Tag Archives: metal

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

martin henriksson dark tranquillity live bangalore open air 2013 absurd history

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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.

niklas sundin dark tranquillity live bangalore open air 2013 absurd history

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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: 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 ]


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.

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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:


Baptized in Alcohol

This is just a small proportion of the total amount of alcohol that was consumed at this year’s BoltFest at HMV Forum, London. Attendees can try looking for everything that kept their hands busy before, during and after the gig. Your time starts now.

No luck? No worries. Alright, now all of y’all, raise your whiskey glasses, beer mugs and vodka shots high up in the air and get a glimpse of what is going to flow down your throat. You don’t really need a reason to drink, do you? So let’s get wasted this one time. Cheers!

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Bolt Thrower live at BoltFest, 2012

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Vallenfyre’s second ever live appearance of their career at this year’s BoltFest

Reviews of latest metal releases. Read and stay updated.


Cannibal Corspe live at Destroyers of the Faith, London 2012 : A review in pictures

The band everyone was really here for at London’s HMV Forum from various parts of the country was about to show all of us what it takes to be one of the greatest death metal band ever.

But before that there is a little something I’d like to write about. When I landed outside the Kentish Town tube station I saw hordes of people in black. I went up to two friends to know where exactly the venue was. They were busy discussing something. It was then when one said to the other, “Dude, you should listen to Darkthrone” and he turned towards me. There I was wearing a Darkthrone t-shirt and the three of us just stood there looking at each other. One of us had to break the ice now, as we did not realize what just happened. Well, its called coincidence. The same guy, who was in a Death hoodie by the way, started expressing as to how he was just telling his friend about Darkthrone. “Oh yes, killer band” is all I said. We talked for about a minute or two and the same guy told me how he couldn’t wait for Cannibal Corpse to play Hammer Smashed Face and that it was all he was here for. I told them I was hoping CC plays some new stuff too. A quick question about the directions to the venue and that’s how I landed up at HMV Forum. This was exactly three hours before Triptykon left the stage.

After a good twenty-minutes setup, amidst some guitar tuning and drum beats the main headliners Cannibal Corpse opened the gates to quality metal with Evisceration Plague. All hell broke loose as bodies started flying and heads started banging fiercely. The owner of the most powerful neck on this planet, which is also home to the very throat that gives birth to the majestic growls – Corpsegrinder controlled the crowd. We were all his pawns. Humorous at times and straight-to-the-point at others he even made the women wet by dedicating Fucked With A Knife to them. The almost one hour set had Alex playing his bass to the best of his abilities, while Pat and Rob were unstoppable. And behind the kit we had Paul making it clear that death metal drumming is much harder than it seems. So yea it was pretty much pure death metal and no bullshit by Cannibal Corpse. The audience was also reminded that Torture releases sometime next week. Well, we all know this band, so the subject remains the same but the arrangement and situation changes. Pick up your copy soon is all I have to say.

And hence the curtains came down on Destroyers of the Faith 2012 tour’s London gig. Brought to you by Metal Hammer this event had both variety and complexity on the line-up. The whole event was surely a success and I bet this was just the beginning. Either way we aren’t complaining, are we?

Corpse‘s set-list for the night –

1. Evisceration Plague
2. The Time to Kill is Now
3. Disfigured
4. Demented Aggression
5. Scourge of Iron
6. I Cum Blood
7. Fucked With a Knife
8. Covered With Sores
9. Born in a Casket
10. The Wretched Spawn
11. I Will Kill You
12. Priests of Sodom
13. Unleashing the Bloodthirsty
14. Make Them Suffer
15. Hammer Smashed Face
16. Stripped, Raped and Strangled

The indomitable Cannibal Corpse live in action. Click on the pictures to enlarge them :

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Click on the link to check out Triptykon at Destroyers of the Faith tour, London 2012

Go right here to watch pictures of Job For A Cowboy performing live at Destroyers of the Faith, London 2012

You might also want to look at the pictures taken during Enslaved’s performance at Destroyers of the Faith, London 2012


Triptykon live at Destroyers of the Faith, London 2012 : A review in pictures

Enslaved successfully injected the progressive viking virus into the crowd before the third act for the night Triptykon took things in their own hands. A relatively newer yet bigger band, Triptykon was formed from the ashes of Celtic Frost. If you do not know Celtic Frost you should stop reading from here. Tom Fischer, in order to continue educating the metal world about the subject of doom, went on recruited a few killer musicians and hence we have Triptykon today.

It was grim from the word go, and matters became all the more so when Tom entered into the audience’s eyes with his cold stare. Coarse riffing coming out of the loudspeakers knocked everybody off. Might have bored a few who were there only  for Cannibal Corpse but otherwise everyone seemed in favor of the happenings.

One moment that filled the venue, HMV Forum London that is, with energy was when Tom invited Corpsegrinder on stage for one of the songs. It was quite a jam between musicians from two completely opposite genres, and you had to be there to witness the camaraderie. George couldn’t stop himself from doing the windmill to Triptykon’s songs too. Easily a section of the gig that will be remembered.

“We own this world.”

Well controlled, dim flickering light arrangements on stage heightened the effect of Triptykon‘s tracks which saw the band cover Celtic Frost songs as well. The death metal oriented wailing vocals by Tom did not allow anyone to take their eyes off him. Including me, but I made sure I caught a glimpse of their bassist Vanja every few minutes. Good bass playing, and good looking too. Bonus!

Triptykon captured while they did their thing. Click to enlarge :

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The indomitable Cannibal Corpse live at Destroyers of the Faith tour, London 2012. Click. Now!

Go right here to watch pictures of Job For A Cowboy performing live at Destroyers of the Faith, London 2012

You might also want to look at the pictures taken during Enslaved’s performance at Destroyers of the Faith, London 2012


Enslaved live at Destroyers of the Faith, London 2012 : A review in pictures

Hailing from Norway, Enslaved were the next band for the evening after Job For A Cowboy. This was the second time I watched Enslaved live. I was never a stranger to their music and the band was sounding much more confident than they did during their India gig. They started the show with Ethica Odini from their last full-length, and the set-list also included their popular cover of Led Zeppelin‘s Immigrant Song. The dazzling combination of progressive black and viking metal was brought alive for an audience that reciprocated by banging their heads left, right and center. By the time Enslaved had finished half their set the venue was starting to get packed, and the audience gave a roaring response to Enslaved‘s tracks. The band pretty much deserves every bit of it, because they have believed in their music since 1991 and that, my fellow metalheads, is a fucking long time. As for their performance at Destroyers of the Faith, I would not have replaced them with any other. May the soaring Norwegian metal scene continue to entertain us forever.

The pictures I clicked when Enslaved was performing for us. Click to enlarge

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Click on the link to check out Triptykon at Destroyers of the Faith tour, London 2012

The indomitable Cannibal Corpse live at Destroyers of the Faith tour, London 2012. Click. Now!

Go right here to watch pictures of Job For A Cowboy performing live at Destroyers of the Faith, London 2012


Job For A Cowboy live at Destroyers of the Faith, London 2012 : A review in pictures

Destroyers of the Faith 2012 had four big metal names embracing the stage – Job For A Cowboy, Enslaved, Triptykon and Cannibal Corpse.

Job For A Cowboy started off their death metal playing early (at around 18:30 p.m) in comparison to the attendance during the Cannibal Corpse set, but they were on time. Only the ones who were there specially to not miss them had their heads turned towards the stage. Quite a sizable number I must say, and the rest of them pretty much realized after a while that JFAC are already shattering the glasses at the bar located behind this kickass indoor venue named HMV Forum. It’s in Kentish Town, London. The band’s from Canada. Having already made their mark in the deathcore genre, JFAC are now capturing the essence of death metal in their songs. Their set-list also included songs from their upcoming album Demonocracy which is due to release next month. They are coming to get you. Wait till you hear their new release!

Check out how much Job For A Cowboy enjoyed being on stage. To enlarge click on them

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You might also want to look at the pictures taken during Enslaved’s performance at Destroyers of the Faith, London 2012

This is how it looked while Triptykon was nailing their songs at Destroyers of the Faith tour, London 2012

The indomitable Cannibal Corpse live at Destroyers of the Faith tour, London 2012. Click. Now!


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