In a year like 2021, where we're finally beginning to see that light at the end of the tunnel of COVID-19, the idea of strength in numbers for us metal-heads has never been more important.
The fine folks at Norway's Inferno Music Conference continue to strive to grow and advance the heavy metal community globally, aiding those in all facets of the genre in taking that next step forward in their passions.
Formed in 2006 in conjunction with the now legendary extreme metal haven Inferno Metal Festival in Oslo, the annual conference moves online in 2021 from April 22-23, offering up an inclusive and fan-friendly experience that hits on a number of game-changing topics.
"It feels really good to have some forward momentum again," shared Kristoffer Neegaard, head of the conference. "It took a lot of time to identify some challenges that we had going, but it feels very good to be able to do this.
"An important thing to have in mind is that to keep innovating the industry and keep adapting to the times, we need to bring younger people on board at all times. And without the conferences, the festivals, the spots where you can do networking, it's very hard to see these young people that really are hungry to succeed."
2021's slated lineup features a series of innovative and current panels, including The War of Art: Blasphemy and Propaganda Against the System.
Hosted by Metal Injection's own Frank Godla and featuring members of Iran's Confess, the panel will tackle life in a society with the constant fear of being accused of blasphemy, and the potential severe, life-threatening punishments that come with playing heavy music in their native country, of freedom of expression, freedom of speech, religious oppression, and forbidden art.
"If you do art like that and you're facing consequences that might possibly end your life, it could be the justice system that will kill you, it could be just the local community will just consider you blasphemous," says Neegaard. "And this is not something the Western community has ever faced. Of course, we had like a Rage Against the Machine attitude to riot against the system and all this, but the consequences have never been this severe. So for me, this is real shit going on there. These guys are really risking everything to just play the music they like."
Elsewhere, The Future Of The Music Industry: Are you the Jack of all Trades, and Rewriting The Metal World, tackle the status of the Norwegian metal scene today, and the rising avenues of technologies and social medias, such as TikTok, in reaching key audiences. Many of these panels provide rare opportunity for bands and industry insiders to dive into key areas where metal artists and those within the community can expand their own platforms, and stay competitive in an ever crowded marketplace.
"For the bands, losing almost two years of performing live – maybe you had like a new album coming out, you're supposed to play a lot of festivals – you were like up and pushing the ice and then you're suddenly left without anything. I've noticed that people are starting to lose the motivation, especially the upcoming bands. They're losing traction. They don't really know how to maintain," says Neegaard, explaining that the continued goal of the conference is to create the world's best and most important meeting place for the international metal music industry.
"So the whole concept of the conference, as I see it, is to include everyone, give everyone the opportunity to attend basically wherever you are in the world. If you want to be part of it, you can be a part of it."
For a full schedule of events and panels, and ticket information for the 2021 Inferno Music Conference visit infernomusicconference.com