Jul 242019


(A Seattle-based writer who we’ll call Gonzo ventured to Denmark for the 2019 edition of the Copenhell festival, which ran from June 19th through June 22nd. Beginning yesterday (here), and continuing today and for the following two days, we’re sharing his entertaining stories from that adventure.)

I woke up and saw highlights from Katatonia’s much-hyped performance of Night is the New Day all the way through, and sure, it looked like a fun time. I also would’ve likely passed out and fallen over in a ditch somewhere in the harbor if I had gone, so I called it a win and cut my losses. Fuck it. The good news? It wasThursday morning, and three whole days of Copenhell were, at long last, only a few hours and a few kilometers away.

Jumping on the festival bus was easy enough for out-of-towners – the route number changed from its usual operating of “9A” to “666.” The quick ride to the harbor from the city center was full of death growls, beer, and very loud Danes. It was almost enough to make me pity the bus drivers in charge of this route, but they were dealing with the ruckus amazingly well. In fact, negativity just didn’t seem to be a thing in Denmark. You could really say everyone here was… hell-bent…on having a good time. (I also can’t promise that’ll be the last of my “hell” puns through the duration of this. No, I’m not even a little bit sorry.) Continue reading »

Jul 232019


(A Seattle-based writer who we’ll call Gonzo ventured to Denmark for the 2019 edition of the Copenhell festival, which ran from June 19th through June 22nd. Beginning today, and continuing for the next three consecutive days, we’re sharing his entertaining stories from that adventure — though as you’ll discover, the Day One coverage didn’t turn out as planned.)

Summers in the north are great, right up until you want to get some fucking sleep.

I pulled into Copenhagen at around noon, after the requisite transatlantic flight that forced me to stay awake for almost 24 consecutive hours because no way can I ever sleep in a pressurized fart tube at 35,000 feet. It’s been almost 7 years since I’ve been here – the last visit was basically a fly-by on the way to do completely stupid shit to my liver in Munich. So, my recollection of being here is admittedly not great.

Why have I returned, you ask? There’s a festival I’d been curious about for a while called Copenhell that happens every summer in Copenhagen, billing itself audaciously as “the wildest party in the north.” Admittedly, my partying days aren’t quite on the level they used to be, but like some kind of suicidal cat with a tendency to find itself haphazardly swinging from a chandelier after getting into the stash of catnip hidden on top of the fridge, curiosity gets the better of me a bit too often. And why not? I have long fantasized about going to a proper, full-on European festival, and the metal gods seemed to all but conspire this year to usher me to this magical place. Continue reading »

Jun 192019


Yesterday I wrote about almost everything that mattered to me about the recently concluded Ascension Festival MMXIX in Mosfellsbær, Iceland, EXCEPT the music. If you happened to wade through that long post, you’ll know that a lot of things mattered to me besides the music — and I think most other people who attended the event experienced the same extremely positive feelings about what surrounded the sounds. But I suspect all that enthusiasm would have been diminished significantly if the music hadn’t also been great.

Fortunately, it was. With very few exceptions, my own reactions to the bands’ performances ranged from pleasantly happy to wide-eyed, slack-jawed, and aghast in wonder. All that good feeling easily carried over into conversations with friends and new acquaintances in between sets, in beautiful surroundings and sustained by good food and drink. In turn, the fun of that camaraderie carried right back over into the music hall for the next set, in a kind of thrilling feedback loop. Continue reading »

Jun 182019


(It is Monday as I write this, though it will be Tuesday before you see it, as I agreed with Mr. Synn to post his own reminiscences about Ascension Festival on Monday. All the photos are my own, unless otherwise noted.)

I had a restless period of half-sleep on Sunday night. In part that was due to the sweltering conditions in my Reykjavik hotel room. The sun, which briefly dims in Iceland this time of year but never sets, had warmed it up during the afternoon and the two small windows were restricted in how far they would open, rationing the amount of cool air that could come in. I missed my second-floor room at the Hotel Laxnes in Mosfellsbær where I could keep the door to a balcony wide open, and all the windows gaping, and enjoy the breeze ruffling the gauzy curtains until the land of Nod fully took me.

But mainly my restlessness derived from the fact that I couldn’t shut off my brain. It was still flooded with memories of Ascension Festival MMXIX, which ended in glorious fashion at roughly 2 a.m. on Sunday morning in Mosfellsbær. Of course, many of those memories were re-playing the music that had bombarded and mesmerized the senses over three days, but an equal number that continuously flashed through my mind in that half-waking, half-dreaming state were of other aspects of the experience that had become just as indelible as the sights and sounds from the stage. Continue reading »

Jun 172019


(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first of three posts we will publish in as many days about the recently completed Ascension Festival MMXIX, which took place in Mosfellsbær, Iceland, on June 13-15, 2019. These are Andy Synn‘s impressions of the event, and the next two are being written by Islander., who took the photos included here, unless otherwise noted)

As the title above indicates, I recently celebrated my birthday (all presents and donations will be graciously accepted), and this year decided to celebrate it in style by attending Ascension Festival in Iceland, where the brooding darkness and overall brilliance of the music was matched only by the brightness of the ever-present sunshine and the brilliance of the company.

So what you’re about to read is a few random thoughts about the experience which, while not totally comprehensive (although I made sure to see something of every band, I’ve decided only to write about the ones which really stood out), should hopefully convince one or two of you to join us at next year’s edition! Continue reading »

Jun 122019


(Our Atlanta-based contributor Tør was in the audience at The Loft on June 6th when the Devastation on the Nation Tour made its stop in Atlanta, and he provides these impressions, with his own excellent photos following the text.)

I have been looking forward to this night for months. The Devastation On The Nation Tour is in full swing, and co-headliners Dark Funeral and Belphegor are being supported by a host of bands including legends Incantation, HATE, Vale of Pnath, Nightmarer, and Malformity.

I make it to The Loft and have to walk up the stairs past some teeny-bopper event going on in the first-floor lounge area. Yes, I am a metal snob. I walk in the middle of HATE’s set, and Sinner’s vocals hit me like a brick. After a short setup, death metal legends Incantation take over the stage. With every riff and groove, I’m reminded of why this band has such a cult following. Incantation embody American death metal in the most imaginative way possible and I have a total blast watching their set. Continue reading »

May 262019


After the first three days of Maryland Deathfest 2019 my feet are protesting, my back is mewling in pain, but my brain feels like it’s 13 years old again, jumping up and down and anxious for the last day to begin.

I’m here in Baltimore with my NCS comrades Andy Synn and DGR, and a big crew of good friends from Seattle and scattered other locations. Needless to say, we haven’t been blogging, but I thought I’d check in real quick before running the metal gauntlet one more time, beginning this afternoon. Continue reading »

May 172019


(Our Atlanta-Based contributor Tør attended the performance of Meshuggah and The Black Dahlia Murder on May 6th at Buckhead Theater, and provided us with these impressions and many of his photos of the performances, most of which follow the text below.)

It is a rather peculiar scene: a bunch of metal fans lined up on the sidewalk of one the trendiest parts of the city waiting for Meshuggah and The Black Dahlia Murder to perform. The Buckhead Theater is a wonderful venue for all kinds of live music and I am glad I can finally catch a show there for the first time after six years of living in Atlanta. Continue reading »

Apr 262019


(In what has become an annual tradition, our man from the UK, Andy Synn, attended Inferno Festival on April 18 – 21, 2019, in Oslo. We have been posting his reports on the event this week, day by day, accompanied by a few of his photos, and this is the final installment.)


The fourth and final day of Inferno Festival this year was a tale of woe and suffering… for me anyway… which began the previous evening.

By the time I got back to my hotel after Taake the night before I was already spiralling pretty hard. I had a raging fever, my legs were barely holding me up, and every single part of me felt simultaneously frozen and on fire and covered in sandpaper. For the next fourteen hours (trust me, I counted them) I was unable to sleep, unable to rest, and unable to do anything but sweat and shiver and curse my own existence.

Thankfully I eventually managed to drop off, as otherwise I think I might honestly have gone insane, although by this point it was early Sunday afternoon, which made it extremely unlikely I was going to see all the bands I wanted to. But I did manage to see some. Continue reading »

Apr 252019


(In what has become an annual tradition, our man from the UK, Andy Synn, attended Inferno Festival on April 18 – 21, 2019, in Oslo. We are posting his reports on the event this week, day by day, accompanied by a few of his photos.)


What can I say about the third day of this year’s Inferno Festival?

Quite a lot, as it turns out, although, for various reasons, still not as much as I’d hoped. Continue reading »