HITS 2011 – Day 4 – USF Verftet

HITS 2011 – Day 4 – USF Verftet

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

After a somewhat late Friday, we headed over to Garage on Saturday midday to listen to some Norwegian thrash metal. Their debut album is a short and effective manifestation of thrash metal played by someone with an aim to make great music. "Divinity Of Death" is only as long as "Reign In Blood", but somehow I feel that the upcoming album will get closer to the quality of the said album as well. Yes, they did a great show this Saturday. Quite a few people down there and the atmosphere was dirty enough for my panties. Great sound, two guitarists and vocalists… And some tremendous songs. They play two (or was it three) new tracks, and those stroke me as brilliant. If they’re anything to judge by, the upcoming album will be noteworthy, no doubt. Energetic musicians, vigorous music, lively sound. And full of attitude. Nekromantheon from Kolbotn is a name to look out for, both albumwise and on stage. (Roy Kristensen)



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Photo: Monika Serafinska

Norwegian death metallers, Diskord, don’t beat around the bush. If you’re in for headbanging, stay clear. This is music for the brain. You never know what hits you next, since there’re numerous tempochanges, varied vocals and elements of dysfunctionality in Diskord’s insanity. One minute there, trying to headbang. Nah, forget all about it and let yourself sink deep into the dwell of death. They did play a couple of songs from their upcoming album and boy, do we look forward to hearing them songs. On stage they’re three musicians. I cannot stop thinking that the band would benefit from one more guitarist. Yet, it does work fine as it is as well. The sound of the guitar and the bass is like a marriage between Hell and Hell. And with the battery from Hell, you get your own private Hell when you listen to Diskord. It’s sick, it’s twisted and it’s there to haunt you. Make sure the threesome (turning into a foursome with the right guitarist) will not go unnoticed next time Diskord play in a venue around the corner. A great gig at Hole In The Sky 2011. (Roy Kristensen)



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Photo: Stefan Raduta

Death Dealer went to Norway to play half an hour of brutal death thrash metal, dirty as fuck. Set Teitan from Watain (live) and E. from the same band helped him out here. E. did the drums and I’m dead sure he thought, after some 10-15 minutes, that he should try to work out a bit, or at least increase his stamina. Then again, 30 minutes of hard hitting bashing would probably affect even those long distance runners. To me the music of Vomitor is not that much of a deal. Straightforward death thrash, ugly and disgusting, is all right in a live situation and something that rarely is played at home. Muddy sound and enthusiasm all over the place. So, the conclusive thought is then that you could just as well see them live if you get a chance to do so. Full on audio violence. On album? I think I better listen to the latest Watain album again. (Roy Kristensen)




Here’s a great Norwegian band that has somehow always stayed in the shadows. I remember their first two albums that came out in the mid 90’s under Solistitium pretty well. Back then they had some of the most insane vocals I heard…with time though, they sort of vanished from the media’s attention. I know some of their following albums didn’t quite move me at a first listen so shamefully I just lost interest over the years. At Hole In the Sky they opened the final day, and put on a pretty good performance. Sounding like Enslaved a bit, very pagan-like atmosphere, but nothing quite out of the ordinary. Although they played well, somehow they failed to impress me. I think they lack a certain grit on stage, that energy which is the key to any black metal show. I wish they played with more conviction and balls, the music is definitely not bad at all. Looking forward to giving them another try in the future. (Stefan Raduta)



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Photo: Stefan Raduta

I make so secret out of the fact that the presence of Carl-Michael Eide on stage was my main reason for coming to Hole In The Sky to begin with. He is in fact the only reason I flew to Norway for the second time this year, first time in April being for the special Aura Noir reunion at Inferno, the only set that really mattered to me out of the whole damn festival. Czral is in my humble opinion the most incredible musician in Norway, always has and always will be. He’s always been the gambling weirdo that went where nobody dared to, fucking with everyone’s mind, sardonically laughing at everyone around with every twisted riff he wrote. Not too long ago I wrote quite a lengthy personal tribute to his work, you can check it out here, towards the end you’ll see a link for the whole story to my blog…hope you enjoy it. http://www.roadburn.com/2011/08/transylvanian-hungerrr-a-tribute-to-carl-michael-eide-ved-buens-ende-virus/
I really don’t know what to say about the Virus performance at Hole In The Sky. For me, it was the most highly anticipated show of the year, and I’ve been to quite a few festivals, seen over a hundred shows and I’m nowhere close to being done. Virus is the shit man, and if you don’t get it you’re missing out on something truly remarkable. I was curious to see the crowd’s reaction…many knew exactly what to expect, but most were just curious. It took about two to three songs for people to stop scratching their heads and finally accept that this was going to be totally different and out of the box. Towards the end, they convinced even the skeptics…they may not have understood much, but I am confident they left with the desire of digging deeper. Easily some the most avant-garde, anti-harmonic and hypnotic music made today, Virus is a treat for all Ved Buens Ende fans who now get to see the closest thing to it in flesh. Needless to say, I was on cloud nine the whole time, enjoying every second of it as if it was my last. It’s what I waited over nine years for, and the wait was well worth it. Very impressed with the entire band, they’re really into the music, especially the bass player whose creepy face expressions at times totally reflect the music. They performed songs from all three albums, setlist is below. Kuddos to Czral for driving his car for 8 hours from Oslo the same day, and playing only a couple of hours after arriving. After the show he confessed he wasn’t completely happy with the show because his hands were somehow fatigued from driving, but that’s just nonsense, he was brilliant. Thank you Aggressor,  Thank you Virus!! Bring some serious merch next time. (Stefan Raduta)


1. The Agent That Shapes The Dessert
2. Archives
3. Carheart
4. As Virulent As You
5. The Black Flux
6. Road
7. Queen Of The Hi-Ace8. Shame Eclipse
9. Chromium Sun



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Photo: Stefan Raduta

I have seen Enslaved live in the US about 4 times so far, the fifth time will be in a few weeks…Right before HITS they played Party San in Germany and even if I always loved them live in clubs, I never quite had the chance to see them under the clear night sky. So it wasn’t until a few weeks ago in Germany that it finally hit me how amazing they can be…At HITS they were nothing short of spectacular, playing in front of a home crowd that knows them all too well. Seeing Enslaved live in all their splendor allows me to judge how much other bands really suck, they inevitably become a reference point when it comes to a performance. I’m not crazy about their last album but luckily they played songs from pretty much all albums, and the crowd went totally nuts when they covered old classics from Frost (Jotunblod), or from their first EP Yggdrasill (Allfadr Odhinn) for example. Pure fucking madness!! Really awesome also seeing them doing a great cover of Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song. Congrats to Grutle & Co. for being where they are today. I will admit I was really really pissed at them for touring the US not too long ago opening for Dimmu Borgir (whom I loathe, such a terrible joke!). They are a band big enough to headline their own tours (luckily doing this now), no need to be in the shadow of total sell-outs. Alas, I’m over my anger/disappointment now, long live Enslaved!! (Stefan Raduta)


1. Ethica Odini2. Ground
3. The Voices
4. Jotunblod (YESS!!!)5. Giants
6. Heimvegen
7. Immigrant Song
8. Allfadr Odhinn
9. Isa


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Photo: Stefan Raduta

Oh boy, it’s these guys again. I have really mixed feelings about Mayhem today, and that’s a bit weird considering that they released some of my favorite Black Metal albums of all time. Maybe it has to do with the fact that none of the people who wrote/created these albums are in the band today. Euronymous got wacked, Blasphemer left, the latter leaving them with what I think are shoes impossible to be filled. What we have today is a cover band carrying the remnants of a legend. They can’t possibly top the last album but the show sells, people buy tickets so they keep doing it…wouldn’t you? Life is hard as it is, if it it pays to do the one thing you love and people want more, you do it.  Joking aside, the name itself is legend and it must go on. I’m pissed because I never got to see them live neither with Maniac or Blasphemer on stage, and that’s a big regret for me, personally. Especially when it comes to the latter, who really took the music where nobody dared to take it, ultimately creating one of the most claustrophobic, suffocating records ever – Ordo Ad Chao. Oh well. So I guess now I have to other choice but to see an ever changing line-up (a new updated band photo should be taken as Frenchie apparently just left, moved to Satyricon – seems like he has a lot more fun there!) under the same banner, with the everlasting Hellhammer and Mr Necrobutcher as the two original members carrying the torch. I had the luck of seeing Mayhem at last year’s Inferno for their 25th anniversary gig. Now, that was a great performance. Countless pounds of bloody gigantic ribs hanging everywhere, a really impressively costumed Attila carrying a sigh, ultimately throwing slabls of meat in the crowd. Lots of flames, pyro…I liked that show a lot, it was impressive, special. At HITS they didn’t do anything special really, not that they need to, they’re Mayhem. Many complained about the poor sound…frankly, I didn’t notice that. Despite what it may seem as a somewhat negative review, I really enjoyed their set. By now I’m over the names that are on stage, I’m starting to realize that it’s all irrelevant and see Mayhem as a force that simply has to go on. They were there in the beginning and they’re one of the very few names that can offer something resembling what the beginning sounded like. They still put on a damn good show, the crowds eat it up, how could they not? Hellhammer sounds as menacing as ever, Necrobutcher is in a great shape, and there’s no shortage of young guitarists who want to join them on stage, playing classic songs that shaped them into who they’ve become. No matter who you are, if you love Black Metal your skin will always crawl when you hear songs like De Misteriis, Ancient Skin, Freezing Moon, Funeral Fog, From The Dark Past, Deathcrush and so on. I say fuck it to all the eyebrows being raised when it comes to Mayhem (including my own until recently), if we can’t have who wrote the riffs then let’s just take the closest thing we can, before it’s gone forever. Seeing Necrobutcher who’s been there since day one on stage is enough for me to close my eyes and go back almost twenty years ago. I’m in for the ride.


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Photo: Stefan Raduta

Part of me wants to hate Immortal. A big part of me. Strangely, the same part that worships an album called Pure Holocaust, undoubtedly one of the best Black Metal albums ever released. Man, how I loved those years…when Battles In The North came out, everyone pretty much shit themselves, nothing sounded as ugly and equally epic as that by then. The question is: should one take what Immortal is today seriously? I think it depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re a Black Metal puritan, definitely not. Diehards who listen to Funeral Mist or Black Witchery will rightfully mock you and throw beers at you, because you’re as much as a joke as Immortal is. You’re a  complete fool and Immortal today is irrelevant to Black Metal, it’s a band that once meant something, and today is milking the cash cow like never before. The truth is somewhere in the middle though. The thing with Immortal is that they’re fucking amazing live, and they release albums that really sound great – as much as you loath that fact. I think Abbath is a genius. He’s taken this name and brought it really high, it carries a lot of weight nowadays and rightfully so. So if you chill out a little bit and take a step back, you’ll see things differently. They put on a fantastic performance live, they are entertaining as hell and people can’t have enough of it. The numbers speak for themselves, they always have a great spot on big festival bills, they fucking made it! You can’t possibly hate anything about it, they’re super catchy, both serious and fun. Abbath’s charisma knows no limits, one second the guy is super menacing on stage, looking and feeling like Satan, the next minute he does something hysterical, walking like a crab with his tongue out, etc.  It’s a damn circus!  For what it is, and because most of the time I can’t take myself seriously, I love it. And If you ope your mind a little bit and stopped wanting to look so fucking grim all the time, you’ll love them too. At the end of the show on the way out, he’ll take his mic, put in behind his ass and fart. Beat that! Somehow he managed to brilliantly take Black Metal and turn it into total entertainment. And it works because it’s not fake like Dimmu Borgir, it’s not pretentious like Satyricon, it’s just Immortal. Take it or leave it. Having said that, they were the perfect band to end The Last Supper. Great set, lots of pyro, completely incendiary. Good for them!