INFERNO FESTIVAL 11 – Day four – Rockefeller & John Dee

INFERNO FESTIVAL 11 – Day four – Rockefeller & John Dee

Sometimes you just gotta loooooove Christianity and all it’s trappings. You can forgive nearly all of it’s innumerable crimes over the centuries when, after four days of solid party practise, you have a further two days (those wonderful Holy Days) free from the chains of the capitalist machine to recuperate, regenerate and then reinstate yourself in that machine.  So, this was it….the day of final judgement: judgement of the damage to wallets (at Rockefeller prices it is likely to be substantial), judgement of damage to the body, then the mind and then the soul. Finally it is time for judgement of the bands, performances, the bits, the pieces and last of all….the festival as a whole.  Saturday turned out to the highlight, sort of against expectations – at least as far as I am concerned. I find too often that people (and this does include me) nitpick more than is really needed at this kind of event, gathering, happening and the like. So the beer was stupidly priced…well, I didn’t have to drink or even attend for that matter, but I did. Inferno was great fun this year, it really was plus there were a few bands that really turned my head and that sorta thing always sweetens the memories over time. Waking on Sunday I was not so positive about the entire experience but that is a often my assessment of any weekend of this sort upon waking in the middle of my own physical aftermath: If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime. Right? Yes, fucking right. So, from my side I wanna say cheers to the Inferno folk for, once again, making me realise that my body is far from being a temple. 


(Paul Kearns) Those assembled in John Dee were not many in number but it turned out to be one of the surprises of Inferno once Slavia had finished. Clad in balaclavas and with little fuss about their show Slavia were obviously intent on creating an unpleasant atmosphere to accompany their performance. Musically it struck me as taking the more misanthropic pulse that once existed in Norwegian Black Metal and combining it with an almost dirge approach that worked very well in a sort of grinding and foreboding way. My initial scepticism soon faded into genuine curiosity as to what it was they were trying to achieve and once it clicked I was really rather pleased I had stuck around.


(Paul Kearns) Opening the main stage, eh? I’m sorry but this is yet another band who play such pedestrian and middle of the road music that I have to wonder what the point is. I am not fool enough to realise that taste is individual and I can and do respect that. It’s simply that I find nothing in here that even hints towards passion. I do not have to like a band’s music to like their show – some blood, some sweat and some tears will win me over if there is nothing for me on a musical level and that is where Manifest, like Harm before them, fail me. I’ll not go on lest to say that this was not one for me.


(Rune Grande) I gave the German black metal band Imperium Dekadenz some dubious allotted minutes until I pulled my ass out of John Dee. They played, as expected, atmospheric midtempo black metal with some faster sections here and there. Just the way a whole bunch of bands from Eastern Europe does and personally I find this type of metal very boring. People I talked to whom like this type of black metal, said after the concert that they thought the band performed a great concert. I believe them when they say so, but I do not have to like it.


(Rune Grande) While Imperium Dekadenz finished off down at John Dee, I made myself ready for Malevolent Creation up at Rockefeller. This is a band I’ve followed since their debut; "The Ten Commandments" was released in 1991. The band has tried to play in Norway, 2 times previously, but both times were canceled. So it was with some excitement now I finally get to see Brett Hoffman, Phil Fasciana and the rest of Malevolent Creation. Unfortunately this was not quite what I had hoped for. The band played well, the riffs were good, the songs were to my liking and a good singer made this as good as it could have been musicwise, but the sound was under criticism. Why the hell should it be so difficult to get reasonably good sound and at least enough volume at Rockefeller?


(Rune Grande) If you win the Norwegian final of the Wacken Metal Battle, you play the Inferno the following year. Last year’s winner was No Dawn and now it was time for the toughest guys from Steinkjer to show Inferno how good they are. Gradually, very good sound, lots of people and a good response and a smashing good concert from No Dawn suited me perfect. I’ve seen the band a few times, but never as good as this. They impressed with their good brutal death metal. And I have to brag about the sound. In contrast to the soundman up on Rockefeller, this guy knew how to turn the knobs. This reminded me strongly of the concert from the night before when Exhumed swept all opposition aside. No Dawn delivered almost as good.


(Paul Kearns) With a new album out and a new band along with him, Bobby Liebling is in the odd position of being in a touring band that is promoting a new release. Much has been made of his eccentricities since he has returned to the world of mortals but thankfully the greater focus has been on the fact that the music world is just a better place with a genuine character and a band that genuinely needed to get out there and be a proper functioning unit (in some way) instead of eternally dwelling in the «What if…» club.
Point: Pentagram were better two years ago. All things considered, none really thought that they were going to make it back in reality and then they cancelled Hellfest and then they were truly written off and……..and then when Liebling actually did make it the sheer disbelief in some quarters made the whole thing into an event bordering on religious for some. With that novelty factor gone and the band being measured like every other regular band things are going to be a little less fairytale. There seemed to be less chemistry onstage between Liebling and his band but, honestly, there was still massive character that simply jumped offstage to make this into a show that was just not like most other bands. For their 45 minutes onstage Pentagram were a real stand out and for that reason alone they would have been named as one of my bands of Inferno 2011.


(Stefan Raduta) Illdisposed was yet another very enjoyable set, definitely one of the death metal highlights at this year’s fest.  I have to admit I haven’t listened to them in years, I didn’t even know they were still active? Turns out they’ve been releasing albums every couple of years….I guess I was confused with their much tighter country mates Iniquity (what happened to them?). Anyway, killer set. The crowd ate it up, it was all a head banging party and there was even a moshpit at one point. I really like the guttural vocals of front man Bo "Subwoofer" Summer, truly heavy indeed, some of the most insane out there. One problem I have with them though – they could get so much more brutal if they wanted to. At one point it seems that the music is too headbanger friendly, too rhythmic, almost metal-coreish – when they could really push it to the extreme, why not? They’d be really successful here in the US if they toured, but personally I like my Death Metal to be really merciless. Great show though!!


(Andreas Paulsen) What can I say? Napalm Death are one of the great pillars of grind and sosial responsibillity intertwined.Being screamed at by Barney Greenway is something every human being should undergo at least once in their life time. Therapy for one and all!Looking like a chubby Bruce Dickinson, albeit not sounding like him, Barney is one charismatic frontman!With songs like "Scum", "You Suffer", "When all is said and done","Persona non grata","Suffer the childen",and the list goes on ad infinitum, Napalm Death are just a  hit parade.Ending their set with the infamous cover of Dead Kennedy’s "Nazi Punks Fuck Off", i believe every one were satisfied.
Just for fun, if you havent seen this already, this clip is worth checking out:
Napalm Death with Dorian on vocals, enjoy! 


(Stefan Raduta) Urgehal are undoubtedly one of the very few Norwegian black metal bands that’s kept it real all these years, never compromising or selling out. Good for them. It means of course that they also never evolved conceptually, they rather got better with their instruments over the years, but hey – this is what they want and this is what they’re doing. Having missed them when they played New York City not too long ago, I was really curious about their set, I wanted to see if they could pull it live. I heard they’re really intense on stage and it proved to be right, they killed! Yes, Trondr Nefas was pretty drunk by the time they went on stage around midnight, but they sounded great! It was exactly what I expected and more, a true black metal performance that sounded as ugly and menacing as possible. Covered in war paint and blood and most of the time sounding like a volcano erupting, I can clearly remember the catchy as hell riffs they’re so well known for, it was a pretty cool atmosphere…I am now convinced that they really are the very definition of ugly, perverted True Norwegian Black Metal. 


(Roy Kristensen) I must admit, I have never heard an album from this band, just a song here and there. And people told me on beforehand that this was a gig I couldn’t miss. I didn’t. And I’m glad, since it’s great to witness a band that do their music with energy and vitality. The sound was impeccable. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard a gig with such a sound. Brutal, clear and fitting to the band’s tornado of heavy riffing and drumming. I don’t know which songs they played, since I don’t really know any, but I’m sure their selection was top notch for the fans. That the whole thing became a bit draining, since the material is kind of repetitive, is most likely just what the fans want and expect. But ca. 45 minutes of Meshuggah was a superb experience, while the 15 towards the end were too repetitive for an tired metaller like me. Final gig during 2011’s Inferno Festival.



(Roy Kristensen) Everything runs so smoothly. The Inferno crew knows by heart how to run this festival. And they have lately also varied the line-up way more than I remember from the early days. That’s a good thing, even though this year’s line-up wasn’t my favourite. But Inferno Festival is not only about the music. There’s merchandise, guided bus-tours, meeting and greeting, wine tasting and whatnot. I think these are fine additions to the core of the festival, namely the music. In fact, I find it hard to see where Inferno can improve from here. It’s better to stick to your guns, rather than reinventing the wheel every Easter. The only thing for me personally, is that I would skip the chaotic Club Day and rather that I’d like Inferno to get closer to what it once was, namely closer to a black metal festival. But that’s me…