HITS 2011 – Day 2 – Garage

HITS 2011 – Day 2 – Garage

So this is it then? The Last Supper? Boys and girls, ladies and gents….it sucks more than Ozzy Osbourne’s spine that this to be the last time that we – the outcasts of all society – gather ourselves in a mess of hair and less than bright clothing.
Throughout it’s eleven year run Hole In The Sky established itself as one of the absolute best festival gatherings in the more extreme outskirts of the Metal world. Started as a tribute to a friend who had died in 1999, HITS grew to be more than most people ever imagined it would, especially considering the economic and geographical odds stacked against it by being way out on the west coast of Norway.
Credit goes to all the crew that they held on to the same ethical chalice in 2011 as they had done in 2000. It has become a case study in creative booking to see the line ups they have managed to compile, especially with a budget that would suffer the limitations of having no more than 1000 tickets to sell. Yet Hole In The Sky did it year after year.
It could well have been a sad occasion indeed only for….well, we had Hole In The Sky to take care of first…..after that we could mourn whatever it was we had to mourn. (Paul Kearns)

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Photo: Monika Serafinska

Opening the festival for yours truly, was the Norwegian version of old-school heavy metal Devil. They’ve just recently released their debut album "Time To Repent". Not that we should feel sorry we showed up at Garage this second day of the final Hole In The Sky festival. The band’s music is not something that normally appeal to these ears, yet I had a good time down there with Devil. The sound was all fine, the members seemed to have a jolly good time and the audience seemed to enjoy the time with the band. If I must criticise something, I would’ve wanted the vocals to be somewhat stronger. Fitting to the music is not enough on stage, there must be some power behind them, not mere singing. I guess in time and with a few more shows in line, Devil will be a band that should make way for plenty of atonement. (Roy Kristensen)



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Photo: Stefan Raduta

Showing up instead of Pagan Altar. Not a bad thing, in the end. In fact, it turned out to be the surprise of the festival to these ears. If I remember correctly, their previous release got 4/6 from me. But live it was a 6/6. The doomladen music gave me a certain Candlemass vibe, and the singer sang very well. Yes, I hope the Devil vocalist heard this band. I mean, Procession’s Felipe doesn’t have the tone of in example JB Christoffersson of Grand Magus, but still Felipe sings with strong conviction, with attitude and with a heart that lives for metal. The sound was superb and no doubt Procession became a talking theme to people. Doom can be boring, but Procession’ss development within the songs ensure that the interest is kept up all the way. Great. (Roy Kristensen)



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Photo: Stefan Raduta

In Solitude
Another band who live in Sweden. These guys have newly released an album that have given them some attention. So, with high hopes, sweating a lot (due to the fucking heat down at Garage, Bergen) and the ears ready and open, the guys began to play. Well, their heavy metal was cool enough, but just as with the aforementioned Devil, the vocalist was not on top of the game. Not out of tune or anything, just a bit too weak on stage. And once you notice a thing like that, it kind of destroys the whole impression. For those into In Soltude, I’m dead sure the ride was great, since the sound was all fine. I got myself some time off the heat after half-played set. (Roy Kristensen)



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Photo: Stefan Raduta

Grand Magus
The bands heavy metal has always been ranked quite high among those I’ve talked to. Personally their albums haven’t done much to me. I think the music is kind of too straight-forward. But kudos to their performance at HITS this year. Some good tunes, no doubt, great musicianship and a very good sound. That should wet some fans’ panties. Not mine though. But I almost got there due to the immense vocals from JB. That man can sing, no doubt. He sings all clear, he manages high pitched metal screams and he has the attitude. What more can you ask for? And I must say, I rarely manage to stay put for a whole concert if I don’t like the music that music. Well, Grand Magus is not necessarily a first, but still a rare one. Excellent. (Roy Kristensen)



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Photo: Stefan Raduta

Saint Vitus.
If there were three bands that really swept me off my feet at the last edition of this great festival, they were Virus, Procession and Saint Vitus. Out of the three, I only saw the latter live two years ago for a very special show at Brooklyn’s Europa. Being part of a somewhat younger generation, the likes of Pentagram, Trouble, Candlemass or Saint Vitus never were my kind of doom, because before finding them I was swimming in the grey waters of early My Dying Bride, Anathema, Tiamat and so on. I am slowly catching up though, learning where everything started.

So if I wasn’t quite ready for Saint Vitus in New York two years ago, I was sure as hell ready for them at Garage in Bergen. Man, what a show. It must have been their first time in Norway or something, because there was so much energy and enthusiasm from the crowd. The band killed it live, they played incredibly well and the audience loved every single note. Wino is the real deal man, you can easily tell this man’s seen one or two things in his time, so his voice/lyrics really carry some serious weight when on stage. Guitar player Dave Chandler was incredibly charismatic on stage as well, having an incredible chemistry with the crowd. He delivered some seriously sick and epic riffs that went straight to your gut. Damn! At the end of the show he ended up in the middle of the floor, amongst hundreds of hungry hands who wanted to touch his guitar. Stellar! They played many classics such as Mystic Lady, Born Too Late, I Bleed Black, Living Backwards, and so many more. "Fuck the police man…and that’s a fact!"(Stefan Raduta)