After months of waiting it was finally time for Bangalore Open Air. Having reached the venue a tad late, I missed the chance to watch the regional winners of the Wacken Metal Battle. The venue provided a perfect backdrop for the event and even though the turnout at this point of the day was less, they were quite a few energetic faces in the crowd.
Theorized was the first band I managed to catch on stage. These guys have come a long way over the past couple of years. The band proved to be much tighter than the last time I saw them. Their music has gotten a lot more progressive since their EP but the base of their music is still rooted in some good old thrash. Abhijit (Escher’s knot) joined them on stage for the song Venomous Tormentia and this was the highlight of their set. I’ve been following the band right from the beginning and in spite of quite a few line-up changes, the band has steadily improved over the years. I hope they put out another EP or a full length album soon.
The next band on stage was Albatross from Mumbai. This was the first time I managed to catch them live and I had high expectations after listening to a few tracks from their EP titled Kissing Flies. Their set consisted of tunes from both their EPs and a cover of ‘Holy Diver’. ‘From Ashes Comes Life’ was a highlight from their set. Biprorshree is easily one of the best frontmen I’ve seen in a long time. Although he appeared a bit out of breath in places, he hit the right notes and he has a great range vocally. Jay was solid behind the kit and the guitarists did an excellent job. It was great to see a lot of quality solos on their songs. Dr.Hex showcased some good bass work. Had these guys played in the evening, I think the atmosphere would’ve been a lot better. Albatross did not disappoint one bit.
It was then time for Bangalore’s own Stoner/Doom metal outfit Bevar Sea. They sounded brilliant. Their guitars had the perfect tone for their brand of music and Srikanth & Rahul complimented each other really well. Deepak displayed some tasteful drumming and did a wonderful job of maintaining the tempo. You don’t need an elaborate kit setup to sound good. Ganesh did a great job on the vocals as usual and joined the crowd during the song ‘Abhistu’. There was aBevarSea chant in the crowd after they had wrapped up their set. The band is consistent, their artwork blends in with their set really well and the bigger stage serves them really well.
1833AD, a black-metal band fromDelhi were the next band on stage. Their set had a couple of interruptions, a long one due to their guitarist Rahul, hurting his arm. Raghav kept the crowd entertained during this time playing a drum solo which had was filled with good fills throughout. Owing to the interruptions these guys never got the crowd going and their set ended up being disappointing. They’re capable of a lot better and it seemed like they had a bad day.
The pioneers of doom/death metal Dying Embrace were next. These guys are the real deal. They played songs that were written decades back and it still sounded heavy, relevant and damn good. It’s a great thing they re-united a year back. Vikram is a brilliant vocalist and frontman. His vocal delivery was perfect. Their music ranged from doom to old school death metal. Deepak once again did an excellent job behind the kit. Vikram thanked all their fans at the end of their set and showed how much these guys cared for their fans.
Eccentric Pendulum was next. Their brand of metal was a major departure from all the previous bands and it was really good to see them on the bill. They put on a fantastic show and their consisted of songs from their album ‘Winding the Optics’ & a well known song of theirs, ‘Sepia Drown’ from their first EP. Vibhas was a beast behind the kit. His parts were well thought out and brilliantly executed. Their set was a lot shorter compared to the other bands which was really surprising. It would’ve been great to see them play a few more songs. These guys deserve a longer stage time. They sounded excellent and put on a great show. They were one of the top bands at the gig.
Kryptos, one of the best bands the country has seen was next. They have a loyal fan following and the crowd was pleased to see them live after a long time. Dressed in leather and denim, the band showcased some great musicianship. Their music is a mix of old school thrash and elements of melodic metal. Nolan’s vocals which sound like it’s inspired by Ron Royce were spot on. The guitar wok was excellent and Ryan provided a solid backing for the band from behind the kit. The band had a well rounded overall sound and they once again showed why they’re one of the most respected bands in the country.
It took a while before Suidakra hit the stage. The rain came down heavy during this point and a part of the crowd ducked for cover under the stalls. They put on a better show compared to the one they put on a few months back while opening for Opeth. They sounded a lot fuller and the crowd really enjoyed their brand of celtic/folk metal. Like their music or not, you can’t take away the fact that these guys give it a 100 percent on stage and they’re a good act to watch. The crowd enjoyed the set a lot and there was a Suidakra chant going in certain fractions of the crowd once they had wrapped up their set.
It took nearly an hour for Kreator to begin their onslaught. The crowd erupted at the first sight of Mille Petrozza. They began with Violent Revolution and the crowd was in frenzy. It was a high-energy set from the word go. Hordes of Chaos and Phantom Antichrist soon followed. The crowd went berserk under Petrozza’s word and circle pits opened up on both sides, the first of many over the next 70 minutes. Jurgen ‘Ventor’ Reil is a powerhouse on the drums. His energy, consistency & skill was a treat to watch. Although the band’s music has changed a bit over their career and it was heartening to see the newer material sit so well in their set. The band shifted gears during the second half of their set and a thrash assault followed. They played their more well-known songs like ‘Pleasure to Kill’, ‘Enemy of God’ and the crowd went nuts. After decades of making music and playing live, the band still puts on a great show. This is one of the strongest sets I’ve seen a band play. It was all out metal from start to finish. The crowd were a happy bunch and craved for a lot more by the time Kreator ended their set.
In terms of crowd turnout, it was really disappointing. There was a maximum of around 1500 metal heads at the gig barely filling up a quarter of the space in the concert area. The gig was definitely worth the travelling and lived up to its hype.
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