Bangalore Open Air 2024: A Peek Into India’s Biggest Rock And Metal Festival

Bangalore Open Air 2024: A Peek Into India’s Biggest Rock And Metal Festival

The two-day festival features top bands Watain, Kreator, Decapitated, Zygnema and Godless

Kasmin FernandesUpdated: Friday, February 02, 2024, 09:09 PM IST
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In Flames |

Every year, metalheads and hard rock fans from all over India – and other parts of the world – make their annual pilgrimage to Bangalore. The city has been hosting the biggest music festival for these genres for more than a decade. Bangalore Open Air (BOA) is a Mecca for metalheads. Not only do India’s top metalcore, black metal, death metal and prog-rock bands unleash mayhem, BOA features the crème de la crème of the German, Swedish, Polish, Swiss and American acts ruling this arena.

“It’s going to be a two-day fest this year, usually BOA is only a day-long event. So expect double the fun on February 9 and 10. We've deliberately avoided scheduling the festival on a Sunday, so fans can fly back home on Sunday and report fresh to office on Monday morning,” says founder Salman U. Syed, who also represents Wacken in India. Wacken Open Air (W:O:A) is the world's biggest heavy metal music festival, which has been going strong since 1989.

Power packed line-up

Swedish juggernauts In Flames are making their India debut. Expect a firestorm of melodic death metal, a blend of razor-sharp riffs and haunting melodies that have defined a genre. “We are excited to play for our fans in India,” said frontman Anders Fridén, currently on their Rising From The North tour and release of their new album Foregone. Critics have praised the album for its return to form and its ability to capture the essence of In Flames’ signature sound. The album covers various genres and styles that In Flames has experimented with throughout their career, bringing them together in a cohesive whole.

Kreator

Kreator |

German thrash titans Kreator return to BOA after headlining the first edition back in 2012. Their music is a relentless assault, a barrage of speed and precision, a testament to the enduring power of thrash metal. “I couldn’t be happier about play in India again after all these years. A lot of our fans weren’t even born when we started making music as teenagers, and the fact that we’ve crossed over to this generation is great,” said its frontman Mille Petrozza.

Hailing from Poland, death metal maestros Decapitated are no strangers to Indian shores. Their return is a promise of technical prowess and brutal efficiency, a journey into the depths of death metal. Swedish black metal band Watain is set to make their first-ever appearance in India. Their shows are a blend of musical ferocity and theatrical blasphemy. Expect a performance that is as much a ritual as it is a concert. Swiss heavy metal band Burning Witches brings a fresh perspective to the genre. Their sound is a nod to the classic era of metal, infused with a modern sensibility and raw energy. Spanish act Ankor’s music is an eclectic mix, a fusion of metalcore, electronic elements, and melodic hooks.

“I’ve always tried to curate a line-up of the most popular sub-genres in rock and heavy metal music,” says Syed who moved to Germany a few years ago. “Coming from Bangalore, my journey with Wacken began in 2010 as part of my role in managing the band Kryptos. Their groundbreaking European tour in 2010, coinciding with Wacken Open Air, presented us with an opportunity to experience the festival we had long admired in YouTube videos during our college and high school days. The sheer magnitude of W:O:A had always left us in awe, and finally witnessing it was exhilarating.” During these visits, he forged connections with key figures like Enno from Enorm Music and the promoter Thomas Jensen. “I shared with them my dream of creating a similar festival experience in India. On a subsequent visit to Wacken, Thomas, Enno, and I made a decisive move: we would transplant the spirit of Wacken to Bangalore. This marked the inception of Bangalore Open Air. It became a festival energised by the essence of Wacken and supported by the Wacken Foundation.”

Top billing from India

Zygnema

Zygnema |

Representing Kolkata at BOA 2024 is Chronic Xorn, which brings a dose of deathcore to the mix. Their music is an exploration of the heavier, more brutal side of metal, a sonic representation of aggression and intensity. Moral Collapse makes music that is a complex tapestry of technicality and emotion, a journey through the darker recesses of the human psyche. Another local act, Speed Trip’s music is a throwback to the days of speed metal, a high-octane ride through fast riffs and faster solos. It’s no secret that Zygnema from aamchi Mumbai is a powerhouse of groove metal. Their music is a perfect blend of aggression and groove.

Representing Hyderabad and Bengaluru is Godless, who toured with German metal duo Divide in 2022. Their music is a relentless assault, a fusion of death and thrash metal that leaves audiences breathless. Celebrating their 25th anniversary, Kryptos is a legend in the Indian metal scene. Their music is a throwback to the classic era of heavy metal. Expect an explosive experience at Bits Club. It’s where the ground will shake with the weight of thousands of headbangers.

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