Inferno Metal Festival 2011

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Dornenreich live@Inferno Metal Festival 2011
Photo: Andrea Chirulescu / studiorock.ro

As every year, the Inferno metal festival that takes place during the Easter weekend in Oslo, Norway, is opened by a Club day on Wednesday. The club day means a multitude of bands who, for one reason or another, wouldn't be added to the main list of performers, but instead they are being split at 6-7 stages all over the city center to perform there. Initially I was considering John Dee to see Einherjer but after hearing from various people how crowded the place gets, I went to Victoria National Jazz Scene club. As you can probably tell by the name, it's not the regular metal club, hence it was rather funny to get in there and see the floor in front of the stage empty while every leather bearer around was laying on the soft couches and chairs far in the back. But eventually, when the dimmed lights announced the appearance of the first band on stage, people started appearing in front of the stage.

First to perform were the Austrians from Dornenreich, who for the first song only had an acoustic guitar and a violin on stage. Very beautiful music, but bringing up a lot of WTF question marks if you didn't know their music and you were convinced you're attending a rather extreme metal festival. But problem got solved with the second song when the drummer came on stage and the acoustic was replaced. Still not the usual number of instrument types for a metal act, yet they put together an incredibly pleasant ambiental music, sometimes led by fast guitar solos that would also backup the growlings and other times flowing into softer parts where the violin takes control and thrills your ears. But at any time the drums are quite powerful and fast, contributing quite a lot to the actual melody in their songs.

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Okkultokrati live@Inferno Metal Festival 2011
Photo: Andrea Chirulescu / studiorock.ro

For the next band, Okkultokrati, I will allow myself to copy their own description from the facebook page: “Frosty and nihilistic punk metal, now sludgy, then with a galloping d-beat. Drums chop and cruise at times, riding like Hellhammer, somersaulting other times in Sabbath fashion. The sound churns and chugs and sways and sags and sprints and plods and gallops. It features enough detuned, crane-necked riffing and grated chord-work to satisfy all manner of heavy-music fans.” Because this is pretty much what we heard and experienced on stage, and I need to stress out the insanity of the bass player who would spin around both himself and the bass, lift it, lower it to the floor, play it in impossible positions. All these while wearing a very blue tshirt. And the drummer, despite the fact that he only used 2 cymbals and 2 toms, made enough noise for 3 drumkits. They get a lot of pluses for the stage performance, but also some minuses for the vocalist whom I found rather dull compared to the other members.

As preparation for the next band, a bunch of people laid a lot of candles in front of the stage, lit them - to the excitement of us, photographers, who found the right scenery for artistic images - placed a skull or two on the monitors, some flags with the band's logos and a bunch of pedals on the floor. When the band came on stage, we realised - to the disappointment of the photographers - that there's no other lights than the lit candles. Oh, and a screen that was placed as backdrop and on which a demonic movie was being projected. The 6 Norwegians from Altaar filled the whole space on the stage and the projection was a bit wasted since you'd always have the images interrupted by their silhouettes. Musically though, I expected something very dark and continuous growling, especially after seeing that the singer comes on stage in a long black robe with a hood covering most of his head and a lot of paint on his face. But to my surprise what I heard on stage was more in the range of noise. A dark noise if you want, but a lot of pedal effects that made Andreas Tylden to spend half of the time on his knees. They reminded me of what I had heard from SunO))) or Isis. And man, was it loud. I'm not always thrilled by such a multitude of effects in music, but I admit that the song structure was rather incredible, almost always increasing the tempo and the intensity a bit, shaking you off the ground by the end of the song.

I'll stop here with the words for this day and hope the next 3 days of Inferno will bring more and more thrilling musicians and sounds on the stages.

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Altaar live@Inferno Metal Festival 2011
Photo: Andrea Chirulescu/ studiorock.ro