With the faint smell of weed in the air, manic screams of
revelry, ear-splitting distortion and one of the biggest Metal lineups India
has witnessed, Bangalore Open Air 2015 exploded with an epic climax on 7th June 2015 at Royal Orchids Resort,
days of pure Metal mayhem with 32 bands playing in total, easily making it one
of the biggest festivals dedicated to Metal in the country.
from Darjeeling winning the Indian leg of the Wacken Metal Battle, the stage
was set for the finale headlined by the Godfathers of Grindcore, Napalm Death. They were joined by the
Diabolical Blackened Death Metal band Belphegor
(Austria), the mighty Black Metal duo Inquisition
(U.S.), Pantera tribute band Unwhole
(Germany) and Death/Thrash band Orator
(Bangladesh). As always, the evening also featured amazing local acts such as Undying Inc (Delhi), Escher’s Knot (Chennai), Gutslit (Mumbai) and Nauseate (Bangalore). Plague Throat (Shillong) were also
amongst the lineup, but sadly, Vocalist Nangsan
Lyngwa’s illness stopped them from hitting the stage.
The gates opened to a handful of cheery Metalheads at 3:45
pm and surprisingly, Unwhole started off the proceedings! I felt a bit sorry
for them because there were a little over 10 of us in the venue when they
started to play. However, that didn’t stop them from grooving us with classic
Pantera tracks including “Walk”, “Mouth For War” and “Domination” apart from some covers of Down. Nolan Lewis from Kryptos
joined them on stage for one of the songs, giving Vocalist Barto Cuffe some respite from the fairly hot Bangalore afternoon.
|Inquisition unleashing black/thrash metal brutality at BOA 2015 | Photo: Sairaj Kamath/Centuries of Sin|
After Unwhole got us nicely warmed up, Grindcore act
Nauseate took the stage. Considering how the entire evening unfolded, Nauseate’s
performance was the dullest. They did manage to get some attention from the
crowd, but the abrupt endings to their songs didn’t go down too well with me.
It was like throwing a spanner in the works.
energy into the crowd. They were super-tight and got the crowd grooving from
the get-go. The excitement reached manic levels as they played “The Grand Design” and “Mayan Calendar” from their ‘Tesellations’ EP amongst others.
Vocalist Abhijith Rao was on top of
his game, growling and screaming his lungs out. The crowd was still fairly less
in number, and I feel sorry for those who couldn’t witness the sheer energy the
waving his hands in a chopping motion on the Jeff Hanneman stage. The
excitement inside me was palpable as I rushed to see Gutslit perform live for
the first time. They did not disappoint one bit and mesmerized us with a brutal
mix of Death Metal and Grindcore. Vocalist Aditya
Barve may have got into some verbal banter with the crowd during their set,
but his boundless energy was infectious enough to make everyone groove to their
up our ear drums. When we turned around, it was Nishant Hajger from the mighty Undying Inc blasting away on his kit
with supreme finesse on the Main stage. What followed was complete destruction.
Undying Inc unleashed a kick-ass Technical Groove Metal set as they played
tracks from their ‘Preface to Erase’
EP, ‘Aggressive World Dynasty’ and ‘Iron Clad’. Vocalist Shashank Bhatnagar’s unmatched stage
presence and powerhouse vocal performance is a treat to watch every single time.
They kept their legacy intact by playing a supremely tight set, barely losing
steam even for a moment. However, it was the crowd who seemed to have lost
steam. I’ve seen this band playing live many times but I have never seen a crowd
lazily sitting down when they play “Manimal”
or “Aggressive World Dynasty” or
their much recent moshpit-inducer “Pit
from Bangladesh were up next, and put up an awesome performance despite sound
issues. Vocalist/Guitarist Skullbearer’s kickass riffage wasn’t
audible and kept getting lost in the mix. However, drummer Mephistopheles’ sublime work behind the kit was a treat to watch.
This was the first time I saw them, and they were very impressive.
next set of acts took the evening to an entirely new level. Belphegor’s
performance was a treat to the ears as well as the eyes. The stage, drenched
blood-red in color, was an apt background over which the band unleashed their
nightmarish Blackened Death Metal sound, making the crowd bang their heads in
unison as if possessed. The crowd made its presence felt for the first time in
the night as Belphegor played “Gasmask
Terror”, “Black Winged Torment”
and “Conjuring the Dead” amongst
|Belphegor brought in a foreboding atmosphere of black metal to the festival | Photo: Sairaj Kamath/Centuries of Sin|
was the band that got the most respect from the crowd for their passionate
performance. It’s hard to believe just two people were making all that noise. Dagon’s evil croaks and memerising Black/Thrash
riffagery coupled with Incubus’
power packed drum work appealed to every single one in the crowd.
2015 ended with an epic climax by the headliners Napalm Death, who never seem
to get old. Barney Greenway’s boundless
manic energy was a sight to see as the band performed a mix of classics like “I Abstain” and “When All Is Said and Done” and tracks from the latest album “Smash a Single Digit” and “Metaphorically Screw You”. They
concluded the night with “You Suffer”
much to the crowd’s delight.
|Headliners Napalm Death laying waste to the grindcore-hungry crowd | Photo: Sairaj Kamath/Centuries of Sin|
attended three of the four BOAs, I can easily claim that this year’s edition
was the most brutal amongst the previous installments. However, I also feel it
lacked the attendance that the festival and the lineup deserved. However, with
the organizers announcing Soilwork
and Vader confirmed for next year, let’s
hope this trend stops and festivals like BOA gets it due.