Inferno Metal Festival Norway 2019 – Day 1 Review25th April 2019 3 By Queen Nikki
Easter, a time when families and closest friends gather together to celebrate one of the holiest times of the year, which is exactly what we did, just in our own way. I was off to the streets of Oslo, to celebrate Easter with my big metal family at the 19th Inferno Metal Festival Norway, this year held April 18th-21st at John Dee, Kniven and Rockefeller music hall. This was my fifth consecutive year attending, so you could imagine how large my family had grown in that time. A congregation of people from all corners of the Globe, to shot, dine, head bang and celebrate all things metal with.
Day One: Peeling off the leftover pizza stuck to my stomach and eating it for breakfast, we took off to the venue for day one of chaos. Opening the festival this year with a True Norwegian Black metal bang was Oslo locals, Svarttjern and having seen this gruesome crew many times before, we knew what we were in for. Hans Fyrste, is his typical revolting self, thrusting himself at the lucky contenders in the front row. Spitting a mix of corpse paint, blood and sweat onto the stage while wielding his tongue around like a weapon between words. The blue stage lights shine off the 20cm nails strapped to his arm as he whips out a cheeky pan flute solo during Hellig Jord, which lead to a mighty uproar from the crowd. Between Carpathian Forest’s harmonica business at last years festival and Taake’s banjo playing, it was about time black metal threw some more instruments into the mix at Inferno. The reception continued for All Hail Satan, as the air was fisted, we crooned along, this chant is always a favorite to bring the room together. They gave us a sneak peek into a new song from the upcoming album and closed the set with a nauseating light show to match Code Human from their older work. As always, Svarttjern impressed, disgusted us and woke Inferno up, they are the gift that keeps on giving. To the bar!
Downstairs, newcomers to the Norwegian thrash metal scene, Shakma, were tearing the John Dee stage apart. Vocalist Marco Runic, looks like a school teacher but sounds like a hound of Satan, he conducts the crowd masterfully as the band show why they deserve to be playing Inferno. So much energy and stage presence for a band that brought our their debut album “House of possession” only last year. Next to the main stage to attack us with their blackened thrash are none other than the majesty that is Aura Noir. Aggressor swivels around the stage, bound to his wheelie stool after an accident years ago, constantly adjusting the microphone as he peers at the crowd through his signature aviators. Blasphemer shreds, legs shoulder-width and his stance is strong. This was the first time for most seeing Aura Noir without long-term member Apollyon behind the kit, after his announcement early this year that he wouldn’t be playing live any more. For me, it wasn’t the same. There was something special about seeing his mug emerging from the symbols, Apollo always added some extra necessary ugliness to their live performance. That being said, Øyvind Myrvoll made a satisfying replacement and they performed to a thankful, buzzing crowd. Throwing out a Motorhead cover of Heart of Stone, that would make Lemmy proud, Aggressor yells out, “We’re nearing the end of our set and we’re all still sober!” After playing some off the new album Aura Noire, which came out last year, Blasphemer finally lead us into Black Thrash Attack, in which Rockefeller were eagerly waiting to grunt the notorious, “Ugh, Ugh!”
A band surely fit to follow the likes of Aura Noir were young black thrash outfit, Inculter. Their crunchy riffs and double kicks packed a punch in front of all those Marshall stacks. Remi’s maniacal laughter creeps over the front row of head bangers. There is good reason why this group of vagabonds are leading the charge in the Norwegian thrash scene.
Setting the mood slightly more mellow on the main stage were Swedish Psychedelic doomers Witchcraft and as one of my must see of the fest, we were front and centre. The voice of Magnus Pelander is so unmistakably his, so clear and every note he hits flows so effortlessly. He sings with so much raw emotion and passion that it’s almost transferred into us, the mass sways back and forth in a trance as they open with Deconstruction. Magnus is such an unusual performer to watch, with his weird quirks and attributes, as they play through Democracy, he is down on his knees, both hands firmly clench the microphone as he wails and we join in, “Fuck your hero’s, I’ll screw your Gods!” Rage Widerberg’s drum kit is set up to the side of the stage, I couldn’t figure out if this was alluring or distracting, but either was it was great to see him in all his glory at the front of the stage. By the time they’ve reached the end of a very long and slowed down version of Witchcraft, Magnus has announced that he needs a pee, thanked us as Gothenburg and curled on the stage in various fetal positions, hugging his knees. They farewell as Magnus gestures The Vulcan Salutation at us and shines through that goofy grin of his.
Upstairs to the rooftop bar where all the mingling was happening, today’s the day we see all our long-lost pals for the first time in over a year. Lots of “Hei, Hei’s” hugs and shots of whisky. The 94kr beers were going down way too fast up there so we smashed a vegan sausage and made our way to the top balcony for a good view of tonight’s head liners. Dimmu Borgir are a Norwegian giant that need no introduction and undoubtedly deserve the headline slot today. The stage is set with torches lit and Shagrath is center stage holding a golden rams skull up to the gods. All members are in their trademark withered hoods and I swear, maybe my view isn’t that great from the top, but was shaggy wearing a studded cock piece? Probably! He swaps his spiked microphone stand for sticks as the tribal drums starting, Council of Wolves and Snakes bounce off the walls of the hall. A wall of Fire arises from the front of the stage as the constant stream of smoke bellows through Shagrath’s grey hair extensions like a L’Oréal advert. Brat behind the stand, looks like an evil post apocalyptic bug as his symphonic keys lead the band into their final song of the night, Mourning Palace. After quite a long farewell with many bows and a well rehearsed finish, complete with guitar sword fighting, day one for us was over.