Past Saturday, December 5th saw a bunch of metal heads from the garden city of Bengaluru become a part of history by default. History because they witnessed India’s first ever international metal festival for climate change; default for the simple reason that there was absolutely no talk about climate change on stage.
However, NGO heavyweights like Green Peace, Indian Youth Climate Network and Life did their bit by setting up stalls and signing petitions about climate change. These petitions will eventually be sent to a United Nations Climate Change Conference in 2010. At last count, a total of fifteen hundred petitions were signed and for those who attended this showcase of bands for climate change – it was a great example of the large scale work done by Indians to save a planet gasping for breath.
Deccan Rock, India’s premier metal festival on climate change saw six bands come together from all over the nation to support two mastodons of European metal Textures (Netherlands) and Amon Amarth (Sweden). So in this sort of setup when you know that all hell is about to break loose, the least you can do is grab a mic and say a few words about saving trees, excessive emission of carbon and all that jazz, or channel a “Keep our planet green” diatribe via the front man of one of the headliners. Having NGO stalls is one thing and letting the lead singer of a power metal band convey a message or two is another.
So after all the hullabaloo, the concert started one and half hours late. It was scheduled to start at 2.30 PM. Starting off the proceedings, the responsibility of lighting the lamp fell on the shoulders of Bangalore based technical metal outfit Eccentric Pendulum. Just kidding there was an expo of authentic goods going on next door. Eccentric Pendulum’s quick set of four songs warmed up the crowd because by the end of it one could hear a small crowd of three hundred odd chanting for Bangalore favorites Inner Sanctum to take the stage.
Winners of I-Rock XXIV, an independent nationwide competition, the quintet belted out their popular numbers in quick succession with lead singer Gaurav Basu probably doing the most eventful thing of Deccan Rock by standing on the barricade that separated the crowd and the stage to growl his way through a song. Blood boiling that was!
So you have two bands down and still no talk about saving the planet. Next up was the very best of Delhi metal – Undying Inc. They came, they saw, they conquered and thank god by the end of it everybody in the audience remained undead. Sound levels reached a new high as lead singer Shashank aided by the corrosive riffs of his band members screamed out every song in their short-lived set. But by the time Undying Inc left the stage one thing was absolutely evident. Indian Rock is really standing in the cusp of something revolutionary.
Almost an hour into Deccan Rock and there wasn’t a single shout for a cover or an instance of a band getting booed of stage. As far as climate change is concerned, well that rested in peace.
Undying Inc was followed by the pioneers of metal core in India, the Mumbai based Bhayanak Maut. Back to back to renditions of their tracks Ungentle, Violate and the immensely popular Blasted Beyond Belief resulted in two giant moshpits in the two sections of the audience. Dislocated shoulders, falling down and getting run over all the characteristics that can be attributed to a Bhayanak Maut moshpit. Bhayanak Maut proved that adding extra vocals and tight song writing can contribute towards the resurgence of a band.
Out goes Bhayanak Maut, in come old school metallers Kryptos. Though they did not receive the warmest of welcomes from the audience, courtesy their “Liverpool Sucks” shouts which front man Nolan Lewis’s carried on stage, the band managed to play some of their most popular numbers and entertained the crowd. Meeting all expectations in the end, the band closed their show with Descension, considered by many to be one of the best Indian metal songs of all time.
The last band to open for Textures and Amon Amarth was Demonic Resurrection (DR) fronted by the not so infamous Demonstealer. DR, as the fans like to call them, did a real good job of playing a tight set of originals and also laying the foundations of their forthcoming release Return of the Darkness.
As DR made their exit, blue strobe lights created a special atmosphere as Textures opened with the gut wrenching yet lucid One Eye For a Thousand. What followed was a progressive metal fan’s dream. Textures left the audience in a haze with their epic Storm Warning, which was followed by old numbers like Swandive, and the absolutely thumping Stream of Consciousness.
But that wasn’t all. Enter Awake with an alternative opening and an ear crushing ending. To top that Laments of an Icarus the drumbeats of which sound like gunfire and lastly Regenesis to the very end. Textures owned Deccan Rock and just a few sentences on global warming would have saved the face of the organisers but the band left the stage without any such rant and the lead singer Eric Kalsbeek growling “Namaste” a few times.
After this absolute carnage of a performance, the Viking themed melodic death metal of Amon Amarth from the Swedish town of Tumba was actually soothing to the ears of the audience. The Vikings did put up a great show and the crowd which had grown into a body of two thousand strong did sing back to them; these Swedish hair metal gods were nowhere close to being as electrifying as Textures.
By the end of it all inadvertently, it was music that saved the day if not the planet. All the bands did was give the audience a show to remember.
If you still want a word or two about Climate Change, this is what Eric Kalsbeek, front man of Textures said backstage, “Yes I’m very excited to play in India and see the crowds’ reaction. There is a lot of pollution that needs to be checked but metal bands playing at a concert for climate change seems a little ironic”. Aye Aye Captain!! ⊕