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Review |  08 Jun 2015 20:36 |  By IANS

Bangalore Open Air 2015: Headbangers revel in heavy metal mania

MUMBAI: The fourth edition of Bangalore Open Air - India's only dedicated open air heavy metal festival - saw some of the finest Indian and international acts play unabashedly raucous and energetic metal music for hordes of headbangers who had gathered here from across the country and abroad for the final leg.

The week-long affair, which commenced on 31 May, came to a befitting conclusion at the Royal Orchid Resorts in Yelahanka with international headliners Napalm Death (Britain), Inquisition (US) and Belphegor (Austria) delivering their maiden performances in India.

Overall, the festival, which is curated by Infinite Dreams, featured 32 bands throughout the week. Festival organiser Salman U. Syed told IANS that in its subsequent editions too, Bangalore Open Air is going to be a seven-day affair.

"The whole idea of doing this is that in future people know that there is one week of metal happening in Bangalore", he said.

Over 1,000 heavy metal aficionados had descended upon the lush green venue to witness what was to become a truly memorable evening on Saturday, 6 June. The gates of the venue were thrown open to screaming fans during late afternoon and the event began around 4 pm.

Bengaluru-based Nauseate began the proceedings with their brand of raw, old school crust-fuelled grindcore and set the tone for the rest of the evening. The next acts, Chennai-based progressive metal outfit Escher's Knot and Delhi's Undying Inc, turned up the decibel levels with their highly charged-up and eclectic sets. Dhaka-based death/thrash trio Orator had the old school metal crowd headbanging and fist-pumping in the air to their music.

The opening acts of the festival built an unrelenting mood for the crowd, which was getting increasingly anxious to catch a glimpse of the legendary headliners. Up first on the main stage were Austrian extreme metal legends Belphegor, an unstoppable force which has been going strong in the underground since the last 20 years.

Playing their maiden show in India, the four-piece act delivered an electrifying performance for a packed crowd which cheered the band throughout their almost one-hour long setlist. The front row was crammed mostly with people wearing Belphegor t-shirts gazing at the stage with awe and disbelief.

A few minutes after Belphegor finished playing, the “Jeff Hanneman stage” began preparations for the arrival of American black metal legends Inquisition - a globally respected act, which has garnered admiration from fans and critics alike for its unique, 'ancient' sound.

The band, which was greeted with a massive roar by the crowd, began their performance with élan and mesmerised the awe-struck audience throughout their set. Formed in the year 1988, Inquisition started as a thrash metal act but later switched to black metal in the '90s. With over 25 years of experience, Inquisition delivered a truly remarkable and memorable performance, which enthralled the crowd for almost an hour and left them asking for more.

The final act of the night, Britain-based grindcore veterans Napalm Death, brought the festival to an epic closure with their unique brand of extreme music which reflects upon the social evils of society. Their charismatic frontman Mark “Barney” Greenway, who a few months ago made headlines for posting a mercy appeal for Bali Nine ringleaders to Indonesian President Joko Widolo - a self-confessed heavy metal fan, led the band with commanding stage presence.

He professed his hatred for fascism, capitalism and superstitions while announcing the track titles and got loud cheers from the fans every time he addressed the crowd. Formed back in 1981, they were the oldest and most experienced band at the festival. Their setlist was a mix of classics and new tracks from their latest album ‘Apex Predator - Easy Meat’, which became an instant favourite with the crowd.

With an almost one-hour long set, Napalm Death won the hearts of everyone who had gathered at the venue to witness one of the most hyped lineups in the history of Indian heavy metal and left the fans wanting for more.

In its next edition, the four-year old festival promises to bring Swedish metal giants Soilwork and cult Polish act Vader in 2016.