Category Archives: Festivals

In Iceland, It’s Forbidden to Be an Asshole: EISTNAFLUG FESTIVAL, 2018

EISTNAFLUG FESTIVAL: 11 – 14 JULY, NESKAUPSTAÐUR

For many, the last weekend of June has been synonymous with plans for Tuska festival. For me, it meant the start of road trip around Iceland.

I managed to visit the desolate island after years of listening to mind-blowing Icelandic metal: music stretching from the masters of the so-called atmospheric Icelandic rock ‘n’ roll Sólstafir through  to viking-inspired Skálmöld and black metallers like Auðn or Svartidauði. Luckily, I had time for something more than Eistnaflug Festival.

As one could expect, my trip started in Reykjavík.

A lack of metal bars in the capital is not a problem when you can go to a decent record store instead. Geiskadiskabúð Valda has more than just a great selection of Icelandic records, and Sundlaugin  [meaning swimming pool, from which it was converted] studio in the neighbouring Mosfellsbær may not look impressive, but it’s the legendary place where works of bands such as Sólstafir and Sigur Rós got their sound.

Moving up north, one of the road trip’s several stops was Húsavík, not surprisingly linked to one of Sólstafir’s albums. The recognizable intro preceding every show of the Icelandic band comes from Masterpiece of Bitterness and its title is “Náttfari:” having exactly the same name as one of the boats in Húsavík harbor. The boat, for instance, took its name from a story according to which a runaway slave was called Náttfari. When the boat is not out on a whale watching trip, it’s worth taking a look at, and not just for Sólstafir’enthusiasts.

Going further to the east, I visited a place which inspired another band. A visit in Dimmuborgir was undoubtedly one of the trip’s highlights.

The road trip’s second week only got more interesting, thanks to Eistnaflug festival at Neskaupstaður. The venue, at nothing less than a local sports hall, is not the place you would expect to host a festival. Neskaupstaður is not even a town easily pictured as a festival site.

To be honest, Iceland is not necessarily a country associated with metal events.

How did such arrangement work out? I have to admit this has only made the whole Eistnaflug experience more interesting.

Did I mention the festival’s main message ‘Bannað að vera fáviti’? Well, it basically translates to ‘Forbidden to be an asshole’. Quite obviously, it can also be seen on the festival’s merch (including bright pink shirts with the festival’s motto).

This year’s lineup has also been wonderfully diverse with world-famous names and lesser-known Icelandic bands alike.  Not surprisingly, Wednesday’s lineup consisted mostly of bands hailing from Iceland; the event’s warm-up day and early weekend shows were a great opportunity for all the foreign festival-goers to catch the local bands.

For me, the first band at Eistnaflug was Legend. With few shows outside of their home country, Legend remained an act I haven’t seen until the festival. Hypnotising electronic music performed by the band was a perfect intro to Eistnaflug.

Legend

Festival-goers were lucky enough to watch more excellent performances even before the weekend had started. Thursday turned out to be really interesting… One of the festival’s discoveries for me was the Icelandic Nexion. Despite the fact that the band has been formed in 2016, its members have already played in several bands before, and their experience was easily noticed onstage. Nexion delivered an intense, energy-filled death metal show.

Order

Next band on the bill was Order. Bringing some much-needed darkness upon the venue, the Norwegians played a decent set. Along with their own songs, Order played Mayhem’s Deathcrush as well, a song which was a perfect ending to the band’s gig.

Shows filled with harsh sound and grim atmosphere continued on and Thursday ended with Watain’s set. The performance was by far the best one I have seen from the Swedish black metal veterans. Starting with “Stellarvore” and ending with the unforgettable “Waters of Ain,” the set was more than impressive and Watain’s frontman Erik Danielsson was just as dedicated as ever. The band once again proved that their mind-blowing shows are sure to make a great impression.

Watain

Friday the 13th was the date marking the long-awaited extended show of Sólstafir. As Eistnaflug regulars and masters of atmospheric, emotion-filled music, Sólstafir didn’t disappoint. In addition to the obligatory “Fjara” and “Goddess of the Ages,” the band played, among others, four songs from their latest release Berdreyminn and a title track from their classic Köld. A worthwhile gig to say the least!

Sólstafir

Three festival days passed unbelievably fast. Luckily, Saturday sounded promising with acts such as Auðn, Batushka and Kreator.

Still, one of the bands I’ve been looking forward to the most was Kontinuum. The Icelandic formation combines clean vocals with growling, Icelandic lyrics with English texts and atmospheric style with a more progressive approach. The list goes on and defines Kontinuum’s unique sound. Kontinuum’s Eistnaflug gig proved that in addition to the band’s brilliant albums, their live performances are far from boring. The setlist included mostly songs from the newest album, No Need to Reason, which was released earlier in July.

The following Icelandic act was quite a contrast to Kontinuum: Auðn’s cold and harsh black metal mesmerized the audience. After their excellent concert at Inferno festival earlier this year, Auðn stood up to expectations and made sure to do their best at Eistnaflug as well.
The black orthodox mass by Batushka was among the festival’s last performances. Judging from the receptive audience, it was also one of the event’s most awaited shows. Vertiginous smell of incense, chants, an impressive backdrop and stage props proved how much of a spectacle Batushka’s performances are. The crowd’s reactions were another proof of the band’s popularity. At some point of the gig, the frontman threw a rosary and a fight for it broke out in the first row, kicking and biting included!

Another long-awaited band played just after Batushka: the German thrash legends from Kreator. Their gig ended my Eistnaflug 2018 – four days of rock and metal in Neskaupstaður, just as the festival’s website says.

BEYOND THE GATES: 23 – 25 AUGUST, USF VERFTET, BERGEN

This year’s metal festivals in Norway did not disappoint with promising lineups and excellent organisation. Beyond the Gates was no exception to this.
Visiting the gorgeous city of Bergen once again and getting to see bands such as Taake, Satyricon, 1349 and Enslaved was the perfect way to end this year’s summer festival season.
Continue reading

KARMØYGEDDON METAL FESTIVAL: 10-12 MAY, KOPERVIK

Two flights, three bus rides and a ferry crossing might not be the simplest way to get to a festival, but Karmøygeddon was an event worth every moment spent on traveling.

The lineup was promising to say the least, and the harbor area in Kopervik, where Karmøygeddon Metal Festival was held, could only be called gorgeous.
Continue reading

INFERNO METAL FESTIVAL: 29 MAR – 1 APR, ROCKEFELLER, OSLO

With four days of black metal, music conferences, art exhibitions and much more, Inferno Metal Festival Norway has sounded like one of the most intriguing metal festivals in the Nordic countries for me.
And it was more than exciting to find out that this year I’m going to attend the event too!
Continue reading

STEELCHAOS: 10 – 11 NOV 2017, NOSTURI, HELSINKI

Let the chaos begin

The month of death calls for a proper festival. What could work better than two days filled with metal’s most extreme genres?  Last year lacked such an event, and this year definitely didn’t disappoint with its obsidious offering of SteelChaos. With the announced lineup reaching from raw through oldschool black metal and extending to a few death metal groups, the festival looked extremely promising. Continue reading

METALLIHUMALA: Nov 25-26, 2016 – Bar Bäkkäri – Helsinki

DAY ONE: Crack, cocaine, karaoke?  Don’t remember.  (AKA interesting stuff in plastic bags)

Friday: Cannibal Accident, Ceaseless Torment, Freedomination

As a fledgling member of the badass crew of Enslain, I’m more than honored to write my first gig report for the magazine.  Read on if you’re curious; enjoy if possible!

Enslaining @ Metallihumala

I have to admit I was beyond excited on Friday evening, even before the bands started playing.   The overall atmosphere in Bäkkäri was already promising – dark clubroom, preparing the gear and instruments, metalheads everywhere, you name it.  Oh, and some insanely good beer too, courtesy of the festival’s namesake, Humalove Brewing.  Don’t forget the beer. Continue reading

AKATEEMINEN HEVIRISTEILY – 25 interviews on the metal booze cruise

See, here’s the thing. I’ve been to, and written about the legendary event that no one who has ever attended seems to have any memories of having been on – the event in question being Finland’s student metal group collaborative cruise Akateeminen Heviristeily. So, we don’t really want to hear me write your average, everyday report about how the two bands (Nuclear Omnicide and Noumena) were, how everyone felt already drunk when said bands were playing because the boat was rocking heavily (literally and figuratively, and probably everone actually was drunk already by that time at 10pm when the gigs ended), or to tell more stories about me and my friends’ drunken escapades on our voyage to Tallinn, which most of us didn’t survive to disembark to.

Nuclear Omnicide @ Akateeminen Heviristeily

Nuclear Omnicide @ Akateeminen Heviristeily

Instead, I decided to try a more novel approach, and since our little community is so connected to each other, I thought, why not have a chain interview, where each person who’s asked a question must ask someone else the next question, with the purpose to be for people who know each other to ask things that expose funny, embarrassing or very metal stuff about each other, and then see how far the chain can endure. And here’s what happened. Read away, and laugh at your comrades and cohorts. To their face, next time you see them. Continue reading

Til Dovre Faller 2014 – Small Fest for Big Nuts

Til Dovre Faller Metal Fest – Dombås Hotell, Dombås, Norway – September 19–20, 2014

While the third Thursday of September saw most gig-hunting Nordic numskulls pack themselves into Close-Up Båten to sail between Sweden and Finland along with Bolt Thrower, Katatonia et al, our compass was pointing at Norway instead. Since our first Til Dovre Faller experience in 2012, a September visit to the land of expensive beer and jaw-dropping natural scenery has become a cherished Enslain tradition, thanks to the fest’s reliably intriguing band roster, uniquely gorgeous and cozy setting, and the welcoming and friendly atmosphere among the annually returning crusaders that we feel proud to have become a part of. Continue reading