(Andy Synn reports on the third day of Oslo’s Inferno Festival 2015 and provides photos. For Andy’s report on the pre-fest show last Wednesday, go here. His report on Day One is at this location and his Day Two review is here.)
The final day of a festival is always bittersweet. On the one hand you have all these new memories of the music you’ve experienced and the new friends you’ve made (that last point is conjecture, since I am, by nature, not the most social animal when confronted with large crowds of people), while on the other you know that, like all good things, even this must come to an end.
Still, on the plus side you’re also very much aware that you have one more day of music left, and in this case it was a day of (almost) unadulterated awesomeness…ness.
(Andy Synn reports on the second day of Oslo’s Inferno Festival 2015 and provides photos. For Andy’s report on the pre-fest show last Wednesday, go here, and his report on Day One is at this location.)
If there’s a better way to kick off another day at one of the world’s best metal festivals than by seeing Goatwhore, I’d like to hear it. Big riffs, big spikes, big attitude, the band positively ooze confidence and bleed metal, smashing through their set with almost reckless abandon.
Bassist James Harvey had a bit of a rough night, truth be told, early songs rendering his bass-lines as little more than a barely audible rumble, while snapping a string part way through the set forced the band to play a few songs without him entirely. Still, they persevered like the stalwart soldiers of Satan that they are, and on his eventual return Harvey’s lurching low-end was much more prominent.
(Andy Synn reports on the first day of Oslo’s Inferno Festival 2015 and provides photos. For Andy’s report on the pre-fest show last Wednesday, go here.)
The first day of the festival proper began (for me at least) promptly at 6:15 when Spellemann Award-winning Death Metallers Execration took the stage.
Down and dirty, with a hint of something creepy just beneath the surface, the band’s blending of rolling, Vader/Autopsy–style death-grooves, Behemoth/Watain-esque stomp and swagger, and touches of eerie, Morbid Angel-ish atmosphere – accentuated here and there by unexpected progressive touches, flashes of surprising technicality, and an undercurrent of lurching sludge – should, by all rights, be an awkward mix. Yet somehow they make it work, taking this amalgam of sounds and using it to whip up an absolute cacophony of ugly, unrepentant nastiness that’s also as infectious as sonic syphilis.
(Andy Synn took in the sights and sounds of the Inferno Festival on April 1-4, 2015, in Oslo, Norway, and this is the first of a multi-part report about his experience. Andy took the photos as well.)
Once again last weekend I was lucky enough to be able to attend Inferno Festival in Oslo, which this year is celebrating its 15th Anniversary, with a frankly flabbergasting line-up of bands that could almost have been hand-picked for yours truly, including some of my absolute favourites as well as a number of bands I’ve been dying to see live.
For those of you who are unaware, the Wednesday night always serves as a pre-festival “Club Night” and kick-off party, with a variety of different bands playing at different locations scattered around in relatively close proximity to the main venue. With the right pass (which, thankfully, included my fancy pink “Press” wristband) you can wander freely between the different places, picking and choosing what artists you want to see.
I decided (for reasons which will become clear) to focus my activities around the new Vulkan arena, and particularly the smaller Pokalen bar down in the lower level…
(Andy Synn turns in this review of a show in Birmingham, England, last weekend, accompanied by videos he filmed of he performances.)
Here’s a fact, true believers — I’d never been to The Rainbow in Birmingham before this evening, but as it turns out it’s a cool little venue, with a nicely-sized band room in the back, equipped with a very powerful PA. And good thing too, because all three of tonight’s bands necessitate a system that can handle the raw power they put out.
I say “three bands” because, due to a.) having to practice with my own band, and b.) some semi-apocalyptic weather conditions on the drive over, I missed about 99% of the first band, and so can’t really tell you much about their gabba-infused industrial death-noise. Maybe next time.
However I did get to see the bands I really wanted to, starting with the UK’s own The Infernal Sea…
photo by Sinmara
(Andy Synn reviews the recent performances in London by The Great Old Ones, Bast, and Conjurer.)
Sometimes life hands you difficult choices. Case in point, Saturday I was torn between two fantastic shows down in old London town… Vader/Hate at The Underworld and The Great Old Ones at The Black Heart. What is a boy to do?
Seeing as how I selected Tekeli-li as one of my top 10 albums of last year (Critical Edition), and acknowledging the fact that I’ve seen both Vader and Hate before, I chose to plump for France’s acolytes of the great unknown, at the risk of my sanity and my very mortal soul.
But I’m getting ahead of myself here…
(BadWolf brings us this review of a live performance in Seattle by Enslaved, YOB, Ecstatic Vision, and Bell Witch, with photos by Madison Leiren.)
My Wednesday evening at El Corazon on March the 11th was, in many ways, a redemption shot. I was there to see local Seattle funeral doom merchants Bell Witch, as well as Philadelphia’s uncategorizable Ecstatic Vision, Eugene Oregon’s doom wunderkinds YOB, and Norway’s progressive black metal institution Enslaved.
To begin, here is my list of grievances to be resolved that evening:
First, grievances with myself:
(In this post BadWolf reviews the live performances by Mayhem, Watain, and Revenge at El Corazon in Seattle on January 27, 2015, with photos by Madison Lieren.)
For a minute there I was so inundated with European black metal, its tropes, and its lyrical hullabaloo, that I forgot about the genre’s troubled, violent, church-burning past, and in a sense that’s where I wanted to be from the get-go, since unlike some people I actually found the genre’s flirtations with homicide and terrorism to be a turn-off before I actually listened to the music.
Leave it to Norway’s Mayhem, original purveyors of quote-unquote dangerous black metal to drag me back into my discomfort zone by headlining the Black Metal Warfare tour, a nationwide trek wherein the second generation provocateurs, alongside Watain and Revenge, inspired mosh pits, threw blood on the crowd, and peddled tee shirts lionizing “Panic, Terror, Arson, Metal, Chaos.”
“Oh yeah, that’s right,” I thought to myself, looking at the merch rack hobbled in the corner of Seattle’s El Corazon, “I fucking love blowing stuff up. Silly me, where *did* my balls go?” A prescient thought, as the night wound up being a testament to testicular fortitude.
(Our man Austin Weber turns in this review, with his photos, of a recent performance by Felix Martin and company in Louisville, Kentucky.)
Beyond it’s aggressive attraction, metal at its core is about evolution and will, a desire to explore experimental and uncharted musical territory. In just the past few years, 14-string guitarist Felix Martin has been wowing audiences and expanding upon his unique blend of genres, playing largely in an eight-finger, two-handed tapping manner, one hand on each neck of a double-necked guitar configuration. His playing spans metal, jazz, blues, traditional Venezualuen music, country, and other genres that you’ll discover as as you delve into his back-catalogue, starting with his first record, Bizarre Rejection, a record that I’m proud to own.
Recently here at NCS, I wrote about his latest video, and also mentioned his most recent tour. Unfortunately for me, though, his tour date in my hometown of Louisville was added at the last minute, so I was unable to request time off work. This meant that I had to rush to the venue after work and missed the set of NCS favorites Barishi, arriving just as Felix Martin and his band were setting up. Really pissed that I missed Barishi because of work, but I tried to make it up to them by having Barishi and Felix Martin and his band stay at my place for the night.
(Austin Weber wrote this show review, and music streams are included.)
At the very beginning of 2014, January 14th to be exact, I was finally able to see upstart New York prog-metal wunderkinds Cryptodira for the first time live. It was a show that I covered for NCS with resident photographer Nik Vechery taking some killer pictures. I mention this because as we move into 2015, I got to see Cryptodira again, and eerily enough, just a day later in January than when I saw them last year. What another fitting start to the year.
Unfortunately, due to my boss not telling me he was able to get my shift covered until I showed up for work the night of the show, I was unable to have Nik accompany me and take pictures. Normally I would have borrowed someone’s camera, but I couldn’t make that happen on such short notice, so most of the photos in this post were taken on my sub-par quality phone camera, with a few Cryptodira shots taken by the fill-in vocalist for Wings Denied, Jeff Klemm.