Oslo, 27 – 30 March 013
In loving memory of Slawek “Mortifier” Archangielski, Hate. RIP
Inferno is the festival where all long-time extreme metal fans meet up. here in Oslo, fans coming from all over the world, as far as the USA, Japan and Brazil. The location where Inferno is hosted every year is simply perfect: it all starts at the Royal Hotel Christiania, the official festival accommodation provider: this very pleasant hotel is conveniently situated at a short walking distance from the venues, right in front of Oslo Central Station (only a 40 minutes ride from Gardermoen Airport). It is right here at the Royal Hotel Christiania, that the majority of festival goers, organisers and artists all convene to create an amazing, electrifying festival feeling. Breakfasting in grand Norwegian style in the company of the like of Glen Benton and Lord Ahrimar on the day of Deicide and Dark Funeral performances add that special impression of belonging. The hotel also offers evening movie screening (The Shining, Winter Of The Dead) and an awesome black market where artists and fans can sell and trade metal goodies such as vintage vinyl, CDs, DVDs and other merchandise presented at small stands. The hotel bar is also a great meeting point for the end of the day, to continue the festival mood with a good cocktail while chatting on the bands that had just played. And for the unstoppable that do not need to sleep, all the metal pubs around Oslo, such as Rock In, Victoria, De Ville’s Rock Lounge, Revolver and the brand new and already super popular Blå take part to the festival by offering the chance to head-bang and drink the night away after the headliners. On day one of Inferno, these exquisite bars offer sets of amazing bands such as Krakov, Cor Scorpii, Vulture Industries and Helheim (Blå), Saturnus and Devil (Victoria) and Nidingr (Revolver). This is definitely the ultimate festival warm up. The 13th edition of Inferno starts at the John Dee (capacity 400), one of the two main venues together with Rockerfeller (capacity 1400) connected internally by a staircase. It is at John Dee that Indie Recordings, the Norwegian metal label known for bands such as God Seed and Vreid, offer an amazing parade of their catalogue, starting with the first performance of the day, From The Vastland. This incredible black metal project has been finally achieved by mastermind Pakistani born Sina: his dream was to perform his black metal music here at Inferno, with the help of seasoned musicians of the like of DestrucThor (Morbid Angel, Myrkskog, Zyklon) on guitar, André Kvebek (Pantheon I) on bass and Vegard Larsen (Keep Of Kalessin) on drums. Their set is powerful, and many are the fans that embrace this captivating fervour. Man The Machetes precede the remarkable set of Norwegian über thrashers Blood Tsunami. Their old school thrash is delivered with confidence, they became both exhilarating and contagious thanks to bullet-belted frontman (Peter “Pete Evil” Michael Kolstad Vegem) cutting and prevailing vocals. Blood Tsunami are loud, fast and furious. Before the closing set of Altaar, Arnt “Obsidian C.” Grønbech from Keep of Kalessin introduce in person the band’s brand new video, Introspection in his new role of lead singer. Altaar are the worthy headliner of this superb opening night. The stage is beautifully lit with candles, the magic lights blends with the powerful incense that is engulfing the audience with an eerie and captivating ambience. Day two follows with the actual opening of the Rockerfeller stage for the event: the venue is extremely well organised in terms of bars (all serving the popular NØgne Ø Brown Ale), food (there is a delicious Thai booth right at the entrance) and merchandise stands. Iskald precedes Hate in the opening: the polish black metal squad had unfortunately several technical problems at the very beginning of their set, which may have affected their confidence. Nevertheless their performance is well lived, Adam “ATF Sinner” Buszko and Konrad “Destroyer” Ramotowski guitar work is still as powerful as always. Swedish black metallers Dark Funeral delivers one of the best performance not only of the day but of the whole event. With singer Magus Caligula back on board, the band looks as fit as ever. By the time of Stigmata, guitarist Lord Ahrimar could not do a better job in defying the grand stage presence of this mighty force. Their set could go on for ever, but it’s followed by another stunning performance by Norwegian black metal outfit Taake. Rumours circulating about the appearance of a very special guest become a reality when Niklas Kvarforth from Swedish Shining unveils his presence from under a warlock cloak as, together with Taake’s frontman Hoest deliver a splendid rendition of Nordbundet. Kvarforth and Hoest give at their best, the charming (Jack Daniel infused) madness of one merging into the darkness of the other. Taake definitely becomes a dominant reality for the day, their set is rich of powerful emotions that convey in one of the best black metal around today. It’s hard to leave their set before its end, as from the John Dee stage below Solstorm and Chrome Division are attracting their share of the audience. The first headliner of the Rockerfeller stage are well approved veterans death mobsters Deicide. Glen Benton has that fearful appearance on stage that always make their set one to never be missed. Great visceral pounding of Once Upon The Cross and Dead But Dreaming ignite the first true, sweat-drenched mosh-pit of the day. Day two starts with Finnish black metal sorcerer Behexen. Just like for Hate the day before, they also face some technical difficulties at the start. Still their set acquires supremacy and things are immediately in full swing. From below Norwegian In Vain arrive with their groove and deliver quite an intricate blend of prog and black which occasionally seems to lack flavour, although the more melodic bridges provide definitely more spice. But John Dee tonight belongs to Dutch Carach Angren, they serve up their Cradle Of Filth-like melodic black metal, that is now becoming more defined and unique. Their sound is spine-shilling enough that the audience does not realise the venue is totally above full capacity. They just deliver a great set in the midst of true mayhem and too bad that many are the ones that cannot make it to experience the Carach Angren live show as security is forced to act as barriers. It’s hard to leave them for Portuguese Moonspell: it’s up to them to provide the night time lullaby with their melodic fables of magic, dreamlike worlds. Their performance seems to transport far away from reality, frontman Fernando Ribeiro leads his enthusiastic crowd towards the end of the evening with mighty Suffocation: they resume the true metal assault and their super technical and potent death metal. Frontman Frank Mullen looks in great shape, there could not have been a better headliner for the third day with this all American legendary band. Their setlist is perfectly pitched and culminates with Funeal Inception. The closing day has sadly arrived way too son with Finnish Baptism and their ethereal black metal. They are impressive, a league on their own, bringing their share of infernal anthems: frontman Lord Sargofagian arrives on stage looking like a ghost from the underworld. His vocals are piercing and enchantingly blended in the captivating guitar work. Hades Almighty and their majestic sequence of crushing melodies are entirely up to the challenge, resulting in a set that is devastating and inspiring. Day four of the festival acquires its intensity as Norwegian avant-garde post-metallers Solefald take possession of the stage right before the most awaited headliner. Fontman Cornelius Jakhelln proudly announce that this is their first show in Oslo: their set is a reminiscence of the Berlin from the past, the atmosphere becomes classically decadent when suddenly the notes of Red View take back to reality. Kråke and Diskord are doing a great job as crowd warmers for colossal Saint Vitus who made the John Dee stage something powerfully special, while Norwegian Satyricon are getting ready to be the definite headliner of the whole event. Their stage is a battlefield of amazing pyro, they slick black riffs and soaring melodies are a trademark of a glorious past diving into a forever promising future for this talented musicians that never fail. Frontman Satyr (Sigurd Wongraven) vocals are organic with a blast of ferocity and unchanged passion and innovation. Fuel For Hatred and K.I.N.G. as the encore are the perfect way to say good bye. This is the ultimate, un-missable festival for the true extreme metal lovers.
In loving memory of Slawek “Mortifier” Archangielski, Hate.
Ph: Fabiola Santini