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Publié le 13/04/2009 à 14:10
Édité le 13/04/2009 à 14:10

Inferno Festival 2009 : the english version

When the vast majority of Norwegians leave Oslo for the mountains to enjoy Easter skiing, the keys of Oslo have been once again given to the Inferno Festival. Despite the last minute cancellation of Meshuggah, this new edition of this festival with a high rate of extreme music kept its promises, with a lot of gems coming to kick every single ass in the audience.

Ah Norway ! Its fjords, its mountains... and its black fuckin' metal ! Once again the Inferno Festival made a great spread to give some excitement to metalheads from Norway and abroad during Easter. While Norwegians traditionally move to the mountains to spend these holidays skiing, the keys of Oslo have been once again given to extreme music fans. Such a festival in such a city is rare enough to be underlined. The usual Wacken or France's Hellfest take place in tiny villages to host thousands of people. But Oslo has assets for a metal festival, such as films screened in cinemas, a great exhibition to find pretty much everything about metal. So good bye tents and long queues to take a shower, and enjoy free and unlimited saunas!

VreidThe 2009's Inferno festival, it's four evenings 110% metal, from Wednesday to Saturday, with a majority of black metal going on (surprised? really?). And for me the festival begins under the holy sign of this very Norwegian black metal, by the documentary "Murder + Art + Norway = Tourism". A 40 minutes description of how people come especially to Norway to visit historical spots of the Norwegian black metal scene. A very straightforward kick off, followed by a chat with one of the director (check the interview on my blog) and it was time to enter the Rockefeller. The traditional "two stage setting" is once again used, to allow a non-stop metal evening, as there's only a corridor between the Rockefeller and the John Dee, the latter for cheaper bands.
As I'm going through the entrance, the pagan metal show of Kampfar has already started. What a kick ass band! Truly possessed, the leader of the Norwegian band gives everything and even more, hammering the audience, genuinely astonished. The four pieces band takes progressively possession of the place, with an amazing efficiency. Sounds promising for the rest of the evening!
On John Dee's stage, Azarath, the Polish touch of tonight, is giving a less ambient black metal, preferring the wall of sound, trillions of notes a minutes and blast beat in auto pilot. Far less challenging though. Beer break - 7euros. - to wait until The Bataillon's start and a little visit of the merch stands just next to the stage, where you can find quite everything that is metal, from the latest Anal Vomit record to the Tshirt of one of the first European tour ever of Mötley Crüe - and it's been ages! And for sure 2009 metal fashion tendency is black. On the terrace on the roof of the Rockefeller, you can easily see the new guitar player of Gorgoroth - after trial version -, the first singer of Mayhem and even Necrobutcher from the same Mayhem. Well, the Inferno Festival is definitively the place to be. At the complete opposite of the building, downstairs, tattooists never stop inking while a lot of shy metalheads watch the process with envy.
Since Meshuggah cancelled its entire Scandinavian tour because of serious health issues of its drummer, Pestilence has been put on the front and The Bataillon will fill the hole. And what a find! A mix of pure Lemmy's kind of heavy metal and black metal (of course), this four pieces band gave a lot of energy to the audience, doing tons of jokes, cheering with first rows and using pyro every time it's possible. To cut short, it was a damn blast !
At John Dee's, British trio Ramesses puts a heavy doom metal on the speakers, as if Torche would have been digested with a little bit of Ufomammut and a touch of black metal (of course). Some black metal elements to find in the ambient aspect of Ramesses noisy symphony, it's a cavernous metal, 110% testosterone as the vast majority of the audience tonight. But the fair sex is largely - and beautifully - represented, whereas there is not even one girl band on stage during those three days.
It's 11p.m. when Septic Flesh finally takes the stage, in front of impatient and excited fans - including me. The Greek band delivers an impressive show, relegating Kampfar's show far away. It's surgical, virulent, sick and genuinely great. "The Communion", their latest LP, takes another dimension live : Septic Flesh is not in holyday and gives every ounce of energy they have to a Oslo's audience that gives back pretty much all of it. A kick ass show, THE kick ass show tonight. Unearthly Trance takes the next, but it's time for another 7 euros beer break (damn). Pestilence ends this first evening with a honourable show but far from what a band like Meshuggah could have been done.

Keep Of KalessinAh Norway ! Its fjords, its mountains... and its hung-over ! On this beautiful spring day, metalheads look like zombies on the streets of Oslo. Like every afternoon during the festival, some movies are screened and this time it's a 1990 live performance of Darkthrone. A 30 minutes unpretentious live show, without any body paint but a lot of pure energy. Then it's time for a little sun bath on the Rock In's terrace with Oddbjorn, one of the director of "Murder + Art + Tourism = Norway". After a quick interview and a few beers, it's time to enter the Rockefeller where the Vreid show is about to start. Not hung-over anymore, the audience welcomes the Norwegian band with a rare enthusiasm. Visibly inspired by the first half of the twentieth century, Norwegian History and particularly the occupation of the country by the Wermacht, the quartet is turning the audience into some kind of chaos. On stage the pyro and the moves of the musicians add a lot more intensity to Milorg's songs. A genuine demonstration for a far too short concert - 45 minutes - but that's the hard rule of festivals. Following the advices of a Norwegian/Finnish girl - who said hot blonde girl ? -, the traditional beer break will occur this time in front of Pantheon I. Once again this about black metal (surprised?), but more than influenced by Morbid Angel kind of death metal. If you add to this a female cellist who could be in Apocalyptica, then you have an incredible band that mixes melodies and violence. Really recommended for difficult wake ups!
On the main stage it's time for Keep Of Kallessin, one of the most expected show of the festival. Even if we had some great bands so far, Keep Of Kalessin is going over the top. The band is home and shows an envy the Rockefeller's audience truly enjoys. With a drummer as good as Vyl, the Norwegians give a black/trash show that left a deep memory both on minds and bodies. Quite tired after this amazing show, it was time for another beer break in front of Vicious Art, nice guys jus suited up and representatives of the high sophisticated British education. You don't believe it and you're right! Vicious Art plays a brutal death that could unearth a dead body, with a fucked up screamer, visibly in another dimension of consciousness. Their show is great, just what the audience needed after Keep Of Kalessin. From this pure energy and violence we go to the Paradise Lost show on the main stage, and on stage this looks more like a rest-home than a metal festival. For God's sake what happened to the pioneers of gothic metal ? A calculated show, predictable and at the end really boring. It seems that there's a curse for headliners.

Vicious ArtOn the fourth and last day of the Inferno Festival, metalheads are more than ready for a last blast. And even if we're going to have some incredible bands tonight, the promotion of the festival is focused on the Carpathian Forest show. Check the verdict a few lines lower.
First show tonight with Black Comedy, who already did a great job for the club night on Wednesday. The show is 100% generosity, a band that has balls and who proves it live. A really great concert that I have to leave to help Oddbjorn, met two days ago, shooting the Troll's performance for a live DVD. It seems that I'm a cameramen tonight! Troll playing in Norway, not a big surprise, as fairy tales about Trolls are almost everywhere here in Norway. But Troll playing live in Norway is at the same time a premiere, since the band follows one of the shared precept of the Norwegian black metal scene: putting out records but playing live hardly ever. On stage the band lacks some maturity but they give a great show, screaming the glory of Satan. As "Kill the Christians" is announced as one of the songs, I can't help asking myself some questions, even if I know that the vast majority of black metal bands want first to shock. After a quick chat with Oddbjorn, I've got the confirmation of what I thought: this is only about to shock. At John Dee, Grand Magus is about to finish their show of heavy metal for falsetto voice. An enjoyable break before Samael, even if minds are already turned to the main stage and the future show of the Swiss. Compared to the boring show of Paradise Lost yesterday, Samael gives a genuine demonstration of how to use experience to move the place. The Swiss quartet gives a serious impression of control - in the positive sense -, leading a all place of fans to another wolrd. With cold and electronic drums, combined with simple but terrific guitar riffs, Samael gives one of the most incredible show of the festival. After such a blast, new break with the crew of Oddbjorn on the terrace, just before which I met Gaahl, ex Gorgoroth and actual God Seeds. Impressive guy, apart from all he did and didn't do. Well I was then in the right mood to welcome Carpathian Forest on the main stage. Scheduled at 1a.m., the band only started 25 minutes after, but it was not really surprising. Curtains off, the discover of two guys in underwear with reversed Norwegian flags and two sheets by the stage's sides shouting "fuck you all" through words. Two other female extras in underwear will share the stage with the band during the first song, simulating sexual poses while the singer is haranguing the audience with a deep growl. Folks, Satan is in the house! Unfortunately, the band doesn't reach the musical average of the bands who played there during four days, as if the musical aspect of the band was second. After such an expectation, disappointment is taking me after a few songs. Pushing at an open door, this is not shocking anyone, especially in a black metal festival such as Inferno Festival.

For a first time, it was a great time! Incredible bands, interesting discovers and a really enjoyable ambiance along the three days spent here. Well, come to Oslo, come to headbang and see some incredible bands !

Huge thanks to the Inferno Festival organisation for giving the opportunity to a french webzine to attend such an amazing festival. Hi to Camilla & Camilla, Oddbjorn (thanks for the one-night photo pass dude) and his crew of cameramen.

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