Silence Festival IV – Behemoth, Underside and Kathmandu

On a quiet winter afternoon, metalheads from Kathmandu reached the melancholic and apathetic venue of Bhrikuti Mandap. Like the heading of this music festival, it was ironic that this venue was selected as it was surrounded by big sturdy tropical trees and was adjacent to a number of social service centers; the festival reeked of Shakespearean comedy on the outset.By the time I had set foot on the venue Jugaa was already on stage. They labeled themselves as metallic hardcore band but they sounded more like old school black metal. They didn’t disappoint, headbangers aplenty already. The show had merely begun.  

The next act of the day was from Newaz. When they finally tuned up their guitars and actually began playing, it was only fitting that they destroyed the mood of the audiences with some insipid rock songs and unwarranted guitar leads although the bassist was later acknowledged for his talent and non poseur ease.  I say it was only fitting because all programs in Nepal are imperfect. It’s like… the quintessence of our lives are based on jangling chords.  Apart from such deviant music that metal heads were not expecting, the wanna be “Kirk Hammett” should be shown gratitude to, since, afternoon tea could be well enjoyed by dark long haired doppelgangers as well.

Events like these leave memorable mark on the audience and as always, from the oblivion, a band always manages to rise above expectation. To tell you the truth, Derrick was a band unheard of. The three members had performed at the pervious Silent Festival from different bands and this time around they had managed to put an awesome show ranging from techno to deep death metal shit. At times I had absolutely no idea what genre the song fit into, like as if they were the three pagan sons of Vikerness himself. These three guys lifted the throng up and although there was time for Wall of Death, it was sava time.   This is what the official website of the event described their music as:

“A vitaminized powertrio ( drums, guitar/bass, box ) composting all rock’n roll references, Derrick is an u.f.o which produce vibrations in the air that your eardrums never felt before… excepted if you saw Primus on amphetamines… or Converge playing traditional french folk”.

I hope they come again next year.

Sunday morning love you, Monday morning love you……. I thought they were going to perform a metal cover of this song when they said the audience were in for a surprise. The crowd responded, with a deafening snarl which demanded them to perform once more.

With the warm up now firmly done and dusted, Kathmandu was now finally in for a treat. Welcome to the underside.

Though, legendary Polish band was the highlight of the festival, Underside, the new favourite band of Nepal came in like a carcinogenic plague, unleashed by some uncanny dark force and into their grip metal heads clung on. It was as if the whole of the crowd had some kind of seizure.  It wasn’t a mere time for headbanging or sign of horns, mosh pit finally swept across and into the disparaging pit as ardent and dauntless metalheads collided. It was truly phenomenal to note as to how the crowd reacted to Underside and their mouth watering, acid popping and adrenaline rushing music. It was time to go wild, run naked, throw beer bottles, throw up on strangers, start a fight, rape someone. It was that moment of time when all you know is absurd, all you are is meaningless.

They sure gave an orgasm.

The Indian powerhouse Zygnema then followed up and it certainly was a majestic performance. Political and social issues were addressed mostly. They surely made a name for themselves among the petulant and fastidious metalheads in Kathmandu. The heavy metal riffs did it all.

As always, Ugra Karma never disappoint. The pioneers of metal music in Nepal, the buda’sperformed some of their old songs while the new ones were vehement but short, almost fanatical. The crowd was zealous as the band came back from the grave. And only they, but they, could end the local show, prior to the legendary Behemoth performance.

The big boys had finally arrived. The night was nigh, ominous moment to witness a celebrated performance they are known for, the likes of which Kathmandu had never perceived.

Never had I seen blackened death being performed so effortlessly and with such theatricality. Never had Kathmandu seen it, actually. The sheer tenacity to challenge musical barriers and archetypal metal music was lucid. They even paid a tribute song to goddess Kali which should give an inkling to the brutal nature of the show. The horns were raised and pit moved mercilessly, sweeping everyone on its path and into a ruthless dance, the dance of Shiva, ferocious and callous. On the pulpit, Behemoth, clad in their portentous outfits, impeccably painted faces and barbaric gait, fed on our spirit and performed with imposing theatricality. It was an epoch in history where Kathmandu was all drenched in sweat and booze but alas, by mid-show the headbangers and moshing had obliterated, everyone had wilted. Horns were raised by drained out hands but the thunderous applause were incessant. Behemoth, had come and conquered the Gurkhalis.

The seven hour metal marathon finally came to an end. The scars of a brutal show will take time to heal but for those who witnessed the whole show, shoulder to shoulder, eye to eye and fist to fist with their fellow metalhead brothers, it was a beautiful dream; a dream that we dared to live.


This review was first published on MadeInNepal 


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