Tag Archives: ihsahn norway

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:

album review : After (2010) – Ihsahn

When Emperor disbanded I had not even started listening to the band. And only after I heard them in around 2004 did I realise the weight of the matter. Coming across umpteen black metal bands after Emperor it was pretty much clear to me that Ihsahn is and will remain the best black metal vocalist. For me ofcourse. But then after repeatedly hearing Emperor and drooling over their music, I realised even my wait will not see another Emperor release.

And Ihsahn did a favor to me and countless others by finding a way to stay connected through his work. 2006 saw the icon take the other extreme side of himself ahead. Progressive influences were seen in Emperor‘s last release and the band Ihsahn picked up from where Emperor left.

With 2 years between each of their albums, Ihsahn has shown a variation in music that only a few can possibly demonstrate in their career. If The Adversary and angL were just glimpses of the same, After comes as a release you need to have in your archives. This time Ihsahn has incorporated jazz influences making it tougher for me to group the album under a genre.

After has a rather mellow start compared to their previous two albums. Opening track The Barren Lands has a melancholic touch to it, and conveying this feeling through music is something I always welcome. It is one of my favorite tracks from the album. Listening to Ihsahn sing lyrics that go this scenery, so beautiful, in thirst for more made me forget his roots. But only for a while.

Before I proceed, at the end of song one Ihsahn is still the harsh vocalist I respect and now he has mastered clean parts too. His clean vocals express the mood appropriately. The band uses a not-so-metal saxophone in most parts of the album and infact the sax plays an integral part on some tracks. This comes alive on A Grave Immersed, Undercurrent and Heaven’s Black Sea. Specially in A Grave Immersed where the sax has been played really fast without shifting from the metal focus.

To see progression at its best the tracks are After, Undercurrent and On The Shores. After starts off with completely clean vocals. Its a soothing track and has various pattern changes making it a strong title track.

Frozen Lakes On Mars has some good riffs and repetitive ones at that. It got my head banging more than any other track. Solos have been included all over. Metal comes alive on this one.

Initial few seconds of the next song Undercurrent somehow reminded me of Bon Jovi‘s It’s My Life. But thats that. At ten minutes this one is the second longest song. Yes, there is an even longer one. Undercurrent is a rather slow track with an acoustic part thrown in for good. The song builds up slowly and the sax has been put to some great use here.

Austere is what I call a beautiful song. Another slow track, it remains slow throughout. Something makes me feel that After was intended to have less harsh vocals, leaving me asking for more of what Ihsahn does best. Its an otherwise ordinary track but speaks volumes musically.

Heaven’s Black Sea is a trippy song. Its like a tale being told. A change from the previous couple of slower tracks, this one has an unexpected start. An elaborate solo is present before the sax takes over for another solo. The song ends where it began, making

On The Shores is the last track and is the longest. But presence of so many progressive layers within a single song does not make it seem like its over ten minutes. Its the only track where I felt the sax does not fit in the way it does on others. By now we are familiar with the amalgamation of saxophone with extreme music and so I sense the uneasiness on this one. But its all good, as it seems this way only at certain points.

The drums and bass have been played by Asgeir Mickelson and Lars Norberg (both from technical/progressive metal band Spiral Architect) respectively. The captivating saxophone player is Jorgen Monekby (from Norwegian blackjazz band Shining). Production-wise I cannot possibly have any complaints. The album has been mixed by Jens Bogren (Opeth, Katatonia). Gone are the days when you have a perfect album releasing, and After is very close to being a complete near-perfect one.

You will have to hear After atleast twice before judging as it grows on you. Thats the beauty of progressive stuff. Ihsahn‘s next will be awaited by me and I hardly await albums anyways thanks to certain disastrous comebacks last year slay(er)ing the wait. I would highly recommend After. Its not just for the average metal heads but for anyone who respects music. After is another fantabulous effort and a new direction in the musical journey of Ihsahn, who is a legend in his own right.

Rating : 4/5

key tracks : The Barren Lands, After, Frozen Lakes On Mars, On The Shores

also read :

album review : Burzum – Belus

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