Blastfest: Part III – Bergen, NO

blastfest final poster

Saturday

Once again The Garage program was on already at noon for the festival’s last day, lines and all. First out were Finnish post-metal doomsters Crib45, then the lineup saw Esoteric and Winterfylleth, before a filled-to-the-brim Garage witnessed Blood Red Throne showcase true brutal Norwegian death metal, fronted by none other than festival organizer Yngve “Bolt” Christiansen himself. With seven full-length albums to their name, the only downside to the show was seemingly the bands too short set. Not that it was awfully short, it was just not long enough. But then again, people got a kickstart to their last day of the festival, ‘Arterial Lust’ and all.

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Blood Red Throne, by StiPa Photography

 

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Sarke, by StiPa Photography

 

Due to some unfortunate mix-up with the old- and new festival program, a lot of people weren’t aware that Sarke were the first band to step onto the mainstage this Saturday. So as Nocturno Culto walked on, no more than approximately two hundred people were in attendance. However that quickly changed as the band played through ‘The Drunken Priest’, ‘Condemned’, ‘Primitive Killing’, and their own ‘hit’, ‘Pessimist’. Nocturno Culto fronting the all-star band with his usual anti-frontman persona also through the Celtic Frost cover ‘Dethroned Emperor’, and fittingly through closer ‘Too Old, Too Cold’, a Darkthrone cover. Before going off stage, he calmly thanked people and wished them well “with drinking water or whatever they were doing”. Too old, too cold.

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Decapitated, by StiPa Photography

 

After Vallenfyre had obliterated the people showing up early at the Studio stage, the mainstage had some Polish classics on offer, in the shape of Decapitated. The band did as usual impress with both their technicality and their song material, although the fans still seem split on the band’s decision of later years to become a more modern groove metal oriented band. ‘Spheres Of Madness’ and ‘Day 69’ will forever be crowd pleasers though.

Tsjuder, by Stipa Photography

Tsjuder, by Stipa Photography

Back upstairs in Studio, the national treasure of Tsjuder, the black metal trio, were on stage and already aurally assaulting the packed room. The three piece delivers totally uncompromising black metal, devoid of anything other than pure darkness and sheer brutality, and the crowd seemed to enjoy their asses off. ‘The Daemon Throne’, ‘Helvete’, ‘Slakt’; from the looks of it they were all crowd pleasers.

Destruction, by Stipa Photography

Destruction, by Stipa Photography

Then the mainstage welcomed the veterans of Teutonic thrash metal, Destruction, who did as they always do, lay everything in ruins, also making up the thrash alibi for the Saturday, before Impaled Nazarene, the crazy Finns were on stage upstairs, once again producing long lines of people waiting to catch a glimpse of them. During their set however, just as the band started playing ‘Flaming sword of Satan’ from their latest album, some brilliant mind intentionally hit the fire alarm. All festival-goers and bands were suddenly forced into the cold Norwegian winter outside, as routine inspections of the venue were had.

Finntroll, by Stipa Photography

Finntroll, by StiPa Photography

 

Finntroll were on next, and must have been helped by standing half naked outside the venue, because they gave it all, and impressed the many folk metal fans in attendance. So-called troll ears and all.

To the ones who witnessed the next band, they were quite in agreement about this being one of the very festival highlights. Small stage, big stage presence. We’re talking about the mighty Asphyx, fronted by none other than living death metal legend Martin Van Druunen. The band were completely killing it right from the start. ‘MS Bismarck’, ‘The Last One On Earth’, ‘Deathammer’, ‘Death The Brutal Way’, and the insanely crushing ‘Scorbutics’, they all set the old school death metal agenda of the evening.

Satyricon, by StiPa Photography

Satyricon, by StiPa Photography

 

Back down the last headliner were on stage, and they were none other that Satyricon. This time around playing more than just the normal set, even introducing material from ‘Rebel Extravaganza’ back into the setlist in terms of ‘Filthgrinder’, that lyrically somewhat obnoxiously narcissistic song. The band as usual had all the professionality to tackle the expectations from the multinational audience present. ‘Mother North’ and ‘Du Som Hater Gud’ from Nemesis Divina making sure all foreigners got the authentic Norwegian black metal experience.

 

As the main venue emptied out, some people made their way upstairs to catch a rather seldom experienced show, Finnish technical death metal band Demilich. Not exactly a band known for their plentiful live performances. Though, the most impressive part of their set was really how their vocalist manages to make those insanely deep growls. Although, their set was indeed impressive in total too. Still, at the end the room seemed half empty. Maybe people finally got tired, maybe they went to that last afterparty, or maybe Blastfest actually finally out-kvlted them?

Then it was all at an end, but even as this edition of the festival ends, the first bands for the next edition are being booked. There are only great expectations to be had.

WORDS BY TRISKELION P.L.

PHOTOS BY STIG PALLESON

Blastfest: Part II – Bergen, NO

blastfest final poster

Friday

The third day of festivities saw Wyruz, Alfahanne, Sarkom, Endstille and Keep Of Kalessin open the show with performances at the club stage at Garage. Keep Of Kalessin also proved that they should have been playing somewhere else, as the line to get in to Garage was long enough to deter many fans, and keep others waiting for the entire set length to no avail..

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Opening act at the main stage? None other than Borknagar, the local legends presenting a 20th anniversary set, playing an entire three song of ‘The Archaic Course’; ‘Ad Noctum’, ‘Universal’ and ‘Oceans Rise’. Having seen them a couple of times before, it was nice to finally see them put on a good performance, not completely ruined by bad sound or vocalists struggling. The pairing of Athera (Susperia) and ICS Vortex on vocals (and bass) seemed to be key. With showman and world class drummer Baard Kolstad, and a band playing songs like ‘Colossus’ and ‘The Dawn Of The End’, it was better than ever before.

After Finnish black metallers Baptism had catered to the needs of black metal purists upstairs, it was time for Cryptopsy on the main stage. Sadly their sound wasn’t up to par, and the show seemed somewhat uninspired, despite their front man giving speeches like only a North American “jock” can. But a set that ends with ‘Slit Your Guts’ and ‘Phobophile’ is nevertheless quite pleasing, and mostly satisfying.

 

Then for yet another highlight of the festival, Morgoth – for the first time in Norway according to their own FB page. The Germans have just lost their vocalist Marc Grewe , and many thought that this would be a disappointing performance, like a run-of-the-mill death metal experience. Far from it! From the very start they totally annihilated with sonic bliss! The vocalist sounded just as brutal as Mr Grewe. Starting off with ‘Body Count’, and finishing off with ‘Isolated’, the Germans conquered Bergen for the first time since WW2.

 

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Another band that hadn’t played Bergen in more than ten years were the Swedes in Dark Funeral. All dressed up and showcasing new vocalist Heljarmadr and their new bass player Natt, they gave us a set where they played both songs off of their new single; ‘Temple Of Ahriman’, and ‘Nail Them To The Cross’, as well as old classics like ‘The Dawn No Longer Rises’ and ‘Vobiscum Satanas’.

 

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After Schirenc Plays Pungent Stench stunk up the Studio stage and Paradise Lost gave an impressive showcase of how to play doom metal, it was time for yet another festival highlight, Deströyer 666 at the smaller Studio stage. From the very beginning they made it clear who were in control and what to expect. They unchained the wolves! ‘Raped’, ‘I Am The Wargod’, ‘Black City – Black Fire’, they played all the black thrash that makes blood boil. The pit became intense and was packed with people crammed all together to witness the Australian and antichrist wolfpack.

 

 

Headliner this Friday were none other than At The Gates, and they sure proved themselves worthy of that spot, just as they have proven themselves still relevant with their comeback album ‘At War With Reality’ (Century Media). The crowd were taken straight to Gothenburg heaven with the likes of ‘Under A Serpent Sun’, ‘Cold’, ‘Slaughter Of The Soul’ and ‘Blinded By Fear’.

Satan were in Bergen for Beyond The Gates just last fall, and based on that show and festival organizer Yngve seeing them at Bloodstock, they were brought back, once again proving themselves worthy of NWOBHM legend and lore. As someone commented: Brian Ross can still do that falsetto, which is not something to be said of similar band Angel Witch and their Kevin Heybourne.

 

WORDS BY TRISKELION P.L.

PHOTO BY STIG PALLESON

Blastfest Preview- Bergen Norway

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One of the best extreme metal festivals in the world, and certainly the highlight of the early year in global metal festivals takes place this week in Bergen, Norway as Blastfest kicks off tomorrow. Bands and fans from all over the world, not just from the fabled local fjords will descend for four days to consume of all types of brutal, yet diverse bands, along with countless vendors, artists, stand-up comedy acts, films and books about Black Metal culture, sightseeing around Bergen, other attractions, and plenty of metal shenanigans to be had in general!

Kicking off on Wednesday with a cruise headlined by homeland killers Grimfist, the festivities will get underway in grand style. Later on that night at The Garage venue the fest proper begins with expected crushing sets from bands such as Falloch, The Sickening, Kall and Gehenna (NO).

Starting the weekend early at 12 noon on Thursday at The Garage, headbangers and settle in for an exciting 14+ hour day of non-stop bands. The Garage will see top acts such as Hecate Enthroned and Den Saakaladte as part of the early day must see bands. Moving over to the two stages of the USF venue, rotating stage times means rarely conflicting sets by bands works out for the discerning headbanger who doesn’t want to miss a thing. Rotting Christ will start the siege at 17:00, and what fine group to kick off the late day fun. Other notable bands playing Thursday include Saturnus, Melechesh, Samael, Primordial, stoner-doom legends Orange Goblin, Dark Tranquility, Moonsorrow and headliner Watain.

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Any mention of Friday must begin at the top with melo-death comeback kings At The Gates. The early buzz of the fest was that some fans were going solely for ATG, despite their rigerous festival and headline touring schedule planned for the next year. Going back to the early portion of the day, The Garage will see bands like Sarkom, Endstille, and local legends Keep of Kalessin, bands that could fill venues on a club tour of their own (actually that would make a good tour!) warm up the early crowd. Hopefully the masses are not too hungover. The rest of the Friday night line-up is a murders row of incredible acts with notables being Borknagar, tech-death titans Cryptopsy, the reborn to kill again Morgoth, Dark Funeral, Paradise Lost (seeing their first action of 2015), Destroyer 666, ATG and Satan (UK).

Closing out what will surely go down as the best day start to finish of any Blastfest to date starts with an insane early day bill that includes Esoteric, Bolzer, Winterfylleth, and Blood Red Throne! Sarke, Vallenfyre, and Decapitated by themselves represent the best in black metal, blackened doom and death metal this fest can bring out. Added to that Tsjuder, Impaled Nazarene, Destruction, Fintroll, death metal festival fixtures Asphyx, along with headliners Satyricon, and Demilich to end the fest, you have an unbelievable experience in the making.

Friday is a total sellout, but some last minute passes have been released for the weekend and select dates so visit the fest website for tickets and info.

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Blastfest 2015 Adds More Bands, Forges Amazing Lineup

blastfest 2015

 

 

Norway’s premier metal festival continues to gain steam as Blastfest has added seven more bands to their already impressive lineup. Finntroll, Moonsorrow, Primordial, Morgoth, Crib45, Tortorum and Djevelkult join a stacked bill that already features At The Gates, Samel, Decapitated, Cryptopsy, Asphy, Borknagar, Vallenfyre, Melechesh, and Rotting Christ among others. Blastfest will be held 19-21st February 2015 in Bergen, Norway and features 3 Stages, over 40 Bands, exhibitions, clinics, stand up comedy, a tattoo convention and themed DJ’s.

 

 

From The Press Release:

Blastfest Adds Seven More Bands To The Lineup!

Norway’s Blastfest has just unveiled another seven great reasons why you need to book the 19th – 21st of February 2015 off work. Today the festival organisers announce the addition of seven more bands to the billing including Finnish folk metal upstarts Finntroll, melodic black metal sextet Moonsorrow and Ireland’s men of myth Primordial.

The Bergen festival is only in its second year and after having already announced acts such as At The Gates, Decapitated, Rotting Christ, Destruction and Asphyxamongst others and with more yet to come, it’s fair to say that Blastfest is already offering one of the finest extreme metal line-ups of 2015.

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