Tag Archives: concert

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.

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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.

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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 ]

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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: 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”.

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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 ]


The weekend’s not near, it’s here : Download Festival 2012

Initially started as a blog to document my personal escapades and experiences, Absurd History has now diversified into a professional web-zine that is teaming up with the best of record labels, artists, bands and organizers from across the globe. But, even today, all of this fails to silence the excited boy inside me (I turned 25 this year, and I’m loving it) who had hankered about attending some of the most massive music festivals out there, someday.

What was once just a passing thought that had vanished into thin air, is going to be a part of three day’s of my life, starting today. Decades down the line this post here would remind me that I was there at the tenth anniversary of one of the most acclaimed, celebrated, full-mouthed and crammed congregation of music lovers – The Download Festival.

2012’s edition would have more than 70,000 people participating in it, a total of five different stages, more than 140 bands spanning over a period of three days and don’t even get me started on the jillions of other attractions planned for the attendees. A virgin when it comes to camping, I wouldn’t ask for a better place to put up my first tent than Donington Park. So yea, here’s to a weekend full of muck, booze, sweat, torrential rains and heavy fucking metal. Don’t get your pets along, they’ll get crushed. Alright, I’m getting late now. See you all next week, when it would be you, me and the post-Download blues.


Slayer live at I’ll Be Your Mirror, London 2012 : A review in pictures

That thrash metal would not have completely evolved without the six-lettered Slayer‘s contribution to the genre is as true as the fact that they have the most violent and crazy fans out of the big four of thrash or any other thrash band for that matter. I know, today it does not matter who or what big four is as the quality of releases have so clearly deteriorated, just that now it is impossible for bands to touch such dizzying heights of success. But to understand the kind of respect a band as massive as Slayer commands, to get a first hand experience of having a fully functional production team handling all things for the performing band, one has to be present in person and watch everything disentangle up close and personal.

Since it was the first time I was watching Slayer I did not have any emotions. I was numb, and I still am even after I’m done watching them. There were a few others around me who were recalling their experiences at past Slayer gigs. As to what song had some chick taking off her tee, and what song made Slayer put a break on their performance because some fan had severely injured himself. And here I was, just a few steps away from the stage. With all these talks happening in the background, those umpteen Slayer DVDs playing in my head and their tracks thumping my heart harder than usual, I was almost ready for Slayer‘s first UK appearance in 2012 at I’ll Be Your Mirror presented by All Tomorrow’s Parties. Boy was I nervous or what! Nervous because I would be in an enclosed venue with Slayer firing rounds at me or because their set-list for the night contained stuff dreams are made of.

Alexandra Palace is a massive indoor venue in London, and they were right when they named it a ‘palace’. Wait till I bring you pictures of what the venue looks like from the outside. You can almost see the whole of London from this place, if you have the eyes for it.

Once stoners Sleep stepped down, a huge Slayer backdrop came on. Chicks and dicks, vying to find a suitable spot to catch a better glimpse of Slayer made for an interesting pass time. With my earplugs in tow, I was ready to be assaulted. Entering the stage from every direction the four members opened the floodgates to restlessness. Even before Slayer broke into a song, the crowd was uncontrollable. Like it was all planned, only this time the plan worked well.

To write about Slayer‘s performance would not just be dumb, but it’d be a fucking mistake which is the very reason I clicked while they performed. Because these are times when pictures speak louder than words. It’s already known that Gary Holt is replacing Jeff Hanneman for of Slayer‘s gigs, as the latter has been hospitalized because a spider bit him. As per the latest Jeff is recovering fast. Apart from the music what I carried back home from this gig was Tom Araya‘s cold stare, Kerry King‘s arms, Gary Holt‘s personality and Dave Lombardo‘s energy. Slayer packaged and presented everything in a way that made even the weak feel strong.

Set-list for the night

World Painted Blood
Psychopathy Red
Die by the Sword
Chemical Warfare
Hate Worldwide
Dead Skin Mask

Reign in Blood – the album
Angel of Death
Piece by Piece
Necrophobic
Altar of Sacrifice
Jesus Saves
Criminally Insane
Reborn
Epidemic
Postmortem
Raining Blood

Encore:
South of Heaven
Snuff
War Ensemble

With bodies flying around like a swarm of locusts heading towards you everytime you look in some direction, standing still and clicking these pictures was one of the toughest things I ever did. Luckily I did not require the assistance of paramedics stationed at the venue since I suffered only a few minor bruises, but before Slayer went on stage I had made it a point to remember the exit routes. I wanted to come out alive, so I could narrate this experience. And now my very short wish-list has one less point on it.

Live the Slayer experience through this gallery. Click on them, and keep moving.

Wolves in the Throne Room live at I’ll Be Your Mirror, London 2012

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

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


Bolt Thrower live at Boltfest, London 2012 : A review in pictures

Interested death metal heads already know what Boltfest was all about. The event happened on 7th of April, 2012. Boltfest was, simply put, a charity event organized by Bolt Thrower. Keeping the entry fee at a mere seven pounds and ninety nine pence and in return breaking every tried and tested formula of bringing together a line-up of top notch bands. There was Vallenfyre providing their shoulders to cry on, Benediction to get scared of, Discharge to let yourself go, Autopsy to shake your head in disbelief and Bolt Thrower to weep in agreement. All collections were sent to the Teenage Charity Trust.

Being the last band of the day, Bolt Thrower opened to a packed audience. The scene during Bolt Thrower‘s set looked straight out of their song Entrenched from the band’s last full-length album Those Once Loyal, which contained the following words – In a world of compromise….Some don’t. Bodies were flying from one end of the venue to another, foreheads were perspiring with no time to stop and wipe the salty sweat, heads were banging without caring about whether they hit something hard in the process and horns were raised higher and higher. Sloshed metal heads, from different countries, lived their dream of getting to watch Bolt Thrower at such a gala occasion.

I lost count of the number of times vocalist Karl Willetts said that Bolt Thrower has now completed twenty six of playing ‘perfect’ death metal. We all agree with you, Karl. How did I feel being a part of Boltfest? I felt like I was in a battleground, braving ahead after having joined hands with everyone around me, stomping all those outside who try to curb the basic birthright of humanity, which is freedom. Guess what, we won!

Bolt Thrower‘s set-list at BoltFest, 2012 –

Intro (Battle for Britain Theme)
In Battle There Is No Law
All That Remains
World Eater
Rebirth of Humanity
Warmaster
The IVth Crusade
Ritual
War
Remembrance
…For Victory
No Guts, No Glory
Powder Burns
Inside The Wire
At First Light
The Killchain
When Cannons Fade

Pictures from Bolt Thrower’s set. Click on them to enlarge

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Vallenfyre live at Boltfest, 2012

Benediction live at Boltfest, 2012

Autopsy live at Boltfest, 2012

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Autopsy live at Boltfest, London 2012 : A review in pictures

It was the reign of old school death on this particular evening at Boltfest when Sir Chris Reifert came in with his team of surgeons for a postmortem examination of every head that was to bang along to the music of Autopsy. Seeing is believing. Just to rephrase this a bit, seeing and hearing is believing.

At the count of four given by Sir Reifert on his well-tuned cymbals, Autopsy broke into a frenzy and the music was seen spreading like wildfire across the venue. Sounding exactly like how they do on record, it was amazing to watch Sir Reifert give vocals and smash the drums at the same time. Truly a sight to behold, and this also resulted in the size of mosh-pit growing bigger and bigger with every passing song. Some were seen hitting the next person blindly as they couldn’t believe they were watching Autopsy live. I did not hit anyone though. When a legendary figure in the death metal scene is seen growling with so much passion that his nerves begin to become visible then you just close your eyes and thank your stars for the sight. One cannot review a gig by bands of the likes of Autopsy, one can only share the experience. The band was outright crushing, with all members delivering their absolute best. And I pretty much know that I won’t get to see them again. Alright, have a look at this…

The tracks played by Autopsy at Boltest, London 2012 –

Intro
Hand of Darkness
Twisted Mass of Burnt Decay
In the Grip of Winter
Severed Survival
Gasping for Air
Slaughterday
Dead
Mauled to Death
Voices
Charred Remains
Ridden With Disease

I believe Chris Reifert should be knighted. Fuck that shit, I’m still going to address him as ‘Sir’.

This is how it looked when Autopsy struck HMV Forum with their mighty death metal sledgehammer. Click on each to enlarge the photos

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ALSO READ –

Benediction live at Boltfest, 2012

Vallenfyre live at Boltfest, 2012

The DesertFest day 1 at The Purple Turtle, London

The DesertFest day 2 at The Black Heart, London

The DesertFest day 3 at The Underworld


Benediction live at Boltfest, London 2012 : A review in pictures

The second slot at this year’s metal mania Boltfest went to death metal stalwarts Benediction, who haven’t released a new album for quite a while now. On 7th April, 2012, Benediction erupted like a dormant volcano wanting to tear your ass with its intensity, smoldering every part of you along its way. The performance by them need not be written about, as I have only good things to say about them. They got it all right. Be it uniting metalheads from different parts of the globe who had come to see them, or maintaining a level of musicianship that is hard to attain in the first place. Vocalist Dave Hunt was seen repeating how cancer fucks up one’s life, and we all should support the cause anywhere in every way possible. The entire venue nodded in unison, as this concert was not just about coming, chilling and watching some badass death metal bands but also about joining hands in favor of the Teenage Cancer Trust. Benediction, and the other bands on the line-up did their bit by organizing a gig, lending their names to it and providing all the possible strength to fight the ongoing battle with the demon that is cancer.

Benediction played the following tracks at Boltfest

Intro
Unfound Mortality
Nothing on the Inside
Nervebomb
Nightfear
They Must Die Screaming
Jumping at Shadows
Subconscious Terror
The Dreams You Dread
Suffering Feeds Me

Horns up to Benediction for being themselves. It turned out to be a wonderful meet-and-greet evening for lovers of one of the most extreme genres out there.

A few pictures from Benediction’s set. Click on each to enlarge

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Review of Vallenfyre’s performance at Boltfest 2012


Vallenfyre live at Boltfest, London 2012 : A review in pictures

Making the metal-heads go bonkers like a dynamite is up their arse, Boltfest‘s line-up was the most excellent in a longtime and I don’t think it is going to be easy to beat such a lethal line-up. Dedicated entirely to the cause that was driving this entire festival, Boltfest was organized so that us metal-heads can go there, pay a menial amount – the proceeds of which were being sent to the Teenage Cancer Trust – and then witness five of the most definitive death metal artists out there. Bolt Thrower had announced that the show was sold out within a matter of minutes and all this happened, quiet silently, when I was back in India. Buzz started doing the rounds when Bolt Thrower started adding support bands to the line-up one-by-one. The final line-up, take a look –

Vallenfyre
Benediction
Discharge
Autopsy
Bolt Thrower

Once here in UK, the moment this gigantic piece of news reached my ears I instantly knew that I had to be there, even if I had to sell my own self. That wasn’t really required as I got in touch with the management, and they were kind enough to offer me a guest entry to the gig. Boltfest was clashing with day 2 of The DesertFest, but I was left with no choice. You already read the names up there. I fucking had to go!

Band number one was Vallenfyre. Formed by members of My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost, At The Gates and Brujeria (actually the list is never-ending), Vallenfyre is relatively newer only in terms of its formation because the experience in the band’s musical ingredients makes it one of the most sought after bands today. I back up my words by a mere mention of The Fragile King. The debut blew my nuts away. 6 p.m. and the band was on-stage. When discipline and death metal go together you get a pinch, exactly what I needed to make myself believe that the gig has begun. This was Vallenfyre‘s second show ever, after their live debut in Finland which happened on February 2nd, 2012.

Gregor and co. began churning out tracks from The Fragile King, and the sound was echoing from all corners of the indoor venue – HMV Forum, Kentish Town, London – hitting each death head inside like a stone drenched in doom metal. Vallenfyre surpassed my expectations by not only sounding super tight, but they also had an eerie feeling surrounding them which went well with the groovy death metal. Almost no bright lights during their performance, they demolished the stage and left. There was very little interaction between the band and the audience, but I remember Gregor talking about the cause this festival was supporting.

In fact the doom quality of Vallenfyre‘s music becomes more evident during their live show. From the entire Vallenfyre set it was the last few moments of the song Desecration which really stuck with me. Those minutes were grand and the lights were completely off. I couldn’t have asked for more.

Vallenfyre‘s set-list for the night –

All Will Suffer
The Divine Have Fled
Ravenous Whore
Cathedrals of Dread
The Grim Irony
Humanity Wept
Seeds
As the World Collapses
Desecration

Vallenfyre’s performance in pictures. Click to enlarge –

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