Gig Review: March Metal Mania (Bangalore)

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Bangalorean metalheads must surely remember March Metal Mania, back in 2007. The show had a great line-up of bands and a great turnout of fans. Like any other successful show, there were rumours that it would be a monthly occurrence, which then changed to an annual event. This is what really happened- after March 2007, March Metal Mania happened again in April 2009.
Let’s not whine. As fans, we do know how much trouble one has to go through to put up a show. So we were happy that it happened. But how happy were we after the show? Hmmm. That’s something to discuss in detail.

Metal Mania (let’s just call it that), was to begin at around 11, but started only post-2.30. Thankfully the venue, Chitrakala Parishat, was a pleasant place to just hang around in despite the blazing sun. And so we waited a long while as the sound guys set up their equipment and tuned the instruments.

Finally, Eccentric Pendulum went on stage. They did have sound problems, which in turn caused occasional synchronisation problems, but they gave the show a real good head start. They played songs off their new EP, doing even the operatic vocal parts. Eccentric Pendulum also premiered a new track called ‘De-engineered the Prevalent.’ Though the band as a whole was brilliant, the bassist and vocalist stole the show. They’re going to make it big for sure.

Up next was Kaashmora. The last performance I’d watched of theirs was at Saarang this year, and it sure is evident that they’ve been working on their music since then. The vocals were powerful, but at parts drowned out the instruments. The band played some of their originals, and also did a good cover of ‘Hypercube’ (Depths of Suffering). A definite major improvement, and thumbs up for that.

At times, it’s good to see some women who are really into metal, and who don’t just pretend to be. Venator, with a female bassist and vocalist, took the stage after Kaashmora. Killer growls and nice bass work, unfortunately supported not-so-well by the weak percussion and bad guitar patches. This is a band that sure has potential, and must tap it with practice.

Here’s a band that has evolved from being a bunch of death-obsessed adolescents into one hell of a brutal death metal band. They call themselves Abandoned Agony. The guys put up a mind-blowing super tight set, and sometimes, even if their music is too intense for your liking, it sure is worth watching them belt out their brutality! They were followed by Catalyst, the college band who has got things working well for them so far. Unfortunately, the heat and hunger had gotten to a lot of people by this time, and a major chunk of the audience stepped out for refreshments then.

The organiser’s ex-band Corrode followed. Maybe it was the past association that got them the highly generous time slot, because they seemed to be on stage for what seemed like forever. Acoustics were harsh on our eardrums, and the band sounded louder than they had to be. Again, sync problems occurred (especially on ‘Everytime I die’) and the keyboards were on a separate trip, ignoring what the rest of the band was doing. The band needs to cut down on ego and put in some amount of solid work. Again, here’s potential that needs to be tapped.

Inner Sanctum is currently one of Bangalore’s better metal acts, if not the best, and to give them a slot somewhere in the middle is a tad disrespectful. Nevertheless, they put up a fair set. Sound arrangements were a mess, and caused them to go totally off time, especially during their rendition of ‘Remembrance’. The originals came out better, though they weren’t their usual awesome selves.

After Sanctum, it was Culminant’s time on stage. The sound had gotten super hard on our hearing at that time, and to hear a louder band that wasn’t exactly tight was slightly strenuous for us, as an audience. They weren’t great, but weren’t bad either.

Theorized was the first of the headlining acts to go on. The poor guys had misplaced their bass guitar somewhere around the venue, and seemed to be pretty hassled by the time they went on stage. It took them the first couple of songs to get comfortable with each other and the stage, and ‘Venomous Tormentia’ was brilliant. They ought to have got more time on stage, and shouldn’t have been shouted at like kids in school, over the mic. Sorry, but that was in real bad taste.

The lights went off. Smoke clouded up the stage, as the dramatic introductory music began. Suddenly, an angel in white appeared. And then, the angel growled. That was Slain’s (pleasant?) surprise for the evening- Judaah’s melodies with guttural seconds. The crowd was a little flabbergast to see this reincarnation of the band, but thankfully, it lasted only for the first few minutes. It may not have been all that bad if the sound had been looked into more carefully (Yes, I mention this repeatedly because all the prospects of a good show were killed by the sound). However young the band may be, they have reached a level of tightness and professionalism below which they cannot go. They were very good, and their music came as a gust of fresh air after the load of distortion we’d been getting dosed with through the day.

Finally, Kryptos concluded Metal Mania. Here’s another band that can’t be critiqued because they’ve well passed the stage of judgement. Armed in leather, they were just the right people to wrap up the show.

And thus, Metal Mania came to an end. It was a good effort by the organizers, no doubt, though a few things could’ve been looked into. Thanks to Head Rush, fans and of course, the bands. You bring metal to life. Cheers!

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