When Axl Rose waxed romantically about cold November rain in back in 1992, he clearly wasn’t singing about Leeds on a Saturday morning. A cold, depressing day darkened by oppressive black clouds showering their misery relentlessly from above, there is nothing romantic about Leeds city centre. However, above the sound of rain pelting against umbrella canopies, and cars splashing through ankle-high lakes of dirty water, there is hope. Somewhere out there is Damnation Festival. Continue reading
Damnation Festival is upon us, returning tomorrow, 2 November for that is extreme, unholy, and revolutionary in music. The festival is Sold out completely. Among the bands on the stacked bill are Opeth, Mayhem, The Vintage Caravan, Alcest, Venom Prison, Birds in Row, Dawn Ray’d, Imperial Triumphant, Lord Dying, Inter Arma, Primordial, Dragged Into Sunlight, Gaahl’s Wyrd, Gost, Voices, Blood Red Throne, Jo Quail and Carnation, and more. Continue reading
A major announcement of lineup additions arrives today as Damnation Festival has added sick bands such as Mayhem, playing on the main stage with Opeth on November 2nd. They are joined by a cadre of awesome bands such as The Vintage Caravan, Gaahl’s Wyrd, Inter Arma, Gost, and Carnation. They joined the aforementioned Opeth, Primordial, Venom Prison, Blood Red Throne, Birds In Row, Jo Quail and Imperial Triumphant. More bands to be announced. Damnation takes place Saturday, November 2, at Leeds University Union and tickets are on sale now at the value price of £49 at the link below. Continue reading
The criminally overlooked Blood Red Throne has been going for 18 years and 7 albums. Initially formed in 1998 by DØD (Satyricon) and Tchort (Satyricon, Emperor, Green Carnation) they are now releasing their 8th studio album Union of flesh and Machine on Spinefarm/Candlelight.
Blood Red Throne’s brand of Norwegian death metal has always been a particularly rewarding listen and Union of Flesh and Machine might just be their best album to date: Whilst tightly following their eponymous 2013 release they do raise the bar both in terms of song writing and crisper production. Right from the outset this beast of an album just hammers it home, within a few seconds of putting this on in my car I was struck with an over whelming urge to start a mosh pit, much to the annoyance of my insurance company.
Fast ultra-precise riffs, pummeling drums barking bellowing interspersed with shrill shrieks to create a dense brutal soundscape which means that even if they were content to just stick to the formula this would be a satisfying listen: they fortunately do so much more than deliver the basics.
Whilst there are most notably token similarities with the guttural stylings of perennial death metal benchmarks Cannibal Corpse, there are a lot more nuances to their sound and enough inventiveness within their rounded death metal sound to keep the listener interested through every single track, and there really isn’t a single weak track on this monster of an album.
Indeed unlike too many bands within the death metal sub-genre they don’t tie their flag to any one mast. This album much like The King is Blind’s Our Father earlier in the year this is a showcase of how great death metal can be when done properly. It encompasses much of the variants of the Floridian, Gothenburg and UK styles of death metal. It’s a celebration of Death Metal brutality with an inventiveness which prevents it from going stale which has been an issue in recent years with death metal.
From the Guttural growling groove of ‘Homicidal ecstasy’, through the proto Slayer feel of the title track, and most notably for me with the head scratching brilliance of the cover of Judas Priest’s ‘Leather Rebel’ sounding in equal parts Amon Amarth and Bolt Thrower this album just keeps delivering in a way which will keep the listener enthralled for many a listen.
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Blood Red Throne have been around for some time now, and with Yngve “Bolt” Christiansen they found a vocalist able to bring something more to their shows, as he is able to communicate with the audience in a way that seems sincere and engaging. With a set list comprised of something like fifty percent classics from Altered Genesis, their most celebrated album, the band lay Rockefeller in ruins. Bolt circlebanging, puking, then continuing to circlebang. Not to mention guitarist Ivan Gujic trashing his guitar at the end of the show, then proceeding to down half a bottle of tequila. It seemed like the pep talk backstage had been had. This said, the band could have added some more visual aspects to their show, but as an opening act one couldn’t really expect much more than a backdrop.
Suffocation are veterans by now, and a band that always delivers. However, it’s somewhat disappointing to catch them with only two members from the core lineup, instead bringing replacement musicians for guitarist Guy Marchais and vocalist Frank Mullen. But then again, the stand-ins did a really good job, and we got all the classics like ‘Breeding The Spawn’, ‘Catatonia’, ‘Funeral Inception’, ‘Liege Of Inveracity’, ‘Abomination Reborn’, ‘Pierced from Within’, ‘Effigy Of The Forgotten’, ‘Thrones Of Blood’ and ‘Bind Torture Kill’. It was all delivered with conviction and by a Derek Boyer with his bass literally standing upright on the floor at times, and a Terrance Hobbes looking as he was having the time of his life playing the same songs yet again. Suffocation is indeed always a safe bet, and also grand masters of the brutal death metal genre, even when they are playing far from their own New York scene.
Last band of the night were none other than the proud Egyptophile Americans in Nile. They are usually worth catching for George Kollias jaw-drop inducing drumming on its own. Throw in the fact that they have a solid discography of brutal and truly quality death metal by now, and you can maybe forgive them the fact that they don’t offer especially much in terms of the visual part of the show except their backdrop. But when a band churns out great renditions of ‘Lashed To The Slavestick’, ‘Sacrifice Unto Sebek’, ‘Kafir!’, and’ Sarcophagus’, most are willing to ignore the lack of visual pleasing stimuli – ignoring washed out t-shirts and shorts.
World record holder in leather, spikes, and mullets, Nifelheim, proved themselves once again worthy of being THE black thrash export number one of Sweden. Lead into battle by The hard rock brothers, twins Tyrant on bass and Hellbutcher on vocals, they held Inferno captive for ten songs, including the massively enjoyable ‘Storm of the Reaper’. They proved once again that to get far all you need is some good tunes and the proper attitude.
Craft was the last band out on the John Dee stage, and saw the venue filled up with people eagerly anticipating an onslaught of Swedish black metal. And they got what they wanted, although I must admit, after seeing Craft twice now, that they sound better on record than live. They also look a bit disorganized in their appearance, as if the band members don’t have that extra cohesive interpersonal dynamic going that makes a band stand out. At the very end drummer Uruz announced that he would be leaving the band, and introduced what might be his successor, Trish Kolstad, a local Oslo-based drummer, also recently making an appearance with Gehenna. She joined the band on stage for their last song, ‘I Want To Commit Murder’.
A surprise was had with the Finnish legion of Moonsorrow, whose albums I must say I have passed by pretty much in silence and disinterest, seeing as most folk oriented black metal is rather bland, and usually far too jolly, and fits better with the typical German festival goer who enjoys drawing a dick on their forehead and wear viking helmets – the ones with historically incorrect horns stuck to them. But I stand corrected. Moonsorrow was fully enjoyable, and far darker and balanced than I remembered from earlier. If not a band with a great show to coincide with their music, they at least pulled off the musical part with excellence.
Mayhem. I have caught them a million times by now, and there’s always an element of surprise to their performances. If not in terms of theatrics, then in terms of songs selected, or even how the band has seemed to vary immensely in how well they perform the material. This time around the band not only put on a great show, had good sound, but also played some songs they haven’t played in a while. In addition they had both former vocalist Maniac on stage, as well as Attila, and Messiah, all doing vocals on selected songs from their own eras and albums with the band. First appearing was Maniac doing five songs from 2000’s Grand Declaration Of War. Then Attila did ‘De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas’, ‘Life Eternal’, ‘Freezing Moon’ and ‘Illuminate Eliminate’, before Maniac was back on for songs from Deathcrush, which also saw the return of Messiah with the band, probably a byproduct of him appearing earlier on the very same stage with Order. The same band whose drummer Manheim also joined Mayhem on one of the songs he played with them on the Deathcrush EP back in 1987. Basically all in attendance were guided through the bands entire history, pigs’ heads thrown into the audience and all. Wholesome family Easter fun and games in other words. Most definitely a headliner worthy of ending this year’s Inferno festival. The entire Mayhem show is actually on YouTube now it seems, so you know what to do!
WORDS BY PÅL TEIGLAND LYSTRUP AND JULIA TUOMINEN
Raise the horns! Inferno Festival hits Norway this week and for year 16 there is no sign of slowing down. A total of 42 bands, 25 from outside of Norway! From traditional black metal, to thrash, to tech death and more, many a fans music tastes will be delighted by Inferno! Headliners like Mayhem, Marduk, Mysticum, Exodus, Sodom Suffocation, Vader, Nile and Gorguts make this sure to be one of the best the fests history. For the third year in a row, Ghost Cult will be there to cover it!
Today kicks off with the club day featuring bands like headliner and thrash legends Exodus. They wil be joined by Gorguts, Psycroptic, Sahg, Vreidhammer, Mistur, 3rd Attempt, Dødsfall, and more.
Thursday night brings the major night of the fest with Marduk, Cattle Decapitation, Mysticum, Vader, ICS Vortex, and Shores of Null to name a few of major heavy hitters.
Friday might be the most well-rounded day of Inferno. Two death metal legends in Nile and Suffocation, thrash kings Sodom, Blood Red Throne, the epic Craft, Wormlust, The Crawling and more.
Just in time for Easter Sunday, Saturday night will close out the fest with Mayhem, Moonsorrow, Nifelheim, Månegarm , Order, and Nordjevel . As always there are vendors, a music conference, other kinds of entertainment and beer!
Tickets are still available, details below:
4 days festival pass (including club night): SOLD OUT!
3 days festival pass (without club night): 1500,- NOK. (including ticket fee)
Club day pass (only wednesday): 460,- NOK. (including ticket fee)
Thursday pass (Marduk, Vader, ICS Vortex) 600,- NOK. (including ticket fee)
Friday pass (Nile, Sodom, Blood Red Throne) 600,- NOK. (including ticket fee)
Saturday pass (Mayhem, Nifelheim, Order) 600,- NOK. (including ticket fee)
Single room: 725,00 NOK
1 person: 999,00 NOK
2 persons: 999,00 NOK (499,50 per pers)
1 person: 1.180,00 NOK
2 persons: 1.280,00 NOK (640,00 per pers)
3 persons: 1.530,00 NOK (510,00 per pers)
1 person:1.280,00 NOK
2 persons: 1.380,00 NOK (690,00 per pers)
3 persons: 1.630,00 NOK (543,00 per pers)
1 person: 1.480,00 NOK
2 persons: 1.680,00 NOK (840,00 per pers)
3 persons: 1.930,00 NOK (643,00 per pers)
4 persons: 2.180,00 NOK (545,00 per pers)
1 person: 1980 NOK
2 persons: 2180 NOK (1090 per pers)
3 persons: 2430 NOK (810 per pers)
4 persons: 2680 NOK (670 per pers)