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BBG is back in Oslo, this time for Inferno. Here's what he's catching at the Norwegian metal festival...
Autopsy @ Inferno
It's true. Everything in Europe is a little bit different than the states. Case in point, the classic European mosh pit. In the USA, there's always a few knuckleheads walking in circles and trying to assert their pit supremacy with flailing arms, swing kicks, picking-up-change, and skanking. Kudos to an American band, Autopsy for showing me that European moshing is basically a mass of ear-to-ear smiles, pogoing, and kids bouncing off of each other like pinballs.
Agalloch had just started their set at Inferno by the time I got to the venue on the festival's third night, so I missed sets by Merah, Necronomicon and Aeon Throne. I have seen Agalloch a few times and am used to seeing them in a much smaller space; the Portland band on the gigantic Rockefeller stage was nothing less than epic, probably aided by the amazing knob-twiddling skills of the one and only Billy Anderson (who is touring with them as their soundman). Songs from their recent Marrow Of The Spirit and Ashes Against the Grain never sounded so good.
Agalloch's touring partners, the great Velnias, held down the John Dee in the set directly following, and their grand statements of black metal majesty have never sounded so big. The last time I saw the band was at the DIY space Acheron in NYC, so this was decidedly different.
No offense to either Agalloch or Velnias, but after two sets of multi-part epic black metal, catching Tsjuder on the main stage was a welcome change. Tsjuder were everything I wanted at that moment from a "true Norwegian black metal band" (self described, of course); simple in approach, nihilstic, relentless, hooky but without the corny, and with breakdowns straight from the Celtic Frost playbook. The crowd ate it up like it was a coconut curry (one of the only things to eat at the venue), and so did I. Side note: Tsjuder wins the prize for band with the most fans with a tattoo of their logo at Inferno.
Dead Trooper was next on the John Dee stage, and their thrash hybrid contained elements of black metal and many other different influences mixed in. While that in itself isn't a deal breaker, the alternating growls and clean singing in Hetfield style (sorrow becomes sorroooooo-wah) truly put this band over the "not interested" hump for me. Sorry homies.
I washed my hands clean of Dead Trooper with the always amazing Absu. The lightning fast Texas crew played favorites like the new album opener "Earth Ripper", "Four Crossed Wands", "Thirteen Blows" and my personal favorite Absu track, "Pillars of Mercy." The last time I saw Absu (at Europa), I was told that the song was arranged for two guitars so I am happy that the trio figured out a way to take that Tara classic on the road. Such a unique band, one of the few that can get away with campy song introductions and still rip as hard as the best of them.
Clad in cowboy attire, hair braided, and opening with riffs that sounded like more metallic versions of Morricone soundtracks, I thought I had Solstafir pegged as a progressive metal band with a southwestern slant. Though they started a bit shaky, the band tightened up by the end of the first song and played an interesting set of psychedelic metal with black metal parts that had some great moments. The crowd were nuts for the band, and I was surprised and definitely impressed.
Autopsy was the main attraction of the night, and rightfully so. The primitive death metal legends got the crow riled up and brought the first mosh pit of the evening with songs like "Severed Survival", "Gasping for Air", and later fare like "Maggot Holes" and "Hand of Darkness". So animated. So brutal. So amazing. I can't wait for the Bell House show.
Pictures from day three of Inferno are below.