BBG is back in Oslo, this time for Inferno. Here's what he's catching at the Norwegian metal festival...
Church of Misery
It's late and I'm strolling down Karl Johan's Gate in Oslo, trying to snag a snack at one of the only late-night spots in the area, 7-11 (it's not only NYC that they've infiltrated). A young woman aggressively walks over to me and says something in Norwegian that I clearly don't understand, and like any ugly American I respond with an "excuse me?". The girl fires back with a "Hi, handsome" and asks if I like her with a very pointed look of intent... Like Whodini said, the freaks come out at night.
Night fell on day two of the Inferno Festival (day 1 review/pics HERE) and instead of being dispersed across many clubs in the city, the creatures of the night (in this case, the bullet belted and corpse-painted set) converged on a single area, connecting clubs Rockefeller & John Dee. The two clubs are interconnected with a third stage (Rockefeller Annex) serving as the all-important metal-merch area, housing all manner of silver rings, zillion-dollar Morbid Angel ultra-limited boxsets, and your basic assortment of metal patches. The mighty Neseblod Records (home of the black metal museum that I visited last time I was here) had also set up shop, selling wares from their jaw-droppingly extensive collection.
Bands were staggered across the two stages with the show opening at a whopping 5:45PM with an appearance by Corpus Mortale at John Dee. Due to prior obligations, I stumbled into the venue in time to catch Anaal Nathrakh, missing Trollfest, Undying Inc, and the previously mentioned festival day opener.
Anaal Nathrakh played the Rockefeller stage at 7:45PM and the band was noticeably missing Mick Kenney, one half of the mostly-studio project. Vocalist V.I.T.R.I.O.L. (Dave Hunt) commented that problems at the US border (UK-born Kinney now lives in the states) had kept Kinney from performing at Inferno Festival, but the band forged on and seemed no worse for the wear. The band dedicated "Submission is For The Weak" from Codex Necro to the US Border authorities.
Maybe it was the Integrity sticker on the bassist's instrument, but I think Anaal Nathrakh has a distinct hardcore feel live. Hunt jerks around and slithers on stage like a hardcore vocalist yet when the songs require clean singing, he executes them perfectly. Awesome set, with my personal highlight being the blistering "The Final Submission".
The Konsortium, a supergroup featuring shrouded members of Mayhem and Kvelertak (I do believe it was their lead vocalist), followed on John Dee. Wearing white masks, the band played their version of black metal/thrash to the room, with the lead vocalist toting a copy of the New Testament. While bibles on stage at a metal show are hardly a new thing, this copy clearly had lyrics written inside of it (just an observation, no judgement). The band didn't leave much of an impression, positive or negative, and felt more like black metal by committee, not consortium.
White corpse-paint followed the white-masked when 1349 played the next set at the big Rockefeller stage. The band was much tighter than my previous experiences with them and the crowd energy was high during their performance as well. While I have waivered regarding 1349, their showing at Rockefeller renewed my faith.
Considering the list of bands that preceeded Vesen, a black-metal thrash crew from Oslo, I was intrigued at where they sat in the lineup. While Vesen is hardly breaking any new territory, their thrash-attack was energetic and compelling live. Fun set from this Norwegian four-piece.
The stage at Rockefeller was curtained when I got in place for Triptykon but I could hear the vocals being checked over the PA:
"COOKIE! COOKIE! C is for COOKIE! COOKIES GOOD! COOKIES GEEEUHRRR..." said the voice in a Cookie Monster style growl.
There is no evidence that Tom Warrior was responsible for that Sesame Street impression, but I'd like to think that he was.
Then the curtains parted and Triptykon came on stage. The band performed pieces from their recent Eparistera Daimones in addition to classic Celtic Frost tracks like "Circle of The Tyrants" and "The Usurper" featuring Ravn of 1349 on vocals. The band was definitely tight and delivered an excellent set with thick and hearty guitar tones that sounded amazing on the ample Rockefeller PA (not that a single band was poorly mixed in that room... I just think Triptykon sounded the best).
I then headed to the basement to see a band that I have longed to see for years.... Church of Misery! Church of Misery do a perfect mix of classic, bluesy doom riffs with sludge and have the sickening vocals of Hideki Fukasawa over top of it all. Booming, jaw-dropping and laser-precise, there was a moment during their set that I was convinced that Church of Misery was the baddest motherfucking band on the planet. One thing is for sure, they rip.
If there ever was a band that would enforce my "OMG Church of Misery is the best band evar" theory, it would be Borknagar who was up next. The band practices in progressive, folk-y style metal with keyboards and black metal tendencies but with none of those, you know, memorable parts. Kind of a sour note to end the night on the big stage and overall, but at least I saw some incredible music today.
More pictures from the whole day below....
with Ravn on vocals for "The Usurper"
Church of Misery