Oct 182018


(One of our Norway-based contributors, Karina Noctum, prepared this evocative review of the Motstrøms concert on September 29 at the Myrens Dam in the heart of Norway’s Telemark region. All of the accompanying photos were taken by Andrea Chirulescu.)

I was fortunate enough to be able to attend Motstrøms, which translated from Norwegian means “against the current”. Motstrøms was a celebration of a long and many-faceted musical career. It was about Emperor, Ihasahn’s solo project, the projects he has developed together with his wife Heidi Tveit, as well as the musical contributions of significance from other important musicians such as Leprous and Raphael Weinroth-Browne, among others.

Motstrøms is a fitting name indeed, taking into account Ihsahn’s musical character. I was excited when I first heard about it, and felt right from the beginning that it was going to be a special evening. I started getting “the I can’t believe I’m here” feeling just before arriving, the kind of feeling I do not get in Oslo anymore. Besides, Emperor were going to play some songs, and I had to be there. I have been following pretty much every Emperor concert I could attend, and I’m grateful for any new concerts because I know it will stop abruptly some day, and that will be it. Continue reading »

Sep 042018


(Norway-based NCS contributor Karina Noctum was in Bergen, Norway last week for part of the latest edition of the Beyond the Gates festival. This isn’t a complete review of the fest, but rather some reflections about the location, some musical recommendations prompted by the line-ups, and impressions of some of the performances that made a particular impact. Credit for all the wonderful photos in this post goes to Jarle H. Moe.)

Beyond the Gates is a festival that takes place every year in the mythical Black Metal city of Bergen (at least, it certainly seems mythical). It’s a paradise for blackpackers (a name for the hopeful souls who make the journey to the land of Black Metal and if they do their research well may end up in Abbath’s garden), a good city if you are into grey, doleful weather and dark surroundings. You’ve got the beautiful and dark mountains of might surrounding the city; it rains pretty much every day; and as a consequence the shadowy forests will be under a shroud of fog. All in all, pretty Black Metal.

If you are considering traveling in spite of everything I’ve mentioned above then go here and you will find a comprehensive list of metal stuff to do in Bergen. I find Bergen a nice place since I like grey skies, dark forests, mountains, and rain, so being there is a happy experience for me, especially when combined with music. Continue reading »

Jun 062018


EDITOR’S NOTE: NCS Norway-based contributor Karina Noctum had the good fortune of both attending this year’s Inferno Fest in Oslo and interviewing some of the musicians who performed there. The last of those discussions is the one we present today — an interview with guitarist/vocalist Secthdamon of the resurrected Norwegian symphonic black metal band Odium. The band’s 1998 album The Sad Realm of Stars was reissued by Blood Music a few years ago and is still available here.

Odium’s performance at Inferno was their first in 19 years, and a celebration of The Sad Realm’s 20th anniversary. The live line-up consisted of Secthdamon (Emperor, live), Gortheon (Myrkskog), Destructhor (Myrkskog, ex-Morbid Angel), Dominator (Dark Funeral), Righ (Cor Scorpii), and Morindune. Continue reading »

Jun 052018


(We present Karina Noctum’s interview of DzeptiCunt (ex-Ragnarok), bassist for the Norwegian black metal band Nordjevel, who are working on a new album named Necrogenesis which will be released by Osmose Productions and who will be embarking on a European tour with Hate in July, following appearances at Hellfest (France) and Garasjefestivalen (Norway). The interview took place during Inferno Festival 2018.)


You released an EP last year. Are you in the process of writing a new album?

Yes indeed, we are close to finishing our second album! We are very excited to see how it will turn out altogether; the songs that are already written are killer!


What stage is the album’s creation at now?

The album is in the making as we speak, we have written 6 songs and another 4-5 coming up soon. We haven’t decided which songs will be on the album yet — we’ll see when all songs are recorded. Our designer will be starting on the artwork for the upcoming album these days as well. Continue reading »

May 072018

Photo by Per Ole Hagen


(One of our Norway-based contributors, Karina Noctum, conducted the following interview with members of the Swedish black metal band Mephorash at this year’s Inferno Festival. The band are at work on a highly anticipated new album, which follows 2015’s 1557 – Rites of Nullification.)


Karina: You have released a single that belongs to your fourth upcoming album. Have you finished it or are you producing it?

Mishbar Bovmeph: We are almost finished. We are working wrapping the whole album up and hopefully we will release it towards autumn this year. Continue reading »

Apr 262018


(One of our Norway-based contributors, Karina Noctum, had the good fortune of recently interviewing Ihsahn, whose new album Àmr will be released on May 4 by Candlelight/Spinefarm, and we present their discussion here today.)


You mix together several genres in one song a lot, and this is complicated enough, so how do you compose? Do you have lots of riffs first or does the song develop out of an idea?

I think it’s more the latter. Although in my early years my way of doing it tended more towards having lots of riffs and then putting them together. But as a solo artist it has been more centered around an idea and developing everything taking it as a starting point.


But what about this idea, is it a musical one or can it be anything?

It is a musical one. Often times it has been just one vocal line. Take my first solo album, there is a song called “Called by the Fire” in there and those were some lines that I sang while driving, and all singing started from there. But frequently it is a musical theme, or a progression for example.


Does the music you listen to influence you when it comes to writing music?

I get inspiration from lots of sources. You named the fact that I bring in many genres… I do feel I still create music that belongs to extreme metal and Black Metal, but I get inspired by other musical landscapes. Other musical textures are something that I like to combine with the music, as it gives it a special character. Continue reading »

Apr 042018


(The members of Dreamarcher hail from the Hardanger district on the west coast of Norway, and their latest EP, Harding, was released on March 9th. Here, Norway-based NCS contributor Karina Noctum talks with the band’s Ruben Aksnes.)


Dreammarcher combines different influences. At times the music can resemble something like Cult of Luna, but for the most part it is progressive, and in a rock fashion; I think of The Mars Volta. The faster parts are a hybrid of hardcore and Black Metal. Clean vocals in an American style that at times remind me of bands from P.O.D to Fear Factory, but are rock-like for the most part.

I’d say Harding, their newly released EP, has a complex array of different vocal styles, a mesh of different genres, and interesting song structures. They have even brought folk into the mix by using the fiddle, which was, I found out, a symbol of rebellion in Hardanger, the Norwegian region the band hails from. Continue reading »

Mar 292018


(The multinational band Sojourner released their second album earlier this month through Avantgarde Music, and in this post our Norway-based contributor Karina Noctum provides thoughts about the music and also elicitsthoughts from vocalist Emilio Crespo about his approach to the crafting of Sojourner’s lyrics. You’ll have a chance to listen to the music as well.)


I don’t remember precisely how I found Sojourner, but what I do remember is that the cover of the first album dragged me to them first. When I saw it, I thought it had to be some sort of atmospheric band and I had to check it out. Yes it was, and a very impressive one. The best atmospheric music (for me) is created by a combination of all the musical instruments and the vocals, layered in such a way as to create the effect, rather than elevating one layer “above” it all — such as something ambient thrown in for good measure — which feels disconnected from everything else.

That discovery of Sojourner was in 2016 when they released Empires of Ash, but now they have released a new album, The Shadowed Road, which again reveals a good production that has rendered a layering to my liking. This album has been carefully made, and particular care has been taken in preserving a contemplative mood throughout the album, while including a variety of rhythms and dynamic song structures. 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 202018


(Norway-based NCS contributor Karina Noctum prepared this review of the new album by Lecherous Nocturne, which will be released by Willowtip Records on April 6.)

Lecherous Nocturne are from South Carolina. The musicians have other musical projects that revolve around Brutal Death and Black Metal (Atrocious Abnormality, Cesspool of Vermin, Apotheosys, Helgaroth). They have accumulated enough experience, and it fully shows in LN. Besides, since they’re from South Carolina you can bet the guitarist has played live with Nile, and that is one good hint when it comes to LN’s level of talent.

Lecherous Nocturne are many things. First, they are tech, so you get the insane guitar/bass work, and drums to die for. But keep in mind that if you have your reservations against tech or brutal, this is not your boring, souless tech, and not your raw brutal Neanderthalensis either. This is interesting, reminiscent of stuff that everyone loves but in the grey zone between several styles.

So yeah, this is tech but it is blackened and darkened, in a different spectrum than your average tech death band. Hints of rawness, that blackened thrash rawness, are present. Think of Absu! When it comes to DM you also have Morbid Angel’s omnipresent shadow, which is like a solid concrete foundation that makes this so heavy and enjoyable. The first song brings to mind Morbid Angel’s Heretic, for example.

Their latest album Occultaclysmic is to be released on April 6th by none other than one of the safest quality-checkers in extreme metal, Willowtip. (What a roster they have!) This is an album that further confirms the high quality that is to be found in their catalog. This is basically my definition of how the sound of metal should develop. It has thick musical roots firmly engrained in the DM genre while expanding the sound further into the extreme. It’s faster, much more powerful, and more intricate, without spiralling away into full chaos or a vastness of experimental sounds until the very core of the music is lost. It’s everything you hold dear, just taken to a next level. I do enjoy next levels. Continue reading »