INFERNO FESTIVAL 2006 (Live) – Day 1

at Rockefeller, Oslo, Norway, Thursday, April 13, 2006


Easter is here, with bunnies, chocolate eggs, warm rays of sun – and Extreme Metal. Norway’s Inferno Festival has become an annual tradition for many Metalheads, with its mix of comfortable indoor facilities in Oslo’s city centre, cheap accommodations, reasonable ticket prices, and a good selection of bands covering the entire spectre of the darkest Metal genres. However, the festival has been criticised in the underground for selecting too “safely” when booking bands – Borknagar, Susperia, Myrkskog, and Khold could all be described as “safe” bookings, as the bands either play in Oslo on a regular basis or are close friends to the festival organizers. Still, though, it is impossible to get Slayer, Venom, Sadus, and Morbid Angel all at once –- Inferno is held outside the “festival season” (i.e., the summer), flying bands in for that one gig when not on tour is fairly expensive, and all in all, most Metalheads should find something to enjoy at the festival … once again. Of course, the reunion of Norwegian legends Emperor would probably sell out the festival alone (the organizers reported very high demand for 1-day tickets on Friday …), and cannot be considered anything but a scoop.

This report is not a complete review of the entire festival … many a band deserving coverage have been left out of this review — it is just not possible to cover it all — after all your Metal Express correspondents are nothing but humans made of flesh and blood (that is in fact the truth!), and as you we also have needs; for beer, for food, for beer … and for installment loans to finance all of the above. However, the goal is to show you a bit of the diversity at the Inferno Festival -– showing the wide range of bands and styles, and for the readers to get a certain impression about what makes up the Inferno Festival. Now – onto the gigs, goddammit!


Imbalance The brilliant, yet unsigned, Thrash quartet of Imbalance was selected to open the festival. John Dee – Rockefeller’s little brother holding 200 – 300 people, was surprisingly crowded (considering the band being relatively unknown and the time being 5:45 PM) when the band entered the stage. Their previous demo/EP – Burial of Consciousness was brilliant, and the band delivered from the stage too. Perhaps one could ask for a bit more “show” -– except for some modest headbanging, the band was quite stationary, but they sure had the right attitude with some very convincing angry faces.

The band presented their upcoming EP, Bestial by Nature — soon to be reviewed here at Metal Express –- and “Take Your Eyes,” “On Your Knees,” and “Bestial by Nature” seemed like solid tracks. Why this band is still unsigned remains nothing but a mystery. Their catchy and groovy style of intricate riffs, tight drum beats, and snarly vocals should appeal to a wide array of fans, and this band definitely deserves that major break-through as soon as possible. To quote bass player/vocalist Harald – “This is Imbalance and you are doomed!”.

Keep of Kalessin

Next up, moving up to the main stage at the Rockefeller club, was Keep of Kalessin, whose last release Armada rushed the Metal scene off its feet. This was also the first gig with the new line-up, and Obsidian C. and his comrades delivered the goods in a very impressive manner. The guitarist himself is unquestionably one of the most exciting axeslingers on the scene with his combination of warp speed right-hand technique, a crisp and clear, Marshall-powered sound, and refreshing harmonic approach, mixing styles from the most extreme of Metal riffs to almost Flamenco-ish elements.
Keep of Kalessin “The Wealth of Darkness,” one of the very best tracks off Armada, was an ideal opener, setting the standard immediately, and when “Crown of the Kings” followed, this could not go wrong. The tasteful lightning and pyro effects also made this just as much a visual experience as a sonic one. “As Mist Lay Silent Beneath,” possibly the strongest track of 1999’s Agnen – A Journey Through the Dark followed, and together with “Reclaim,” and the fantastic set closer, “Come Damnation,” this satisfied the band’s long-time fans who perhaps have yet to hear Armada, as the album is not yet released in Europe and the USA. The mighty “The Black Uncharted” and “Winged Watcher” completed the set, with the latter being the only question mark; why not play “Vengeance Rising” or the title track instead?

Anyway, though, this performance stands as one of the festival’s very highlights, and everyone should check these guys out on their upcoming tours with Carpathian Forest and Satyricon.

Carpathian Forest

“True Norwegian Black Metal” © heroes Carpathian Forest was next up at the main stage. The band has for a long time been touring frequently, and their simple, yet very groovy, style of hard and cold Black Metal is very well suited to that format. Rockefeller was packed when the band, (at the time) consisting of Hellcommander Nattefrost on vocals, Tchort and Blood Perverter on guitars, Vrangsinn on bass, and A. Kobro on drums, hit the stage, and the crowd kept the mosh pit going for the entire duration of the band’s one hour set. The band, dressed in their trademark corpsepaint and “Fuck you all!!!” T-shirts –- not overly creative you’d say, but at least it gets the message through –- performed solidly, and Nattefrost did a great job as front man, constantly conjuring the crowds to new levels of excitement.

Carpathian Forest Carpathian Forest isn’t, and will never be, a band for musical feinschmeckers or technical perfectionists – and Black Metal skeptics will probably never embrace their very simplistic corpse paint and rather half-shabby looks as well, but when offered tracks like “Morbid Fascination of Death,” “Carpathian Forest,” “Black Shining Leather,” the dead catchy “Knokkelmann,” as well as a new track (the title of which has since been forgotten), one cannot help but let go of the prejudices and groove along.

The only major negative point may be the guitar sound, which at times was rather on the muddy side. Still, the balance was good, and the gig was very much fun indeed.


Sadly, due to mystic circumstances, Carpathian Forest was to be the last band seen by the MER this Thursday night.

Day 1 gave the festival a flying start, then, with all bands being basically on time (not bad at all, Metal festivals are usually not known for being very good at keeping schedules), the overall sound quality held a high level, the crowds were lively, the performers held up their end, and there weren’t really any major screw-ups to report. Not-so-good-news for those fishy reporters out for the latest scandals and gossip to spice up standard gig reviews, but good news for basically everyone else.

Stay tuned for reports of day 2 and day 3, as well as a full pictorial breakdown of the festival, to be published very soon!


  • Torgeir P. Krokfjord

    Torgeir was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. After hearing Malmsteen's "Vengeance" on a guitar mag CD at the age of 12 or 13, he began doing hopeless interpretations of Yngwie licks and it just took off from there. After shorter stints at other zines he was snatched to Metal Express Radio in 2003. Alongside Yngwie, Savatage, WASP, Symphony X, Blind Guardian, Emperor, Arch Enemy, In Flames, Opeth, Motörhead, Manowar, and Queensrÿche are a quick list of musical faves. Torgeir is also guitarist in the Heavy/Prog/Thrash outfit Sarpedon.

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