Live at Vulkan Arena in Oslo, Norway on December 3rd 2015.
Photos by Marie Solheim.
Additional photos here.
Rock fans rejoice, Christmas came early to Oslo this year. December has only just begun, and we are treated to what might just be the power-package of the year. German hard-rockers Kadavar recently released their groovy third album Berlin, and to celebrate they brought along a handful of gems for an extensive European tour. With a line-up consisting of Horisont, Satan’s Satyrs, and The Shrine, the stars have aligned for a big meaty slice of hard rock heaven. Tonight Motörhead and Saxon are playing only a few blocks away, which could have been a disastrous overlap for Kadavar and company. However, with all four bands having released successful new album during the last couple of months, a respectable number of rockers and hippies have taken the trip to Vulkan Arena.
Ushering in an early start to the festivities, Göteborg’s time warriors Horisont look like they just stepped out of a time-machine. Denim and facial hair incarnate, the Swedes serve up a nice appetizer from their newly minted Odyssey. Paying musical respects to the likes of Judas Priest, Thin Lizzy, and Status Quo, Horisont ooze style, live energy, and a whole lot of charm. Dipping into belters like “Writing On The Wall” and the anthemic “Break The Limit”, the band posses the swagger normally reserved for a headlining performance. It’s clear that a significant number of the audience came here at least partially to catch Horisont’s set, although the opening slot unfortunately limits their set to 30 minutes of groovy synths and tasty licks. Luckily, the end of Horisont’s set only marks the beginning of a long and promising evening.
Formed as a solo venture by Clayton “Claythanas” Burgess, Virginia hellraisers Satan’s Satyrs have since made the transition into an unholy trinity of punk-infused stoner doom. Having been recruited on bass duty for Electric Wizard, it feels like a stroke of luck that Burgess still takes the time to put his Satyrs on the road. The band has been prolific since becoming a trio, with their third album Don’t Deliver Us coming out less than two months ago. The Satyrs look like they’ve been sneaking rides in Horisont’s time machine, clad in skin-tight shirts and bell-bottom pants. Although Burgess commands the frontman role with an abundance of enthusiasm, guitarist Jarrett Nettnin and drummer Stephen Fairchild are equally passionate, tearing up the stage one cutthroat riff at a time. As the band plows through tracks mostly taken from Don’t Deliver Us, bits of Blue Cheer and The Stooges glean through the stoner riffs. From the band’s conception, frontman Claythanas’ voice has been a dividing factor, and his weird intonations and bizarre howls are enough to alienate a few spectators. Even if the vocals prove a little too over the top for some, Satan’s Satyrs brilliantly boost the momentum that Horisont initiated, topping off a killer performance with the face-shredding “Alucard”. Jolly good show.
Admittedly a new acquaintance for me, the stoner trio The Shrine have come all the way from Los Angeles to partake in this tour. Bringing their musical TNT from the Los Angeles boardwalk, The Shrine play somewhat straightforward punky hard rock. Dipping into stoner rock, Motörhead, and 80’s heavy metal, the Californians put on a solid show, with the perpetual smile on guitarist/vocalist Josh Landau’s face revealing that these guys love playing live. However, although The Shrine are hardly to blame, the ferocity of Horisont and Satan’s Satyrs’ performances cast a long shadow that the California trio can’t quite escape. Ending their set on an extended psychedelic guitar jam, they still manage to add a bit of California sunshine to the dark December night.
Having put out one of the year’s catchiest hard rock albums, Kadavar have been riding on a steady wave of popularity that shows no signs of slowing down. Berlin is one of those records where virtually every song is a potential hit single, demonstrating a stellar knack for writing memorable hooks and shameless earworms. A German tour de force, they proceed to plow through half of Berlin, almost the entirety of their self-titled debut, and occasionally touching upon their sophomore album Abra Kadavar. With specially made triangular light fixtures on stage, the band cut impressive rock star appearances that could be right out of a music video, with mainman Cristoph “Wolf” Lindemann in particular looking like a psychedelic Viking warrior. Flashy and memorable, Kadavar have taken the step up among the big boys of the 70’s rock resurgence without seemingly breaking a sweat. As they recapture the stage for an eagerly received encore, the crowd reaction is testament to Kadavar’s awe-inspiring live presence. A late-year addition to the best gigs of the year, these four bands have shown that, naysayers be damned, heavy rock music is in very good hands.