The 3 days full of dark and extreme metal on the Rockefeller and John Dee stages in Oslo have kicked in on Thursday, April 21st and as the first performers we have the Norwegian trio from Diskord on the small stage of John Dee. If by the time I entered the venue I was still a bit sleepy, it all vanished away after the first few seconds of their death metal in which they blended a touch of slow doom or really fast riffs to make it an interesting listen. And to my surprise, the crowd was rather dense for the first band of the day and seemed to know the songs. A thing to appreciate with this band is the fact that the drummer seems to be the main singer and I always find it impressive if you can concentrate on synchronising your 4 limbs while having to sing along. I left to wander around the festival area for a while though, so I could have a look at the variety of merchandise and especially at some of the silver jewelry after it turned out that some acquaintances started their own business into this branch.
Soon it was time for the opener on the main Rockefeller stage - Akercocke, an English progressive blackened death metal band from London, England. I was told by a friend of mine that they rarely play live, so it was quite an occasion to see them at this festival. An occasion that made me really like this band. Again, very surprising to see so much crowd and so early in front of the stage, headbanging, screaming and singing along to the songs, but it wasn't in vain since they got rewarded by a very good performance with a lot of energy and good mood on stage. Unfortunately it all ended too soon. I would have given that band at least one more hour on stage. But since it's not up to me to decide, we move on to the next performers, the Norwegians from Gothminister and their industrial metal in the range of Rammstein sound at times. White face paint, plenty of eye makeup, crosses and weird looking dolls on stage, remote controlled small planes going above the crowd and with cross shaped remotes, lots of pyro effects including sparkles coming out the guitar necks… Yes, a lot of visual effects, interesting nevertheless, yet they made me lose any focus on music. Plus it got so warm inside that I went on the outside terrace for the second half of their performance.
A short trip to John Dee after the recommendation of another friend to see Harm, another young Norwegian trio, this time dwelling in the realms of thrash and with a 'Demonic Alliance' album out in April 2011 - after 5 years of silence since their first release. So I guess the new album was the main ingredient of the playlist as they played in the spirit of what seems to be the tagline on their facebook page 'THRASH TILL FUCKING DEATH!!'. But it was time to check the food offer on the outdoor terrace of the venue as the smell of grill was rather tempting when passing by. I forgot why I never made it there, but anyways, I made it to the next concert on the main stage, as I really wanted to see the reunited version of DHG (aka DÃ¸dheimsgard), a band with plenty of member changing history. Another visual performance involving a lot of body paint, this time more varied though - red, blue (Avatar?), but this time music also got my attention with its industrial like rhythms in it, yet more black and tight most of the time. It was really lovely to hear the nice keyboard melodies as accompaniment for the growls and fast drumming and all in all, considering that they haven't played much live lately, I applaud this performance.
Another Norwegian trio - for a while at least - came afterwards on the main stage. It was the black/thrash metal band Aura Noir, whose members also play or have played in famous metal projects: Aggressor (Carl-Michael Eide - Ved Buens Ende, Cadaver Inc., DÃ¸dheimsgard, Satyricon, Ulver, InfernÃ¶ and Virus), Apollyon (Ole JÃ¸rgen Moe - DÃ¸dheimsgard, Lamented Souls, Gorgoroth, Cadaver Inc. and Immortal), Blasphemer (Rune Eriksen - Mayhem). Hence you could easily see their confidence of being on stage and performing for big crowds. With Apollyon's vocals I always kept thinking they would start playing Immortal songs any minute, but after few songs they switched the drummer and were joined on stage by Aggressor and things shifted a lot to a more thrash'n'roll style. All in all an old school sound and a lot of energy transmitted from the artists, even if Carl-Michael Eide had to sit on a chair due the accident he had back in 2005.
I paid a short visit to John Dee, since I thought I had already seen Voivod last year, but now I am pretty sure I made a confusion between the Canadians and something else. The band on stage now had nothing to do with what I remembered, it was much more heavy and thrash metal with way more movement on the little stage and enthusiasm from the band. It was too crowded though so I had to get out after one song in order to breathe and later on to queue for a good photo spot for the last band of the day, Forbidden. I had previously seen them outside on the terrace during a photo session and they seemed like fun people. Which is exactly what they were on stage - a bunch of people really enjoying to play their old school classical thrash metal at a very high intensity. It was very disappointing to see that most of the crowd was gone though, yet the singer did his best to entertain and involve the remaining ones who gathered in front of the stage and cheered for them. Especially when they dedicated their song, RIP, to the guitarist of Jon Oliva's Pain, Matt LaPorte, who recently passed away. Showwise, nothing fancy visual effects from their side, except maybe some crazy hair-mills from the guitarist.
I tend to also take videos during the main performances and I will add them all to this playlist.