Inferno Club Day, April 16th 2014
Photos by Eivind Nakken
Spy Wednesday: Clubbed To Death
As the holiest time of year approaches, the crafty Easter bunnies behind the Inferno Festival bring gifts of the brutal kind. This time they have really outdone themselves, bringing something for all tastes and fancies. From the soaring bombast of Dimmu Borgir and the angry hardcore of Hatebreed, to the bestial wargods Blasphemy and Black Witchery, the line-up is eclectic to say the least. As tradition dictates, pilgrims arrive from far and wide to witness the darker side of the Norwegian holidays. For the unfamiliar, Inferno opens with a so-called “club day”. Several pubs and small stages across Oslo are host to a variety of bands, making for some difficult choices. The rest of the festival takes place in the sizable Rockefeller, and its smaller sister-venue John Dee.
Faroese doom metal gentlemen Hamferð kick off the festivities at the elegant Victoria Scene. With a sound that owes much to doom titans like Candlemass and Paradise Lost, they class up the place, wearing their finest funeral garments. Performing for a rather sparse crowd, singer Jón Aldará nevertheless belts out some sorrowful hymns and hoarse growls. The rather flat sound in the venue does the band no favors, and their theatrical flair is somewhat muted by the lack of a proper audience. In spite of these hindrances, Hamferð put on a solid show for the dedicated few. Nothing remarkable, but a respectable performance.
We hurry off to the tiny Kulturhuset stage for another dose of heavier than thou doom, this time of the sludgy variety. Hailing from the northern Norwegian town Bodø, Kollwitz grew out from the local hardcore-scene around 2006. While their roots are visible in their outwards appearance, an affinity for groups like Isis and Cult Of Luna shines through in their post-sludge assault. Playing in the cramped corner of a pub, they proceed to blow the eardrums of the crowded audience. The combination of the moustachioed frontman’s screeching vocals, and an absolutely crushing bass-sound results in apocalyptic atmospheres and a damn good show!
After a beer and a breather, we unwittingly wander down to the main venue’s basement, to a small candlelit pub bearing the name Bushwick. Although we’re eager to hear some pitch black noise, nothing could have prepared us for the ensuing smell. Oh god, the smell! What can only be described as a unholy concoction of faeces, vomit, and menstrual blood seeps into the dark corners of the pub.
The stage is set for the Swedish artist known as Trepaneringsritualen, who blunders onto the floor wearing a cloth sack and a noose around his neck. As it becomes obvious that the fermented reek comes from his clothes, the senses are once again assaulted – this time by intensely droning bass. Mr. Ritualen stumbles around the venue, bumping into people and screaming while being an all-around unpleasant fellow. After accidentally tearing out the microphone-chord, he removes his mask to reveal that he’s just as disgusting beneath. The actual music is overshadowed by the unorthodox performance, but as an audiovisual experience it can be summed up in one word: unpleasant. We rush off before the set finishes, we have to… uhm… catch a bus. The smell lingers all the way home.