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!
With 2018’s lineup offering much more than just the big Norwegian names, I was looking forward to seeing some of the bands again, some for the very first time and, hopefully, even discover some new extreme metal acts.
After the locals from Odium and the Canadian Erimha kicked off the festival respectively at the main and the smaller stage, the Swedish classic Naglfar played on the venue’s main stage. The melodic lines were a great contrast to Kristoffer Olivius’ growling vocals. Naglfar performed an energetic set: wicked, but incredibly catchy for black metal!
After the first gigs on Rockefeller’s main stage, I decided to check out the bands downstairs. To the delight of many, Uada had already started their show filled with aggressive, thundering sound. Considering the visible cohesion among the band members and the consistent, energetic set, time spent at the smaller stage wasn’t wasted. Even though the band’s performance left me with a feeling that something was missing (maybe the vocals – growling would have sounded so much better than screaming), the crowd was having a great time.
Time to go back upstairs and move on to another band: Dark Funeral.
The concert of the Swedish black metallers started with the opening track from their newest album. With a gigantic pentagram on the backdrop and inverted crosses adorning the stage, Dark Funeral’s set was very graphic. One could tell that the audience had a great time.
Thursday’s headliner Obituary entertained the Inferno audience with their chunky, powerful death metal set. Quite a change after ‘black metal day’ which might have worked for some. Just maybe not for yours truly who was more excited for Friday…
Festival Friday has started with one of the gigs I’d been looking most forward to at Inferno Metal Festival 2018 (if not THE show I’ve been waiting for the most impatiently) – Auðn’s concert. The Icelandic band performed on the Rockefeller stage as the second act of Friday.
The stage was bathed in red light for Auðn’s show, and this truly fit the atmosphere of the infernal festival… So did the overall cold sound of the group and Hjalti Sveinsson’s tortured, screeching vocals.
Kicking off with Veröldin Hulin from their latest album, Auðn’s show was powerful and mesmerising. The audience could immerse in the atmosphere of eerie cold emptiness, just as the band’s name (meaning ‘wasteland’) could promise. Definitely one of Inferno Festival’s highlights.
Black metal Friday went on with Emperor, who performed their second opus, Anthems to Welkin at Dusk, in its entirety.
“Al Svartr (The Oath)”, the first track of the legendary album, was welcomed with enthusiastic cheers from the audience and followed with the fans’ chanting. The next songs of the set were greeted with equal enthusiasm, and this didn’t stop until the end of Emperor’s monumental show.
Friday was a perfect opportunity to get immersed in the festival’s mood and appreciate mind-blowing music.
Luckily, Saturday didn’t disappoint with its lineup either. The festival’s third day featured, among others, Ihsahn with his own project.
Interesting gig with a progressive metal vibe, especially a day after appearing in the legendary Emperor.
Among the festival’s most awaited gigs was, without a doubt, Satyricon. The band’s latest tour didn’t mean the fans would be less enthusiastic about the show at Inferno, especially for the show ending Deep Calleth Upon Deep tour.
And what an ending it was…
Satyricon’s two-hour show included 17 songs and, from beginning to the end, incredible energy.
After an intro composed by Ennio Morricone, the opening track “Midnight Serpent” from Satyricon’s new masterpiece could be heard.
Masterfully combined melodies, Satyr’s vocals and the irreplaceable drumming of Frost made a mind-blowing impression already at the very first song of the set.
The following songs were no less impressive as the powerful intro could promise. Not every black metal show carries that much energy and builds such amazing, unique atmosphere. Satyricon’s gigs do.
So much dedication to the show, both from the bands and from the audience’s side, can rarely be seen…
Friday and Saturday ended with Norwegian bands for me, and Sunday has started with another group from Norway. Tsjuder, who were playing on the venue’s main stage, delivered a tight set. At the end, the band members were joined by Frederick Melander from the original Bathory lineup.
For the next Sunday concert, I went downstairs to see Naðra. Just as their intense gig at last year’s Turku Saatanalle, the Inferno show was powerful and raw to the point of sounding coldly primitive. An effect of chaotic wall of sound worked perfectly through the Icelanders’ set.
I would lie if I said I’m not tired of black metal bands who wear hooded robes onstage. The thing with Schammasch is that their stage clothes are not just for show and the same applies for the frontman’s unique corpse paint (if C.R.S. face and hands covered in shining black paint could be called corpse paint). Mystical vibes, menacing sound and otherworldly atmosphere made Schammasch’s gig an interesting one, to say the least. Three guitars along with a 5-string bass created a powerful wall of sound effect which could only be called monumental.
It was time for a break between Schammasch and Carpathian Forest. When I was leaving the smaller stage, Electric Wizard on the main stage were playing a riff which went on the entire time it took for me to get to the cloakroom and collect my things.
Not-so-fun-fact: the very same riff could be heard outside the venue for quite a long time still.
Luckily, Carpathian Forest turned out to be a great finale to Inferno Metal Festival 2018. Energetic, fast black’n’roll with in-your-face attitude played by the Norwegian band could not go wrong.
Alongside Carpathian Forest’s own songs, covers like The Cure’s “A Forest” and Turbonegro’s “All my friends are dead” were played at the gig. All of them were worth listening to and witnessing the show onstage was quite an experience to say the least.
Inferno Metal Festival 2018 wasn’t just about a decent lineup. The atmosphere, the way the festival is organised, different things to do at the event – Inferno Festival provided a fantastic festival experience.