And there we were, in the rainy Bergen of Norway to attend the newest three-day extreme metal event, Blastfest. This was the very first year this festival opened its doors to host fans from all over Europe, and those who didn’t make it –believe me- missed a chance to see most of your favorite bands. Check some, out of the 31 in the billing: Shining, Taake, Belphegor, Wardruna, Valkyrja, Marduk… But let’s have a closer look day by day. Starting the first night in Garage, Norwegian Tantara with Finnish Woland were the opening bands for the night, while Lakei and Fatal Embrace warmed up the audience in the best way. Der Weg Einer Freiheit from Germany hit the stage right after and I must say it was a blast. A band I was longing to see since they released Vertigo, was Koldbrann who gave a kick-ass show, and their fellows Myrkskog followed. It should have been about midnight when Aura Noir appeared on Garage’s stage, making the crowd moshing like hell in songs such as Conqueror, Black Thrash Attack, and our favorite bird: Condor. Last band for the evening, the Swedish Shining with Niklas Kvarforth fully committed on his duties, giving –as always- a stunning performance. Hoest from Taake joined him for a song plus the band did a cover on Sweet Child O’ Mine from Guns ‘n’ Roses. We were sent to sleep with pain in our necks while two more days were left. The second day’s schedule included preshow exhibitions of graphic designer Kim Holm and famous photographer Peter Beste, 4 extra bands were added, but also included a different, bigger venue with two stages. At 2pm doors opened and Dominanz appeared, with Hellish Outcast to follow and both Norwegian bands delivered a great show. Valkyrja, a “young” band that represents in a perfect way how the Swedish black metal should be, were the headline act on the stage of Garage. After a 15-minute-walk we found ourselves settled in front Røkeriet stage at USF Verftet, longing for Taake. Hoest this time appeared in a cloak and for almost 40’ minutes we heard songs as the opening Nattestid Ser Porten Vid Part I, Over Bjoergvin Graater Himmerik and Umen-
neske. Sahg followed on Studio stage and Tiamat appeared right after. As Exumer broke their necks in the 40’ minute appearance, Marduk opened their show with Serpent Sermon hailing the upcoming chaos. Black metallers Ragnarok and doom/death metallers Swallow the Sun followed while Triptykon members hit the Røkeriet stage for about an hour. As we reached midnight, Hypocrisy opened their one-hour set with End of Disclosure, while Fire in the Sky, War-Path and The Final Chapter hit our ears one after another, to reach encores with Roswell 47, Adjusting the Sun and Eraser. Last but not least, the bringers of Armageddon Anaal Nathrakh came from UK to close this night in the best way. Last day of the festival, and still there were tons of great bands to see. Again the day started early in Apollon bar with Dayal Patterson, presenting his new book entitled Black Metal: The Evolution of the Cult (those who consider yourselves as black metallers run and buy it, you won’t regret it!). Up next, Einar Selvik, mastermind of Wardruna and ex-Gorgoroth member showed us how traditional Norwegian music instruments are made. Pretty interesting! A few meters away, Viking folk metallers Glittertind (the name comes from the 2nd highest mountain of Norway) performed in Hulen, and then in Garage Morbid Vomit and Sterbhaus were the opening bands for the last day. Diabolical followed, and I hadn’t seen this band before. They played both old and new songs, with emphasis on their new album “Neogenesis” and if they pass by from your city don’t miss the chance to headbang under Swedish death metal tunes. Again, walking in the rain to reach USF Verftet but we didn’t care; as soon as Warduna hit the stage, the crowd was silent. No mobile ringtones, not even a whisper. Everyone was seduced by the grandeur and the spirituality of this band. Each song had its own beauty, and the people in the crowd awarded the band with their warmest applause. Einar announced their last song Helvegen (The way to Hell): “This is a song honoring the Dead, those who lived Words & Photography: Labrini Gouma
before us…” The rest is mere details, this was my personal favorite band not only for that day, but for the whole festival. It was heavy metallers’ time, Communic, to appear and two floors below Carpathian Forest followed, with Nattefrost waving us ostentatiously the upside cross. Insidious Desease with Marc Grewe of Morgoth in vox gave a good show and up next black metallers Enthroned performed with nearly no lights, creating a majestic atmosphere. Meanwhile, Aborted’s frontman Sven urged the crowd to form circle pits and all I can say is… F#ck Hipsters! Polish artillery Vader were next in the line. Piotr aka Peter with the rest band delivered the songs to the maximum, and judging from audience’s reaction, there’s no doubt they’re coming back in Norway soon. On Studio stage the skeleton microphones were set, ready to welcome Belphegor once again. Having seen this band before, I knew exactly what to wait; and indeed, they did not disappoint us. Last act and definitely not to be missed on the Røkeriet stage, My Dying Bride. The first notes of Kneel Till Doomsday were heard and Aaron Stainthorpe appeared on stage. The Raven and the Rose, To Remain Tombless and The Dreadful Hours to follow, are just some tracks in their one-hour set during their amazing performance. Studio stage welcomed Obscura, the last band for that night and the closing band for the festival. WOW. We didn’t even realize how 3 days passed. Three days full of music, beers and rain (yes, from top to toes wet, every fckin day). But it was ABSOLUTELY worth it! Even if it was the first edition of the festival, even there were many venues, there were maps, timetables and many volunteers to help visitors and give instructions. For the billing I have nothing to say, and bands were very accurate in times too. Can’t wait for the next one! Best moment: Many, but the set of Wardruna really blew my mind. Worst moment: Rain and expensive beer, but this is Norway- I can live with that!
DOWNLOAD PDF HERE: https://www.dropbox.com/s/f99yfqzhxgr81l4/against_08_interactive.pdf