in Bergen, Norway, Friday, August 25, 2006

Review and pictures by Frode Kilvik and Pål Johansen

The Hole In The Sky Festival in Bergen, Norway, has quickly become one of the best Metal festivals in northern Europe. Producing the finest line-up in the festival’s history, this year has attracted the biggest crowd as of yet as well. Read on …

Witchcraft (Sweden)

A tribute to eccentric legends, Bobby Liebling of Pentagram and Roky Erickson, Witchcraft saw the light of day in 2002, and the band quickly established themselves as something out of the ordinary.

Witchcraft is clearly influenced by the 70’s Cult Rock underground. Yet somehow, despite not adhering to any blueprint, the Witchcraft sound is purer then any other act in the Doom scene today.

Entering the stage as the second act of the evening; the crowd didn’t seem quite warm enough as Witchcraft did their thing. Their presence was remarkably strong nonetheless, maybe a byproduct of doing 70’s Psychedelic Rock really well. Hoyles was definitely the most acrobatic performer of the four, followed closely by Henriksson who resembled a young Geezer Butler mixed with Cliff Burton. For the Sabbath and Free fans there, this was a great gig indeed!


  • John Hoyles – guitar
  • Ola Henriksson – bass
  • Magnus Pelander – guitars and vocals
  • Jonas Arnesén – drums

Set: Approximately 40 minutes

Gojira (France)

Founded in 1996, in a garage near Bayonne – South East of France – under the name GODZILLA, by the Duplantier brothers and their band fellows Jean-Michel Labadie and Christian Andreu. Due to legal rights, GODZILLA changed its name to GOJIRA right before their first album. GOJIRA is in fact the Japanese translation of its original name, and they promote an ecological thought and a politically correct speech.

During their promotion tour for the new album The Link, they stopped by Bergen, Norway, to blow the moshers away with some stunningly technical Extreme Metal. Leaving no doubt as to who really owned the stage at USF Verftet tonight, Gojira was like an unstoppable machine from beginning to end. If anyone was unsure if France could produce some of the world’s best Metal music before this, they have definitely changed their minds by now.

Even though the crowd didn’t really let loose during Witchcraft, it was like flipping a switch when Gojira entered the stage. The mosh pit went totally nuts and was accompanied by Gojira headbanging synchronously as their salute to the Bergen Metalheads.

Gojira impressed by playing an ultra-tight set, with time and tempo changes even Iron Maiden would be having a hard time outperforming. The technical skills that are heard on each album are really there; whilst thundering along on the really low-tuned bass and guitars and delivering 190% all through the set, Gojira still managed to keep the sound clean (as clean as one can with that amount of distortion).

Even those that watched the show on projected screens could feel the amount of energy from the stage. A guy from the audience even claimed he could feel the bass drums make his guts move around from outside the venue!

You have to pity the band to enter stage next; following Gojira is a near impossible task.


  • Joe Duplantier – guitar/lead vocals
  • Mario Duplantier – drums
  • Jean-Michel Labadie – bass
  • Christian Andreu – guitar

Set: Approximately 45 minutes

Atheist (Florida, USA)

Metal pioneers ATHEIST have regrouped for a run of exclusive live performances this summer, and Hole In The Sky have been chosen to be part of the adventure. Vocalist Kelly Shaefer reassembled what is widely considered the band’s classic recording line-up (Shaefer, guitarist Rand Burkey, bassist Tony Choy, and drummer Steven Flynn) for these festival gigs.

Pounding on with old Thrash/Death Metal classics, Atheist kept a tight grip on the crowd tonight. Even though some of it may have been thought of as pointless ranting, Atheist were the first band to really interact with the audience. Shaefer managed to establish good communication with the crowd, making the entire experience become even more memorable for everyone there. Even though the band performed well on stage, Tony Choy managed to stand out as the supreme musician of the five on stage, totally blowing the others away with his bass; without a doubt the most technically skilled in the band.


  • Kelly Shaefer – vocals
  • Steve Flynn – drums
  • Tony Choy – bass
  • Rand Burkey – guitar
  • Mr Smith – guitar

Set: Approximately 1 hour

Destruction (Germany)

Thrash Metal legends Destruction were the first foreign Metal Band to headline Hole In The Sky back in 2001, and reappeared this summer as special guests, delivering high quality Thrash Metal from start to finish. This German trio truly delivered the goods!

Intense, with a massive stage presence and a sound that you wouldn’t believe was created with only three people; Destruction managed to redefine the meaning of moshing as they spellbound the Bergen audience. The fact that Mike has said that music doesn’t have to be musically perfect as long as it’s powerful has clearly not affected his talents; the trio deliver a set so tight it almost hurt.

Destruction really got the temperature rising at USF Verftet, even the walls were sweating! After about 45 minutes, they got a well-deserved 4-minute break before coming on to do their encore set; in which Grutle Kjellson (Bass/Vocals in Norwegian Extreme Metal band Enslaved) joined them in their second to last song. The continous flirting with the audience between songs, and literally pulling out the engagement ring by bringing Bergens Extreme Metal prince on stage, Destruction managed to exceed the Gojira experience from earlier this night.


  • Schmier – bass/vocals
  • Mike – guitar
  • Marc – drums

Set: Approximately 1 hour, 10 minutes


  • Frode Kilvik

    Frode Kilvik was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, based out of Sotra, an island west of Bergen, Norway. He's been a music lover all his life, and Metal has always been his main passion. He grew up, listening to Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Metallica, etc., and it gave him a hunger and an addiction to explore and find new acts in the world of Metal. Frode picked up the bass guitar when he was about 10 or 11 (Steve Harris was a huge influence) and has played in various Rock and Punk bands ever since. He was the bass player and vocalist for the Stoner Metal band Kraków, and is also playing bass in the Black Metal bands Gaahls WYRD and Aeternus!

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