Thursday Friday and Saturday at the Inferno Metal Festival is held at the Rockefeller Music Hall, with two stages – the Rockefeller main stage plus John Dee downstairs in the basement. That means concerts back to back all together eight bands each night. Thursday was old school day with Venom Inc, Carcass and Destruction, pluss the Polish death metal band Azarath and the Norwegian viking metal band Helheim. (Photo above: Mantas from Venom Inc)
Helheim was the first band on the Rockefeller main stage. The band started in Bergen in 1992, and three of the founding members are still with the band – H’grimnir on guitar and vocals, V’gandr on bass and vocals and Hrymr on drums. The last member, Noralf, started in 2008. The band is true to their viking roots, using the old Norwegian language in their songs. Their music is varied between extreme metal and more melodic parts.
After Helheim, Venom Inc entered the main stage. There are two versions of Venom today, the band named Venom, with Cronos on bass and vocals, plus Venom Inc, that was started in 2014 by former Venom members Mantas on guitar, Abaddon on drums and Demolition Man on bass. Since Cronos owns the name Venom, the newer band calls themselves Venom Inc. I saw Venom with Cronos at Tons of Rock in 2015.
Venom Inc is musically better as a band than Cronos’ Venom. They are tight and energetic, with some good guitar licks and riffs by Mantas. The three played together in Venom in 1989-1993, while Mantas and Abaddon were together in the band from 1978 to 1999 with Mantas staying until 2002. As a trio Venom Inc worked well. Their versions of the old songs sounded better in my ears than the Cronos version, and they also have some great poses.
After Venom Inc I went down to the John Dee stage to see Azarath from Poland. Their music is strict death metal, full speed and with some great growling by singer Necrosodom. The band’s drummer, Inferno, is reckoned as one of the fastest metal drummers, and he showed some impressive examples of his speed and precision. I do love good drummers!
Destruction is a German trash metal band that started in 1982. The present guitarist Mike Sifringer is one of the founding members, together with Schmier on bass. Drummer Vaaver has been with the band since 2010. Destruction are considered one of the pioneering bands in black metal, together with Venom and a few others. Their music is more melodic, riff based and rough. A great live act.
The headliner on Thursday was Carcass from Liverpool. Two of the founding members, Jeff Walker on bass and vocals, and Bill Steer on guitar are still with the band, while guitarist Ben Ash and Daniel Winding on drums are new. Carcass disbanded in 1996, but started up again in 2007. They are considered the pioneers of the grind core genre, with morbid lyrics and harsh graphics on their album covers.
On stage Carcass was effective and they are a really fast band, with some great harmony guitar licks between Steer and Ash. Their mix of grind core and death metal is a study in fast precision and extreme vocals from Walker, plus some great hair whips from Ash. Carcass closed a great night at the Inferno Metal Festival 2017.
It is a good move by the Inferno organizers to include these old style and more historic bands in the line up for the festival. This way we can see the lines from the start of the genre from around 1980 to the new bands of today. The venue was not packed, as it is likely to be tonight and tomorrow, but that is more the loss for those who didn’t come than for us who were there.
All photos are © Per Ole Hagen and must not be used without written permission.