed gig came out, and it featured some real good Indian bands apart from the headlining ones. The entry fee – Rs. 450. woah !
And then it was 5th December. It was the festival day. Even though I wanted to settle inside the venue at the mentioned time of 1 pm, i had this natural instinct of not getting there on time. I reached 2 hours late and i still had to wait for an hour and a half. Talk about mismanagement. The entry began at 4:30 pm. The organisers had hired only a part of the humongous Palace Grounds. I entered and proudly looked around. It was a big day for me and my fellow listeners of metal. But it didn’t look big with just maybe 100 people around me. Comeon it is supposed to be a metal fest. I took time to go around some stalls selling cds and official Textures and Amon Amarth merchandise.
The opening band for the event, playing here after winning some competition was Eccentric Pendulum. This Bangalore-based band with an Ep out showed just how much they deserved to win that so-called competition and be here. They played an all original set ending with my best track of theirs The Sculptor of Negative Emotions.
The enthusiasm among the crowd was still in infant stage. The energy levels around were not too high, with everyone just roaring
and raising their devil’s horns in appreciation towards the end of Eccentric Pendulum‘s songs which is the least any crowd could do. But it took an Inner Sanctum to create mayhem. The mere mention of the band’s name was enough to ignite the pit. This band has made quite a name for themselves with every organiser wanting them to play at their event. I can’t say if all these big events happening only in Bangalore helps. Inner Sanctum‘s stage presence with each member knowing exactly what to do is what makes them connect. They opened with Eye Of The False and followed it up with tracks from their Ep Provenance.
It was Undying Inc from Delhi next. It was more of a progressive metal day what with Eccentic Pendulum and now Undying Inc. I had only heard them on record but it takes a live act to leave your mouth open. This 4-piece death metal band was so fucking tight that
it showed just how carefully the bands have been picked to play here at this event. They deserved a standing ovation. Yes, some
douchebags were sitting like they have been forced to come here. Undying Inc with their undying spirit came back strong after each original track and left the crowd wanting for more.
Bhayanak Maut is known to create pits and hurt necks everytime they play. For some reason the band was being booed off. Until they began playing ofcourse. Bhayanak Maut has been gigging a lot post their album release in August this year but I happened to miss out on all of these. Watching them live after almost an year made me feel even more lucky. It took 6 members including 2 vocalists to re-create the mosh. Playing tracks from their new album they were majorly appreciated. A special mention to Anupam Roy on the sound console. He was the reason the bands came across to the crowd the way they wanted to.
By now it was dark and the crowd had grown from 100 to maybe 1000. I wanted to see more. A lot more.
With my favorite Indian band Kryptos playing next, I pitied the food stalls behind coz the bands ust weren’t letting me leave my place. Its become common to see Nolan carrying a Liverpool scarf everytime Kryptos is on stage.
They began and I was already swaying to their metal. Everytime they play my belief is re-inforced that they are a near perfect band. Close your eyes and its like hearing them on a player. With 5 tracks ending with Descension it was a treat.
Next up were Demonic Resurrection. They were setting up and i overheard someone saying these guys are funny it seems as they do not play seriously. And i got reminded of DR 6 years ago when it used to be utter confusion on stage. Today they are the most sought after extreme metal band from India. For rural metalheads with limited or no internet access, DR is playing at the Brutal Assault next year with the likes of Corpse, Bodom and My Dying Bride. DR was the most unlucky band of the evening with time for just 3 songs, one of them being their new track The Unrelenting Surge of Vengeance. They promised to be back in January with their new album The Return to Darkness.
Now it was time for THE bands. Crew members from Textures took around 20 minutes for the setup. I really wanted to get into the All Access area. I sneaked in and managed to stay there till the end. All thanks to my friend Madhav from Road Crew Records. So when Textures took the stage i was right under them. Textures hailing from Holland carried forward the progressive metal act. They started off with the track One Eye For a Thousand.
The enthusiasm and presence of the band on stage showed how much they were enjoying. It was really a big deal for me to watch Eric (vocals) doing the aggressive growling and clean vocals with such finesse. The technicality of the band was something to watch. Stef Broks (drums) was flying. I needed another pair of eyeballs to really understand what he played .They played everything the crowd wanted – Storm Warning, The Sun’s Architect, Laments of a Icarus. It was followed by the favorite Awake and they concluded with Regenesis.
Then came the moment I was waiting for. Videos of all their tracks started playing in my head reminding me of the synchronized headbanging by the members. Setup was quickly done by the crew. The stage was ready to grace Amon Amarth, and their entry was quicker than I realised. They already began playing Twilight of the Thunder Gods before I could let the feeling sink in that the monstrous Johan Hegg was growling in front of me. I was lost banging to their songs. That feeling cannot be expressed, sending the crowd into an absolute frenzy. I was actually witnessing one of my favorite drummers Fredrik do his thing. Perfection right there. Johan was giving a brief intro before each of their songs conveying just how strong the band’s viking roots are. The band went on to play the mesmerizing tracks which included Runes to my Memory, Asator, Guardians of Asgaard. Their set ended with that 1 track everyone wanted – Death In Fire.
It was madness. I did manage to get hold of Olavi Mikkonen’s (guitars) pick. Their 1 hour set seemed like just 20 minutes. So wanted them to go on playing. But then it was already past 10 pm. Damn they couldn’t play Cry of the Black Birds, Pursuit of Vikings.
This is one gig that is going to be etched in my mind for a really longtime. It was all about metal. As was rightly put by Johan Isn’t life all about metal..? Oh yeah absolutely..!
p.s. : All the pictures included in the post – courtesy of Madhav Ravindranath (Roadcrew Records).
Also read :