Category Archives: Gig / Concert / Festival Reviews

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

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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.

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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.

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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: Demonic Resurrection live at Bangalore Open Air, 2013

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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.

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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 ]


Black Sabbath live on Jim Marshall Stage at Download Festival, 2012 : A review in pictures

The title says it all. Possibly Black Sabbath‘s last performance of their career, and as expected drummer Bill Ward was replaced by Tommy Clufetos (drummer Ozzy Osbourne, ex-Alice Cooper).  They headlined Jim Marshall Stage on the final day of Download Festival 2012. Even after almost forty three years of the band’s formation, Black Sabbath showed more than a hundred thousand of us why they are still one of the greatest metal bands that’s ever walked the earth.

Black Sabbath’s set-list for Download Festival, 2012

Black Sabbath
The Wizard
Behind the Wall of Sleep
N.I.B.
Into the Void
Under the Sun
Snowblind
War Pigs
Sweet Leaf
Symptom of the Universe (instrumental)
Drum Solo
Iron Man
Fairies Wear Boots
Tomorrow’s Dream
Dirty Women
Children of the Grave

Encore:
Paranoid

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YOB in pictures : Live at I’ll Be Your Mirror, London 2012

Fans of stoner doom rock n’ roll music benefited the most out of this year’s I’ll Be Your Mirror in London. Out of the six bands on the line-up, four were very closely related to the genre. YOB‘s front-man Mike Scheidt could not contain his feelings about being able to deliver a performance alongside some big names, even though they themselves are able to attract a lot of crowd, and they sure did live up to expectations.

YOB’s set-list for the night –

Prepare the Ground
Burning the Altar
Adrift in the Ocean

This is how the band looked on-stage. Click to enlarge


A Storm of Light’s set at I’ll Be Your Mirror, London 2012 : In pictures

Day one of this year’s I’ll Be Your Mirror was opened by United States of America’s A Storm of Light. Meticulously planned with a video backdrop for every song, à la Roadburn, the first impression was already created by the festival as well as the band, and it was a very deluxe one. I had thought the video backdrop would in some way make up for me not being able to attend Roadburn earlier this year, but as the day passed by I realized the backdrop was only part of A Storm of Light‘s performance. A festival line-up as varied as this one at this one, any sort of complaint would fall on deaf ears. What with YOB, Wolves in the Throne Room, Melvins, Sleep and Slayer warming up back stage.

Animated members of the band ASOL slit open their bag of doom sounds, giving the festivites a gloomy start. A Storm of Light lapped up this opportunity by putting out a memorable performance.

A Storm of Light’s set-list for the night

Silver
Missing
Wasteland
Wretched Valley
Collapse
Black Wolves

Here are some pictures shot during their set. Click on them to enlarge


Rival Sons live on Zippo Encore Stage at Download Festival, 2012 : Pictures

American blues rock band Rival Sons took to the Zippo Encore Stage on day 3 of Download Festival, 2012. Those of you who haven’t heard their second album Pressure & Time already should catch hold of it before you miss out on an opportunity to watch them play in your neighborhood only because you thought the band’s name does not make sense. What matters is the name makes sense to the band, and they ooze out rock n’ roll while paying equal attention to the blues and classic rock. Rivals Sons have also announced the title of their third full-length due to release this year on 17th September. It has been named Head Down.

Rival Sons live at Download Festival, 2012. Click on the pictures to enlarge them.


In pictures : Megadeth live at Download Festival, 2012

Back in 2008, when Dave and his thrash orchestra Megadeth had hit Palace Grounds (Bangalore, India) I had lived through one of the most painful days of my life since I couldn’t attend the concert for some reason. Little did I know that years later I would watch one of my favorite band from the early 80’s thrash explosion at the mother of all events – Download Festival, 2012. Since Megadeth was to enlighten the audiences on how to play good live music on the main Jim Marshall stage (obviously!), I snailed my way closer. No more than a fifteen minutes wait, Mustaine coolly walked onto the stage. No epic background music, no introductory theme, no suspense, no bullshit. That’s what Dave is loved for!

The rifftastic extravaganza, coupled with metal’s most unique voice, began with Never Dead and went on to captivate the audiences, who let their hair down as Megadeth belted out classics like Hangar 18, Sweating Bullets, Public Enemy No. 1, Symphony of Destruction, Peace Sells, A Tout Le Monde and Holy Wars… The Punishment Due along with the rest of the tracks. They delivered one of the best set-lists of the festival, and I’m delighted to include Megadeth‘s performance as a part of my long term memory. Having already enjoyed all their albums and now that I’ve seen them live I’m a fan for life, and before I forget the wait for their fourteenth record just became slightly more difficult.

Check out these pictures taken during Megadeth‘s performance. In order to enlarge, click on them individually

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album review : Th1rt3en (2012) by Megadeth

Film / Documentary reviews

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Interactions / Interviews


Ghost (Swedish band) in pictures : live at Download Festival, 2012

Mysterious Swedish heavy metal outfit Ghost played this year’s Download Festival too, and they took to the Pepsi Max Stage on the last day (read Sunday, the tenth of June) of the fest. Particularly at 19:30 hours. With just one album out since their formation in 2008, and absolutely no piece of official information about who is behind all the chilling make-up, Ghost has already played almost every major metal festival in a short span, have impressed fans and critics alike, and are definitely the next big thing in metal. Considering Ghost hasn’t written a single new song since their first release, there had to be some way of differentiating their appearance at all the festivals (including last year’s Download) and Ghost decided to don white garbs for the very first time. The band has toured with Metallica, James Hetfield loves them, and when the whole of Anthrax had gathered in one corner of Pepsi Max Stage to partake in the breathtaking ritual that was to follow, I wasn’t surprised. As for their performance, Ghost proved to be the connoisseurs of their genre, which, on the whole, is satanic heavy metal and manages to take you through every age of metal. I think everyone should try and catch the band at these smaller platforms because Ghost is going to join the big league and hit the main stages soon, and then, there would be no turning back.

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Also check out –

Slayer live at I’ll Be Your Mirror, London 2012

India’s premier black metal act 1833 AD’s debut album reviewed

Bolt Thrower live at BoltFest, London 2012

Album / Ep / Demo / Teaser reviews


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