(Andy Synn was fortunate to be in attendance at the 2018 edition of Inferno Festival in Oslo on March 29 – April 1, and files this report, which we’re spreading out in installments this week. Day 4 is the focus of this post; reactions to Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3 can be found here, here, and here.)
The fourth, and final, day of Inferno Festival 2018 was the day which held the fewest number of bands that I was really interested in, but that didn’t mean there weren’t a bunch of killer acts to see.
First among them (by the time I got my ass in gear anyway) was the mighty Tsjuder, who brought their grim Nordic darkness to Rockefeller stage with all the requisite icy aggression and sulphurous heaviness that you might have expected.
One of the few remaining acts with a legitimate claim on the title “True Norwegian Black Metal”, the corpse-painted three-piece delivered a vicious, thrilling set, made up of material culled from their still expanding discography, that was as much of a reward for the faithful as it was a reaffirmation of the band’s commitment to their demonic trade, performed without concession or compromise, and even featured a guest appearance by Bathory’s Frederick Melander for a respectful run-through of “The Return of Darkness and Evil”, “Satan My Master”, and “Sacrifice”.
One of the undeniable highlights (and biggest surprises) of the day was the raw and ravenous blackened brew produced by Naðra, who (metaphorically) set the stage alight down in John Dee over the course of forty-five utterly ferocious minutes.
One of the rising stars of the Icelandic scene, the band’s intense and epic brand of menacingly melodic Black Metal immediately grabbed my attention (and everyone else’s) right from the very first note and held it right until the very end of their set, by which point I had become a full convert to their cause… and urge you to do the same!
Back on the main stage the legendary Brummie bruisers in Napalm Death demonstrated why they’re not only such a well-respected band but also still a well-honed metallic murder machine, hammering their way through a lengthy set drawing from across their extensive discography, including “Smash a Single Digit”, “The Wolf I Feed”, “Narcolpetic”, and “Suffer the Children”, as well as two absolutely killer covers in “Victims of a Bomb Raid” (Anti-Cimex) and a relentless (and still relevant) “Nazi Punks Fuck Off” (Dead Kennedys).
Now I’m happy to admit that I’ve never been the biggest fan of Napalm Death myself, but I’m glad to say that I still had a heck of a good time during their set.
Up next were the band I had most been looking forward to all day, Swiss occult artistes Schammasch, whose breath-taking performance proved to be one of the best of the entire festival, rich in brooding atmosphere, moody melody, and hypnotically heavy riffage.
There’s not really much more I can say about the band’s set, as it really was one of those “you had to be there” moments, but what I definitely can do is urge you all to catch them live at the earliest opportunity, as I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Now, for various reasons, primarily that I bumped into Yvonn (hi Yvonn!) again and decided to grab a few drinks with her, I didn’t get to see Electric Wizard play Rockefeller, but this did mean that I was nicely situated to watch those ghoulish groovemongers in Grave bring the thunder to John Dee.
Sticking with a very old-school-leaning set, the fatal foursome cranked out some wickedly heavy riffs and sickeningly sadistic hooks over the course of the next hour, with bassist Tobias Cristiansson doing his very best Steve Harris impression (right down to the “machine-gunning the crowd” mannerisms), while revered vocalist Ola Lindgren (who is looking more like a cadaver these days than the majority of the festival’s corpse-painted participants) riffed and growled his way through classic cuts like “Deformed”, “Day of Mourning”, and “Morbid Way to Die” with all the confidence and charisma of a man who knows his place in the Death Metal pantheon has long since been assured.
All too soon however, the band’s set was over and, after checking out a couple of Carpathian Forest tracks (sorry everyone, they’ve just never “clicked” with me) it was time to head back to my hotel to grab a couple of hours of sleep before jumping back on the train to the airport.
In closing I’d like to thank everyone involved in putting the festival together, and congratulate them on another incredibly successful year. I hope you’ve all enjoyed reading about all the bands over the last few days, and I also hope to see some of you at the 2019 edition!