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INFERNO FESTIVAL Recap: Metal Takes Over Oslo, Norway

Our intrepid photographer Aline Cote-Miladinovich attended Inferno Festival in Oslo, Norway in April and filed this report, along with a massive photo gallery of her experiences.

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Something strange and magical happens in the town of Oslo, Norway over Easter week. Most of polite society flees to the mountains while a scourge of metal heads pour in from all over the globe to experience the four day extravaganza of extreme metal, hedonism & hepatocide known as Inferno Festival. Subsequently, the entire city becomes a misanthropic miscreant’s soggy dream come true, and we’ve got the whole place to ourselves!

Having had such a black-out good time last year, and just last March at the Swiss version of Inferno, I was more than ready for this year's bout of April blasphemy. I could not wait to begin the four day “cleanse” facilitated by a diet of nothing but booze, metal, and 7-11 bacon wrapped hot dogs.

I made it a point to arrive a couple of days prior to the onset of the festival to sleep off a bit of the jet lag, and get myself into top form in anticipation of the 96 hour, grease, nitrite, and cholesterol laden "alcoholocaust" that was sure to ensue once the festival actually got underway. Most of the city was essentially a ghost town, and almost all of the businesses were closed. A post-apocalyptic feeling hung in the air as I strolled the streets, only to find them eerily silent, and void of the normal frenetic activity found in any major urban area. Plus, snowfall and hail in April…very strange phenomenon for this Californian, and so icy/grimly appropriate.

Those were the last moments of peace, quiet, and gastrointestinal health I’d be having for a while.

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On the last night prior to the start of the mayhem and debauchery, I crashed hard and heavy, and awoke at six A.M. to to observe the crisp, clear sky over Oslo just beginning to pale, and it was the most astonishing shade of sapphire blue I’d ever seen…I snapped a crappy iPhone picture, and promptly fell back asleep.
It was truly the calm before the storm…

The first night of Inferno known as “Club Night” is a bit of a quieter affair, and mostly lends itself to pub crawling and checking out some bands playing at smaller venues across the city. The first order of business was to hit Deville’s and sample some local microbrews, and say a boozy hello to friends old and new. Then, it was off to check out Attila Csihar’s Void of Voices at 300AS on Olso’s waterfront, then stroll back over to the city center for Hellish Outcast at BLÅ, and Kirkebrann at Revolver. Closing out the night, and rolling over into the wee hours of the next morning, it was off to the Royal Christiania Hotel for MORE Norwegian microbrews, and some old school metal tunes spun by DJ Nocturno Culto. Not a bad start…

The following night, the main stage events were fully underway, and the Rockefeller and John Dee opened their doors to the masses for the remainder of the festival.

Norway’s Trollfest got the party started with their usual humorous and colorful aplomb, followed by a fantastic set by Anaal Nathrahk, and then 1349, who were playing their second Inferno in a month, having been added to the bill fairly last minute to replace Aborted who were unable to play. As usual, they put on a punishing show, and were followed by Switzerland’s Triptykon.

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True to the longstanding friendship and tradition between these two bands, 1349’s vocalist Ravn joined Triptykon onstage to perform “The Usurper”.

Yes, please.

The Rockefeller’s main stage was then closed out on night one by a fantastic show by Borknagar featuring the exceedingly versatile and talented ICS Vortex (Dimmu Borgir, Arcturus) on bass.

The following night started on a unique and interesting note with Merah, whom I’d never seen before but had been told prior would be putting on a very surprising and different show. Featuring members of Keep of Kalessin, and Motorpsycho’s Kenneth Kapstad on drums, they were certainly out of the ordinary and really quite good and engrossing. You can’t go wrong with excellent musicianship coupled with an eye-catching stage show. I’m looking forward to seeing more of this band in the future.

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Keeping it going strong and vicious, were Agalloch up next, followed by Tsjuder (also performing a “double Inferno” in their usual earsplitting and face-melting manner) Absu, and Autopsy – a band I’d never seen live before, and tremendously enjoyed – what a long overdue bit of ear candy, and a great way to finalize night three!

It was with no shortage of bittersweetness that I arrived on scene for the final night of this extraordinary festival, and took my place in the photo pit for the last hurrah of Inferno, 2012. Already dreading the end of the festival, and the inevitable, reluctant return to sanity, I was able to drown my sorrows, at least to some degree, by basking in the unholiness of Throne Of Katarsis who started the night off with just the right soothing touch of fire and brimstone.

Up next were Norway’s Einherjer, and Poland’s death metal gurus, Decapitated. We’ve all got our own loves, loyalties, and preferences, and admittedly, I tend to subscribe to the Black Metal school of love, but can fully appreciate and sink my teeth into a seriously good, straightforward death metal act, and Decapitated are just that. One of my favorite DM acts out there, they stormed the stage with their trademark crunch and brutality, and nearly caused me to shit myself blind with their ferocity. Delicious.

Following on Decapitated’s heels were Sweden’s Witchery, and Norway’s Arcturus. This being my first time to see Arcturus also, I was extremely impressed with their fantastic stage show, and heartfelt performance. Colorful, solid, and heavy on the pyrotechnics, they closed out the festival with a celebratory feel, and ended what was a festival I did NOT want to see end, on a jovial and positive note.

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Solid performances by all, and a fantastic crowd and crew made Inferno, Norway one of the most rewarding festivals of the year, thus far…

Let’s see what else the year brings, eh?

Special thanks to all at Inferno Festival, Norway. Keep up the good work. You are all very much appreciated. See you next year! \m/

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