South of Heaven II — Entombed, Wyruz, Helldealer

After attending my first South of Heaven event a few weeks ago, I actually found out that the concerts have been organised in Oslo under this title since 2003 (you can actually read a full history in Norwegian on their webpage), promoting smaller local more or less underground bands as well as bringing big names from the registry of “mean and loud” metal, such as Kreator, Dark Tranquillity, Hatesphere, Ektomorf, Rotting Christ, Decapitated, Cannibal Corpse, Kreator, Celtic Frost or Venom. Held in the same venue (called Betong) belonging to the Norwegian Students' association, this evening's event started in a blurry manner, more specifically with a lot of smoke on the stage during soundchecks, which ended up triggering the fire alarm. So, the few people who gathered there early had to go outside together with the crew, wait for the firemen to show up, take a short tour in and then allow things to proceed as planned.

image - see following caption
Entombed, playing in Betong, Oslo
Photo: Andrea Chirulescu / studiorock.ro

Hence, after getting back inside, it only took few minutes until Helldealer, the first band, came on stage. They didn't look like a band with a long history of songs or live performance, but they had a huge amount of energy and good mood which appealed to the crowd after the very first song. Their rock metal music is the kind suitable for any glass of beer one might drink or any type of headbanging you feel like doing. Especially when some of the lyrics consist of burps. It's good fun without having anything exceptional, but don't read that it is boring. Not live, at least.

Up next another band from Norway, Wyruz, who switched the sound to a somewhat death/thrash sound, making you think of Metallica and Slayer influences. Their discography includes two demos and stuff for a new material so far, but since most of their concert was under the sign of technical problems with shorter or longer “dead” moments between songs, any appeal that their music might have got totally wasted. And these problems must have worn the guys down as well, since the mood on stage was way less appealing that during the first band. So, besides noticing the guitarist's attempt at some nice guitar solos, I wasn't too drawn by their music.

Headliners of the night were the Swedish Death'n'roll metal band Entombed, whose history goes back as far as 1987 and who, as far as I was told, were the pioneers of “buzz saw” guitar sound. With his mixed look of a beggar and an old school metalhead, the frontman Lars-Goran Petrov manages to entertain the crowd with his vocal performance and continuous running around the stage and headbanging in every corner. But the main attraction is the bassist, Victor Brandt. He is a big guy and usually stayed in front of the stage doing windmills with his long hair, thus attracting most of the female crowd in the first rows. The guitarists did a good job at keeping the upbeat rhythm and filling in with some interesting riffs, yet they were mainly “in the background”. The stage was full of smoke most of the time, which was fit for the atmosphere but highly annoying for the photographing process. I was extremely tired so I couldn't stay until the end of the set, but by the glimpses I got of the crowd, they seemed well entertained and enjoying the show they were offered by the loud Swedes.