INFERNO FESTIVAL 2017 – Day one #1 – Rockefeller & John Dee

INFERNO FESTIVAL 2017 – Day one #1 – Rockefeller & John Dee

Thursday is the first ‘regular’ Inferno festival day and the concerts take place as usual at Rockefeller and John Dee, which still remains a good venue combo as you have stairs the let you go up and down between venues, some big spaces where merchants and tattooers can display their work, and Rockefeller also offers a roof terrace and a small room with DJs, couches and some more quiet times when needed.

I personally made it half way into the Helheim‘s black metal with viking themes which were building up a story on the backdrop movie like projection. The band has a fresh release from January – landawarijaR – and it is still enjoyable to see that despite the brand of viking metal, they still do not fall int he more caricaturist side of this labeling. Instead, they focus on good quality black metal in which you can pick up old and mysterious themes, flowing between intense riffing and slower paced harmonical parts where you can get a bit dreamy. It’s still old tunes like Dualitet og Ulver which get the best of reactions, but it was a pleasant contact for me with the new release which I intend to pay more attention to.

Panzerfaust was next on the smaller stage at John Dee and I even got there in good time to get a good spot before the masses arrived and make it imposible to move or see. But I left after like 5 minutes into their show due the sickening smell of church like incense combined with a strobe lights abuse. And I did see a lot of shows with strobes, but when the lightguy’s finger decides to have an epilepsy attack on the strobes button and the other fingers only switch between darkness and strong white lights on a small stage, I find it impossible to have an enjoyable visual experience.

So I went and checked out some of the merch and met some familiar faces to have some nice chats with, all the way until Venom Inc took over the main stage. They did the changeover hidden behind curtains and when they removed them, my first thought went towards the lack of really tall cymbal stands until I double checked the schedule and noticed the ‘Inc’ part of the name meaning it is not the Venom of Cronos and Needham and realising that I’ve never seen the ‘Inc’ in action. With members that have been around since what you can call the dawn of some metal genres, your music does have a lot of classic songs and riffs to offer and entertain the crowd. There’s plenty of furious and fast riffing and since they blended in a lot of hits, people could barely catch their breath between songs. Pleasant to see how much fun can be had on stage by people with so much experience in this mad world of live concerts and world touring.

Next up, John Dee and the Polish death metallers from Azarath. One of its founding members is no other that Inferno from Behemoth so there were expectations of a good quality clockwork show and mad death metal. Especially after checking out a bit of their 2017 release, In Extremis which offers a good dose of galloping blast beats and savage guitar riffs. They were skillfully executed during the performance that was surely set to deliver the soundtrack of destruction and apocalypse for the evening. Too bad that all the musicians seem to somehow compete in delivering the most extreme part of the tune at once, instead of giving the feeling of completing each other in the music.

DESTRUCTION live @ Inferno Festival 2017
(Photo: Stig Pallesen)

Main stage next for a good dose of German thrash metal from one of the ‘Big 4’ bands from that scene – Destruction. Since Rockefeller has two galleries from where you can watch the stage from above, I ended up noticing that the drummer struggled a lot during the first song due the fact that his microphone would constantly move away from his mouth and made him sing and play drums in somehow awkward positions. Luckily he seemed to have gotten help later so I could focus my attention on the rest of the show (cannot explain what was so captivating about a malfunctioning microphone stand until then). But I switched attention point just in time as the band instigated to moshpit and so the crowd started going crazy, especially that one guy completely dressed in red who was the most visible one in the pit. I also noticed a constant smile on the security guy in front of the stage who found the whole mosh pit and headbanging to be very amusing. Schmier must be one of the biggest singers in the business and his capacity of constantly using 3 microphones makes it feel like there are more than 3 people on stage and gets good crowd reactions from all corners of the venue. I particularly found it very fit to hear the ‘Nailed to the cross’ on such occasion as the easter Thursday.

Pillorian was a long awaited act as the new project of former Agalloch vocalist/guitarist John Haughm, which is said to be dwelling into even darker corners than previously achieved with Agalloch. There is less neometal influence which disappeared together with the other members, but there is surely a very familiar style of layering the heavy riffs and building up on maddening melodies and deep dark moods. But I did enjoy the dynamism of the songs, since they do not seem to linger to the edge of boredom on the same idea and so there is a pleasant alternation of elements. The performance left me with the impression that there is much more to discover by listening to the album, since it’s not like you can understand it all from one concert experience. But it certainly left a good first impression.

Thursday’s headliner are always a good source of gore melodic death metal with morbid lyrics and never a dull band to watch. Carcass has been around for over 20 years now and are regarded as pioneers of the grindcore genre in their early days or of the melodic death metal one, later on. Even if they haven’t released anything since their 2013 Surgical Steel, the fans always gather in big numbers to enjoy the performance since there is a guarantee that the British band will deliver and will make no compromise in their shows. I guess this band might have their bad days, but I am yet to see one. Jeff Walker always feels like he could continue screaming and playing the bass for two days in a row without much effort, and both guitarists would just follow along with the mad riffing and headbanging. The moshpit seemed a bit more shy than the Destruction one but the headbanging and cheering were more intense. For once I give my thumbs up to the light guy whose art totally contributed to the intensity of the show and made it for a good memory at the end of the first day at Inferno Festival 2017.