Recently, there’s been a lot of DIY-ism when it comes to metal gigs in Bangalore. The Mighty Riff was one such gig, organized by the musicians themselves, with a very spacious hall at the Alliance Francaise de Bangalore being used as the venue and an entry fee of just Rs 99. The bill consisted of Culminant, Bevar Sea, Inner Sanctum and Pillbox 666.
The venue seemed great. First impressions are often the last ones and we got a great impression of how loud and strong the sound could be, when Culminant started off. They started with one of their OC’s, covered Slayer’s ‘Raining Blood’ and followed it up with two more originals. The volume given to Bharad’s vocals seemed a bit low but the other instruments seemed perfect in the mix. Next up, they were covering Death’s ‘Misanthrope’ which was going perfectly until a technical glitch stopped them in between. Another attempt at the song, and the same result. They went on to perform another original and a third attempt at ‘Misanthrope’ resulted in the same glitch, which is where they decided to end their set. However, despite the technical issues they had made their mark and it was already a great start to the fest.
Bevar Sea, due to performing in a bigger venue, seemed less bassy this time and they were as good as they’ve always have been, if not better. Their set list consisted entirely of originals, which was great because they already have some very formidable compositions. Their set was lengthy, but had a flow of its own. They started with their often-used opener ‘The Smiler’ , followed by the Bangalore debut of their new song ‘Sleeping Pool’ , which managed to bring in loads of doom, especially in the last few minutes of the song. It was followed by the very catchy ‘Abhishtu’ , the upbeat ‘Universal Sleeper’ and the heavy set crawled to it’s finish with ‘Mono-gnome’ . Their sound always seems impeccable. Finding flaws in their set is like finding a needle in a haystack, and it was the same case in this gig as well. Another noticeable part was the crowd joining in on ‘Abhishtu’ something very rare in the Indian metal scene.
Inner Sanctum was the next much-awaited act, evident by the surge of crowd before their set, and the drop in numbers afterwards. Before the band got on stage, the artwork was on display, which was very impressive, to say the least. Shortly afterwards, the band took control of the scene, every song being as hard hitting as the previous one, with the sound seeming just right. Inner Sanctum has developed a dedicated following among the younger metalheads in namma Bengaluru, the mosh-happy kids expecting a mosh-worthy performance every time these guys play. This gig was no different, they delivered and how! The limited space in the hall was well exploited, with the crowd going berserk over their set list. The last track intensified their act with a Wall of Death which, though miniature, saw a good number of arms flinging around, kids thrown around. Now isn’t that just sweet? As it turned out, this was to be Rajeev the guitarist’s last gig, as frontman Gaurav Basu informed us that he’d be leaving the country for higher studies. This of course came with serious objections from the crowd, flipping the finger at the mention of ‘studies’. Rajeev was pulled off the stage for a crowd-surf by the fans (again a first, for any gig here!). A final group hug by all the members of the band and they were off!
With covers of their “Gods” done “as they should be”, Bangalore’s new supergroup Pillbox 666 was the last band to take the stage. Their set list remained the same as their debut gig, but with an addition of Metallica’s ‘Whiplash’ Black Sabbath’s ‘War Pigs’ was also included, which had been skipped at their previous gig due to a broken guitar string. They started off with Black Sabbath’s ‘Black Sabbath’ followed by Slayer’s ‘Black Magic’, Black Sabbath’s ‘Electric Funeral’, Metallica’s ‘Whiplash’, Candlemass’ ‘Dark Reflections’, Autopsy’s ‘Ridden with Disease’, Black Sabbath’s ‘War Pigs’ and Motorhead’s ‘Overkill’, each cover ranging from great to magnificent. The guitar tone had that old-school raw edge and the bass was extremely prominent. The growling by Vikram Bhat provided chills, especially on songs like ‘Black Sabbath’, and ‘War Pigs’, and the drumming was absolutely perfect (Mr Raghu hasn’t disappointed us with any of his other projects, has he?). And it wasn’t just the tight covers. Pillbox 666 are an amazing live act, with Vikram Bhat clearly at the helm of affairs. Ganesh was on the vocals for ‘Whiplash’, (surprise!), the song itself a reminder of how Metallica was the band we all loved! Sigh. The TSF/UG crew (you know who you are!) deserve a special mention here, their controlled recklessness having fueled many a gig here in Bangalore before, and Pillbox 666′s set had them at full strength.
Apart from the live music, the fest did great with merchandise. All the four bands came out with t-shirts. At least four such poster designs could be seen for the fest, all of them with great artwork, two of which were put up for sale before the fest. CDs were also on sale at the merchandise stall and it’s always great to have something like that at a metal fest.
A great turnout despite the rains had proved that the metalheads inBangaloreare always up for a good gig, come rain, come shine. As we walked out of the venue with our necks aching and our ears still ringing from the onslaught, the only question on everyone’s mind was, “So, when’s the next one?”