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    Metal heads unite for the music  event of the year this Saturday

    The OPEN Air heavy metal festival returns in a new avatar for its third edition this weekend. With fans travelling from all over Asia, the line-up includes German thrash metal band Destruction, Italian death metal band Cadaver Mutilator and Greek extreme metal band Rotting Christ. The Indian contingent is made up of Bangalore’s thrash metal band Threinody, classic metal/rock band Girish and the Chronicles, and The Down Troddence (TDC), who won the Best Band award at this year’s Rolling Stones India Metal Awards.

    Crowd surfing
    For the first time, the festival will be held at CounterCulture, a more intimate space, giving fans a chance to interact with bands. “Because the venue is not large, it will be more friendly,” says festival founder Salman Syed. Munz, the lead vocalist with TDC concurs. “We always look for an intimate venue,” he explains. “You can meet new people and engage with them when you are on stage.” The strong link between the fans and the festival encouraged organisers to pilot crowd-funding for this year’s edition, harnessing the support of the tight-knit metal community. “Since we didn’t have much support from sponsors or corporates, we decided to crowd fund to raise capital,” explains Syed.
    Indian scene
    The festival has achieved near cult status as the most important event in the Indian metal music calendar. “Bangalore Open Air is like an invisible thread that binds all metalheads together,” explains self-declared metal head Ramee Bordoloi from Assam. “People travel from far and wide to be a part of this. When you see thousands of people around you headbanging in sync, you feel at bliss,” she says. This sense of community is no less important for the bands. “Metal is not mainstream, it’s the music of the oppressed. So a metal festival is more like a family reunion,” explains Munz. “Everyone on the metal scene are like our brothers and sisters.”

    For Girish and the Chronicles, it is a chance to broaden their musical reach, and hear certain bands live for the first time, at least in India. “It’s a great opportunity for a classic metal band,” says lead singer Girish Pradhan. “I’ve actually never been to a thrash metal show before, so it’s something new for me too,” he concludes.

    At Whitefield. Tickets (`1,500 upwards) on bookmyshow.com
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    —Maegan Dobson Sippy

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