Bangalore Open Air 2013 : Introduction, announcements and a chat with the organizers

In a bid to broaden India’s metal horizons, Infinite Dreams founder Salman Syed and his team have taken up the arduous task of doing what seemed like a distant dream just a few years ago.

bangalore open air 2013 logo

Such is the trappings of our mundane life that escaping the daily routine and hating the unreasonable comes easy. After a long bout of gigs, festivals and metal parties across the United Kingdom in 2012, the last thing I wanted was to not have a festival back home. That culture is zealously and emphatically addictive. All the celebrations and mammoth gatherings of like-minded, carefree, metal-loving population across the globe is something that is looked forward to. All year round.

For starters let’s not forget we did not even have local gigs happening in India. There was no such thing called live metal gig for us. Just over a decade ago, the sonic boom that causes your ears to bleed was a craving. I remember being present at gigs where the total attendance was not more than 30 people including the playing bands. Shame. Today, after Iron Maiden ventured into our territory in 2007, the penetration of international acts is seen as an overdose by many. The question remains unanswered and the answer lies within. Not hard to figure out, as the answer goes something like – Pack your bags and attend.

2012 was a game changer. Heavy metal aficionado and manager of Bangalore-based band Kryptos, Salman Syed decided to break the barrels and open the gates for all of us to be able to experience something massive. Brought to life by Infinite Dreams, in association with Wacken Open Air (Germany), Bangalore Open Air aided us maniacs to bring out our black accoutrements and witness real bands that have made their way to the top through sweat and only that.

bangalore open air 2013 line up poster

When quizzed about why exactly did he take this initiative, a very tied up Salman replies, “Having inspired by Wacken Open Air I wanted to create something along the same lines in India, and hence the idea was born and BOA is here“. In terms of the challenges faced in putting together a line-up like this one the man takes a very nonchalant approach. “After the first edition bands were excited to see the response and wanted to play at BOA so it wasn’t difficult to get them on board“.

The onus of handling the media section of BOA is on Bangalore-based Samarpita Samaddar. A short tête-à-tête with her provided me an insight into what is going through the minds of the organizers. And this is what Samarpita had to say, “We started BOA festival last year with just two international bands Suidakra and Kreator. It received a big response and was really successful. This year, it’s bigger and better with an unbelievable line-up“.

Going further, I wanted to know how exactly did the mainstream media welcome this concept of hosting such a humongous metal festival in India. “Though for mainstream media, heavy metal is a very niche genre so it is challenging but I have to say that we have got a very good response from the media as of now. A festival of this stature is never an easy game, it takes a lot for organizing it well, to make sure everything goes smoothly. The metal scene in India is changing widely across the country. With platforms like Wacken Metal Battle, India is seeing a steady growth in popularity and with festivals like BOA, we can see a mix of international and Indian bands playing more and more in India“, says Samarpita, who is also an independent publicist.

ihsahn live at bangalore open air 2013

One year old and still going strong (which is surprising for a festival in India that has only metal on the menu), BOA has managed to rope in some of the biggest names for the 2013 edition. Surprisingly there is variety which directly implies the turnout should be gigantic. In no particular order here’s what our retinas and eardrums would be subjected to this year:

1. Ihsahn (Norway) – Extreme Progressive Metal

2. Sodom (Germany) – Speed/Thrash Metal

3. Iced Earth (United States) – Power/Thrash Metal

4. Dark Tranquillity (Sweden) – Melodic Death Metal

5. Animals As Leaders (United States) – Instrumental Progressive

6. Leprous (Norway) – Progressive Metal

7. Demonic Resurrection (India) – Progressive Death/Black Metal

And, what kind of reception is expected this year, to which Salman signs off by saying, “I hope more and more people understand the importance of festivals, and I’m confident that this year it will be bigger and better at BOA“.

Do not let go of this unadulterated metal fest. Show your support because otherwise you would not have anywhere or anyone to run to for any kinda grievances and all your complaints would fall on deaf ears. Life waits for no one. Let your hair down and be a part of Bangalore Open Air.

[ Visit the official website here : Bangalore Open Air official website for details pertaining to the venue and ticket outlets. The tickets are priced at Rs. 2499. ]

Oh, and there is a poll as well:

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R.I.P. Santhosh Lobo

santhosh lobo indianrockmp3

Santhosh Lobo

With a heavy heart I bid farewell to my friend, the founder of IndianRockMp3, Santhosh Lobo. After a prolonged battle with cancer, Santhosh – the independent promoter of Indian music scene, is no more. Santhosh touched thousands of lives by simply setting up a website that would provide you every information about any Indian band you could possibly name. Be it articles, interviews or collaborations, he did everything selflessly, with a glee in his eyes which is what made him a special person in the Indian music scene.

With his passion aside, I knew this man for his candor, the motivation he provided me and the ease with which he took everything in his stride. I’ve lost someone I was close to, I’m devastated and my heart goes out to his family. I know we all move on with things in life, but this one’s definitely going to be a hard one. Rest in peace, Santhosh. I’ll miss you. Or rather, we all will.


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

Click on the pictures o enlarge them.

And, there is a slideshow as well!

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Metallica live on Jim Marshall Stage at Download Festival, 2012 : In pictures

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August Burns Red live on Zippo Encore Stage at Download Festival, 2012 : Pictures

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Killswitch Engage live at Download Festival, 2012 : In pictures

Pictures from American metalcore outfit Killswitch Engage‘s performance at 2012’s Download Festival.

Venue : Donington Park

Click on them to enlarge


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


album review : Orkan (2012) – Vintersorg

album : Orkan

artist : Vintersorg

genre : Viking/Folk Metal, Progressive Metal

year : 2012

Jamming even more seriously to their own proggy folk tunes, the Swedish-duo reproduce their jolly good music, and while you’re playing the album you’ll even forget to wipe your nasal mucus. Effective, eh?

Start a topic on folk metal and a detailed discussion would lead to the conclusion that Vintersorg are second to hardly any bands. These sons of Sweden could never make an intelligent critic frown at their tracks, simply because the mesmerizing output of their hard work is beyond the realms of musical pleasure. Managing to weave together viking topics with heaps of progression has made them a bullet proof metal act. With seven full-length albums that speak on behalf of this band’s talent, the journey that Vintersorg has had, looks straight out of a successful band’s biography that has multiple merits to it’s credit. Correction – A successful folk metal band’s biography. Folk is a step ahead, it is an elaboration of metal, and makes the genre proud.

Never simplistic in their approach, Vintersorg‘s eight full-length Orkan takes its time to unravel some of the untouched mysteries of a lovable metal category. Within an year of Jordpuls, the duo consisting of Vintersorg and Mattias Marklund have dropped an unsurprising package of eight tracks. Take for instance the speed-driven riffing on Istid, with a lot of clean vocals accompanied by many parts of chorus. The drumming pattern on the album is circuitous, and dials a different progressive number each time. Ur Stjärnstoft Är Vi Komna sets the surrounding on fire, helps vocalist Vintersorg growl his own words, and is mostly symphonic. Growls take the pole position on Havets Nåd, and Norrskenssyner.

The beauty of Vintersorg lies in the fact that even though they might be working too hard, their songs come across as seamless. Like how some things are meant to be, their songs too meant to be logical and musically meaningful. Third track Polarnatten has it all packed into one, be it the vocals, the keyboards, the boundless guitar playing. It is one song that has folk written all over it, along with Orkan and Havets Nåd. Vintersorg has been a town of melodies with every alley filled with melody in some or the other form. Even Orkan would receive all of my votes for carrying rhythmic tunes. Specially on Norrskenssyner and Urvädersfången, as they raise the groove bars too.

Nature, philosophy, culture can have bright as well as dark aspects to them, and when an epic band like this one decides to devote their songwriting to such subjects then the music branches out into several directions. Myren has a surprise in store with a very bluesy and pleasant guitaring. Orkan is entirely in Swedish, which won’t hit you in the first instance. The production is neither excellent, nor a let down. A fine balance is maintained, and is even raw at places.

The ever-lighting lamp post that goes by the name of Vintersorg has once again produced songs that pierce deeper into your skin, and make a visible place for themselves, even if it means to find the whole space already clogged with some good folk releases this year, which includes my favorite album Helvetios. Orkan will usher you into the strong viking kingdom, where the floating bubbles of progressive material will burst softly and you’ll cling on to the record for a long time to come.

Rating : 4.5/5


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.


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