After my 3rd edition at this festival I still can state that being at this festival in Oslo is one of the most appealing ways to spend the easter time so far. The only downside is that the weather decided to be incredibly good these days and being an indoor festival doesn't allow one to take much advantage of that - after the long Norwegian winter. But let's concentrate on the good parts and good music, which started today with a Trondheim based band, manifest. It's always sad to see the amount of energy on stage and the singer's attempts at involving the crowd, while the people who managed to get up and relocate to the stage at that time are in some sort of trance and barely respond with a head shake. So the mix of thrash and death rhythms and powerful deep growls couldn't really compete the effects of yesterday's beers.
It seemed a bit luckier for the Germans from Imperium Dekadenz who performed on the smaller stage and where the crowd seemed more packed in front of the stage. They delivered quite an atmospheric black metal sound, with nice and melodic interludes which felt a bit too long occasionally, and, if I remember correctly, some unexpected clean vocals at times. Interesting though to hear the response in the realm of Black metal from a non Norwegian band, especially since it was the only performance of the type for that day. On the main stage it was soon time for bands with many years of career to rock the place. First of them, from Florida, Malevolent Creation was formed in 87 and whose debut album, The Ten Commandments, was a reference one in the underground metal at its time. The growling skills of the singers were quite impressive and he got good reactions from the crowd both when introducing older and newer songs.
I didn't stay til the end as I wanted to catch some of the signing sessions of the day for the sake of photographing happy people, but I returned downstairs to John Dee to watch No Dawn's performance, a band who started back in 2002 with coversongs of bands like In Flames and At the Gates and who performed their own brutal death on the small stage. I had to run out rather quickly though as my eyes could no longer handle the smoke so I can't comment any more on their show. But I can, instead, say that watching the '71 based heavy metallers and doom pioneers from Pentagram was quite delightful. The crowd was on fire and was so cool to hear them sing along with familiar verses. I can understand why the guys on stage couldn't put a show for more than one hour, but that hour was incredibly fun to watch as Bobby Liebling would try to do something silly every few minutes. Obviously, he would totally succeed. They had a new guitarist and bass player for this tour, hence the chemistry on stage lacked some elements. It wasn't the highlight of the day, yet I guess I'll keep this concert as a nice live memory of a band who's been out there so long.
One hour later it was time for the most insane moshpits of the festival on the incendiary grind/hard/metal core of the Brits from Napalm Death. As usual, Mark Greenway seems to get his energy with each circular trip he makes on the stage and in his movements of an electrocuted person. Despite that his voice stays strong for the whole set. The only moments to see him standing still is between song, if he has a drink or says few words to the crowd. His speeches can be inspiring at times, about being open minded and about freedom, as most of the social and political themes they touch in their songs. The fast riffs nad punk like tempo of their short songs made the circle in front of the stage get bigger and bigger and by the end of the day I am sure I saw some purple eyes (can't guarantee this was the source though).
Time for the headliner of the day and last act of 2011 edition of Inferno - the Swedes from Meshuggah and their impossible combination of death, thrash, progressive and even jazz elements. All of them on downtuned 8 strings guitars and 5 string bass, while the drumming technique of Tomas Haake is one of the most impressive to watch live (provided you get a spot for that, which is not easy). Despite the crowd's insistent demands for New millennium Cyanide Christ, the track was not performed but they ended quite in style with Future Breed Machine which allowed us to hear Thordendal's screams and his breath controller device. As each time I saw them, the vocalist does a great job at accompanying the polyrhythms and insanely fast tempo changes and it's almost scary to see him rolling his eyes while he sings. I'm happy that Meshuggah made up for their absence last year and delivered such a great show at the end of the 4 days of extreme metal music. With the appropriate thanks to the organisers and the artists I'm stopping here with words and go to work on the bunch of photos I took. Oh, and don't forget the videos in this playlist.