May 212018


The 2018 edition of Roadburn Festival is in the history books. From April 19th through April 22nd at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands, metal fans got the chance to choose from among performances by more than 100 bands across four stages and a fascinating array of musical genres. NCS was fortunate to be represented by the fantastic photographer Teddie Taylor, who made a visual record of the event for us.

We left it to Teddie to decide which bands to see; no doubt she had a lot of difficult decisions to make — and we had difficult decisions of our own in determining which of her images to share with you (they’re all really damned good!). We’re dividing this collection of pics into four parts, one for each day of Roadburn 2018. We asked Teddie to introduce herself first, to those of you who may not be familiar with her work:

“I am an Alabama transplant currently residing in the glorious swamp that is New Orleans. Growing up, I regularly went on adventures to photograph the flora and fauna of the Gulf Coast and thought I’d eventually pursue nature photography. I’ve always been involved with the arts, whether it be attempting to dance or taking vocal lessons, and fell hard and fast into music photography during a college internship at the local rock radio station. A few years and seemingly hundreds of deafening nights in small bars later and I am an intern at Relapse Records and Earsplit PR and travel regularly to interview and take photos of musicians I adore. I apologize in advance if my tall, camera-hauling self blocks your view or whacks you with a camera during a show.”

And with that preamble, here are some of Teddie’s photos from the first day at Roadburn 2018: Continue reading »

Apr 062018


(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. Continue reading »

Apr 052018


(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 3 is the focus of this post; reactions to Day 1 and Day 2 can be found here and here.)


The third day of the festival began with another long lie in, followed by a bit of a wander around Oslo, which included stopping at a nice little restaurant/bar just around the corner from the venue for a delicious burger and several pints of Norwegian beer, before I eventually made my way into Rockefeller in time to catch Nordjevel riffing it up on the main stage. Continue reading »

Apr 042018


(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 will be spread out in installments over the balance of this week. Day 2 is the focus of this post; reactions to Day 1 can be found here.)


Day two of Inferno began with… me sleeping in. And damn, did it feel good.

It also meant that, after grabbing some food, doing some writing for NCS, and checking my work emails, I was nice and rested and ready to hit the festival good and early, even getting there with enough time to have a bit of a wander around the (admittedly quite limited) array of merch stalls on offer, where I picked up a copy of Drottnar’s second album Stratum and browsed a bunch of truly terrible band shirts, before grabbing a cool spot from which to watch the opening band, Swedish occult artists Mephorash. Continue reading »

Apr 032018


(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 will be spread out in installments over the balance of this week.)


What to say about Inferno Festival that I haven’t said before?

From the venue(s) and the location, to the bands and the general organisation, it’s still one of my favourite festivals I’ve ever been to, and this year was a particularly good one for me.

Of course things didn’t get off to the best start, as my plane was delayed on the tarmac for almost two hours, meaning that, by the time I finally hopped off the plane, jumped on a train, and made my way into Oslo, I had missed the one part of the Inferno Music Conference, which I really wanted to attend.

Anyway… Continue reading »

Mar 262018


(Norway-based metal writer Karina Noctum went to Netherlands Deathfest on March 2-4, 2018. She wrote to us about her experiences. She probably had no thought that this would turn us a radioactive shade of green with envy, but all things have unintended consequences. She also arranged to have her words accompanied by a sequence of brilliant photos by Niels Vinck, also probably without any desire to stoke the putrid fires of jealousy in those of us who weren’t there, but strengthening the conviction that we damned well better go next year.) 


My journey from the frostbitten lands of Norway started pretty early. 4 am on friday. I arrived in Amsterdam after some hours and a trouble-free flight, this being the usual for Scandinavian airlines that boast of being the most punctual in Europe.

The cool thing about The Netherlands is that every trip to another city from Amsterdam seems to be within a range of no more than one-two hours. After wandering a bit in Amsterdam, I took the train to Tilburg through the somewhat boring landscape (the landscape of every other country in Europe seems boring on the surface if you live in Norway).

I planned everything for the fest a bit too late and found no accommodation other than a private house on Air B&B. I was both lucky to have found a place at all and kinda unlucky that the owners, in addition to being circus artists, were also nudists. Continue reading »

Mar 102018


As I woke up this morning and it hit me that the final edition of Oration Festival was over, I experienced a wave of sadness, coupled with regrets over not having made the trek for the first two years of the event. Oration Fest MMXVIII was, by my lights, an extraordinary experience, one formed by the combination of its setting in Reykjavik (a magical place), the wonderful friends, both old and new, with whom I was able to share the experience, and of course the incredible music.

I’ll have some more perhaps excessively emotional things to say about all that at the end of this post, but the first order of business is to provide photos, videos, and accompanying personal reactions concerning the performances last night by these bands, who appeared in this order: Almyrkvi (Iceland), Inferno (Czech Republic), Misþyrming (Iceland), Svartidauði (Iceland), Vemod (Norway), and Rebirth of Nefast (Ireland/Iceland).

Once again, the high-quality photos you’ll find below were made by my Seattle friend Tanner Ellison; I made the rest of them, and the (sadly mediocre) videos, with my phone. Continue reading »

Mar 092018

Reykjavik wall art


The second night of the third and final installment of Oration Festival took place at the Húrra bar in Reykjavik, Iceland on the night of March 8, 2018. It proved to be just as thoroughly enjoyable as the first night (reviewed here), although the music took more deathly turns, and ultimately concluded in a marvelously bewildering and beguiling way.

Last night the bands who performed, in the following order, were these: Mannveira (Iceland), Devouring Star (Finland), Abominor (Iceland), Abyssal (UK), Slidhr (Ireland/Iceland), Sortilegia (Canada), and Virus (Norway).

As before, the group of friends from Seattle and elsewhere who’ve been sharing this experience with me convened for food and drink about two hours before the first band was scheduled to begin the night. Yes, two hours, because our group has a proven tendency over the course of many previous festivals to talk like there’s no tomorrow, lose track of time, and arrive late if we’re not careful. Which of course is what happened last night even with the two-hour head start. Continue reading »

Mar 082018


The third and final edition of Oration Festival began last night in Reykjavik, Iceland. The first night of the festival featured performances (in this order) by NYIÞ, Naðra, Auðn, Asagraum, Sinmara, and Aluk Todolo. A big group of friends and I made it to the venue just as NYIÞ was beginning, and I stayed through Sinmara’s extraordinary set but was too drained of energy by that point to hang in there for Aluk Todolo.

So, what you’ll find below are thoughts about all the performances except the last one, accompanied by three videos that I made from the side of the stage and an assortment of photos. The dark, blurry, amateurish photos are mine; the really good professional quality ones are by our Seattle pal Tanner Ellison. Continue reading »

Mar 082018


(An NCS fan who we’ll call Barbarian Mike turned in this guest review of the presentation of DECIBEL Magazine’s 2018 tour in Seattle, Washington, on March 6, 2018.)

Whether you consider yourself a fan or not, it’s impossible to deny the status and reverence Enslaved has earned within the community of heavy music. Over a span of 27-years and 14 studio albums – barring live-show DVD’s, splits, and demos – it’s hard to imagine any band as capable as this one in maintaining a passionate fan base and consistently sold-out live performances.

In spite of this success, Enslaved are a band who don’t rest on their laurels, or coast on their hits of yesteryear. In fact, they appear to be continually invigorated by the challenge of creating something new, to pursue new ideas and sounds. It only makes sense that they would headline one of the bigger tours within heavy music – the DECIBEL Magazine 2018 Tour. Needless to say, I was excited to attend the event at Seattle’s own El Corazon. Continue reading »