Iconic Norwegian doom rock powerhouse Sahg have returned with their new album Memento Mori, out today via Indie Recordings. Ghost Cult is proud to bring you the exclusive album stream below: Continue reading
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)
Day three of Blastfest saw a lot of people starting to look slightly more tired, which made sense knowing that some of the many foreigners started partying 3-4 days earlier upon arrival in Bergen, and some of them brought enormous amounts of duty free liquids.
What was more fitting than starting the auditory pleasures with Funeral? They were originally one of the very first funeral doom bands around, and by Norwegian standards they are a somewhat strange occurrence seeing as Norway isn’t exactly renowned for its abundance of doom metal acts. Unlike some of the most extreme bands, Funeral seemed to fit the intimate Studio stage perfectly, in terms of how the room seem to resonate well with the slow doomy bands, just as it has done before with Swallow The Sun and last year with Saturnus. The set flowed seamlessly through songs like ‘This barren Skin’, ‘Vagrant God’, and ‘The Will To Die’. Strangely enough, considering the gloomy atmosphere of both music and lyrics, the band really seemed to enjoy themselves. Although they only got to perform a quite short set due to the time limitations, they managed to put on one of the best performances of the festival.
Djevel delivered a slab of straight-forward bleak black metal. Sadly, as with some of the other bands playing the Studio stage, the sound production sounded a bit off. Although with such an unbalanced and harsh production it ironically fitted both the approach the band has to black metal and their stage performance. As much as the band has a few scene stalwarts in their ranks, it might very well be Erlend Hjelvik of Kvelertak that makes the strongest impression. It’s not just that he delivers a good vocal performance, but just as much the fact that he is usually seen on far bigger stages fronting Kvelertak, making this all the more exotic.
I remember seeing Arcturus twice about ten years back, and I wrote them off as a live ensemble. It was just chaotic, and the songs that sounded amazing on record were lost in second-rate live performances, a lot of theatrics, and awful sound productions. Seeing them live from Maryland Deathfest was an eye-opener. Could they actually pull it off these days? Well, the answer, as given at Blastfest, was a clear and resounding yes!. Except ICS Vortex sitting while performing vocals on some of the tracks it was a band showcasing their musicianship fully, and playing a selection of songs spanning their entire career. All the way from ‘To Thou Who Dwellest In The Night’, via Master of Disguise, to ‘Arcturian Sign’ this was a remarkably good performance from the all-star cast.
1349 has been drummer Frost’s more extreme black metal outlet, and despite some later albums not living up to the standards set by their 2005 release Hellfire, the band continues to be relentless in a live setting. And so they were at Blastfest. Set opener was none other than ‘I Am Abomination’, and it was succeeded by none other than the brilliant two songs ‘Nathicana’, and ‘Sculptor of Flesh’, all off of the aforementioned Hellfire album. Until the very closing number ‘Cauldron’ the band were simply amazing, providing the proper Norwegian black metal alibi of the evening.
Ihsahn seems like somewhat strange headliner material. Or, at least if you consider the fact that he was part of Emperor, but that his solo project seems somewhat in that band’s very shadow. Not that there are that many similarities except both bands being extreme metal and with Ihsahn’s characteristic voice spearheading them. As far as musicianship goes it’s stellar stuff, but in terms of musical expression. Well, it seemed like half the audience really enjoyed, me probably being amongst those who think it best to let prog be prog and metal be metal, being more fond of the 70s when it comes to the progressive side of things.
Einherjer are purveyors of the craft known as viking metal. Unlike most folk-/viking metal acts of latter years they are not overly jolly, and neither are they sporting costumes more fit for role play. They are about the music, and the viking image is mostly channeled through the lyrics and artwork, not through helmets and horns – noting that viking helmets didn’t actually historically have any horns. With last year’s well-crafted ‘Av Oss, For Oss’ in their belts they delivered a stunning set of just as many old songs as new ones. Einherjer is also one of the bands that have recorded in the now defunct yet infamous Grieghallen studio, and introduced their song ‘Dragons Of The North”\’ by mentioning that very fact.
Sahg never ceases to amaze. What an incredible live band! And not just are they an incredible live band, but their song material is of the kind that leaves whoever lends them an ear with a newfound favourite. The Sardinen stage downstairs main venue was pretty packed for this show, and as mentioned, it’s easy to see why considering their performance.
The contrast was huge to what was going on as Red Harvest took to the main stage for a reunion show. The industrial extreme metallers … Well, where black metal has this little hopeful spark to it, Red Harvest is a descent into a hopeless dark abyss. There’s no light, there’s no hope, it’s mechanistic, it’s industrial. It’s truly as their song ‘Cold Dark Matter’. Except some small things to complain about in terms of sound production, their set was one that made me simply want to catch them again as soon as possible.
Green Carnation disbanded at some point in 2007, leaving Tchort as the band’s sole member. Their return as a unified whole would be marked by their appearance at Blastfest 2016, and what a grand return it was. Ancient has been around since the early 90’s, but hasn’t played in their hometown of Bergen for something like 20 years. This time around mainman Aphazel, now residing in Southern Europe, brought none other than Nicholas Barker of Cradle Of Filth and Dimmu Borgir fame on drums. Little did that help the fact that their sound was way too loud, and so dense that it was difficult to hear those good riffs. As for the guitar solos, they completely drowned in all the rest that was going on. A wall of guitar noise, drums, and vocals, an unpenetrable wall. Sadly this ruined what could have been a most memorable experience. For their closing act they invited local sticksman Kjetil Grønvigh to play “Lilith’s Embrace” together with them, as he was the original drummer on the 1996 recording nothing seemed more fitting as a celebration of that very era, the one when Ancient was most relevant in the scene.
Abbath shouldn’t be in need of much of an introduction, not after fronting Immortal for two decades. However, this was his first show on home turf where he flew under the new moniker. With his larger-than-life on-stage persona he and his minions presented us with a set covering most of his career. There was some Immortal songs, some songs from the I record, and of course songs from the newly released Abbath album. The audience seemed ecstatic, and especially so as the band played the hits from Immortal’s Sons Of Northern Darkness; ‘Tyrants’ and ‘One By One’. With a show like this comes the usual theatrics, and if there’s one thing Abbath knows it’s how to keep an audience engaged throughout a concert. There’s never a dull moment. So once again he delivered a great show, with good sound, a great performance, and he and his comrades put a worthy end to four days of metal bliss in the lovely and scenic Bergen. And as this is being written the bands for the 2017 edition are already being booked. See you all next year!
WORDS BY PAL LYSTRUP
The second day of the festival had us all relocate to the bigger venue at USF Verftet, placed right on the waterside, which makes for a really good and picturesque setting for a metal festival. In a somewhat smart move, the organizers had put Taake up as the opening act of the day. This probably had more people showing up than what is usual as early as 6PM. The band showcasing a new drummer, and Hoest also having adopted a new stage persona in recent times, made this somewhat fresh, even to us locals. He has gone from the more antisocial approach to the more introverted and mysterious approach of the hooded character based heavily on the skull figure that has been part of Taake for the last ten years or so. When thinking about it, he has taken the part he played in Helheim’s ‘Dualitet og Ulver’ video and made it part of the Taake show. As usual he also has great fun doing the misheard lyrics thing, where he both says different stuff than on record, but also changes the lyrics completely at some points. So one gets an extra treat if one listens closely – and is fluent enough in Norwegian. After having churned out ‘Bjoergvin IV’, ‘Doedkvad I’, and ‘Umenneske’, Hoest laconically states some humorous, although somewhat sarcastic stuff in Norwegian, before they continue with ‘Norbundet’, Hoest being able to chug down an entire bottle of red wine during their somewhat short set.
Right after Taake it’s time for fellow Bergensian band Sahg, playing in the smaller venue upstairs. They do indeed play in front of a much smaller audience, but the some three hundred people present are served a fireworks of musicianship, good songs and stage presence. Frontman Olav even cockily stating: “I will do this in Norwegian, but the lyrics will be in English, so you can all sing along, like you planned to.” And we are presented with all the hits: ‘Firechild’, ‘Godless Faith’, ‘Pyromancer’ etc.
Going from these two great performances and into Tiamat was actually a bit disappointing. To point that out; I love Tiamat, but seeing them on such a big stage, this apathetic … It was extremely disappointing in terms of atmosphere. Sure, it got better when they played the classics like ‘Sleeping Beauty’, ‘Cain’ and ‘Whatever That Hurts’, but this is nothing like the performance they put on in Oslo during Inferno some years back. Maybe it was simply too early and too bright lighting in the venue for this?
After the slow interlude that was Tiamat, I ran upstairs to catch some of Exumer. They were quite brilliantly summed up by one of my friends: “This is like the works team version of Slayer.” And that really seems sufficient when it comes to Exumer.
Marduk never gets boring, right? Well, they are the epitome of generic black metal at times, and this time they were even late on stage. Let that be said, their old material is actually somewhat more entertaining, before they seemed to have grown satisfied with recording material of a fixed template. They do an OK performance, and one can enjoy songs like ‘Christraping Black Metal’, ‘Burn My Coffin’ and ‘Materialized In Stone’, but it never gets to be awfully exciting, at least not to spoiled Norwegians.
The late onstage appearance of Marduk also made me miss almost all of Ragnarok, that I only caught thanking the audience before going off stage.
Well, at least the next band up was the mighty Triptykon, fronted by living legend Tom G Warrior of Celtic Frost fame. Seeing as the band starts off with ‘Procreation Of The Wicked’, it really can’t go wrong, can it now? Well, since they play all the Celtic Frost classics as if they were funeral doom, they indeed can. ‘Circle Of The Tyrants’ is epic stuff, but not at a halting tempo. Triptykon needs to understand that Celtic Frost and Triptykon are different things, and that the old Celtic Frost material is supposed to be up-tempo.
At least it helps to walk upstairs and catch an actual doom band,a band that is supposed to play at a doomy tempo. Swallow The Sun have arrived all the way from Finland to play thirty five minutes of epic and gloomy doom. However, as they found out, things don’t always turn out the way one wants them to. The airline Norwegian managed to lose their equipment somehow, so they were forced to borrow instruments from other bands. This didn’t affect their performance at all, and they did a mighty fine job., if I’m to say so.
The main headliner this Friday was Hypocrisy, actually playing their first show in Bergen ever, which seems even more amazing considering the fact that they have a Norwegian drummer in their ranks, Horgh (Immortal), and have had him in the fold for ages now. As with Triptykon, the sound seems a bit low in volume, and it never really turns into the mighty onslaught one would imagine a band such as Hypocrisy would be able to put on. At least I had my first ever experience of ‘Roswell 47’ in a live setting, which surely counts for something.
Something quite the opposite is to be said of Anaal Nathrakh that were headlining the small stage, the Studio stage. They did of course have the festivals crappiest sound, hands down. It was almost completely indecipherable actually. Yet, somehow they managed to pull off one of the better performances. There were people pulled on stage, some girl with dreads crowd surfing through most of their set, and a crazy moshpit going on. Dave Hunt, their vocalist, was also funny and misanthropic as usual, and it helps having songs like ‘Do Not Speak’, ‘Forging Towards The Sunset’ and ‘Between Shit And Piss We Are Born’ in any set list.
Words: Pål Lystrup
Photos: StiPa Photography
Blastfest, the newest and best European metal festival of the Winter 2014 is this week! Held over three days with 36 killers bands on five different stages, Blastfest promises to be an annual tradition of excellence. Ghost Cult Magazine will be on hand to cover the event. Fielding such luminaries from all walks of metal such as Hypocrisy, My Dying Bride, Vader, Triptykon, Marduk, Tiamat, Carpathian Forrest, Aborted, Aura Noir, Wardruna, Shining (SE), Belphagor, Annal Nakrath, Swallow The Sun, Sahg, Obscura, and many more, it should be an amazing show. In addition to the music, there are exhibts and special events all weekend long, making this a unique experience compared with other festivals. Held in Bergen Norway, the main venue USF Verftet is based right at the dock by the city fjord, and second venue Garage is in the heart of town. Bergen is the second biggest city in Norway and counts 250,000 people. The 3-Day passes are all sold-out, but there are plenty of great deals on tickets still left for all three days. Tickets can be purchased via the festival website below. Also keep up to date with the festival on Facebook.
Buy tickets now!
The Blastfest website
Following the acclaim Audrey Horne have received following the release of current album Youngblood it’s a shame that more punters haven’t chosen to venture down to NQ Live for this promising triple bill. Continue reading
“We have toured the U.K. three times this year. We are very pleased with the response we have received here.” Olav, guitarist/vocalist of Norway’s Doom Metal supergroup Sahg, is clearly a fan of venturing across to conquer Britain. Ghost Cult caught up with three of the band members backstage before tearing down Manchester’ NQ Live. Continue reading